Henry Rollins’ Favorite Beatles Album
The vibrant intensity of Henry Rollins and the free-spirited love that followed The Beatles aren’t exactly the perfect bed companions. The two artists had very different philosophies, but, like the rest of the world, Rollins would be remiss if he didn’t admit that the Fab Four were the primary influences in his career and offered him a safe space to avoid a childhood of to be beaten.
Notorious music lover and sharer, Black Flag frontman and complete punk archetype, Rollins was never afraid to give his opinion on the music that made him. Across a slew of different features, the singer shared notable inspirations and vinyl recommendations. Usually, these suggestions are easily traced back to his brand of fire-breathing punk rock, acts like Black Sabbath and Joy Division, both of which ruminate with a screaming heartbeat. But, The Beatles aren’t exactly the band you’d imagine Rollins rocking to be.
However, just like the rest of us, when Rollins first heard the Beatles, it completely changed his life. While the singer comes from a generation that has always known the band, thanks to his mother, he was just as heavily influenced by the band as his rock and roll elders.
Speaking to Pitchfork, Rollins explained how important the Fab Four were and what they meant to him: “I really liked The Beatles because they had sweet voices. They seemed to be nice people. I slipped my mother’s copy of Yesterday and today and I took it to my room, where I had this folded record player. The album was an American release consisting of songs that would appear on studio albums. Rubber core and Revolver.
Rollins became fascinated by the album: “I played this record all the time, and it became this electronic babysitter. I would just listen to a 15 minute side for hours. It didn’t matter if they were the same songs; it just mattered that someone was in the room with me, keeping me company.
Rollins struggled socially during his childhood. Often intimidated and ridiculed, he found solace in the peaceful tones of the world’s largest group: “My room was where I went to be alone and not beaten, not teased, not terrified of my classmates. At that time, the racial tension in Washington, DC was really, really intense. I was in a school where I was one of the only white children. I was called ‘cracker’ and ‘bama’. It was just scary. Music became the thing that wasn’t angry and that was screaming and shaking a fist in front of my face.
There is, of course, a bit of irony in the closing statement, given that Rollins would end up making music akin to the act of angrily clenching one’s fist. But one thing that has never been a joke for Rollins is the power of music.