With The Beatles…A Royal Announcement

16 11 2010

Today was the moment that the world had been waiting for. For years the silence coming from one of the most famous institutions in the UK had been deafening.

We all wanted to know when it would happen, what was the delay and why it seemed to be taking so long. Millions of fans across the globe have been on tenterhooks, chewing their nails in frenzied appreciation.

This morning, the wait was finally over.

And then there were two...

The Beatles songs’ were available on iTunes. For those that didn’t want to  buy the re-released and repackaged catalog on the archaic format known as CD, they could now just download 200 songs in the comfort of their own home. The Fab Four have gone digital. Apple merged with Apple and the magical mystery tour was over.

Rock royalty, available (again) to the masses.

In an unrelated royal incident, the Prince of Wales graciously announced that he had given permission for his oldest son to become engaged to a commoner. Eight years in the making, the engagement of Prince William to Kate Middleton (who it seems is now going to be called Catherine) had commemorative plate makers rubbing their hands in glee. Scheduled for sometime next year, Wills will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of his mother’s contractual obligation to wed his father by getting hitched himself.

Excellent, The Beatles are on iTunes

All you need is love, apparently.

To be honest, I am not a big fan of either The Beatles or the Royal Family. I appreciate what they have done for the UK over the years but they have outlived their usefulness in so many ways.

It is hard to believe that anyone who is into music hasn’t already got the majority of these newly-digital songs in one format or another (I have the Greatest Hits on vinyl – purchased in 1982 when I was still an impressionable youth) and coming a year after the release of Beatles:Rock Band video game – which also saw the re-release of their entire catalog at the same time – it seems that it was only a matter of time before they appeared on iTunes. Saying that, however, there are still some bands that are resistant to the lure of Steve Jobs and it pleases me that AC/DC are one of the few bands that would rather sell product on a traditional basis (i.e. with people actually buying an entire LP as opposed to cherry picking which tracks they want).

But it seems that 48 years after the release of ‘Love Me Do’, the public still can’t get enough of the mop-topped scousers. On the plus side, there is no chance of the band getting together to milk the music any further by doing live shows.

The British Monarchy are also something that seem to survive irrespective of trends or opinions.

With the exception of the Queen – who I believe has carried herself with dignity throughout various embarrassing episodes that her family has inflicted upon her (Prince Philip insulting the world, Charles wanting to be Camilla’s tampon, Andrew marrying Fergie, Prince Edward’s life) – the Royals polarize opinion throughout the Commonwealth.

Australia, which still has Liz as the Head of State, has flirted with the idea of being a Republic as has New Zealand. In the USA, there seems to be a genuine affection for the British monarchy and in the UK, there are people who see them as essential to the tourist industry and a symbol of a previous age when the British Empire was at its peak.

I have never been a Royalist, the idea of the landed gentry and the aristocratic upper class is something that has irked me for many years. Perhaps it is the way that the British taxpayer still funds the Royal Family or maybe it is knowing that Charles (who is a man stranded in the wrong time) is next in line for the throne. It could even be the fact that when Diana died, the UK lapsed into a period of mourning that went beyond respectful and ended up being self-pitying with thousands of people claiming that the death of the Princess of Hearts was responsible for their depression. Add to that the sight of Prince Harry in a Nazi uniform (understandable in some ways, the family is German and there were rumours that not only Edward VIII but George VI were not unsympathetic to the national socialist ideology), the extended family that seem to do nothing for the country – kudos must be given to Wills and a reformed Harry for insisting on military service – and Princess Michael of Kent.

But the engagement of William to Kate is a significant step forward. Not only is the Prince more normal than some of his relatives, but his fiance is one of us – someone without Royal upbringing whose parents worked hard to ensure that she had the best opportunities to make something of her life. In some ways it is a shame that this will now her involve turning up to open flower shows and trying to not let the paparazzi hound her to the misery that blighted Di’s last years, but Mr & Mrs Middleton can be proud of their little girl who went to University to study art and became the fiance of a Prince.

What are the odds that the first dance at their wedding will be a Beatles number! They might even be able to persuade Ringo and Paul to put together a band for the reception, after all it will be a showcase of Royalty – both good and bad.




One response

16 11 2010

Beatles finally on iTunes, but AC/DC … not so much…

Finally, you can legally download “Can’t Buy Me Love” on iTunes. But there is plenty that you still can’t. For some other performers, art and commerce have still not hit the right note. So while you twist and shout o……

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