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Thread: The Beatles

  1. #1

    Default The Beatles

    The 50th anniversary of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan got me to thinking about the popularity of The Beatles. Let me start off with a disclaimer. I love The Beatles. I have a lot of their music (Sgt. Pepper, the white album, Abbey Road, Let It Be as well as some compilation albums). But what I'm about to say is probably gonna upset the Boomers on the board.

    Have you ever considered that The Beatles popularity and conitnued popularity is just a matter of inertia? The Baby Boomer generation are the ones who rocketed The Beatles into the stratosphere of pop stardom. And the boomers were, at the time, the largest generation ever on the face of the earth. If you get enough people pushing together, you can move mountains. Even if it's in the wrong direction. And that inertia has brought The Beatles popularity with the subsequent generations.

    Now to be fair, they moved beyond their original popularity of bubble gum pop and wrote some deeper, personal, more meaningful music. But their original popularity and fame was really not much different than boy bands. They had catchy tunes about love and lost love. But do you think, had the boomer generation been about the same size as previous generations, that The Beatles would have been as popular as they are?

    But your saying "The Beatles were so popular and have remained so popular because they're good." One doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the other. Just because a band is good doesn't mean that they will be popular or enjoy the same super stardom that The Beatles have enjoyed for over half a century. On the flip side, just because a band or artist is popular doesn't mean they are good. According to Buzzfeed Ke$ha’s “Tik-Tok” sold more copies than ANY Beatles single. That doesn't seem right, does it? Also from Buzzfeed: The cast of “Glee” has had more songs chart than the Beatles. And lastly from Buzzfeed: Led Zeppelin, REM, and Depeche Mode have never had a number one single, Rihanna has 10.

    And certainly there have been bands since then that are/were more musically talented than The Beatles. The horns, the strings, the different layers, all the stuff that they weren't supposed to be able to do and get away with in pop music was for the most part from George Martin. A great producer that really knew his stuff. And he educated the band so that they could grow and stretch like they did. I'm not saying that George Martin should be a knock against The Beatles, I'm just saying that he existed and really helped them become who they became.

    So I'm not saying this to make anyone mad or start a riot. It's just a question that's meant to foster discussion and not flaming. The Beatles have been tremendously influential to modern rock music, no doubt. But were the Beatles really as great we've made them out to be?

  2. #2

    Default Re: The Beatles

    Inertia? That's funny....
    They as a band were one of the be all end alls as far as rock bands go. Their entire catalog speaks for itself especially the latter material. This is a band who went from simpler material such as please please me and I wanna hold your hand to I want you{shes so heavy} and the long and winding road. Thru their history they grew not only as individual musicians but as a unit.
    40 years after their demise they are still popular and get airplay. Can the same be said for Rhianna, Glee, or Keisha or most of the underwhelming artists that are popular today? Most definitely not.
    If I was stranded on a desert isle you could give me a copy of Abbey Road and a copy of Zeps Physical Graffitti and I would die a happy man.

  3. #3

    Default Re: The Beatles

    traxx, I agree that it could well be inertia that made them famous and long-lasting enough to be able to become the musicians who could put out music we still love to this day
    Achilles, you're right, their mature work is not simply inertia, but how do you get to that place without some good timing?
    I have always thought that the producer is one of the most important elements for a recording (and live performance, etc.). Two of my favorite artists crossed threads when Electric Light Orchestra's Jeff Lynne produced Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever. There was so much on that LP that reminded me of ELO and reading that Jeff Lynne produced it confirmed the noticeable "ELO" signature. It's amazing how effective a producer's individual style can be.

  4. #4

    Default Re: The Beatles

    Quote Originally Posted by Dubya61 View Post
    traxx, I agree that it could well be inertia that made them famous and long-lasting enough to be able to become the musicians who could put out music we still love to this day
    Achilles, you're right, their mature work is not simply inertia, but how do you get to that place without some good timing?
    I have always thought that the producer is one of the most important elements for a recording (and live performance, etc.). Two of my favorite artists crossed threads when Electric Light Orchestra's Jeff Lynne produced Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever. There was so much on that LP that reminded me of ELO and reading that Jeff Lynne produced it confirmed the noticeable "ELO" signature. It's amazing how effective a producer's individual style can be.
    "Achilles, you're right, their mature work is not simply inertia, but how do you get to that place without some good timing"?
    Drugs perhaps? Ok just a little joke there sorry.
    Martin had a huge part in the Beatles sound as well as their development but lets don't forget these were 4 talented cats{ yes even Ringo} who brought quite a bit to the table.

    And speaking of bands that were quite underated ELO is definitely one of them.

  5. #5

    Default Re: The Beatles

    Quote Originally Posted by Achilleslastand View Post
    If I was stranded on a desert isle you could give me a copy of Abbey Road and a copy of Zeps Physical Graffitti and I would die a happy man.
    physical graffitti, not presence?

    i agree george martin contributed a lot to the beatles, but if you listen to their demos or outtakes from their recording sessions, you can hear how their songs progressed to the final product, how they went from a simple acoustic demo to the finished polished product they released on their albums and the geniuses they were. they succeeded in combining different music styles as no one before had done. they were also incredible musicians. unlike the boy bands, they not only had the faces, but the talent to succeed. they also were not afraid to experiment. look at what they did with 4 or 8 tracks in the studio. with computers you can have over 100 tracks, they made sgt peppers with 4 (maybe 8?). today's pop music all sounds the same - the record companies go with a formula of what's now and stick with it.

    btw, katy perry should be shot for butchering yesterday.

  6. #6

    Default Re: The Beatles

    Excellent Topic. Thanks for starting the thread!

    If you think back to the very beginning of "The British Invasion" and if you remember what was playing on Top 40 radio at that time, you will recall that it was all Hot Rod songs and Surf Music, Elvis and Rockabilly, Bobby Vintonesque/Other Teen Idol schlock plus last gasp Doo-Wop and Girl Group tunes along with some Folk Songs, Motown, and Memphis thrown in. I was in sixth grade when I first heard "I Saw Her Standing There" and "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" beaming in over the airwaves. It was so entirely different than anything else on the radio that I became an instant fan (but not one of those screaming, idiotic Beatlemaniacs).

    The Beatles were true ORIGINALS, with a lot of talent, and I think that is why they were popular in the first place and remain so today. Their music--all of it--holds up and none of it was an imitation of someone else.

    I totally agree that popularity doesn't equal talent (and vice-versa) yet, fortunately for all of us, The Beatles were an example of a band in which this balance was perfectly correct.
    (p.s. I was also a fan of The Dave Clark Five and Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas. But where are they today? Probably not even in the most remote corner of most people's memory banks.)

  7. #7

    Default Re: The Beatles

    Quote Originally Posted by mark View Post
    physical graffitti, not presence?

    i agree george martin contributed a lot to the beatles, but if you listen to their demos or outtakes from their recording sessions, you can hear how their songs progressed to the final product, how they went from a simple acoustic demo to the finished polished product they released on their albums and the geniuses they were. they succeeded in combining different music styles as no one before had done. they were also incredible musicians. unlike the boy bands, they not only had the faces, but the talent to succeed. they also were not afraid to experiment. look at what they did with 4 or 8 tracks in the studio. with computers you can have over 100 tracks, they made sgt peppers with 4 (maybe 8?). today's pop music all sounds the same - the record companies go with a formula of what's now and stick with it.

    btw, katy perry should be shot for butchering yesterday.
    I think the fact that you can have so many tracks and do it relatively effortlessly is part of the reason so much stuff sounds the same these days. For the Beatles to get extra tracks they had to be creative and use ingenuity. They had to work for it. Seemingly the use of computers and technology should totally open up the possibilities for recording artists. But for most of them it seems to have stifled their creativity and made them sound formulaic.

    I wonder had John, Paul, George and Ringo not gotten together, would another popular band with the force of the humongous baby boomer generation behind it have been where the Beatles are now? Would it have been the Stones? Maybe not. Maybe you guys are right, Perhaps there's something unique about The Beatles that made them so popular and influential. I don't know that I could see the Stones being so creative in the studio.

    You gotta understand that I'm coming at this from a different perspective than the boomers. I'm Generation X. The British invasion was a part of history (felt like ancient history to me) by the time I was coming up. I listened to music in a time where there was a lot of American music and bands that were popular. Yeah, I listened to British bands like Pink Floyd, Queen etc. But for the most part the bands when I was growing up and into college were American. The LA scene in the 80s with Van Halen, Motley Crue, Guns n' Roses et. al. And then you had the grunge scene from Seattle in the 90s as well as other alternative rock in the late 80s into the 90s.

    Yes, The Beatles have remained popular and influential for over half a century. But part of that is that there are still so many boomers. And boomers, like everyone else, likes to still hear the music of their youth. And they've handed that music down to their kids who've handed it down to their kids. No doubt, if the Bealtes weren't any good, they wouldn't have that staying power. There's definitely something about them that has made them stay popular. But you have to wonder if the boomer generation weren't so large and Gen X were the largest generation ever, if a band like Van Halen (For agrument's sake. I'm not comparing VH and Beatles) would now occupy the same place in history as the Beatles do now.

  8. #8

    Default Re: The Beatles

    Quote Originally Posted by traxx View Post
    I think the fact that you can have so many tracks and do it relatively effortlessly is part of the reason so much stuff sounds the same these days. For the Beatles to get extra tracks they had to be creative and use ingenuity. They had to work for it. Seemingly the use of computers and technology should totally open up the possibilities for recording artists. But for most of them it seems to have stifled their creativity and made them sound formulaic.

    I wonder had John, Paul, George and Ringo not gotten together, would another popular band with the force of the humongous baby boomer generation behind it have been where the Beatles are now? Would it have been the Stones? Maybe not. Maybe you guys are right, Perhaps there's something unique about The Beatles that made them so popular and influential. I don't know that I could see the Stones being so creative in the studio.

    You gotta understand that I'm coming at this from a different perspective than the boomers. I'm Generation X. The British invasion was a part of history (felt like ancient history to me) by the time I was coming up. I listened to music in a time where there was a lot of American music and bands that were popular. Yeah, I listened to British bands like Pink Floyd, Queen etc. But for the most part the bands when I was growing up and into college were American. The LA scene in the 80s with Van Halen, Motley Crue, Guns n' Roses et. al. And then you had the grunge scene from Seattle in the 90s as well as other alternative rock in the late 80s into the 90s.

    Yes, The Beatles have remained popular and influential for over half a century. But part of that is that there are still so many boomers. And boomers, like everyone else, likes to still hear the music of their youth. And they've handed that music down to their kids who've handed it down to their kids. No doubt, if the Bealtes weren't any good, they wouldn't have that staying power. There's definitely something about them that has made them stay popular. But you have to wonder if the boomer generation weren't so large and Gen X were the largest generation ever, if a band like Van Halen (For agrument's sake. I'm not comparing VH and Beatles) would now occupy the same place in history as the Beatles do now.
    Just a quick FYI about Van Halen.
    They actually formed around 74 or so honing their craft around the clubs in the LA area doing original material as well as hundreds of covers. Saw them in 79 at the OKC Civic Center in 79 and the ticket was only 6 bucks.......they were amazing. So I don't consider them an "80s band".

    But back to the Beatles.
    I think they carried the flag well and were well deserving of any and all accolades thrown their direction. The stones while a great band couldn't hold a candle sonically at least to the Beatles.

  9. #9

    Default Re: The Beatles

    Quote Originally Posted by mark View Post
    physical graffitti, not presence?

    i agree george martin contributed a lot to the beatles, but if you listen to their demos or outtakes from their recording sessions, you can hear how their songs progressed to the final product, how they went from a simple acoustic demo to the finished polished product they released on their albums and the geniuses they were. they succeeded in combining different music styles as no one before had done. they were also incredible musicians. unlike the boy bands, they not only had the faces, but the talent to succeed. they also were not afraid to experiment. look at what they did with 4 or 8 tracks in the studio. with computers you can have over 100 tracks, they made sgt peppers with 4 (maybe 8?). today's pop music all sounds the same - the record companies go with a formula of what's now and stick with it.

    btw, katy perry should be shot for butchering yesterday.
    Presence was a great album but I think P.G was their shining achievement{along with II maybe}.

    Agreed about Perry tho....
    A lot of todays artists are lacking in talent but make up for it with image, cleavage and auto tune.

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