I was last week in Beijing for the IETF meeting, and after an intense week of work as all IETF meeting weeks are and one day spent on airplanes and airports I landed in Israel late on Saturday night (or early on Sunday morning). Yet, at 11 in the morning I was in the AVAYA office for an event that I could not miss – hearing Yoav Kutner speak about the Beatles.

Kutner is one of the well-known music experts and radio presenters in Israel. His radio broadcasts promote best quality Israeli music and sone of the TV films he made trace the history of the rock and pop music in Israel. He is also probably the best expert in Israel in what concerns the Beatles.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGQgd2PT4mw

(video source zooootv)

The meeting hosted by my company had Yoav Kutner present the history of the band from its first record in 1962 until their formal split in 1970 (actually the breakdown started a few years earlier). Using musical clips in order to create the atmosphere and illustrate the principal steps in the evolution of the band, Kutner marked the key moments in their evolution and made pertinent comments about the musical track followed by the Beatles from the early simpler rock tunes to the sophisticated music and arrangements of the later disks, the impact they had on the young generation of their time, the characters of the principal members of the band, and their evolution as musical creators while they were together and after they broke away. Interesting to note that his sympathies in the creative duel and personalities clash between Paul McCartney and John Lennon go in favor of Paul, whom Kutner considers a much more fulfilled musician as well as a more balanced character. Overall Kutner shows that he not only masters well the subject, but also is in love with the Beatles, talking about them with warmth and familiarity. For him as for many people in his generation (which is also mine) Paul, John, George and Ringo are heroes and also close people, important persons who marked our lives.

Exactly because Kutner is almost the same age as I am, it also was interesting to see the differences in perspective and reception the Beatles had in Israel and Romania. Initially their music and influence was not welcome by the establishment in either place. They almost came to Israel on tour in 1964-65 but bureaucratic and ideological resistance prevented two planned visits. In Romania as in the rest of the Communist world they were perceived as ideological enemies as the documentary film How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin (which Kutner was not aware about) shows. While in England and the US the band got quick acceptance and became part of the nicer face of the pop music (compared to other music genres as rock or underground) it would take a few years in Israel and a few decades in Romania until their music became part of the main cultural streams. Their influence however was overwhelming in all places, censorship and ideological resistance could not defeat the talent and the impact on the young generations of – maybe – the most important musical group in the history.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TU7JjJJZi1Q

(video source ThoughtRidden)