In and of itself, this Steven Spielberg quote has me worried about West Side Story (20th Century, 12.20) because it suggests that his musical vistas and perceptions aren’t what they could or should be. Everyone’s maximum musical receptivity happens in their late teens and 20s, and young Spielberg was right in that sweet spot (18 to 21) during the mid ’60s era when the Beatles were really cooking with petrol.
Has anyone ever heard of a baby boomer who wasn’t completely throttled and transformed by the trifecta of Rubber Soul, Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band? What kind of walls did you have to live behind to be immune? And yet Spielberg didn’t become a Beatles fan until he listened to the White Album in late ’68. Where the hell was he in ’65, ’66 and ’67? What was he doing, living off the land in Borneo?
Oh and the Beatles were a “fad” for only the first few months after they exploded, and their musical maturity phase began to kick in around mid ’65. If you weren’t tuned into what they were doing between Rubber Soul and Sgt. Pepper you were a Martian. And by his own admission, that was exactly what Spielberg was back then.
So if he wasn’t “hearing” the Beatles during their most creative period what else has he missed over the last half-century? What other kinds of musical blockages has be been dealing with? Seriously — this quote is huge. It contains volumes, multitudes.