Influence and the Beatles

There aren’t many people who would argue that the Beatles have influence- or rather don’t have influence.  Even fewer still would argue that they have never heard of them.  They are the most successful rock band of the 1960s—possibly of the twentieth century.


I would also argue the twenty-first, but since there is much of this particular century left, I won’t.  Their music inspired a generation- and that is influence— in both writing and music.


Of the hundreds of songs they sang (both covered and preformed and recorded), none have for influenced me, more than “The Long and Winding Road.”  It seems fitting that this song shows me the way is similar to the journey of a writer.


It has possibly the best lines in it when it comes to dealing with my writing career- it’s long and it’s winding and at some point it’s going to get me somewhere.  Not to anyone’s door, but maybe into their hearts and minds, because the type of influence a writer has is amazing, when they connect with a reader.  It is only possible because a person took a leap of faith and carried on.


If the Beatles have this much influence, the question could be asked was it because of their songs or because of their personalities?  I would argue it was their songs, and they made money because their songs spoke to people.  Some of them are fun, the ones that you can sing along to, and just enjoy, but the reason this song resonates, is because it’s a lonely song, it fits my career as a writer.


For a long time, I wanted to be a writer, but I also wanted to sing.  Sadly, singing as a professional thing, is not a gift I have, and most of my friends will attest to the fact that I can sing well, but not at a professional level.  My dreams of becoming a professional singer will not happen in the near future, but I still love music.  The other want of becoming a writer has happened, but I’m thinking of the Beatles when it comes to writing.  I can say I am a published author, but I am not as influential as I’d like to be, in fact I’m blessed with the sales I have.  I still have a lot to learn.


I suppose that like some of the Motown stars, I will keep going until I am older, but in a way, it seemed that much of my influence will have already taken place.  Then I think back to the Beatles.  They didn’t hit their ultimate stride until the end.  The Beatles in their final albums showed the maturity and the reasons why they worked well as a band.


They had other more popular record albums, many number one hits, but the release of the 1970 album Let It Be proved their lasting influence with two songs- one of the Let it Be.  This is the sort of influence a writer dreams of.  It wasn’t known at the time, but this would be the final album released by the band.


The writing in several songs spoke for themselves.


What does this all mean for a writer?


1) Influence takes time.

The popularity of the Beatles wasn’t over night, and because of this they weren’t a one hit wonder.  They were passionate about what they did- and the same holds true with your writing.


2) Influence is blazing your own trail

Yes, they could have stayed together longer, made more records sold more and earned more money.  They couldn’t.  It wasn’t working for them.  Although they all had later success, nothing came close to the magic that was the Beatles.  Even knowing this, the men chose to run their own lives.


3) Influence is making connections

I wasn’t alive when the Beatles were together as a band.  I heard them being played over again, and their music connected with me.  I loved the story behind the music and it meant something to me.  As a writer this what needs to be planned- how can I make a connection to my reader.


4)  Influence is knowing it isn’t about you

That’s the catch- writing is about you, and how you market, but as C.S. Lewis said you can make anything by writing- you need people to help you.  This means not going out of your way to be “the writer” or “the bestselling author.”  Being you is much more important to your reader in the long run.  Influence is like the Beatles- we remember them not for them as individuals, but for their music.

The long road is a good thing for a writer, it teaches you that influence is not something you can buy, but rather something that is earned over time.

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