from "Gig Chordbook" (p. 10-12)

Beatling The Deadline
by Ely Buendia

I've always raved about how much I love the Beatles and how great an influence they are on my song writing. But the truth is, I am not a I've always raved about how much I love the Beatles and how great an influence they are on my song writing. But the truth is, I am not a Beatle fan. A more accurate description would be a Beatlefreak. It has, I suspect, become a disease. And the recent Beatles reunion isn't going to cure it, either. Just how bad is it? I go on and on about it in interviews, in concerts, in the studio. Anytime, anyplace, I'll happily expound on why the Beatles are the greatest band in the world. Even when I'm not being asked. A reporter had the poor judgment to ask and the first thing that came out of my mouth was "why the hell not?" Would it be more believable if I said I liked Engelbert Humperdinck? Man, the Beatles changed the world. What makes you think I'm any different?

        As a consequence of my constant ranting and of course the quality of our songs, there isn't one newspaper or magazine article about us now that doesn't mention or has some kind of reference to the Beatles. But who am I to complain? It's downright flattering if you ask me. It's probably the best compliment I've ever heard in my whole career. Yes folks, I love it, I really appreciate it, thank you very much. So much so that I think my bandmates are getting sick and tired of it. Well, to be honest, so am I. Don't get me wrong, I'm not being arrogant. The problem is, we don't deserve it. Nothing can't ever compare to the Beatles. Because, I am first and foremost, a fan. And being such, I hate it when somebody starts comparing somebody to the Beatles. Even if it is my own band they're comparing it to. Why? Because you can't be compared to the Fab Four and not feel like a worm crawling in the lowest depths of the earth. Trust me, it's a totally humbling comparison. I believe one writer said it best: it's like comparing Daffy Duck to God.

        But as much as I would now like to avoid any further reference to the Beatles, especially in the presence of the music press, I have to write this article. Like I said, I am first and foremost a fan. Also, I promised Bong and Kenneth and they've been bugging me for weeks now. But what can I write that hasn't already been written a hundred times? We all love the Beatles, but tell me, can you honestly stand another run-through of their history, or a list of their compliments? Well, if you've been turned on to the moptops just recently, you probably can. But I'm saying this on the assumption that you already know everything about the moptops as any true-blue fan should.

        Well, I know I'm beginning to sound like the world's biggest authority on the Beatles (I'm not Mark Lewisohn, the world's sole official Beatlelogist and the author of the incredible "The Complete Beatles Chronicles," is) or someone who was there when it all happened (I wasn't: although I certainly wish I was). The truth is, I only began to actually dig the Beatles when I was in college. Before that I was heavily into eighties stuff like theCure. But even then I already knew their importance in pop music. I just wasn't that interested. The closest I could get to a full appreciation of their musical greatness was an Indonesian compilation tape entitled "The Best of the Beatles Vol. 10" that I borrowed from a friend. I've always been appreciative of the musicianship, the melodies, the way they instantly stuck to your head, and the seemingly simple lyrics, even though the Indonesians always seem to get them wrong.

        When I was a kid (this is pure nostalgia waxing now, stop reading if you can't take it anymore) we always travelled on land all the way to Bicol during the summer, and on one of those trips a cousin of mine brought along a cassette of "A Hard Day's Night." I loved it right away. Had I been in my teens then instead of at the tender age of five I would've save up my allowance right away and bought myself a copy. As it happened, I wasn't able to start buying records until I was in high school and by then I was really digging Michael Jackson. the moral of the story is, sometimes you just wish you had more money.

        It was December 1980 and I was sitting in front of the TV eating popcorn when the news flash came out: John Lennon, Ex-Beatle Shot Dead by Fan. This had little impact on me. Sure, it was strangely tragic, the thought of a fan killing his idol. But it didn't make sense. I understood that Lennon was famous, and that a crime was committed, but I didn't fully realize how big a crime it was until I grew up. Back then I always considered Lennon as a weird figure with his long hair and even weirder wife. But then a few weeks later I heard "Love," "Imagine," "Woman," and "Just Like Starting Over" on the radio and I said to myself, this guy shouldn't have died.

        Years later I was in college and I still didn't have enough money to buy all the records I wanted. Fortunately, Ricky Lee, who was my script writing teacher in UP, invited his students to his apartment for film viewing. I think Ricky has one of the most impressive CD collections I had ever seen. You name it, he has it. Of course, I drooled over his collection of all the Beatles albums. I promptly dubbed all of them into chrome and metal cassettes which he generously gave me. (Thanks Ricky!) Thus began my apprenticeship in the evolution of Beatles music. I listened to those tapes and studied them, dissected them, all day and all night as if I was preparing for my final exam. And come to think of it, that's probably one of the reasons why I flunked most of my subjects.

        When our first album came out and I received my very first royalty check, the first thing I ever bought with my hard-earned money was the Beatles complete CD collection, the one that came in a gorgeous black wooden box. It cost a fortune, but it was worth it. It's one of my most prized possessions. In terms of music, those albums are my Bible. "Abbey Road" is astounding. It's a testament to the Beatles' genius that they could come up with such a cohesive and solid album when they were on the verge of breaking up. But the one at the top of my list is "The Beatles," more popularly known as the White Album. That record just blows me away.

        But I wasn't satisfied. I wanted more. Last year I was able to acquire three 5-CD boxed sets called Beatles Artifacts. It was more expensive than the collection I bought. Why? First of all, it's a bootleg, meaning unauthorized and illegal. But for a collector, it's priceless. It contains of hundreds of outtakes, live performances and demo versions of all the Beatles songs plus the ones from their solo works. And I know for a fact that it's more complete and comprehensive than the three Beatles Anthology releases. One more advantage: the bootleg includes the original demo version of "Free As Bird," with only John singing to a sparse piano accompaniment. Now that's a collector's item. I heard this version before the Anthology came out and the single was released, and I've often wondered how the hell the three remaining Beatles' would would turn it into a complete song. But my fears were erased when I heard the new single in its entirety. Certainly not the best Beatles' song, but it's still a nice piece of work, even though John sounds like he's singing in the bathroom and Ringo still can't do a decent roll. However, the slide guitar work by George is exquisite, as well as the patented harmonies. Paul's new lyric's complement John's perfectly, giving it more poignancy than before. For a few minutes, you're ready to believe that the Beatles are indeed back together again.

        But we all know it's not the same. It will never be the same. John's dead for God's sake. There certainly won't be any tours, or a new album of truly new material. How does the new joke go? Three more bullets, and you've got a real Beatles reunion. So what if they're doing it for the money (which I doubt)? We wanted them, no, forced them to do it. So this is all I have to say to those naysayers who never really understood in the first place. Shut up. Give the guys a break. If anybody deserves a second chance, it's them. It's the least we could do. To them I say, good luck, guys! And thanks!


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