It is about clothes and cars and dancing, it’s about parents and highschool and being tied and breaking loose, it is about getting sex and getting rich and getting old, it’s about America, it’s about cities and noise. Get right down to it, it’s all about Coca Cola.When they started, the Beatles were about that, too, Cohn remarks, and "they had gimmick haircuts, gimmick uniforms, gimmick accents to prove it. They were, at last, the great British pop explosion and, even when their songs were trash, you could hear them and know it was mid-twentieth century, Liverpool U.S.A., and these boys were coke drinkers from way back."
Spiked with Scotch, cheers, but point well taken. Yet of course the Beatles changed and, "because they were so greatly worshipped by the rest of pop, almost every group in the world changed with them. Thereafter, there was no more good fierce and straight-ahead rock ’n roll, no more honest trash."
At least, with the Beatles, there remained a certain wit and talent at work but, with their followers, there was nothing beyond pretension. Groups like Family and the Nice in England, or Iron Butterﬂy or the Doors in America, were crambos by their nature and that was fine—they could have knocked out three-chord rock and everyone would have been content. But, after the Beatles and Bob Dylan, they’ve turned towards culture and wallowed in third-form poetries, fifth-hand philosophies, ninth-rate perceptions.Cohn adds: "It is hardly their fault, you could hardly blame them directly; but the Beatles brought pop to its knees." He ends with a brilliant cinematic moment involving the great songwriter and producer Bert Berns who, Cohn feels, "summed them up better than anyone. One afternoon, halfway through 1965, he sat in a decaying West Hempstead caff and looked gloomy over a picture of the Beatles. Then he shook his head in infinite sage sadness, "Those boys have genius," he said. "They may be the ruin of us all."