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Like many people who identify themselves as Baby Boomers or Generation X, my first and
foremost love in music is The Beatles.  Being born in late 1964, I cannot remember a time when
they were not around.  However, it was not until late grade school that I began to appreciate their
music, and I fell madly in love with it.  I could not resist The Fab Four’s mix of beautiful vocal
harmonies, catchy melodies, clever guitar arrangements, positive lyrics, and overall high energy.  
I knew even then that Beatles’ music was something I would love for life.

Like most fans, I came to understand The Beatles’ rapid musical progression from a simplistic
“Mersey Beat” group into sophisticated folk-rockers and eventually into near-symphonic
composers. It amazed me that albums like “Meet The Beatles,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts
Club Band,” and “Abbey Road” could be so different from one another yet stir the same passions.  
However, the more I listened, the more I was drawn back to those earlier and more simplistic
albums.  I like to call this my “Backwards Mystery Tour.”

Conventional wisdom among Baby Boomers and members of Generation X seems to hold that,
as The Beatles became more sophisticated, their music became better.  This logic is what
seemingly guided Beatles fans to discover more complex sounds, such as progressive rock or
classical. For me, the opposite was true.  The creations of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and
Starkey led me to discover their musical roots.  I found myself taking a journey back to the more
primal sounds of rockabilly, blues, and country that made those young Liverpudlians pick up
instruments in the first place.

During the years of 1976 and 1977, when I was about 12 years old, there were a number of Beatles
reissues on the market.  These included the “Rock and Roll Music” collection and two live sets;
one recorded at The Hollywood Bowl and another from the Hamburg Star-Club.  All of these
releases centered on the band’s 1962 to 1966 period when they were a self-contained touring band
with minimal outside contributions.  Many of the songs on these sets were not written by Lennon,
McCartney, nor Harrison, but by earlier artists who inspired The Fabs: soon-to-be-familiar names
like Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, and Buddy Holly.  My curiosity piqued, I had to find out who these
people were.

When I finally got to hear these founding fathers of rock ‘n’ roll, I fell in love with their music, too.  
As I learned about these rock pioneers, I discovered their roots and soon found myself enjoying
the likes of Muddy Waters, Hank Williams, and Woody Guthrie.  My backward journey had taken me
on a tour of genuine Americana.

Where did this Backwards Mystery Tour culminate?  In my spare time, I front local rockabilly-styled
band Jimmy Razor and the Exceptions.  When people ask me how I came to discover rockabilly,
I always tell them, “The Beatles.”  Now, you know how.
"TALKIN' 'BOUT MY GENERATION"
The Backwards Mystery Tour
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Column Written By JIM HUTTER