Beatles vs. ABBA vs. Rolling Stones

I love the Rolling Stones. I’ve seen them perform live three times, and of the many bands I’ve enjoyed, their three concerts ranked first, second, and third in my book.  You read a lot lately that this current tour could be their last, and that it will certainly gross hundreds of millions of dollars.  I’m sure that’s true, just as it’s true of Madonna when she tours, and would be true if U2 were touring this year.  If ticket prices average several hundred dollars, then an act only has to round up a million or so patrons to guarantee huge grosses.

And yet I also recall reading—several times over the past dozen years or so—that ABBA has been offered the staggering sum of $1 BILLION dollars to reunite for a tour.  That’s a lot of zeroes.   And you know what?  You can’t believe everything you read these days, but I’ll bet it’s true.  I say that because I believe an ABBA reunion tour would be worth it—at least in the sense that the promoters would see a hefty return on their investment.  I believe an ABBA tour would dwarf anything out there in any year they choose. A real “event.”  The pent-up demand from younger fans alone would guarantee success.  Throw in the grannies and those of us who never saw them on tour in the 70’s and, well, let’s just say money would flow like a river.  Can you imagine the lines to buy T-shirts?

And yet, the reunion tour that would beat ALL reunion tours, the one that would set records so high that not even the combined efforts of the next ten groups could match it, can never be.I’m speaking, of course, about The Beatles.  And though we lost our only hope of a reunion when John Lennon was assassinated–which still saddens Beatles fans to this day–millions of us have always wondered “what if?”.

There was a point in my adult life when I was working long hours, traveling too much, and stressing over mortgage payments.  During those years I kind of pushed The Beatles into the background.  I sort of chalked up my view of them as a youthful obsession.  After all, they had come to prominence when I was in elementary school. I sometimes wondered if I had given them more attention than they deserved. Maybe they weren’t that good, just a flash in the 60’s pan.  After all, Prince and Michael Jackson were burning up the charts and everyone adored them.

But a few years later I returned to college to get another degree.  I enjoyed the experience on many levels–chief among them was the interaction I had with the generation following me. Most of them were half my age, and some of them had heard a Beatles song on an oldies station.  Sometimes they weren’t even aware it was by The Beatles.  Often they had heard cover songs of The Beatles and thought the covers were originals.  It was my delight to expose my small study groups to Beatles music, and to watch them almost immediately begin to revere the group the way I had all those years ago.  Beatles music truly does transcend generations.  On graduation night, as I watched seven of “my” students sing “I Am the Walrus” at Karaoke, I realized  how truly grand and wonderful indeed were The Beatles and their music, and how lucky we were to experience that phenomenon.

It turns out I had not exaggerated them after all.

What are your thoughts?  Any Beatlemaniacs out there?

© Wade Kingston