Friday, July 7, 2017


July 6, 1957: John is saved from the local constabulary
inviting him to the lockup.
At the risk of soiling my reputation as a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian (my book Things Have Always Been Bad and Are Getting Worse is now in its 5th printing), I neglected to note that yesterday, June 6, marked the 60th anniversary of John Lennon meeting Paul McCartney.

This would be, then, a good time not to ponder the Beatles' impact on the world. Instead, suppose what would have happened if, instead of watching John and his band the Quarrymen perform on the back of a flatbed truck at a church social, Paul said, "Eh, I think I'll go see Elvis in Loving You at the Odeon. That's a real rocker."

Only 15, and George already thinks he's better
than you.
For one thing, near the end of his life, John admitted that he would have wound up in jail had he never met Paul. Imagine the consequences: How would John ever had gotten his hands on high-grade acid and heroin? Would Ringo have become the greatest strip club drummer in the world? How would George have the chance to show his contempt for anyone who didn't share his beliefs? And how would Paul ever become the richest person in music?

But let's not focus just on the Beatles. The world itself would have been a far different place had John and Paul remained strangers. For instance:

Ed Sullivan would have been better known for plate-spinners, talking to an Italian mouse,
Circa 1960: Paul plants the idea of wearing
glasses in John's head.
and shoving Sergio Franchi down America's throat every other week.

Today's Beatle cover bands would be doing tribute shows to Jan & Dean.

The Rolling Stones would have remained a two-bit blues band, this depriving Mick Jagger from getting laid by 5,000 women. 

Brian Wilson never would have gone off his rocker trying to top Sgt. Pepper with Smile, and just continued writing songs about surfing and driving, to the relief of Mike Love

However, sensing an opening, Yoko Ono would have broken up Brian Wilson's marriage and the Beach Boys. Their first album together, the self-titled Ceramic Ono Band, would feature Brian screaming about his father Murry, Mike Love, and those striped shirts the Beach Boys had to wear in concert. Yoko's contribution would be limited to imitating a mental ward patient, and having Brian sign over his publishing rights.

Dr. Eugene Landy, in turn, would have lost his medical license for treating Gary Lewis' PTSD by denying him cheeseburgers.

Ready to take on the world -- and lay every girl in it.
While in concert, Frank Sinatra wouldn't have continued crediting "Something" to being composed by "Mr. Lennon and Mr. McCartney" until the end of his life.

The first line in George Martin's obituary would have been, "An obscure record producer, best known, if at all, for novelty records and working with British song stylist Matt Munro..."

"Shitty ancillary merchandise?
What shitty  ancillary

No one would have come up with the idea of backwards tapes, thus depriving the religious right of yet another cudgel to swing in order to raise money for their questionable lifestyles. 

The Electric Light Orchestra would have slavishly copied the Dave Clark 5.

An entire generation of kids never would have had the chance to make fools of themselves by wearing ratty Beatle wigs.

Despite John's best efforts, Paul still
recognizes him.
Without Paul as his target, John would have gotten his drunken ass kicked on a regular basis for slagging off the blokes at the neighborhood pub.

Without John as his foil, Paul would have released his first (and last) U.S Top 10 single "Yesterday", earning him guest spots on The Hollywood Palace, The Kraft Music Hall, and Jackie Gleason and His American Scene Magazine, before returning to the UK to host Music with McCartney, airing Saturday evenings for the next 50 years. Paul would later describe his time in the U.S. as "the most amazing week of my life."



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