Friday, January 27, 2012

The Agony of Beatlemania

The Beatles have become part of the fabric of our lives. Ringo has a new CD out, Paul’s getting married and touring, there is a new film about George, no doubt a book about John and classic rock radio has their tunes in regular rotation. As they have moved from superstar to iconic status, the fans have created an insatiable desire for anything “Beatles.”

So it came as no surprise to see their album covers made into jigsaw puzzles. The size of long playing albums led to a creative outburst in the 1960s and ‘70s that lives on today. My collection of covers is worth more than the music they were made to protect. Why else would stores like Urban Outfitters want to sell me expensive frames to hang them on my walls? Or Restoration Hardware sell me a book of covers?

It was a however, a bit of a surprise to get a birthday present of a puzzle based on the cover of “Revolver.” Released in 1966, it was one of the first rays in the dawn of the psychedelic era. It was a transition for them. They mixed the classic love songs (Got To Get You Into My Life) with the political tunes (Taxman), the mysterious tales (Eleanor Rigby) and the whimsical (Yellow Submarine).

And of course the cover was eye catching and so different from early Beatles publicity still covers.

Imagine this cover chopped into 500 tiny pieces. Now think about how many of those pieces are all white. Or white with thin black lines. Or pieces of black lines. Or how many heads of hair (each slightly different) there are. Or how many images there are of John, Paul, George and Ringo. I count about 37.

My plan was to wait until my daughter got home for the holidays and we would knock it out in a few evenings in front of the fireplace. What actually happened was the night before she left she proclaimed: "We haven’t done the puzzle yet." So after several hours of singing along with old Beatles albums (it was interesting that both mother and daughter know all the words), we managed to get the edge together and the top center section of photos. Then my daughter left and it sat there, daring me to finish it.

After several tortortuously slow sessions (one piece an hour), along came the perfect time wasting excuse: The NFL Playoffs. After the better part of four games, I had given up thoughts of tossing it all back in the box and convinced myself that forty-five years after it was created, I could summon the patience and persistence to complete this.

I hit the home stretch during the State of the Union and finally at 2:08 pm, January 25, the last piece went in.

Now I am thinking of which of my “friends” I might pass this puzzle on to and wondering if its creator, Klaus Voorman (another session man with a great backstory) has ever assembled his Grammy award winning cover from 500 pieces. And while enjoying my newly found free time, I am fervently hoping no one decides to give me Sgt. Pepper next year.


  1. Fine work. Don't even think of sending it this way!

  2. By the way, I greatly enjoying the rich voice of the older David Bromberg on "Use Me" and remarked to Judy last night that he still has that lovely vibrato.

  3. Terrific post! I tweeted it as a Beatles Story.
    Good for you lad. In this case I'm betting you best Klaus Voorman.
    This story has been waiting on you for 45 years. You can still rock!
    Great play by play work.
    And some of us here don't work puzzles.