In the beginning was the Beatles.

I’m kidding, of course. It’s especially funny considering John Lennon once said in an interview with a British reporter that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus” (a mistake he paid for many times over). But in all seriousness, the Beatles were BIG. I tried to fight it, but the Beatles are, factually, the most influential band on popular music to have ever existed. There’s no getting around it.

Oh, I’ve tried. Back in high school, I had a deep-seated need to distinguish myself from… well, everyone. But I didn’t dye my hair or get a mohawk or start wearing safety pins in my jacket. Rather, if ever there was something I heard that a lot of people liked, I began to hate it. And I was vocal. If ever a discussion began about how great “the thing” was, I would jump in (sometimes awkwardly) and say “the thing” sucked. Sometimes I didn’t actually know whether the thing sucked or not. The mere fact that it was popular was enough for me to turn on the hate. I was both pretentious and uneducated.

The most egregious of these included the Beatles. I had heard of the Beatles since I was little; who hasn’t? I grew up being passively familiar with their early look, the moptops and stuff, and knew some of the more famous of their songs, like “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” “She Loves You,” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.” “Yesterday” was so ubiquitous that I didn’t know it was by the Beatles; I just thought it was one of those songs, one that who the author or original performer was didn’t seem to matter anymore. When I was a teenager, I heard some of my peers discussing the Beatles in positive terms (as everybody did), so I chimed in.

“My favorite Beatle is John. Y’know why? ‘Cause he’s dead.”

That’s right, folks. Much as I may try to deny it, I was once a Beatles Hater.

Then I got to college, where everyone’s horizons expand at least a little even though they may fight it. In the spirit of personal redefinition (something I was into at the time), I decided I would actually listen to the Beatles. It was then that I discovered this entire other world of the Beatles. Mind you, I always kinda knew this other Beatles existed, but it hadn’t crystallized for me ‘til I actually decided to listen to them, instead of stupidly writing them off because everybody liked them. But once I gave them even a ghost of a chance, I was forced to say, “crap; they’re really good.”

So, despite my gadfly tendencies, I have joined the herd in saying the Beatles are one of the best bands to have ever walked and talked. But maybe it’s not joining the herd… Maybe it’s joining the educated. It’s saying “I don’t want to exist in this comfortable ignorance anymore. I want to move. I think I’ll see what’s over that ridge over there.” And for me, what was over that ridge, among other things, was the Beatles.