(“Song of the Week” is a now-discontinued series in which SW contributor Yukino gave weekly rundowns on tracks. In this installation, Yukino takes us into “Baby You’re a Rich Man” by The Beatles.)
As I was growing up, I was unable to listen to music other than the latino oriented, Spanish matter that surrounded me. I was never introduced to English music of any kind, and was mostly left to my own devices to find an individual taste in music for myself. One of the first English speaking songs I heard was “Because,” off of the last Beatles Album. Ever since then, I tried to get my hands on anything related to them — while initially unsuccessful, I would later find their entire discography on the internet. The Beatles, to me at nine years of age, were simply a band that sounded harmonious and nice. What I hadn’t realized then, however, was the extent at which they revolutionized the whole genre of rock. Being world renowned for their innovation, it became difficult for listeners like myself to let go of their music. Of course, them having been of such stature may easily lead one to expect deep, eccentric lyrics – and some songs do boast this – but others, like “Baby You’re A Rich Man” are simple tunes with simple diction. The song, as the name implies is about wealth. The lyrics are simple, but touch greatly on the decade-defining materialistic zeitgeist of the 1940s. Lyrics include:
How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?
How often have you been there?
Often enough to know
What did you see when you were there?
Nothing that doesn’t show
Baby, you’re a rich man
Baby, you’re a rich man– The Beatles, 1967
“Baby You’re a Rich Man” touches on people basing their value and likeability on material possessions.It offers a lesson on priorities that is still of great worth today — Most of us remain too caught up in the newest shoes, or the newest games to even pay the slightest amount of attention to the world’s problems.