Which member of The Beatles a person favors tells us a lot about them, much like the way we judge a person based on the artists on their iPod or the kind of apps he or she downloads.
With the 32nd anniversary of John Lennon’s murder Saturday, I’m reflecting on the different seasons in my life and how my favorite member of the Fab Four has changed.
The only one who has never been my favorite is Ringo Starr because, honestly, is Ringo anyone’s favorite? You’re just picking him to be different. Hipster.
And you’re not even a convincing hipster. A way better choice is Stuart Sutcliffe, the band’s original bassist. He was such a beast, he left The Beatles to do his own thing.
For a completely fabricated statistic – 77.8 percent of all people choose either Lennon or Paul McCartney as their favorite. This makes sense as they’re the most visible and the chief songwriters in the pack.
If you like Lennon, you’re a dreamer (but not the only one), social, political and rebellious. You’re also the impetuous one, the one who brings a girl to guys night out.
You dig granny glasses, bed-ins, “lost weekends” and prematurely retiring from your music career for half of a decade.
Picking McCartney, on the other hand, makes you a businessman and a perfectionist. When the band’s manager, Brian Epstein, died in 1967, Macca took it upon himself to take over the business of The Beatles, much to the dismay of his bandmates.
But choosing him makes one an optimist, too: “When the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me.” Additional cool reasons to pick Paul: He wrote the best James Bond theme song to date and he comes with the “Paul is dead” hoax.
He was “the cute one” when they first hit the states but, with that haircut, they all looked pretty similar to me.
George Harrison, my current favorite, is the one who jokingly said he called the haircut “Arthur.” He was quick with a snappy rejoinder like that.
Fans of Harrison, who died in 2001, like his understated nature, his willingness to let others have the spotlight. Harrison was allowed to contribute sparingly and usually turned in a gem – “If I Needed Someone,” “Taxman,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Something.”
After The Beatles took over the world, Harrison was still searching for answers. In the summer of ’67, he was introduced to Hinduism, to which he took passionately. For me, it always made him seem like the spiritual one, the deep one, the mystic.
More than anything, this makes Harrison my favorite. He bridges the gap between the physical and the spiritual in a way that Lennon stopped doing for me.
In my late teens, it was Lennon. I was hopeful, naive and ready to change the world if only I could jam my ideals into enough people’s brains. Lennon had Utopian ideas and they’re definitely worth aspiring toward, but we must deal in reality, not dreams.
Of the three, Macca spent the least time as my favorite. It was a mantle he held by attrition. It was clear to me that my ideological impulses were waning, but I hadn’t yet committed to Harrison.
McCartney’s a sleeper hipster pick, too. He recorded an album with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich and he’s slyly been cutting records as part of the electronic duo The Fireman for almost two decades. It’s so underground, you probably haven’t heard of it.
Nonetheless, for me, it’s Harrison.
“Try to realize it’s all within yourself / No one else can make you change / And to see you’re really only very small / And life flows on within you and without you.”
No? Can’t get behind that?
All right, Harrison was cool, too. He started a band with Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan.
OK, think about this: Harrison formed the film company that financed the first “Monty Python” film.
Spiritual? Humble? Wise? A Traveling Wilbury? Bankrolled Python?
Oh, my sweet lord.
To read more of Nick DeCicco’s blogs, visit http://dailyrepublic.typepad.com/forthoseabouttorock. Follow him on Twitter @ndeciccodr.