There was a complete mob scene today at Abbey Road in north London. It's the 40th anniversary of Abbey Road, the last album produced by what is probably the most influential, and certainly most famous, band in popular music history. I'll never forget the sinking, almost despairing feeling I had when I heard that the Beatles were breaking up as a band. This was in 1970, as I recall. It was impossible. How could this group that had brought us all through the '60s with a sense of sanity in those insane times . . . how could they be leaving us? Only six years before had they come to my attention--in 1964 when they burst into the American consciousness like an explosion in the skulls of everybody from about the age of 12 to 25. I was a junior going on senior in college in 1964, and I can remember the first Beatles album released in America, Meet the Beatles. Somebody got a copy of it, and we played the grooves off the thing in the dorm. Over and over. Everybody knew all the words. You could hear the album playing when you were walking to class or cafeteria. It was in the atmosphere, just like the band itself would be for the next several years. I loved the Beatles from that point to this point, a long, long time later. Part of the so-called British Invasion, the Beatles were better than all the rest put together. And that included some pretty good bands: The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, et al. Kids today, who swim in a sea of media, will never understand what the Beatles were back in those days. There won't ever be anything like it again. Abbey Road is my favorite Beatles album today. Ask me tomorrow and it could be any of three or four more: Rubber Soul, Help!, Sgt. Pepper, The White Album . . . Hell, they didn't make any mediocre, much less bad, albums. I think if I were in London, who knows I might have been part of the mob; I'm with them in spirit anyway.
And in keeping with one of my recurring subjects here, and not necessarily out of place at the end of a piece about the Beatles, I should note this article that points out five reasons we should be growing hemp. All of the reasons are solid and some of them pressing: better paper, fiber, fuel from hemp than what we use now, and more. The piece isn't long. Read it.