Not to be confused with the Savoy Truffle.
Those who consider themselves serious music fans inevitably end up running a gauntlet of Beatles trivia at some point in life. Who was the sound engineer on such-and-such recording? Which hotel did the Fab Four stay at for their last American gig? Mastering such obscurities is seen by some as proof of a deep, abiding, near-religious devotion not only to the Beatles, but to the whole of music history, the 60s, freedom, and love.
They couldn’t be more wrong.
There is only one question any Beatles fan has to, has to be able to answer to prove one’s devotion. One’s depth of knowledge. And, most importantly, one’s profound understanding of what really made the Beatles . . . the Beatles.
Here-I’ll show you.
The question begins with a scenario: you are on an airplane with the Beatles. Forget the pilot, the copilot, sexy stewardesses, Badfinger; it’s just you and them. Yes, fine-it’s a magical plane.
So: you are on this plane . . . and it crashes deep in the snowy cleft of a mountain range. All of you survive and are miraculously unhurt. But there is no food. Nor is there hope of rescue for the duration of the long cold winter. (Like how I slipped a Cinderella reference into my Beatles scenario? If that ain’t quality writing, then War and Peace should be renamed Crap and More Crap.)
No food . . . no rescue . . . stuck in the snowy mountains with John, Paul, George and Ringo.
The ultimate music trivia question, then: In what order do you bludgeon, then eat, the Beatles?
In this scenario, it’s assumed that you are physically stronger than any one Beatle, but not strong enough to overpower them all. And here’s where the musical nimrods reveal themselves; pose this question, and 80% of people automatically snort and say, “Duh, Ringo. He was the last one in, Paul even recorded songs playing his drum parts . . . he’s Ringo, the least important member, so obviously taking him out first causes the least chaos.”
Oh, you sweet, sweet fool.
As soon as you devour Ringo, the rest of the guys close ranks and turn on you. Ringo always acted as the counterweight to the others’ pretensions, ambitions-he was the everyman of the band, what they call in sports the “glue guy”-the one who holds everything together. Keeps everyone calm. The others might have shorted him, slighted him, ignored him . . . but as soon as he threatened to quit, they ran to him and begged him to stay. They needed Ringo. As long as he’s alive, the others can convince themselves everything will be all right. Besides, he’s not causing trouble; even on this mountaintop, he’s just happy to be here! You eat him LAST.
So who is, in fact, on first?
The leader of the band. The driving id. And, let’s face it, the one most likely to have considered a little cannibeatleism of his own. You take him out and the dominos fall: Paul loses his best friend and writing partner, but he always wanted to be the cool guy in the band, the one everyone else looked up to . . . some part of him will be able to rationalize why he’s sitting around the fire tearing at John’s flesh. Naturally he’ll be rationalizing-he’s violating his vegetarianism!
And that’s when you take him down.
Despite the title of post-Beatles musical lightweight most people foist upon him, Paul has shown himself to be adaptable, even ruthless in his musical pursuits. You don’t have to worry about him rallying George and Ringo around him-they always resented his business sense and bossiness. But he will survive, rest assured . . . unless you take him out next.
Lucky for you, George has been meditating since the crash. He’s at peace with himself, with the world. Nothing’s going to rattle him and, as he learned when most of his musical contributions were short-shrifted during the 60s, in the end you can only rely on yourself. (A fascinating side-question, by the way, involves this same scenario, only transpose the Beatles with the Traveling Wilburys.)
Be careful! By now he’s likely to realize your intentions. It’s early March, the passes are clearing . . . he’ll try his best to convince you a rescue party will be coming any day now, to just hold on, just fight off your now-insatiable lust for human flesh. Don’t fall for it. I know-you like him. That’s his power-everyone liked Ringo.
In summary: you might have noticed the order matches precisely the catechism. John, Paul, George, and Ringo. You don’t think that’s an accident, do you?
Now get off that mountain and hunt down Pete Best! It’s the closest you’ll ever come again to the taste sensation of Liverpool’s finest.