Get Back! Maybe Dolly Was Wrong (She Isn’t)

Hey Darling Ones,

I have a tendency to get a little shouty when people bring up how The Beatles are the best band of all time. The shoutiness is so consistent that some of my friends have decided that I do not like The Beatles. Some of them even preface Beatles-related comments with “I know you don’t like them, but. . .”

This is not true. I love The Beatles. I love them so much I hardly given them any thought, kind of like my wrists. They’re just there doing their thing not needing any thought from me. The Beatles are very important to me. During a particularly rough patch of my young adulthood I would check out their records from the Chippewa Falls Library and make endless mix tapes of their songs. I’m not very good with their albums. I am excellent with their songs.

Even so, I still get shouty about The Beatles always being labelled the best. It’s not hard to be “the best” when you are literally only competing against like 1/3 of the population, namely other white men. It’s the same as claiming to be the 6’5″ Spinster Goddess of Minnesota when you’re pretty sure there are zero other 6’5″ Spinsters in Minnesota.

If all things were equal would The Beatles continue to be considered the best? What would a rock & roll landscape look like were there no racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, patriarchy, etc? Hell, would The Beatles continue to be considered the best if the history of rock & roll wasn’t consistently being written by white men? It’s a thought exercise. We will never know. It’s something to keep in the back of your mind when you roll out the G.O.A.T. label. And yes, it holds true for all the arts.

The Beatles have been on my mind because I’m a human who uses social media here in November 2021 when Disney+ dropped “Get Back,” a gazillion-hour documentary about the making of The Beatles’ “Let it Be.” Not to be confused with The Replacements’ “Let it Be,” which is my personal favorite of all the “Let it Bes.” For the record, I have not watched any of this documentary because I do not have Disney+ at the moment.

My twitter stream has been flooded with comments about how endlessly fascinating The Beatles’ creative process is.

I’m puzzled because I wholly believe in the words of Patron Saint of All the Things Dolly Parton when she wrote in her Songteller book that nobody cares about the process. She even adds that sometimes she wants to share her process, but it feels too egotistical.

Apparently The Beatles had no such worries about being seen egotistical. And why would they? Do men even realize they can be too egotistical? Or is that a term we mostly hold for people that aren’t men? Usually when a man gets to that level of ego we call him a genius, creative or otherwise.

Here’s what I wonder, would anyone watch a gazillion-hour-long documentary about anyone else’s creative process? The only one I could come up with is maybe Prince. For sure, it’d have to be a musician because I bet the rest of them would be boring as fuck to watch. My creative process is: I stared at the wall while licking my upper lip and then I typed seven words and deleted three of them.

I want to watch “Get Back” to see if it’s as interesting as everyone claims, though my fear is it’s going to be a lot of bloated, mythologizing of a band that is already over mythologized. If it’s one thing I know for certain rock & roll fans of the dude variety have an endless capacity to eat up really boring garbage about bands they love (all-male bands, obviously).

Resisting the urge to sign off with a Beatles’ lyric,

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