I came across a forum today that asked the question, “Why do you like the Beatles?” The person who asked the question is, himself, a huge Beatles fan, but he could never put into words why he’s such a huge fan.

It made me stop and think, because I absolutely love the Beatles. I’ve loved them since the first day I saw them at age three, when they came to the United States for the first time and changed us forever. When I was pregnant with my son 20 years later, I took time each day to put on a Beatles album and play it for him through headphones I placed on my belly.

So, if people ask him why he loves the Beatles, he has a pretty good answer. He was indoctrinated before birth. But what about the rest of us? What about me?

Right now, as I’m scratching my head trying to put it into words, I couldn’t give you a single reason. My love for them – for each of them individually and together as a group – is almost visceral. It goes beyond simple explanation. All I know is that they have always made me happy in a way that other 20th century musicians can’t come close to doing. As individual artists, each of them is — or in the case of John and George - was wonderful, but together, they were magic.

I could say it is the tunes themselves, the sweet harmonies created by boys/men who had no formal musical training (Paul still can’t read a note.), and that would be true. (But what about their “out there” later music? I love that, too.) I could say it was John, Paul, George and Ringo themselves, with their wit, their mop-top hair and their fun-loving attitudes, and that, also, would be true. (But what about the in-fighting, and – dare I say – the whole Yoko thing? Except for my extreme dislike for Yoko, none of that made me love them any less.) I could say it was the way they changed the world with their ideas and their music, and that would be true as well.

But none of that is enough.

I think the reason so many of us have problems putting into words why we love the Beatles is because it’s all of those things and more. For me and other baby boomers, they represented a new type of freedom. We had grown up in an age of buzz cuts and skirts just below the knees and all the restrictions that went with that kind of thing, and here came the Beatles. Not only did they look different and have those Liverpoolian accents that melted our hearts, but their tongue-in-cheek, irreverent way of dealing with the media and all the attention they lavished on them, made us feel great – as though our generation could poo-poo the world and all its problems. Their music, their smiles, and their attitudes gave us hope for a positive future. They sang about love, and they always sang it just to whoever was listening.

When I talk to young people today who love the Beatles, I get the same type of answer. No matter what words they use to describe their reasons for loving the group, the theme is the same – their music was awesome, and they just make us feel good. They were pure magic.

Whatever the reason, the Beatles are the only thing my son and I argue about these days. He says he’s a bigger fan than I am, and I say there is no way that could be true. Frankly, I believe it’s a tie, but no matter – I am one lucky Beatles fan, because he loves them so much. With his voice like honey and his talent for playing the piano and guitar, he entertains me each day with the most fantastic renditions of their music. (He knows every song.) I swear, had he been living in Liverpool in 1960, he’d have been one of them.

Often, we harmonize together, since we both know the tunes so well, and because our voices are so similar, the harmonies resonate in us, creating an inner warmth that’s really hard to describe. The sound we produce on those occassions is lovely and sweet.

I have a dream that, one day, Paul will hear how much we love him (we never miss a concert) and how well my son sings and plays his tunes and will come knocking at our door. We’ll sit together and talk while Michael tosses out some McCartney and Lennon/McCartney tunes, and then before he leaves, we’ll all harmonize together. He’ll be so impressed that he’ll invite Michael to come and work with him. Of course, it would never happen, but what a great fantasy; huh?

I’ll never forget the first time we got to see Paul in person. As the concert was about to begin, I remember saying, “Oh, I hope none of these women make fools of themselves by screaming and crying.” And then Paul came out, and the first words that came out of his mouth were, “Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you, tomorrow I’ll miss you,” and I cried like a baby. (I’m a little misty now just thinking of it.) I never expected to do that – it just came out – and as I looked down the row from me, I saw a very tough looking 50ish year old man doing the same thing and understood immediately that all of us who love the Beatles (and Paul) do so with deep, visceral emotion.

So, why do I love the Beatles so very much? Your guess is as good as mine, and in the end, it doesn’t really matter. They just make us happy, and that, in itself, is enough for our generation and for generations to come. There will never be another Beatles. And we are lucky enough to have seen them for ourselves. Wow. Magic.