Author Stephen Deusner for Salon.com on why the 50th Anniversary of the release of The Beatles’ I Want To Hold Your Hand is one of the more overrated musical anniversaries out there (and, no, I don’t believe his article is a Beatles-bash):
Mr. Deusner presents compelling information regarding other songs released in and around that same time that are arguably better than The Beatles’ hit, which effectively signaled the “British Invasion” into the United States. Of those mentioned, I have to admit this one is a far more mature, elaborate, and overall better song (IMHO!) than I Want To Hold Your Hand:
Let me add very quickly the following, though: The Beatles, unlike many of the bands/artists represented in the article who one could argue made better music (actually a better song) than their I Want To Hold Your Hand, went on to produce a virtual library of music and redefined pop-music and art music and, for that matter, all music.
Thing is, their early releases -again, to me- are at times dated pop songs or pretty good cover songs that often followed regular 50’s rock conventions. That’s not to say I fell the songs were all bad. Quite the contrary, there were many, many gems to be found in the initial four albums but it wasn’t until the release of their fifth album, the soundtrack of Help!, that I felt they began the journey to making truly memorable -and outstanding- music. Others site the two albums that immediately followed it, Rubber Soul and Revolver, as the point where The Beatles really “found” themselves.
Regardless, the point Mr. Deusner makes is probably true. While The Beatles certainly found considerable success and I Want To Hold Your Hand was the first of their songs to become a big hit in the U.S., it was only a hint as to the better things that were to come as the band gained experience and matured.
Is it an overrated musical anniversary? I suppose it might well be, though in no way does saying so diminish the incredible output of what is arguably the best band that ever was.