Thursday, November 18, 2010

My 5 Years Of Transformation– The Beatles, Change and Innovation

Turning 16 was reason enough for 1964 to be a big year for me but for many other reasons it was a transformational year

It is also the year I began forming my own political views, steadily swinging away from the ultra conservative views of my father and his family and toward the more progressive views of my maternal great grandfather, becoming a McGovern liberal in 1972 as I graduated from college before moving back to the moderate center by 1980 where I’ve remained the subsequent 30 years (although leaning toward progressive.)Croped

In hindsight I could have realized something was very different in January 1964, when on our way up the mountain for a Saturday of snow skiing,  my father just smiled while Brian Gessel and I sang “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” at the top of our lungs along with the Beatles as it played on the car radio. 

Believe me, in his lifetime, my father never got the credit he deserved for patience as demonstrated again a few weeks later, when our parents let thirty of us gather at a friend’s house (unheard of on a Sunday evening) to watch the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show.

From then until word of the group’s breakup emerged more than 5 years later, a few months past my 21st birthday, the Beatles’ sound and fashion tracked my political transformation part of which can be seen emerging in the 1964 photo taken in front of our house.

Whenever I think back to something that occurred during one of those five years of transformation, that thought is almost immediately sound-tracked by an album, e.g. Hard Days Night 1964, Help 1965, Revolver 1966, Sgt. Pepper’s 1967, Yellow Submarine 1968, Abbey Road 1969 and Let It Be 1970.

Two values embedded for me during that transformational period are core beliefs that society can evolve for the better and continuing and never-ending innovation is imperative.  Those beliefs too are reflected during that span of Beatles albums, each one very different and in some cases extremely different from others the group made and anything else being recorded during that period and some say since (view this Fast Company slide show documenting Beatles’ innovations.)

As we look back now, the Beatles were pretty “moderate”  compared to both the times and their contemporaries.   Today with moderates have been all but purged from the Republican Party while the ultra-right also targets moderate Democrats for defeat, maybe the vast segment of Americans who are now Independents should start a third party, a moderate party once again including wings for both Conservatives and Progressives. 

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