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Beatle Time

Adam Gopnik looks forward to the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first concert and ponders what it is that makes their music endure.

"There is something eerie, fated, cosmic about the Beatles" writes Adam Gopnik. "They appear in public as a unit on August 22nd 1969 and disappear as a unit, Mary Poppins like, exactly seven years later".

In this talk, he ponders exactly what it is that makes their music endure. Why is it, he asks, that one of the things people never say is "I don't like the Beatles". For his children, he says, "the Beatles are as uncontroversial as the moon. Just there, shining on".

To underline how strange this is, he points out that had the same thing been true for his generation, then the pop music of his childhood would have dated from before the First World War. And that, he says "would have been more than bizarre".

Gopnik concludes that the reason their music lasts is that it was a perfect collaboration of opposites.

Producer:
Adele Armstrong.

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10 minutes

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