The Beatles – A Work in Perpetual Progress! (29.3.2023) 

The Beatles
The Beatles Dressed Like Their Fathers!

If the world of post-1948 Britain (that is, the three-decades that spanned 1948-1979 which were brought to a crashing end by the rise of Thatcherism) is compared to what existed before (for sake of argument the years between 1918-1948) – and what the UK is today (2023) – it is virtually unrecognisable. How many Beatles were there? The list I have compiled suggests at least ‘nine’ – but I am sure arguments could be made for many more depending upon how membership is defined. My list is Pete Best, Ken Brown, Stuart Sutcliffe, Tommy Moore, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Ringo Starr. Ringo Starr, of course, always lived by the beat of his own drum and was the last to join and the first to leave (as ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ beckoned). This is only ‘eight’ – so who is the ‘ninth’ Beatle? – well, that would be the masterful producer – George Martin. Neo-Beatles could include (the only ‘Black’ member) Billy Preston and Tony Sheridan (the only two musicians to be granted a recording ‘Credit’ on Beatles albums at the behest of the band itself) and ‘Giles Martin’ (the son of George Martin) who has carried on the legendary work of his father – making The Beatle Archive accessible and relevant to much later generations in a world of changing technical phenomena that many would have find intriguing but bewildering in the 1960s (interviews with George Martin during the late 1980s show him to be remarkably perceptive about the rise of the internet, home computers and digitised music)! Then there are the theories that the ‘Wives’ of the Beatles should perhaps be included – but this is straying into the realms of fantasy and would be opening the door to Yoko Ono claiming she founded The Beatles – after having explained the entire concept to George Martin in a Soho Coffee House (using ‘mime’ as her chosen vehicle of communication). Once the contracts were signed – she had May Pang explain it to John… 

In fact, we know how many ‘official’ Beatles there were because we can count them on all EMI-issued albums – there were ‘four’ (both ‘legally’ and ‘literally’ until Pete Best’s contribution was finally recognised by EMI in the mid-1990s – but only then making Pete Best at best a ‘Pre-Beatle’ – perhaps generating an entirely new legal category). Of course, I cannot address why it was that EMI had a perfectly modern and functioning recording studio in Bombay – surrounded by starving Indians – or why George Harrison never mentioned any of this. By the time The Beatles had established the circumstances that guaranteed the band success in a capitalist society – there were just ‘four’ official personalities constituting the group – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. These young men had been brought up in Liverpool playing around the many bombsites leftover from WWII – and which took decades to clear. The Socialistic Reforms carried-out by the Labour Party in 1948 copied much that had been formulated in the USSR after the 1917 Socialist Revolution – and transformed working-class aspirations forever in the UK (where rationing continued into the early 1950s). The principle of the NHS, for instance, was invented by VI Lenin as a means to spread the cost of everyone receiving medical treatment (free at the point of use) utilising the (collective) income tax system. The Beatles were brought up in an era that saw these changes slowly but surely transforming the lives of ordinary working people. British post-war Socialism was the highly creative waters the Beatles, Pre-Beatles and Neo-Beatles swam in!

The US had expanded its political hegemony into the UK and Western Europe and had offered loans to pay for the reconstruction after WWII (the UK never finished repaying these loans until around 2006). Anti-Soviet hysteria was very much part of the US aggression that saw its military bristling on the borders of the Eastern Bloc (Communist) countries – with The Beatles benefitting from this Cold War policy by performing in what was then West Germany. No biography will touch these subjects for fear of not finding a Publisher. The Beatles did not understand that the US was re-arming West Germany and re-employing former Nazis in its new anti-Communist Armies (although they were once arrested, held in a cell and finally deported in the Pete Best days back to the UK for upsetting a Hamburg venue owner). The US wanted religiosity and Western culture of all kinds forcibly imported into West Germany – and so a new work climate was created. As fascism is inherently anti-Communist – the US encouraged and tolerated a certain ‘frequency’ of it throughout West Germany, providing the Occupying Western Allies were in charge of it. This air of acceptable fascism within West Germany might serve to contextualise John Lennon and his ‘Sieg Heil’ antics whilst on stage – which were warmly welcomed by the West German population! Of course, Pete Best (who was born in India) lost his biological father who died in the fighting during WWII – having served as a British Royal Marine Engineer.  

Despite the UK in many ways appearing to be a Soviet State between 1948-1979 – it still functioned within a Bourgeois, capitalist (liberal democratic) system. Since 1979, the onus has been upon dismantling this Socialist edifice and re-instating the pre-1948 status quo where workers do as they are told for as little money as possible. This has to understood if the stage-managing of The Beatles is to be understood. The Beatles existed as a means for the four members and the plethora of individuals surrounding and enabling them (including the ‘Roadie’ Mal Evans) were to make a comfortable living. Behind all these people was the monolith of EMI – so if The Beatles were already millionaires by 1964 (and there are good reasons to assume this) – the reader can speculate just how much profit their ‘look’ and ‘sound’ bought the publishing company! As a winning combination has been arrived at more or less by trial and error – the thinking was that none of it should be changed for fear of spoiling the earning potential.

The music of The Beatles is so dialectically stimulating that it means many things to all people. This led to John Lennon expressing in a (reactionary) 1968 interview with British students that he had as many ‘fascists’ as ‘Socialist’ fans – he said this after berating the USSR and the idea of external (revolutionary) change. He seems to be expressing EMI advertising policy rather than any innate knowledge of Marxist-Leninism. If what John Lennon thought is compared to Huey Newton (the Black Panther Party Co-Founder) in 1968 – it is clear who the genuine Marxist-Leninist Revolutionary is – and which one the White Established preferred, supported and rewarded. always cackling in the shadows was Yoko Ono who never got round to addressing the subject of her anti-Western family supporting ultra-right-wing political views in Japan – or the War Crimes the Imperial Japanese Army had committed during the 1930s and 1940s throughout Asia (and against British POWs). She remains ‘anti-Chinese’ to this day.