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What do really think of The Beatles?


LiveMusic

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The Beatles are my all-time fave artist. I love The Beatles! Always have. And I was a teen-ager when they hit the scene, so that certainly helps. But over the years, they have remained my fave. And the more I learn about them, the more I like them.

 

As far their music goes, all I can say is Wow! Man, did they do some innovative stuff. And what blows my mind is Lennon/McCartney didn't read music? How in the world did they come up with all this stuff? Their music is quite complicated. Much of it is such a pleasure to play because it's so 'different.'

 

I have a book "The Beatles Complete Chord Songbook." I think it has every song they ever wrote. About 200 songs... with entire lyrics. I tip my hat to the author, Rikky Rooksby. Man, this guy is good! Some of the chords The Beatles used are very complicated and intricate. This Rooksby fellow has saved me months of work! His work seems to be almost perfect.

 

(ISBN 0634022296 - $19.95 - Hal Leonard)

 

I'm curious what you think made them so good. I personally think George Martin, their producer, also played a huge role in it. He is a musician and I think he inspired and guided them on much of their work. I always enjoy interviews I see of him.

 

And of course, the brilliance of Lennon/McCartney. For years, I thought they were a team. Apparently, they were anything but that. They were a rivalry. Pretty interesting.

 

I also think their tight, three-part harmony kinda played a part in kicking it into gear. That was a pretty unique sound they had at that time.

 

Something that I find hard to understand is how so many of their songs were written so fast and yet turn out to be these classic pieces. Just brilliant.

 

I realize some people don't care for The Beatles. But as a musician, I can't understand how any fellow musician can degrade what they did. IMHO.

 

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Duke

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Even though they didn't read music in a traditional sense, I think they did understand a lot more theory than they claim to, especially as their careers progressed. I've always liked the early Beatles the best. The simple skiffle-influenced stuff.

 

I always felt that their music as a band was so much better than their music as solo artists. It shows you how important collaboration is.

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I wouldn't call myself a "die hard fan", but I think the Beatles were great. They introduced all these cool chord progressions into the world of Pop music. Their sense of melody and harmony were so far ahead of everyone else at the time. They revolutionized the craft of songwriting. They had some great guitar tones on some of their earlier stuff. Listen to the feedback intro to "I Feel Fine" or the raunchy guitar tone on "Paperback Writer" Killer!!!
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COME ON, SOMEONE DISS THE BEATLES...

 

I know it's going to happen...but not from me. A lot of people don't like 'em. I understand.

 

But, for me, they took rock and roll from the outside fringe and brought it to the masses with the concept of "The Band"...now, mind you, it existed before, but you really didn't hear about it much. It was one guy with a backup band (except for the vocal groups...doo wop and R&B, a lot of which didn't play instruments, just sang and danced).

 

The concept as we know it of today's "rock group" hearkens to The Beatles. Not that it wouldn't have happened without them, they just happened to be there at the right time, and they were good at what they did. Harrison's guitar playing is way underrated. Sure, Yngwie he was not, and there were jazz and blues guys doing way more at that time, but like I said, they brought the concept of "you, too, can play rock and roll" to the masses. The song was supreme, not the individual spotlight.

 

Their songwriting and harmonizing continues to kill. I put on a copy of most of their records and they sound as fresh today as they did years ago.

 

They were a fluke that's not likely to be repeated. That years ago a few kids happened to team up in the right neighborhood and change the world's outlook with songs is an unbelievable twist of fate. Many of us search for decades for the right chemistry in putting a band together (even on the local level)...and most of us never find it. It all happened back then in Liverpool.

 

It seemed like a long time back when I was a kid, but their duration as a famous performing act here in the States was only six years. No time at all, really...and they only toured here for two of those years. Thirty years after splitting up, twenty years after Lennon's death, they're still selling millions of CDs, and busting sales records. And the thing that kills me is my kids, who listen to everything from Limp Bizkit to N'Sync to Green Day to Toby Keith (my youngest son's a redneck at heart) still like The Beatles...as well as a lot of classic rock. So, they're not dying out.

 

A hundred or more years from now, when people are asked to identify faces that defined the twentieth century, heroes and villains, it'll be Elvis, Kennedy, King, Monroe, Hitler (I said villains, too), and The Beatles.

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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Why were John and Paul such great songwriters?

 

The individual Beatles, when growing up, were exposed to all kinds of music, in a way that most today are not. I mean when they were little, before rock n roll. They had a strong musical foundation in their heads, in terms of exposure to melodies, and all different types of musical moves.

 

Then came rock n roll. A lot of the British Invasion boys were greatly influenced by old blues records. The Beatles were, too, but they were equally influenced by ALL the records coming out (Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Little Richard, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, Spike Mulligan, Peter Sellers).

 

When they started writing songs, they had an extraordinarily complete background. They were able to draw on it instinctively, knowing which melodic moves sounded "good" because they made musical sense, without knowing (nor needing to know) why.

 

I believe this was the biggest factor in John and Paul being able to "think of" tunes that were beyond the capability of most of their peers, because their background was not restricted to one or two genres.

 

They had high standards, and they kept reaching higher, tryin to outdo their peers and each other. They also had great taste, and an artist's approach to everything they did, even when it was outright silly.

 

The fact that John and Paul also had two of the greatest lead voices in rock history seems almost unfair.

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I'd add to Eric's and some of the other folks that the Beatles were also very much "of their time". The 60's were a time of change in almost all areas of popular culture... not only in music but in art, literature, politics, mass media... with almost every "norm" being challenged. This created a unique environment where you could "make money" by being artistically skilled and creative.

 

The times also allowed for change. If the Beatles were a new band today with the same sort of succes they had in the early 60's, their record company would NEVER allow them to evolve beyond the "teenybopper" oriented songs that were so popular commercially. It wouldn't even be a debate. They would have been forced to rehash their "formula" and would have had to "break up" to make any substantive changes. (Backstreet Boys aren't going to make a "White Album"!)

 

Another key factor in the Beatles success was the challenge put forth by other acts... In particular, the Rolling Stones, (who had a similar "evolution" in their songwriting in the mid and late 60's), and who drove the Beatles to "do one better". Although the press played up a "dislike" between the two groups they were actually pretty friendly, but certainly the "competition" between the two helped both to create some of what is now considered the "best" of the 60's music.

 

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I am not gonna diss the Beatles achievements but I gotta say in the interests of fair play that I am not an avid fan!! No one can ever argue their contribution to the music scene but yet I find myself strangely at odds with their music. With the exception of maybe three or four tracks they basically left me cold.... I wish I could say otherwise, but Mr Hendrix was the same. I have never found solace or comfort in their tunes and that is an absolute must for me!! Flame away guys I'm just talking as I find!!

 

Simon http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

...remember there is absolutely no point in talking about someone behind their back unless they get to hear about it...
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Well, welcome back, Simon. It's refreshing to hear a Brit who didn't dig the Beatles. Kinda like this ol' Michigan boy, "Geez, you must really like Seger and Nugent". Well, having had Seger and Nugent shoved down my throat ever since I was much younger, not really. Funny, as Seger is one of the "famous" people I've met, and he seemed quite nice. But, I get so sick of hearing his songs played over and over and requested by every barroom drunk...

 

On the other hand, we were playing a gig a few months back and we did a fair representation of Brit Invasion stuff, and there were some people in back who nearly fell off their barstools going apeshit and clapping and stuff. Turned out they were Brits, and they really dug the old home favorites.

 

But as for me, I'm a diehard Beatle fan, and they're a good bit of the reason I ever picked up a guitar in the first place (heck, that alone oughta be enough reason for a lot of folks to hate 'em).

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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Originally posted by LiveMusic:

Man, did they do some innovative stuff. And what blows my mind is Lennon/McCartney didn't read music?

 

Well, you don't *see* music, you *hear* music....

 

How in the world did they come up with all this stuff? Their music is quite complicated. Much of it is such a pleasure to play because it's so 'different.'

 

 

The Beatles are scary.

 

I always find it amusing that Satan's Power is inculcated in the likes of Ozzy Osbourne (not Randy Rhoades), Metallica, et. al.... Amusing because - gee, is that the best Satan can do? Give me a break....

 

The Beatles are such an anomaly. So many things went perfectly right for them, and they had every thing going for them, and delivered the goods - *repeatedly* - and *originally* over and over.

 

*That's* what I expect from a supernatural force!

 

I can play anything on guitar, whoopee. It's easy. People ask "so who do you admire?", waiting for a guitar hero answer... I usually say "Paul McCartney", or some such... The sheer volume of *great* melodies and songs they put out exceeds reality.

 

Too many perfect things. What would happen if any of the following *hadn't* have happened?:

 

John and Paul located near each other.

Ringo falling into place.

*George Martin* being assigned to them.

The 60's happening concurrently.

The drug culture occuring.

The record industry being poised perfectly for their arrival.

Long hair.

The economy being ripe for the Beatles Invasion.

Television....

 

*Audio technology evolving in perfect step with them!

 

Would their early stuff had happened the same if they had had access to a Studer 24 track machine? What if multitracks hadn't happened by then: Sgt. Pepper, Tomorrow Never Knows? A little earlier, and attitudes towards microphone placement would be a bit different. Compressors.... eq.... would the club scene back then be the same if p.a. technology had been 15 years less developed? What if they had had an full EAW line array system instead of a couple of column speakers: would the screaming have seemed as "totally overwhelming", and thusly self-fulfilling? 20 years later, the Hal Blaine drums sound: would "She Loves You" have the same impact with a tight and dry trap sound?

 

It's almost like recording technology moved along perfectly in time with what they needed to record their classic recordings *just right*. All the pieces were in just the righ place at the right time.

 

Reading about them reveals many "impossible" happenstance occurances that almost seems like "blessed" events. Streams of chance encounters, fortuitous things leading to other things.... Television was primed so well for them, for instance...

 

to the author, Rikky Rooksby. Man, this guy is good! Some of the chords The Beatles used are very complicated and intricate. This Rooksby fellow

 

Then you have their sheer innate talent. Aside from the fact that they were obviously consumate *fans of music*, their singing ability (gee, remember those days when people could actually sing?) was spooky. Their voices just happened to compliment each other's PERFECTLY. On the same page perfectly with conceptual outlook: the choices of where and how to stress lines obviously was an intuitive thing.

 

Then the more clever little details, surprising resolves, brilliantly "strategic" melody - I'm sure there were many a lad ardently studying American blues and so forth at the same time they were, with similar influences, but how they integrated EVERYTHING into such a cohesive

package... Without repeating themselves!

 

I can think of 5 bands off the top of my head that has utilized just one or two Beatles songs and made their whole band sound around them: but the Beatles made hundreds of songs! Unreal...

 

 

The stories of "write 200 songs, throw away 150 and you'll have 50 decent ones" is important I think. If they did that, it wouldn't be so much the act of pulling 50 great songs out of the air as much as the *exercise* of writing 200 songs alone being educational. You do get better the more you do things, and the more one practices thinking about the scope of the music across the length of a song the better on gets. It seems in my experience people first start writing "things" that are packed up bar by bar, then they learn to stretch things out a bit, then they learn to place things across sections of songs, then the whole arc starts becoming apparent... For a lot of people these days it never gets to that point, but with them I think they probably spent a lot of time sitting around writing songs for the pure *enjoyment* of it, and that has a very profound effect on the rewards system the mind operates on.

 

You like writing songs, do it a lot - you get better at it, which makes you write more - feedback cycle.

 

I'm curious what you think made them so good. I personally think George Martin, their producer, also played a huge role in it. He is a musician

 

Everything was perfect. Everything. A moment in history where temporarily statistical probability went a little nutty: "let's put two musical geniuses in the same town. Then, let's give them two other talented guys that perfectly compliment what they want to do. Then, let's make a music scene that is set to be perfectly accepting of it. Have a clothing/style trend that jibes perfectly. Make their instrumental sound novel based on advances in technology. Have sociological mores sway a little bit in a new direction that compliments what they're doing further. " .. and on and on....

 

and I think he inspired and guided them on much of their work. I always enjoy interviews I see of him.

 

They wer naturally bright people, and most importantly *curious*. Interested in pursuing the novel and unique. People content with doing what's been done before probably won't do something that hasn't been done before....

 

they were a team. Apparently, they were anything but that. They were a rivalry. Pretty interesting.

 

But perfectly complimentary. If you listen to Lennon's solo stuff, then McCartney's - it's like left hemisphere/right hemisphere. Jig sawed perfectly. It just worked

 

Something that I find hard to understand is how so many of their songs were written so fast and yet turn out to be these classic pieces. Just brilliant.

 

There wasn't a single catalyst. It was a synergistic highly improbable happening.

 

See, at the same time you had the equally brilliant Jimi Hendrix. The differance being, things were not perfectly in place for him, the universe did not optimize itself for him. It was too busy working for the Beatles...

 

I realize some people don't care for The Beatles. But as a musician, I can't understand how any fellow musician can degrade what they did. IMHO.

 

 

I can from the aspect that one can so easily take what they did for granted. So much of what they did has been absorbed into the rock pantheon that it's not clear and obvious to some people the significance of their writing. The simple stuff is *deceptively* so. The complex stuff is irrationally: the chord that shouldn't work but does, for instance. The peripheral stuff detracts from focusing on merely the musical aspect for a lot of people as well.

 

http://www.mp3.com/chipmcdonald

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Eccentric blog: https://chipmcdonaldblog.blogspot.com/

 

/ "big ass windbag" - Bruce Swedien

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>>See, at the same time you had the equally brilliant Jimi Hendrix. The differance being, things were not perfectly in place for him, the universe did not optimize itself for him. It was too busy working for the Beatles...

 

Perfectly put, Chip...

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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