Woebot, inspiring on the beatles. and also, on that most gripping read, the Ian McDonald book. Been meaning to "do" the early albums and this might be the impetus. the thing i always find weird about listening to the beatles with grown-up ears, with fan/critic's ears that have a whole a history of close listening behind them, is realising that they were a rock band just like all the other rock bands, i.e. listening to what the rhythm guitar is doing, the bass, when the solo comes in, etc. As a kid, which is when i heard all the famous stuff, i hadn't learned to break tracks down into their components, it was all one glorious blare/blur/blast of sound, plus i think as a kid you can only really focus on the top-line melody. and i also thought of the Beatles as a whole separate zone of culture--like there was pop music over here, and the Beatles over there (this partly exacerbated by the fact of the movies, i think as a child I really thought they really did live in one long knocked-together terrace a la Help, that the movies were just documents of their lives). So the MacDonald book obviously works well with that grown-up appreciation of "what an interesting middle-eight", "ah, the bassline is asserting itself vividly here", "ace drumming, Ringo", "ooh, production!", etc etc, and actually seeing them as not just part of the same genre as the stones, dylan, byrds, kinks, but also engaged in conversation/competition with them.
Also really dug this Woebot comment on Apples Vs Apple, which "iconic" struggle I didn't even know was going on but makes a lot of sense, both being in the music business and having the same name. Sez Woebot:
"...I’m perhaps imaginatively construing it to be a cosmic struggle between two ideas of what music is. I’m obviously on The Beatles side, and what they and (coughs) I are saying is that music matters. We’re letting it loose like a cougar. We’re celebrating its transformative powers. We’re saying it deserves to have a physical presence, to be embodied amongst us. We’re the good guys. What Steve Jobs is saying is that music needs to know its place. He’s saying: “Feel the pleasure you get when you tame this wild animal.”
So i'll obviously be chasing down those early albums on vinyl, then...