For fans of the Fab Four, May 8,1970 is recalled as a sad day. It was the day the Beatles released their last album Let It Be. Before long, fans knew it would be the last album ever from the Lads from Liverpool, as creative differences, professional demands and family issues broke up the greatest musical group that ever was.
The Beatles were among the first super-groups to deal with hordes of screaming fans, unruly crowds, young women (and no doubt a few young men) propositioning them, and access to just about every vice imaginable. From their elevated spot in super stardom, maybe the Beatles could offer some advice to another popular singer who seems to be struggling with the pressures of fame. Here’s what the Beatles would tell Justin Bieber who has, shall we say, hit a few bumps on the Long and Winding Road.
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1. Never say you’re more popular than Jesus.
File this as something not to say to a member of the press. An in depth article about John Lennon’s home life and the lives of his fellow Beatles quotes John as saying “We’re more important than Jesus right now.” It ignited an avalanche of criticism and Beatle-hatred. Take away: Watch what you say to the press…or on Twitter.
2. Don’t let your wife get in the way of the band.
Maybe not a problem for the never married Beiber, but a cautionary tale nonetheless. Near the end of their professional music making, John Lennon met and married Yoko Ono, an artist and peace advocate. Fans blamed Ono for the band’s breakup, a claim she has always denied and one that Paul McCartney later said wasn’t true.
3. It really is all about the hair.
Critics panned the Beatles for their hairstyles, which ranged from collar length bobs to over the top Jesus style hairdos. Bieber’s fans feel the same way about his hair. Bieber’s hair has changed as the singer matured, from boyish waves to spikes, causing many a teenage girl to cry at the thought of “the Beib” shedding his golden curls.
4. There’s no such thing as an overnight success.
The Beatles couldn’t catch a break in the US, not at first anyway. Even though they were on popular record labels in the UK and had a swelling fan base in Europe, they were virtual unknowns in the US. Just as CBS news was preparing a segment on their growing popularity they were bumped by an even bigger story, the death of JFK. It took another year for the Beatles to gain success in the US.
5. Don’t be afraid to try new styles.
The Fab Four started out as a cover band playing popular rock songs of the 50s. But it was their original hits and ever changing style that kept fans buying albums. It’s easy to be a one trick pony and never change a working formula. It’s another degree of talent altogether to try new styles.
6. You need your friends, so choose them wisely.
As any number of news articles will tell you, it’s important to choose your friends wisely. Something Bieber might take to heart as “friends” have convinced him to buy and later mistreat a pet monkey, drink before he’s 21 and drive a rental sports car 100 miles an hour in downtown Miami. As the Beatles wisely said, “I get by with a little help from my friends,” but only if those friends have your best interests at heart.
7. Life is short, so make the most of it.
With the demise of the Beatles in 1970, John Lennon moved to New York and with his wife became active in peace and humanitarian issues. Following the birth of his son with Ono, he retreated further from public life to devote time to his family. On December 8, 1980 Lennon was shot and killed outside his New York apartment. Lennon was just 40 years old at the time of his death.
8. Let It Be. Don’t get caught up in the whirlwind.
At the height of their popularity, the Beatles retreated from the world to study religion in India. They didn’t party for the paparazzi. Instead, they took their children to school and lent their names to humanitarian issues. They didn’t get drunk in public and throw up in police stations.
9. Don’t get a pet monkey if you can’t take care of it.
A pet, any pet, is a responsibility. Adults are responsible and take care of their pets. Even worse than abandoning the monkey is refusing to pay for its care after giving it up. It’s not like Bieber can’t afford the cost of monkey chow.
10. Think about your future.
The two surviving Beatles, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, still play to sellout crowds. Seriously, is anyone going to pay to see a 30 year old Bieber let alone a 70 year old one? And both Beatles can still sing and play instruments. What will Bieber do when he’s no longer cute?
11. You will mature, and it’s going to get better.
McCartney established Wings after he left the Beatles and has a solo career that is the envy of any musician. Ringo Starr fronts The All-Starr Band. They’re proof that talent doesn’t diminish with age and true talent improves as the years go by. Plan on seeing Bieber’s albums on the bargain table.
12. Baby You can Drive My Car. But not under the influence or over the speed limit!
Those among us who never drank before 21 or drove our cars over the speed limit can throw the first stone. But really, with hangers on, bodyguards and even his father in tow, couldn’t someone have taken the keys away?
13. Life is a Long and Winding Road, so don’t do things you’ll regret.
Reread items number 8, 10 and 12. Justin, you read them three times.
14. When things feel out of control, remember to Get Back to where you once belonged.
Sometimes, it’s more important to remember our humble beginnings and take a step back. When you start to believe your own publicity, it’s time to get new advisors. Particularly when your fame has come from a country not your own.