"Every person we come in contact with affects us to a lesser or greater degree"
Imagine! A world without the Beatles. It almost happened that way.
Random events shape our world in a significant way, and it's safe to say that our world would be drastically different without the Beatles. Whether you like the Beatles or despise them, it must be accepted that they changed our world... for better or for worse.
By now, everyone knows the name George Martin, the amazing producer responsible for the production of most of the Beatles recordings, who died one year ago. Martin revolutionized the Beatles' sound and incorporated much of his own original ideas into those familiar Beatles songs. George Martin changed the Beatles and the Beatles changed the world.
But what if Martin and the Beatles had never crossed paths?
Sure, the Beatles were somewhat popular in Liverpool and Hamburg, but record companies didn't consider them to be anything special. The Beatles had already been turned down by Decca and others by the time EMI took a chance on them. Two of the Beatles, John and Ringo, were married and had babies by that time. Had EMI turned them away too, it wouldn't have been unreasonable for them to quit the Beatles to assume more traditional fatherly roles. And, had Decca or another label signed them, the Beatles may not have received adequate production and marketing support to propel them to fame. Their music would have been very different too, not to mention the social impact the Beatles made.
EMI did sign with the Beatles, and teamed them up with producer George Martin, whose vast knowledge of classical music and orchestration contributed greatly to the Beatles' unique sound. You know when you're hearing the Beatles, and when you're hearing the Beatles, you're hearing George Martin.
But what if George Martin had made other life choices and not ended up at EMI? Or what if EMI had assigned someone else to produce the Beatles? Things would certainly be different. Beatlemania may have never happened. It's entirely possible, maybe even probable, that their success would have been limited, and today, the Beatles would be just another forgotten band.
Beyond the music - social revolution
The Beatles did for psychedelia what Gidget* did for surfing. By the mid 60's, LSD** was still relatively unknown and unavailable, but when it became known that the Beatles had used LSD, its popularity soared, and many people experimented with it who may not otherwise have. Again, for better or for worse, people's lives were changed and the course of random events were redirected.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak grew up in the heart of the psychedelic movement and were both heavily involved in that culture. They came together through a series of random events that eventually led to the creation of Apple Computer, an emulation of the Beatles' defunct label, Apple Corp. Much of the technology of our contemporary world is directly tied to the home computer revolution enabled by Apple.
What if the Beatles had never come to be and that psychedelic awakening hadn't taken place? Jobs and Wozniak would probably never have met, which means that personal computers wouldn't be what they are today, and smart phone technology may not even exist. Maybe Jobs would have created some kind of computer company, but it wouldn't have been called Apple Computer, because that name was inspired by the Beatles.
It's Zenberg's opinion that Sir George Martin played a key role in a series of events that sparked revolution and redirected the course of social history... for better or for worse?
* Any old school surfer will tell you that back in the day, the waves were free and plentiful, but after the movie, Gidget Goes Hawaiian, surfing became grossly popular.
** Some have theorized that the psychedelic movement was a social engineering program because LSD had been developed by the CIA and was being tested on various groups of people at the time.