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I can't enjoy The Beatles anymore.
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6 May 2014
11.15am
TT454
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OK, firstly, before reading this, I want to make one thing clear - this is NOT a troll post. I say this because it might come off as such. It's not, I swear. I'm serious about everything I say. OK, here goes.

So, basically, I feel as though I can't enjoy The Beatles anymore. Why? It's simple - I don't do drugs. I never have, never wanted to and never will. So, I feel like a massive, disgusting hypocrite to call myself a Beatles fan, because drugs are so closely linked to the Beatles that they practically represent the drug culture. They promoted drugs in their music and movies and became the most famous hippies ever. Nowadays, many people who become Beatles fans will go onto do drugs; it's considered part of the Beatles thing, just like getting into Pink Floyd, you're expected to "turn on".

Why don't I do drugs? It's obvious. I have excellent, loving parents who care about me and always told me as a kid that drugs are dangerous. My life-skills (social studies) teachers said exactly the same thing. I was told outright that, (and yes, I know you're thinking of Mr. Mackey here) drugs are bad, and if you do them, there will be side-effects that can damage your life and possibly kill you. As a result of being told this, I never came across them, never had any desire whatsoever to do them (and I still will have any desire - the thought of them makes me feel sick) and yet, I was a Beatles fan - a band who never would have made it big without their frequent illegal drug use. When I was a kid, I grew up with them, and I was blissfully ignorant of the fact that my new favourite band were constantly ingesting substances as they wrote their timeless hits. I found out eventually, and at first, I didn't care - I thought, hey, it was the 60s, that doesn't happen much now, and I continued to love them, talk about them, and obsess over them.

And then, I found out that in fact, drug use today is far more common than I thought. It's so common that if you meet someone online, there's a good chance that they smoke cannabis for example, or have smoked it, and will unashamedly admit it. I met dozens of people online who enjoy The Beatles through YouTube, and constantly came across messages like "I'm so high when listening to this" or "I dropped acid to this." It scared me. I really did. I never knew that this generation loved drugs so much until I explored The Beatles beyond their music. Hell, you can't avoid drugs at all these days. They are everywhere, in all mainstream music, in movies, in video games, and all over the Internet, and it saddens me. And it disturbs me that so many people - millions of people - are willing to try them, get addicted and then continue to do them and defend their right to be addicted - just like The Beatles.

Now, I know what you're thinking - "but dude, there's THOUSANDS of drug-free people who enjoy The Beatles". Yes, I know that. But, I've met far, far more people online who are pro-drug than anti-drug like I am. In fact, I've found out through YouTube that if you dare say that you're anti-drug, you will instantly receive countless messages from the world's stoners, LSD users, etc who will criticize you for being against them, saying how they're harmless and how all the anti-drug stuff is a lie and whatnot. As a result, I feel like I'm in such a minority that I feel small. It's not cool to be against drugs in the modern age. Today, it's considered prudish and cowardly to hate them. But, I do hate drugs, because of the fact that they've destroyed so many lives and killed so many people, and yet today most people look past this.

Now, having built up a hatred of drugs and the ways in which they've ruined or taken lives, listening to The Beatles is an uncomfortable experience. I mean, let's look at "A Day In The Life" which many say is the greatest thing the Beatles ever made - this song is practically one massive "do drugs" subliminal message. "I'd love to turn you on" means "I hope you, the listener, starts using drugs now you've heard this song." So, listening to it, I feel uncomfortable. I don't do drugs, so how can I enjoy a song that promotes them? It's no better than today's rap music promoting drugs, a genre I pretty much never listen to. Like I said, it's massively hypocritical to be against drugs and yet enjoy a drug-promoting band. My feeling of being a hypocrite has become so strong that I can't even enjoy the "Help!" album anymore. When I was a kid, I used to say it's a great album to play in the summer time. Now, I look at it and see it as just another drug album, and as a result, it hinders my enjoyment of it. I now can't help but think of drugs when I think of The Beatles.

So, why am I making this post? Why did I join this forum? Because I want to enjoy this band again. I really, desperately want to. I feel so shut out from other fans, and such an outcast that I joined. I don't want to be against the band that made my childhood so happy. I want to rediscover them, to find out just why I enjoyed them in the first place. I just want to know that there are people out there who once felt the same way, even a little bit. Because really, this may sound like a pathetic post, but it does hurt me inside. It really does. I'm a sensitive, shy, socially awkward person and I feel like it effects me personally. I can't help but look back and cringe now - I was an anti-drug kid who listened to and sang along to the druggiest band of all time. And that's pretty sad, when you look back at a childhood and hate yourself for it, that to me is making me miserable, and I want it to end.

Or maybe, it's me that's the problem - Maybe I'm just stereotyping them or narrowing them down to one thing. Maybe I'm just bitter about being in a minority. But, I want to finally make this point clear. I want to enjoy The Beatles again, and I need your help. I want to see them in the same light that I saw them in as a kid - fun, cheerful, peace-making musicians, not people who wanted everyone to get high. I just want to know that there ARE other people out there - including people on this forum - who happily enjoy the band and at the same time believe in a clean lifestyle, like me. Because, really - I do not want to do, or even accept drugs. I really don't. I was told that they're dangerous by my parents who cared for me, I've stayed away from pretty much all of them (yes, even alchohol) and it's quite clear that drugs are to blame for the deaths of so many people in history, and are linked to crime, unemployment, depression, relationships falling apart, and all sorts of other negative things.

So, are there any proudly drug-free Beatles fans on here?

6 May 2014
1.08pm
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meanmistermustard
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I have never done drugs in my life, never wanted to, but adore the Beatles and have done since i was something like 8 years old - its part of their legacy but i've never felt like a hypocrite for liking them. Same goes for my family who havent done drugs (that i know of) and like The Beatles. I dont stand for hitting women, something John did (the hitting part i mean) and admitted to, but it doesnt stop me loving him or his music or admiring him as an individual. Its accepting the flaws and bits i dont like or agree with in any way (if pushed i'd be anti-drugs tho i'm not getting into an argument over it with anyone) and looking past to see the good that is there - and there is so much good, positive stuff.

 

Also if because of drugs you cant enjoy artists and groups where do you draw the line and who do you like? You can write off most of the biggest acts on the planet as they all did drugs at some point, before and after the Beatles. Dylan introduced the Beatles to pot.

 

And i'd ignore folks comments on youtube. Going by whats posted by the majority on there if aliens came down and read them they'd give up all hope of finding intelligence and save time and energy by vaporising us all with one big blast.

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6 May 2014
1.26pm
TT454
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meanmistermustard said
Also if because of drugs you cant enjoy artists and groups where do you draw the line and who do you like? You can write off most of the biggest acts on the planet as they all did drugs at some point, before and after the Beatles. Dylan introduced the Beatles to pot.

I know, it's weird, but I listen to many other rock artists, some who may or may not have used drugs, but with The Beatles it's different because there connection to drug use is absolutely enormous. There's even a page on this website called "The Beatles and drugs". It seems as though they are the centre of it all, the leaders of the psychedelic movement who made it look okay to take drug-related risks. Me though? I just loved the music, I never cared for the drug side of it, but it seems as though the drug side of it is pretty much the reason why most people love and respect them.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against the band at all, and I know they've brought so much happiness to people's lives and changed music and everything, but it still feels weird to me. After being told by Mum and Dad and my teachers at school about all the bad things drugs have done, and watching a frightening video about people who abuse drugs like LSD, cocaine and heroin, suddenly all these drugs are painted in a normal light, as if they're an ordinary part of the human experience because The Beatles used them.

Still, I am glad I've found another drug-free Beatles fan.

6 May 2014
2.03pm
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Joe
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I'd be interested to see a list of the top 1,000-selling artists since 1956, divided into two groups: those who took drugs and those who didn't. I bet the former list would be way longer, and the music would be a lot better. My personal list would be headed by The Beatles, but would also include Nirvana, David Bowie, Harry Nilsson, Blondie and LCD Soundsystem, all of whom were either drug addicts or recreational users.

That correlation isn't to say that drugs are a good thing; it's more that some good people happen to take drugs. They can hurt and harm a person, but they can also inspire, thrill, improve and influence people for the better. For every Syd Barrett there's a Paul McCartney.

if you dare say that you're anti-drug, you will instantly receive countless messages from the world's stoners, LSD users, etc who will criticize you for being against them, saying how they're harmless and how all the anti-drug stuff is a lie and whatnot. 

I think the term "drugs" isn't particularly helpful, because it's so broad as to be largely meaningless. All drugs are bad? Well, no. Plenty of people are kept alive with drugs. My grandmother died of throat cancer a few years ago, and at the end she was being given so much heroin (diamorphine) that it made her final days as comfortable as possible. Humans have recreationally self-medicated for thousands of years, and we're still here. Marijuana is not at all like heroin which is very different from ecstasy which is quite unlike LSD which is nothing like crystal meth. This is why "Just say no" is such a terrible policy. When someone experiments and smokes a joint, then finds they don't die, end up in the gutter or suffer psychosis, does that mean all the other drug stories are myths as well? Not differentiating between the largely benign drugs and the life-destroying ones - or their use and abuse - helps nobody.

I just want to know that there ARE other people out there – including people on this forum – who happily enjoy the band and at the same time believe in a clean lifestyle, like me. Because, really – I do not want to do, or even accept drugs. I really don't. I was told that they're dangerous by my parents who cared for me, I've stayed away from pretty much all of them (yes, even alchohol) and it's quite clear that drugs are to blame for the deaths of so many people in history, and are linked to crime, unemployment, depression, relationships falling apart, and all sorts of other negative things.

For what it's worth, I'm drug-free nowadays (for no particular reason, I just prefer drinking) but did a fair bit of experimentation as a teenager and in my twenties. I don't regret a thing. Everyone's welcome to express their opinions here but I'd rather they weren't judgemental about people's personal lifestyles and choices. This goes whether a person is pro- or anti-drugs.

Why don't I do drugs? It's obvious. I have excellent, loving parents who care about me and always told me as a kid that drugs are dangerous. My life-skills (social studies) teachers said exactly the same thing. I was told outright that, (and yes, I know you're thinking of Mr. Mackey here) drugs are bad, and if you do them, there will be side-effects that can damage your life and possibly kill you. As a result of being told this, I never came across them, never had any desire whatsoever to do them (and I still will have any desire – the thought of them makes me feel sick) 

You haven't explained why you are anti-drugs, beyond your parents and teacher telling you that they're bad, and "because of the fact that they've destroyed so many lives and killed so many people." Do you base your thoughts on religion, politics, fashion, and the Scottish independence question on what your parents and life-skills teachers say you should think, or do you have any natural curiosity to see if what they say is actually true? I always find asking questions and trying things out for myself rather liberating.

It's not cool to be against drugs in the modern age. Today, it's considered prudish and cowardly to hate them.

It's very cool to make a stand for something you believe in. Way better than bowing to peer pressure or blindly accepting cultural norms. Stand up tall and proud.

I'm going to recommend you a book. I'm not trying to change your mind about drugs - you can do them or not do them, it makes no difference to me. The Devil's Picnic (you can pick up a used copy for $0.01+postage) is about various types of food and drink that have been prohibited in different countries, the effects of ingestion and prohibition, from poppy seeds in Singapore to unpasteurised cheese that cannot be imported into the USA. It's an interesting book which makes the broader point that what is illegal in one culture is gladly seized upon by another, and what our teachers, politicians or parents would like us not to do is often based on nothing more than fear and misinformation.

When I was a kid, I used to say it's a great album to play in the summer time. Now, I look at it and see it as just another drug album, and as a result, it hinders my enjoyment of it. I now can't help but think of drugs when I think of The Beatles.

It's been asked on this forum before whether it's possible to divorce a piece of art from its creator, and I guess by extension also from the circumstances surrounding its creation. IIRC it was asked of Chuck Berry being a sex pest, and whether it was OK to still like his music. Did Kurt Cobain and Elliott Smith write some beautiful melodies? Yes they did. Were they also self-destructive heroin addicts? Yes. But I can still listen to their music without enjoying it any less. Others have more of a problem separating life from art, and that's fine. Whatever works for you works.

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6 May 2014
2.07pm
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Billy Rhythm
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What's puzzling here is that your statement "I can't enjoy The Beatles anymore" suggests to me that you DID in fact "enjoy" them before, but allowed for your personal opinions on drugs to squelch anymore enjoyment.  It's been years since I last smoked a joint, and decades since I've last tripped and yes, The Beatles most certainly were the inspiration behind my initial experimentation with drugs (NEVER had the pleasure of Cocaine & Heroin).  I won't advocate drug use for anyone but I'm also not gonna deny how my experimentation with them has indeed had numerous positives and enhanced my life, in addition to the negatives.  My parents preached the whole "drugs are bad" lectures as well, but I needed to experience that for myself and many years after the fact I can honestly say from experience that they were only half right.  I still enjoy The Beatles music literally everyday of my life and that's without the aid of drugs anymore.  It's one thing if you just don't care for their music personally, but to say that you can't anymore because of the associations that are made with their drug use to me is about as shallow as saying that you "can't enjoy" the White Album anymore because of the affiliation made to a certain deranged individual who used their music as inspiration to commit multiple murders in Death Valley, or that you can no longer find it in your heart to appreciate 'And I Love Her' because the Bible Belt misrepresented John Lennon's opinions on the state of Christianity...:-)

6 May 2014
2.20pm
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Joe
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TT454 said
Don't get me wrong, I'm not against the band at all, and I know they've brought so much happiness to people's lives and changed music and everything, but it still feels weird to me. After being told by Mum and Dad and my teachers at school about all the bad things drugs have done, and watching a frightening video about people who abuse drugs like LSD, cocaine and heroin, suddenly all these drugs are painted in a normal light, as if they're an ordinary part of the human experience because The Beatles used them.

For many people they *are* an ordinary part of the human experience. Look at the clothes you are wearing right now (I'm assuming you're not naked). Someone designed them. Someone else cut and stitched the fabric. Someone else packaged it up. It was posted by a variety of handlers, and probably driven somewhere by a trucker. If you bought it in a shop, someone put it on the racks, someone else keyed in the price and sold it to you. Out of all those people, I can almost guarantee you that someone, somewhere, was a drug user. They weren't evil, they weren't thieving, they weren't on a self-destructive spiral. Just someone getting on with their life, doing things they enjoy doing.

I know, it's weird, but I listen to many other rock artists, some who may or may not have used drugs, but with The Beatles it's different because there connection to drug use is absolutely enormous. There's even a page on this website called "The Beatles and drugs". It seems as though they are the centre of it all, the leaders of the psychedelic movement who made it look okay to take drug-related risks. Me though? I just loved the music, I never cared for the drug side of it, but it seems as though the drug side of it is pretty much the reason why most people love and respect them.

I wrote that article. It's more than a page - I think it's about 10,000 words long, and is consistently in the top five most-popular features on this site. There is a huge amount of interest in this subject, but I don't think they made it look OK to take risks. The Beatles were always very careful not to promote drug use among their fans. They publicly renounced drugs when they met Maharishi, even though they largely carried on as before behind the scenes. Lennon - probably the biggest fiend of them all - thought it hugely irresponsible to spike people's drinks, and admitted he was psychologically damaged by LSD.

And you're wrong to say that most people love and respect The Beatles because of their drug use. They love and respect them because they were enormously talented songwriters, funny people, great looking, sartorial pioneers, studio innovators, appeared in landmark films and a thousand other reasons. If you asked the people of this forum their top five reasons why they liked The Beatles, I don't think many (any?) would say it had anything to do with drugs.

And they weren't ahead of the curve, they were just the biggest band on the planet. Probably the first LSD song came out in 1961 (it's not well known) by a surf guitar group.

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6 May 2014
2.27pm
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Von Bontee
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All the replies in this thread are OTM. If you're gonna banish from your life ALL musicians who chose to experiment with mind-altering substances, legal or illegal, you'll eliminate a HUGE chunk of music. Bye bye Mozart, you pathetic weak drunkard.

TT454 said

So, are there any proudly drug-free Beatles fans on here?

I'm a proudly skiing-free person who can't enjoy the Beatles anymore because of the way they championed the sport of skiing in "Help!" Skiing: a dangerous pastime that has resulted in broken limbs, paralysis and even death. And having never tried skiing myself or even had the urge to, I feel I'm uniquely qualified to pass judgement on it. As well as those who participate in it, or try to promote it. And "Help!" was basically one long subliminal advertisement for the ski industry.

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6 May 2014
2.33pm
TT454
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6 May 2014
2.42pm
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Joe
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6 May 2014
2.59pm
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