The Harmony of ABD & The Beatles

Many of you know that I’m passionate about music. I love listening to music, seeing live music, playing in our band Birdseed, chatting about bands with friends. And I’ve grown over the years to love almost every type of music – classical, folk, rock, punk, rap, funk, and country.

The Beatles were the first band I fell in love with, and there are lots of lessons to be learned from them. They literally changed how people approached music. They had revolutionary aspect in their approach to music, television, film, and the recording studio. They had FUN collaborating together. Watch the simple innocence of Hard Day’s Night. The growth in their songwriting over their short tenure together is all, amazing.

The core of the Beatles really was around Lennon and McCartney – their complementary songwriting, fun spirit, and innovation. Together, Lennon and McCartney co-wrote more #1 hits than any other duo. They were each very different – and yet those differences complemented each other. John said that Paul provided a lightness, and optimism in the band. John was the counter to that – the sadness, the discords, the bluesy notes. In the early days, they would work with each other without a formal structure. One could write a song completely, and the other would add just a bit. At other times they would alternate lines. They wouldn’t argue; if one felt strongly about something, they would work with it. As recording technology changed, they would overlay more and more and come up with the next breakthrough. They encouraged their mates to influence the band. There were many times when they could have walked away, and for nearly 10 years, they made it work.

I’ve often said, notes played at the same time can sound like noise. If you arrange them properly, you get a melody. If you arrange around the melody properly, you can get harmony. One of the best examples of harmony is in their song, “Because.” John Lennon was inspired by Moonlight Sonata – played backwards – and laid down a three part harmony (the only song that John, Paul, and George sang together thru the whole song), and then was overdubbed twice, for 9 part harmonies.

As we are building our company, ABD, here are some of the key takeaways from The Beatles:

Celebrate and highlight our differences. I think it is one of the things that make us unique. Instead of providing one view, we provide a 360 degree view. We will ask, why. And why-not.

Trust your partners. If someone really feels strongly about something, listen. We are incredibly fortunate to have a deep, accomplished, smart team.

Working together should be harmonious. We have many synergies working together – Employee Benefits and Property & Casualty. Sales, and service. The use of technology to provide greater personalized service. And I appreciate the way the teams are working together to achieve our goals.

Try new things. The Beatles are one of the first things you think about when you say “The Ed Sullivan show.” They changed TV. They made some of the first music videos. They were film stars. They infused world influences on popular music. They used technology in the studio to change the sound of music. We continue to develop our portal, ABD Connect, to make insurance approachable. Leveraging our tools to service our clients better and use our collective intellect to change the way people look at risks – and rewards. Paul was famous as saying he was a great songwriter – but didn’t like every song he wrote. We’re not afraid to try – and try again.

Make it work. You can choose to make it work, or to walk away. Making it work is the preferred path. The Beatles chose to make it work until 1970, when they decided to walk away. They never achieved the successes they had as the Beatles once they broke up. Staying together is hard – I’ll share thoughts around this in Part II of this blog… but for now…

The ABD melody is coming thru clearly, and now we can start working on our initial harmonies…

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