For me, puberty and Beatlemania coincided — my voice started to change early in 1963 and I first heard The Beatles late in 1963. Just as insane and chaotic sexual thoughts started to derange my brain, The Beatles arrived with a clear and humane perspective on lust.
She loves you, and you know you should be glad. I want to hold your hand. How could I dance with another when I saw her standing there? Romance and gallantry — pop truisms, perhaps, but delivered in brand new sounds aimed directly at me. It wasn’t just polite courtship, either — there was male aggressiveness, too, however sweetly sung. I’ll get you in the end. Hold me tight. I wanna be your lover, baby.
The key was that it worked with babes. It drove babes crazy. It gave you the idea that if you could be cool like The Beatles — gallant, funny, sweet, slyly but unapologetically aggressive — you might get laid someday.
The Beatles didn’t traffic in raw sexuality, and the truth is that pubescent youths don’t need art that expresses raw sexuality — pubescent youths live with raw sexuality, wrestle with hormonal nitroglycerin that threatens to rip the psyche apart. Pubescent youths need a way of coping with raw sexuality — they need art that promises mastery of sexual chaos and delivers a vision of sex that’s fun and sweet and gracious.
For some of us, The Beatles arrived just in time.
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