Being from Liverpool, I've always known about the Beatles to some extent. I mean, they're the city's most famous export. I knew more than a few of their tunes from an early age, as pretty much every Liverpudlian does, but for a while I never really understood or appreciated their unparalleled contribution to popular music.
I remember how that changed when I was about 16. I was away at a summer school down south, and it was my first time staying away from home. It was also the first time I'd met groups of people from outside of my home city - a bit of a scary experience at first. Now, us Scousers tend to get a bit of (tongue-in-cheek) stick from people from other parts of England. This was new to me, but it made me very proud of my roots. I felt like I had to defend my city from the rest of the world.
Then I remember telling one guy there from America, whose name and face I sadly can't recall, where I was from. His response was 'oh wow, so you must like the Beatles then?' He was a huge fan of them. I had to kind of sheepishly explain that I'd never really gotten into them properly. He had a browse through my iPod, only to find no Beatles songs on it at all. I remember distinctly how shocked he was that someone from the hometown of such an influential group couldn't have been a fan of them, and didn't even know their story.
When I got home I realised that I was kinda doing a disservice to the history of Liverpool, and wanted to put it right. The first Beatles album I listened to was the 1 compilation, because I already had heard a lot of those songs now and again. From there it just blossomed, I listened to all of the albums, and I never looked back.
I wish I could remember who this guy was, because without his direction I don't think I would've gotten into the Beatles properly for a long, long time. I probably still would have purchased TB:RB, but I don't think I'd appreciate how special and unique those songs truly are.