(Photo courtesy Apple, Inc.)

By now, you’ve heard that Apple has secured the rights to sell the Beatles’ catalog on iTunes. People have been expecting that to happen for years now, so the announcement is fairly anti-climactic: more “about time!” and “finally!” than “awesome!”.

That’s not what I’m concerned with, though. I want you to take a good look at the picture.

I don’t know when the photograph was taken, but it had to have been at or near the apex of their creative powers – maybe around Revolver or The White Album. Regardless, two things struck me about that picture.

One, look at how Paul McCartney and John Lennon are standing – John’s back is turned to Paul, and you can viscerally feel the gulf between them.

Two, the picture is strikingly modern. If I didn’t know the Beatles, and the picture was enhanced to look more “contemporary”, I’d easily guess that they were a present-day band.

It’s this sense of “timelessness” that I suspect drove Apple to announce the acquisition with such fanfare. And yet…it’s been over 50 years since they arrived on the music scene. John and George are dead, Paul is now Sir Paul and Ringo is sort of the music world’s daft uncle. I can’t help but think that the fanfare is more elegiac than triumphant.


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