In what is being hailed as the year of the guitar band (yes, we know, that happens every year), the music world has been rocked by the announcement that the greatest guitar band in history will be returning to centre stage. Last night, Sir Paul McCartney announced that The Beatles, the best-selling musical group of all time, will be re-uniting for one last world tour.
Sir Paul said he was “overwhelmed and inspired” by the positive reaction of the recent Nirvana reunion of which he was a part, and that it was a combination of that and the success of the Let It Be West End musical, which features actors playing songs by The Beatles, that compelled him to reform the band. “It just felt like the timing was perfect, you know? What with it being the 50th anniversary of our first record” said McCartney. Just as Sir Paul filled in for Kurt Cobain, The Beatles now have two new members. Matt Bellamy, frontman of the hugely successful British rock band Muse, has been drafted in on lead guitar.
Sir Paul was gushing in his praise for the manic rockstar, saying “he’s a wonderfully talented musician, and a brilliant performer. His stage presence as much as anything will make this a great success”. Replacing the iconic figure of John Lennon was always going to be a struggle, but after months of soul-searching, McCartney opted for Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker, whose forceful personality and cult hero status makes him, in McCartney’s eyes, a perfect fit. “A lot of people might be saying ‘why didn’t you pick someone from your era, wouldn’t they fit into the band better?’” he admitted. “And you know, I thought about Eric Clapton, I thought about David Bowie but in the end I decided that The Beatles have always been about reinventing ourselves and moving forward and I think Jarvis and Matt give us more relevance to the music scene and how it is today”.
Bellamy, never one to show overt modesty, claimed he was unsurprised to be chosen. “Look,” he said in a brief interview. “I’ve been called the Hendrix of my generation, and of course Sir Paul’s gonna want the best. Still though, it’s a huge honour. The Beatles redefined pop music, and I think it’s safe to say that Muse would not be what they are today without them”. Bellamy’s band certainly followed in the footsteps of The Beatles as they became another guitar band to leave British shores and become loved all around the world, and Bellamy’s prowess on the guitar has been lauded everywhere he’s been. Total Guitar named him “guitarist of the decade” in 2010 and Gigwise placed him at #19 in a list of the greatest guitarists of all time so it really shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise for him to be chosen to play lead guitar for the best band in history.
Last year Lennon was named as NME’s ultimate icon within the publications own lifetime. He was, therefore, for whoever stepped into his often controversial, but always self-depreciative shoes, always going to be a tough task to replace. In comparison to Bellamy, Cocker was more humble in his reaction to the news characterised by his own iconic drawl and dry sense of wit. The Pulp frontman has previously declared his love for the Beatles going on to say that “I haven’t named any kids after them but I still really love them”. The resemblance between Cocker and Lennon is remarkable, not just in appearances, with both becoming synonymous with their spectacles, notoriously floppy hair and shaggy beards, but also in their working class background and subsequent hero status, immortalised for Cocker most infamously in the Britpop anthem, ‘Common People’.
Talking about Britpop, Cocker remarks that you “cannot do a karaoke version of a social revolution”, in reference to the Beatles. He was, therefore, uncharacteristically, but understandably nervous, in his reaction to the news. “We elevate people to the status of heroes in order to let ourselves off the hook: ‘I’m just a mere mortal – I could never even dream of doing something like that’” he explains in relation to Lennon, but now it is time for Cocker to elevate himself from his already cult heroic status to that of the ‘ultimate icon’ in replacing Lennon. Unlike Bellamy, Cocker has already experienced the reunion tour circuit with his own band Pulp who were hailed as the ‘reunion of the decade’ after their sell-out and critically acclaimed 2011 tour. Hopefully this will aide Cocker in the role that has been placed upon his shoulders in what will surely be soon labelled the ‘reunion of the century.’
Ringo, who infamously called for his fans to stop sending him fan mail, and is known as the ‘quiet one’ in the Beatles, has admitted, in an exclusive interview with Cherwell earlier this week, that he had prophesised and secretly hoped for this reunion tour a long time ago, even amidst the controversial break-up of the band in 1970. The innocence of the Beatles in the early days is widely documented with McCartney reminiscing in a recent interview about the ‘good little band’ he formed, and recruited Ringo to, before Hamberg and the stardom they would inevitably be catapulted into.
Nevertheless, the ‘Fab Four’ were in it for the long haul and, as outlined in a recent BBC Four documentary on the early years of the band “it was too late for them; polite society would never allow them back in”. Pop music in the early 60s was rebellious, unruly and highly uncontrollable. Ringo highlights this sense of longevity present in the band, even in the early years, when he thought they’d “get married, and never split up”.
Even upon breaking up, Ringo was the first to suggest a reunion, another world tour, and a last coming together of what is arguably the greatest collective creative force the world has ever known. “I said let’s all meet up in the year 2000” Ringo remembers, “won’t it be strange when we’re all fully grown”. Although slightly overdue, it seems that the inevitable is here, and we are happy to report in a world exclusive that the Beatles are back, back to where they once belonged…
The Beatles tour commences at the legendary Fairpool Stadium, April 31st.