Gary Hall (more on this brilliant mind later, please be patient) devised an incredibly simple, yet very effective method for dealing with beatle fans; The Nursery Rhyme Test. In a nutshell, this is intended to quickly place any FF song in context. Ask the obsessed one to play any beatle song at their disposal, and the moment the song finished, sing a line from ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep.’ Have them play another number, then sing a line from ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.’ Continue until it dawns on the fan that the beatles were not only lyrically inferior, but also melodically inferior, to the standard nursery rhyme.
I’d like to take the Nursery Rhyme analogy one step further.
Its no secret that McDonald’s advertising is geared towards children, in North America more kids can sing the lyrics to the Big Mac jingle than can recite the national anthem. Don’t worry, this isn’t another McBeatle’s post.
It’s frightening that a stupid little jingle about lettuce and cheese has ingrained itself into these open little minds so deeply. Think about it, this jingle hit the airwaves in 1975 and ran for a year and a half. Thats 30 years its been off the air! The kids, who who are now adults, still remember and teach it to their own children. It resurfaces occasionally and subliminally in newer ads, but only to make sure its still propagating itself.
We’ve briefly covered beatlemania, and described how the public was overwhelmed by the massive advertising assault of the FF. That was only the first wave. The second phase began roughly the same time the beatles broke up, and ironically, around the same time the Big Mac jingle campaign was first aired. Recognizing that there weren’t going to be anymore new albums (haha!) by the music worlds favorite commodity, the powers that be needed to find some way to encourage a new generation of consumers to buy records that were becoming less and less relevant with each passing day. Remember the Pet Rock? What about Strawberry Alarm Clock or the Electric Prunes?
They needed fresh blood, and set out to create a brand new market by programming them from an early age. They found the perfect vehicle, disguised as educational kids television.
Sesame Street had a band of puppets named ‘The Beetles’ who sang songs like: Hey Food and Letter ‘B.’ Also appearing alongside of these on episodes and various albums were tunes like With a little Yelp from My friends, All Together Now and I wanna hold your ear. The modern nursery rhyme was born, the songs pounded and drilled into these poor children’s heads with the subtlety of an atomic bomb.
What about the children who were too old for this pre-school show? There were still allowances and paper routes to collect on, they couldn’t be left out of the equation. The next syringe to be forced into the public mainline appealed to everyone from pre-school to old school and was aired during adult prime time:
Yes, Jim Henson’s puppets and corporate puppets, together at last!
Taking it one step further, The Muppets released albums, appeared on talk shows performing FF tunes, went on tour, and Kermit the Frog even performed alongside Paul McCartney to celebrate the Golden Jubilee for Queen Elizabeth II. Sgt Floyd Pepper, leader of the Electric Mayhem, led his band of muppets through a revolting slew of sing-a-long-with-the-fab-four material. Even today its rumored that McCartney is going to be involved with a Muppet reunion TV extravaganza.
I think Kermie even helped out on his new album!
Try and keep this in mind when dealing with a deranged FF fan. Its not entirely their fault, they’ve been controlled and conditioned from a very early age to become the beatletrons they are today.
Just like Pavlov said.