Yes, I was a Beatle Boy. They were everywhere when I was growing us. With four older siblings in the 1960s, The Beatles were omnipresent in our house. I even remember the day the White Album came out. Does that age me or what?

Yet over the years I listened to The Beatles less and less. It reached a point where I wouldn't willingly put their music on. The Rutles, hell yes, but I knew the Beatles music better than the back of my hand. I could hear any song in my mind with near-perfect clarity.

Now as I creak toward my sixtieth year on this planet, I find myself making hesitant steps back toward The Beatles. I'm reaching a point where I may begin to listen to them with real objectivity. You know what? They really were a good band. And their influence is truly immeasurable.

I'm not sure where I heard about Bryce Zabel's Once There Was a Way, but it struck my interest when I did.

I haven't read a whole lot of alternate history novels. My favorite is Norman Spinrad's mind-blowing The Iron Dream, which is a book 'written' by Adolf Hitler, who left Germany and became an American Science Fiction writer. There's never been anything like it, and you should check it out.

Once There Was a Way presents a fictional history in which John, Paul, George, and Ringo managed to stay together as a group. It is written as a retrospective piece of journalism from a make-believe rock magazine.

I thought I would like Once There Was a Way, but I ended up loving it. Zabel unerringly portrays the Beatles with honesty and accuracy. I really felt like the quoted words in them were from the fab four. This book has it all: Speculation, intrigue, humor, heartbreak, action, and most of all, loving respect for the band and their multitude of fans. I found it to be much more rewarding than the recent Beatles-related fantasy film, Yesterday.

Yes, credibility has to be stretched a bit in Once There Was a Way, but what could be more incredible and unlikely than Beatlemania, and how people needed something to believe in after the devastating tragedy of the JFK assassination? Or that John Lennon would be shot dead on the street of his beloved New York City?

Once There Was a Way is further proof that the dream does not have to end. That the messages, the music, the outrage, the passion, the love The Beatles gave will live on forever.

Written by Mark Sieber

No comments

The author does not allow comments to this entry