Earlier today, I listened to “Only One”, the new single by Kanye West featuring Paul McCartney released on New Year’s. It is quite good.
Now the big story coming out of all this are the tweets from Kanye West fans who claim they’ve never heard of the former Beatle. One such tweet described the 72-year old McCartney as a “newcomer.”
However, Joe Lynch at Billboard points out that a lot of those folks on Twitter have a good handle on The Beatles and they were only joking.
I’m inclined to agree with Lynch and I would further add that it is fair to say that most people under the age of 18 know who The Beatles are in no small part to the record collections of their parents or grandparents.
I remember Billy Crystal used to joke that his daughter would ask him, “Was Paul McCartney in another group before Wings?” With that said, I know there is a segment of the population that has never heard of The Beatles. Not so long ago, I worked with a Hispanic fellow who grew up in the projects here in Boston and had never heard of The Beatles until he became an adult. Now he loves them.
My point here is that we shouldn’t get mad at people who’ve never heard of The Beatles. These people may very well have grown up in an environment where they simply never heard a Beatles record and were reared entirely on hip-hop or death metal. We are a far more fragmented society than we once were. The days of 73 million Americans (out of a population of just under 200 million in 1964) watching The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show are gone perhaps except when it comes to the Super Bowl.
So let’s say a Kanye West fan who never heard of Paul McCartney or The Beatles hears “Only One”, listens to The Beatles online ends up buying Revolver or maybe Band on the Run and sees Paul McCartney in concert.
As Sir Paul would ask, “What’s wrong with that? I’d like to know.”
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