OK, lets get this straight. I'm not on this guys side, just trying to show how someone can look at something and come to a totally different conclusion.
I never said The Beatles did nothing but copy other peoples work. That's silly. What I said was "their genius was their receptiveness to all things new and their ability to take all these disparate and fringe ideas and turn them into something that can get played on the radio." . Totally different meaning. You lept to the wrong conclusion and started talking about people "ripping off" things. Totally off the mark.
Where would they have been without Dylan, The Byrds and Brian Wilson? And yes, I've read Lewishon's book. And I was trying to show how Q magazine had that same belief, but turned into a positive. It is no detriment that they went away and listened to music outside the mainstream and used these influences to create incredibly fantastic music that was of huge influence to others. I think it boils down to what you think "innovative" and "creative" mean. I don't agree with him, but I can see Mr PS's background (left wing academic) might mean that he places different meanings to these words than me.
I agree he's wrong about The Beatles not recieving contempary praise. We know they did.
The sex and drugs thing - to be honest I listened to all those songs for years without realising their "hidden" meanings.You must agree that they are exceptionally vague. Mr PS could well argue that what is the validity of having these references if noone knows they're there. He would argue that everyone knew what "Mothers Little Helper" and "Lets Spend The Night Together" were about. Then you would say their genius was their subtelty, their ability to insert subversive meanings into otherwise harmless songs. And on it goes.
The haircut thing - you're both being silly.
And the popularity thing - I think he went to extrordinory lengths to say why he thought what he thought. I, like you, don't agree with him. But he's not an idiot, and as I said a lot of things were out of my league.
My friend - I agree with most of what you say about The Beatles. It's just that your fanatical zealousness makes Al-Queeda (sp) look like boyscouts. And do you really go around websites identifying former "Beatle Haters."
ps I'd be careful about using Hunter Davies as a reference (authorised should be replaced by "sanatised"), or for that matter Anthology. The Beatles openly said they were telling their side of the story. Great chunks are missing (Yoko and the breakup get nary a mention) and time can colour even the greatest of memories.