This week we have a question for the children of the 80’s out there. Did Ferris Bueller’s Day Off first expose you to The Beatles?
We ask that because in recent weeks we have been discussing the origin of the various peaks and valleys (if you could even call them that) in The Beatles popularity in popular culture. Make no mistake, their records will always sell, but there seem to be times in which something sparks a renewed interest.
In the mid-70’s there was constant solo material to satiate Beatles fans as well as a number of authorized and unauthorized compilation albums. The 50’s nostalgia boom in the early to middle part of the decade also helped to keep The Beatles from being viewed as a relic of the past. After all, it had only been a handful of years since they were together.
When John Lennon was murdered in December of 1980, things changed. There was a noticeable spike in Beatles nostalgia; most likely because fans had to come to the realization that there was no chance of a reunion and that the era was truly over. But then things went quiet. Ringo and George’s solo output was almost nonexistent. And Paul McCartney’s 1984 film Give My Regards to Broad Street was a critical and commercial flop. MTV had become the driver of the popular music industry, and they certainly weren’t playing The Beatles music very often.
1986 was the first time that the two of us could remember in which The Beatles were reintroduced to the younger generation. And that was because of the use of “Twist and Shout” in an iconic scene in the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. MTV began playing a video that was created from the movie scene. The song itself actually reentered the Billboard Top 100. And last, but not least, 1986 and 1987 MTV aired the original Beatles animated cartoons from 1964-1966.
Even though the 1987 CD release of The Beatles catalog, subsequent greatest hits packages, The Beatles Anthology series, and the Rock Band video game have done far more to keep The Beatles immensely popular to this day, we think back to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as one of the moments where people rediscovered The Beatles and it was proven that it could resonate with a new generation of fans. And while both of us had our own paths to discovering the group, that one scene may have played an integral part in that.