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#1
Old 04-10-2001, 09:24 AM
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I just don't get this. I've recently met two people who seriously seemed to think the Beatles were a talentless band, and then came this comment in the BBQ pit:


Jackknifed Juggernaut:

[qoute]
Also, for those of you comparing Oasis to The Beatles...Why? The Beatles were absolute crap. I'd call them the Backstreet Boys of their generation. And since popular music today is so crappy, I'd categorize Oasis as one of the 4 or 5 best bands in the world today.

[/quote]

I honestly don't understand this opinion. Now, I don't have a Beatles record in my collection, but I certainly believe they are the best pop band of all time. One complaint I've heard is that the Beatles were just a "three-chord pop band" and hell, anybody can do that. Wrong. I've played through many Beatles songs, and hardly any of them I would describe as three-chord songs. Their harmonic progressions, especially in the later albums, were very interesting.

Let's pick a couple songs at random:

A Hard Day's Night -- 7 different chords (not counting 7ths as different than major triads)

Can't Buy Me Love - 6 chords

When I'm 64 -- 8 chords

Get Back -- OK, here's basically a 3-chord song, depending on whether you want to count D and D/A as the same chord.

Eight Days a Week - 5 chords

Anyhow, basically, I don't think the categorization of the Beatles as a 3-chord band is based on any sort of fact. That said, I don't think being a 3-chord band makes you bad, anyway. Look at the Ramones or AC/DC. Who cares how many chords you use as long as you do your job.

Quite simply, the Beatles wrote solid pop tunes. They had great hooks, great melodies, and great orchestration. Back-up vocals and harmonies are used expertly, and production on their albums was impeccible. Listen to any Beatles album at random, and not just how many of their songs are great songs. Almost any track off any album can be a single. How many artists today can boast that? One of the amazing things about the Beatles is how trasferrable they are into other genres of music. Chick Corea plays a beautiful interpretation of Eleanor Rigby, jazz pianists consider "Yesterday" a standard, Pearl Jam's covered "I've Got a Feeling," I've heard flamenco bands play "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," Bela Fleck and the Flecktones have a variation of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Michelle."

Are you trying to tell me that leading musicians from different musical backgrounds don't know what they're talking about either when they pay homage to The Beatles by covering their works? Or how about this? -- A quick search on CDNow tells me that they've been listed as an influence by the following artists: Big Star, Kate Bush, the Cars, the Pixies, the Kinks, Queen, Prince, Teenage Fanclub,
R.E.M., the Vaselines, Husker Du, Iron Butterfly, John Hiatt, YES, the Smiths, the Who, Matthew Sweet, and a whole lot more that I won't bore you with.

I believe my ears when I hear the Beatles, and my ears tell me, the Beatles are probably the best all-around pop band ever. And deservedly so. How can you possible compare the Beatles to the Backstreet Boys. Twenty years from now, nobody will give a damn about the Backstreet Boys. I don't think any respectable musician will be playing Backstreet covers. You certainly won't hear the phrase "as influential as the Backstreet Boys' Black and Blue" except in a sarcastic context.

So please, tell me, why do you hate the Beatles music?
#2
Old 04-10-2001, 09:35 AM
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I don't like them simply because they have been rammed down my throat for the past 30 years. Same with Elvis. Sure, the Beatles were okay, I suppose, I just don't like them. They were not the gods that the media hyped them to be.
#3
Old 04-10-2001, 09:44 AM
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Sounds like a survey to me. Moving to IMHO.

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#4
Old 04-10-2001, 09:50 AM
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I kinda feel the same way Lyllyan does.

Did the Beatles suck? No. Are they overrated? Heck yes. The fact that "When I'm 64" uses 8 whole different chords hardly puts their music on a different plane than the "3 chord bands" of the 1960s -- the average mediochre jazz tune uses more chords than this.
#5
Old 04-10-2001, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lyllyan
I don't like them simply because they have been rammed down my throat for the past 30 years.
Good point. There's also the "If Mom likes it, it must suck" demographic, and the "If anything was THAT popular, it must suck" people.

I personally never listen to my old Beatles albums anymore. But in my case, it's because I can just cue 'em up in my head whenever I want.
#6
Old 04-10-2001, 10:17 AM
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Gaudere
Sorry -- I assumed that at some point this would turn into a semi-factual debate

tracer

The "average mediocre jazz tune" does not necessarily use more than three chords.

Check out Take 5 -- 80%+ of it is two chords.
Miles Davis' Kind of Blue album is mostly based on modal improvisation over one or two chord harmonic patterns.

And let's not even get into the slew of standards that run the "vi-ii-V-I" or "ii-V-I" progressions in jazz or the 4-chord "Rhythm" changes. (So-called for their borrowing of Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm") OK, four is more than 3, but doesn't prove your point.

Then there is, of course, three chord blues.

Like I said before, the number of chords you use doesn't make a difference in terms of where you are on the musical plane. Two-chord Miles Davis is great. Eight chord Beatles is great.
#7
Old 04-10-2001, 10:22 AM
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addendum --

Sorry. I was only thinking of the "B" part of the Rhythm Changes (III-VI-II-V) The A part is the above mentioned "iv-ii-V-I" or, rather "I-iv-ii-V."
#8
Old 04-10-2001, 10:26 AM
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DAMMIT! Sorry for another consecutive post. the "iv" should read "vi." Stupid Roman numerals.
#9
Old 04-10-2001, 10:34 AM
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Count me in the "overrated" camp. Yes, they had a fair amount of musical talent. Yes, they did some really innovative stuff for the time. But were they the greatest band ever, or even a great band at all? I don't think so. It's one of those, "they were good, but not that good" things.

On a personal note, the bottom line for me is that I just don't like most of their music very much. It's purely a matter of personal preference. There are a few songs they did that I really enjoy, but given the sheer quantity of music they produced, they had to stumble across my preferences once in a while. And we all know that George sucked and Ringo really sucked. Boom-BAP-boomboom-BAP! Yeah, rock on, Ringo.
#10
Old 04-10-2001, 10:43 AM
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Well, then, let me add to the OP. If you don't like The Beatles, or think they are vastly overrated, who deserves the title of best POP/POP-ROCK band of all time? My favorite pop bands would have to be The Jam, The Soft Boys, The Flaming Lips and Radiohead. You can dispute the categorization, as it really is very liquid these days, but I think in terms of good, solid songs, and mass popularity, The Beatles still take the cake.
#11
Old 04-10-2001, 11:15 AM
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Some of the reasons people don't like The Beatles (well, people closer to my age) amaze me, and remind me of a story my English teacher told me.
"My first year of teaching, I was going over Shakespeare in a Jr class. Finally someone raised his hand and said he thought this was pretty stupid. When I asked him why, he replied, 'Because, he just uses a bunch of cliches.'"
Of course, they are cliches to him, because society and pop culture has been flooded with Shakespeare references, we can't imagine a world without his works.
Well, back in the day, what exactly were The Beatles competing against? The Rolling Stones? Hardly evolutionary, they were a simply a blues band. Hmmmmm, The Turtles? The Five Americans?
Compared to what they were playing against, and compared to where they came from, the Beatles were influential. They were influenced by rock, country, and standards that Paul's father listened to. They didn't want one album to sound like another. And none of their albums did. They began as a lil "R&B combo" (To quote Paul) and by the time of Revolver and Sgt. Peppers, they were much, much more.
Furthermore, unlike most pop groups, they wrote all their own music. And the music was good. Sure, some of Ringo's work wasn't that great ("Don't Pass Me Buy" still makes me laugh) but considering the fact that Lennon and McCartney did not have any formal musical training, the fact that they wrote their own music is pretty amazing. Anybody without training can turn out a crappy poem (See all the Glurge) but few people can create beautiful songs, fast songs, slow songs, ballads, and rockers. When Lennon and McCartney had was talent.
They were also innovative. Maybe "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" wasn't earth-shattering, but it was certainly a good lil song. However, not too long afterward, Paul wrote "Yesterday", and recorded with a string-quartet.
George Harrison was the first to regularly use the sitar in his music.
Sgt. Peppers was the first concept album. Furthermore, they recorded Sgt. Peppers with 8 tracks, and that's it. They didn't have all the technical wizardry that is regularly used now to turn out truly craptacular music.
There are even more accomplishments, but this is already rather long.

And George Harrison most definately is a good musician. Was he born with the talent to play the guitar? Probably not, he practiced every day until his fingers bled. Did he have any formal training? No, he learned by copying Carl Perkins and Buddy Holly. Can he hold his own against the likes of Eric Clapton? Yes, and he can and does. His song writing abilities matured until he produced love ballads like "Something", and though this is after The Beatles, the entire All Things Must Pass album.

If influencing hundreds of musicians, (Including the ones listed and others like Sting), writing and recording over 200 songs, all of them different and unique in their own way, producing at least 2 albums a year, as well as 2 movies (well, there was a 3rd one for John), and touring nearly non-stop for four years, doesn't make you the greatest band of all time, than what exactly is the criteria? What other hurdles did they have to conquere? What more could they have done? How much better did they have to be? I can't think of a single album that compares to "Revolver" musically. I can't think of a single song writer that can be compared to Lennon and McCartney.

Ok, end rant now. Sorry this turned out to be so long. Obviously, I have some strong feelings on the topic...
#12
Old 04-10-2001, 05:32 PM
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I won't be shamed into thinking the Beatles are anything but overplayed musicans of fair-to-middling quality. I've never liked their music to begin with. It just doesnt' appeal to me. It's not earthshaking, it doesn't confer enlightenment, it doesn't raise the dead or heal the sick.

I'm all for them staying retired, out of the spotlight, and away from me.
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#13
Old 04-10-2001, 05:39 PM
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I personally do not hate the Beatles, but I'm not a fan.

I respect the ground they forged and their talent as musicians/songwriters and the effect their music had on the bands I like now.

The reason I do not like their music probably mostly revolves around the fact that I did not experience it when it was new and groundbreaking. By the time I came around to exploring music, I knew all the Beatles names and what part they played in the band, as well as many song and album titles, before I had even heard a single song by them. They were declared the greatest and most influential band ever, etc. and I suppose that influenced my initial reactions to them.

Then there is the fact that by the time I got around to the music my parents listened to, I'd already been exposed to all the bands that had come after. Music had gone through some serious changes already and I was first and foremost influenced by the modern sounds I was used to hearing.

Case in point: When I hear a remake of a song, and then hear the original, I tend to prefer the remake. When I hear the original, and then the remake, it's a little more even as to who I prefer (I *do* like music originating prior to my birth, despite what this post may make it seem), but it does lean a little towards the remake.

I've heard the Beatles compared to Oasis before, and frankly that has me scratching my head. Granted, I'm not a big fan of either, but the Beatles were at least innovative, Oasis just borrows from the past, and the Beatles in particular. Where is the comparison?
#14
Old 04-10-2001, 06:42 PM
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I've never liked the Beatles, and I generally prefer pop and rock music from the 50's and 60's. Why? To me, they simply don't sound good. It always sounds rough and unfinished. So they were innovative... big deal, rap was innovative too and it sucks. They influenced a lot of pop bands... big deal. The Sex Pistols influenced nearly every punk/alternative band and let's face it, the Pistols kinda reek. The Beatles influenced a lot of bands simply because they were new. They came in with a new look and a new sound and 99 out of 100 girls thought they were cute. But new doesn't mean better. Many people love the Beatles. I really can't stand any of their music. It just doesn't sound good to me.
#15
Old 04-10-2001, 06:49 PM
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Wow, my mind boggles. I didn't really think anyone would seriously dispute The Beatles' signifigance. I can understand and accept people who dislike/hate their music as a matter of preference. After all, styles and tastes change. I can even understand the resentment towards the endless recycling of the Beatles[super]TM[/super] Brand over the past 30 years. In my own experience, one of the biggest Beatles fans I've known was a pretentious wanker who loved to make lofty pronouncements of their god-like status.

He also loved masturbatory, progressive art-rock but, whereas he succeeded in making me hate prog-rock, I still love the Beatles. The apparent simplicity of their songs masks complex harmonies and chord changes. They introduced the concept of albums as coherent works of art instead of collections of songs. Their work in the studio was pioneering. Perhaps the word "best" turns people off. Would anyone dispute the phrase "most influential band"? Also, what pepperlandgirl said. A very spirited defense! BTW, I get a big kick out of Don't Pass Me By too.

pulykamell, I'm a big fan of The Jam, The Flaming Lips and Radiohead too. I'm listening to The Soft Bulletin as I type this. It looks like I definitely have to check out The Soft Boys.

Cheers,
Hodge
#16
Old 04-10-2001, 07:19 PM
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The Beatles are a very talented band, but XTC is much better and more imaginative than even the Beatles. XTC is the one band that truly would deserve all the hoopla that Elvis and the Beatles get all the time.
#17
Old 04-10-2001, 08:17 PM
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I knew we could count on PLG to speak on our behalf.

Pepper, you rock!
#18
Old 04-10-2001, 08:57 PM
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Some people are saying they don't like The Beatles because by the time they heard them, they weren't anything neat. Well, I was slowly introduced to The Beatles six years ago. Before that I of course knew who they were, but I didn't know who they were. I listened to mainly Country (Thanks Grandma) and Classic ROck (70s and 80s) When I became interested in The Beatles, to me they were new. And now six years later, I have all the albums, books, posters, movies, interviews, that I can find. And they are still new to me. I listen to a wide array of music, from Sting to Enya, from Beethoven to Chuck Berry, from the latest pop crap (I like VH1, so shoot me) to Country. But to me, the pinnacle of all music is The Beatles.
You may not want to admit it, because you don't understand it, but they were, and probably still are the most influential band of all time. They did things that nobody else did. They took a new and wholly different approach to music than anybody had before them. If not, why would so many different groups, from so many different genres name them as their biggest influences?
Comparing them to rap, because rap is innovative too, doesn't make sense. Rap artists may influence each other, and maybe a few fringe musicians in other genres, but Rap's influence is not felt throughout the musical scene.

And thank you poohpah chalupa and everybody else.
I wonder if pldennison is going to find his way to this thread?
#19
Old 04-10-2001, 09:06 PM
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Forgot this...

What songs, specifically, sound unfinished? The songs from Please Please Me? They recorded that whole album in 10 hours, so if it sounds a bit rough, you can't blame them. Do the songs from Revolver sound unfinished? Or Abbey Road? They spent hours and hours and hours working on each individual song. John Lennon would not that George Martin go home until he had "Strawberry Fields Forever" just right. (See Anthology 2)
Did they sound unfinished because they didn't use the Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" that so many others in the 60s used? That didn't sound good, and I never saw the appeal of that.
Did they sound odd because their music contained traditional themes of love and lost, but also other not-so-traditional themes? ("Dr. Robert", "She Said, She Said" "Piggies" etc etc)?
Did they sound odd because it was the four of them, in a studio recording live tracks up until Revolver?
Some of the cleanest music I have ever heard has been from The Beatles. Perhaps it is fair to say they were slightly unpolished in the very beginning with Please Please Me and With The Beatles, but that's as much as I can concede.
And what other music from the 60s are you comparing them to? Other members of the "British Invasion" (You know, the bands from England that were formed because of the Beatles) Or American bands like The Beach Boys (I won't recount the famous story of how Brian Wilson reacted to Sgt. Pepper's)?
#20
Old 04-10-2001, 09:27 PM
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I have to take issue with the statement that they were the Backstreet Boys of their time. Absolutely not. No way.

They were the O-Town of their time.

Add me to the list of "rammed down my throat so often that I now reflexively vomit, in the manner of A Clockwork Orange, every time I hear them".

Any band who's popular songs have almost all been remade into Muzak generally invokes this reaction from me.

Sergeant pepperlandgirl's knowledge of all things Beatlish is indeed impressive (I guess), but I have to take issue with one point:

Quote:
They recorded that whole album in 10 hours, so if it sounds a bit rough, you can't blame them.
Why the heck not? Am I allowed to do a lousy job as long as I can prove that I didn't devote sufficient time to the task? By that logic, Michelangelo could have finished the Sistine Chapel ceiling in two weeks instead of four years and said "Hey, whatsamatta you? I finsh da fresco ina da fortnight so it'sa not so bad, no?"
#21
Old 04-10-2001, 09:37 PM
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I wasn't actually comparing the Beatles to rap, just the analogy. Just because they were influencial, to me, does not make them worthy of of my "ear time". The Beatles were greatly influenced by Bob Dylan, who to me, sounds like a constipated walrus. I'm not saying Dylan wasn't influencial to many, or did not break many barriers. Just that I can't listen to him. I also am not comparing the Beatles to other bands. If I would though, I would say that, for example, I love the Animals. I know they were influenced by the Beatles, but to me, they sound a lot better. In the early stuff, yes, most the stuff the Beatles did seemed rushed. The harmonies aren't quite in step, there are a few slight mistakes on instruments, etc. No, I can't name songs as I don't like them, so I can't recall titles. In the later days, it wasn't so much an "unfinished sound", but just that there was something missing, to me. There are many times I've heard their later stuff and have thought, "if they'd only had a piano in the background, or.. if they'd done it as a group harmony rather than a solo.. etc.) I never had a problem with the lyrics, even the weirder stuff. I admit freely that they were greatly influencial, if not the most influencial group to ever make music. But their influence doesn't make them sound better to me. I will give them all my gratitude for what they did, because one can arguably say that without them, we'd all still be listening to country bluegrass or bubblegum crap. But I'll never put one of their albums on the turntable.
#22
Old 04-10-2001, 09:45 PM
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Tracer said:
Quote:
Did the Beatles suck? No. Are they overrated? Heck yes. The fact that "When I'm 64" uses 8 whole different chords hardly puts their music on a different plane than the "3 chord bands" of the 1960s -- the average mediochre jazz tune uses more chords than this.
Actually if they used eight chords they were by definition on a plane other than the three chord one. And the tune itself was composed by a pre-teen Paul heavily influenced by his father's jazz records.

Pestie said:
Quote:
Count me in the "overrated" camp. Yes, they had a fair amount of musical talent. Yes, they did some really innovative stuff for the time. But were they the greatest band ever, or even a great band at all? I don't think so. It's one of those, "they were good, but not that good" things.
But why weren't they "that good"? You're willing to admit their innovativeness ( is this a word? If so how is it spelled? ), the overall quality of the sound ( melody, arrangements, production, etc... ) and their vast influence.

Quote:
And we all know that George sucked and Ringo really sucked. Boom-BAP-boomboom-BAP! Yeah, rock on, Ringo.
I can't see how George "sucked". He wasn't a very gifted guitarist in the technical sense but he made all the notes he played worthy to compensate for that. He wrote beatiful ballads ( Something comes to mind ), meditative eastern music ( and it was brilliant. If you don't get it listen again ), gorgeous vocal-harmonies drenched pop ( If I Needed Someone ), nice rockers ( Taxman ), playful silly songs ( Here Comes The Sun ). What else can you want?
And note that's only the Beatles work. Did I mention he recorded one of the best album of all times?
HumHumAll-Things-Must-PassHum

And Ringo, well, he defined the bands sound. But yeah he was the least talented Beatle ( But I actually love Don't Pass Me By ).

PepperLandGirl said:
Quote:
Well, back in the day, what exactly were The Beatles competing against? The Rolling Stones? Hardly evolutionary, they were a simply a blues band
Well, there was the Motown scene, the Kinks, the Beach Boys and The Who. In the earlier years that is. Latter it got much rougher.
And I hardly see how could the Stones be "just a blues band".

And about the concept album, that Pepper was the first one is highly debatable. We have anything from the Beach Boys "Little Deuce Cup" to Frank Zappa's "Freak Out" that came earlier.
Pepper was hugely influencial and creative, but not brcause it was the first concept album.

I think that this page is very valuable for the amount of reader comments alone ( and Mark has an excellent writing style, even tough it's overbearing sometimes ). McFerrin's one has a very interesting "born again" aproach and Starostin's own page has IMO the best, most comprehensive aproach even tough he's a bit of a devotee.
#23
Old 04-10-2001, 10:03 PM
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Keep in mind how prolific they were. Groups in the 1960's usually released 2 albums a year, and at least 2 or 3 singles as well. In 7 years the Beatles released about 200+ songs. Out of them 10 or so absolute classsics, many other good ones - and a few clunkers.
By the 1970's the standard for Rock groups became 1 album a year - and few seperate singles. Now your typical band today may take a 2 or 3 year break between albums. Its sort of unfair to compare the Beatles with later groups that had the luxury of taking a year or more to finish an album. Also realize that even the best groups such as the Stones and the Who made some really awful albums in the 1960's under the pressure of deadlines. At least no Beatles album was a flat outembarassment like "Satanic Majesties". If the Beatles released only 1 album a year of their stongest material; they would compare favorably to any band even today.
#24
Old 04-10-2001, 10:29 PM
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Jaimest said:

Quote:
In 7 years the Beatles released about 200+ songs. Out of them 10 or so absolute classsics, many other good ones
What do you mean ten classics? I can think of at least 30 without triyng hard!

Quote:
Also realize that even the best groups such as the Stones and the Who made some really awful albums in the 1960's under the pressure of deadlines. At least no Beatles album was a flat outembarassment like "Satanic Majesties".
I happen to think that the Stone's best material is the sixties one. And yeah that includes "Your Majesties...".

And the story of the Who was quite different. They had one fiasco that was "A Quick One While He's Away" that was prompted by the recording company. But it still boasted the title track as well as "Boris", "Cobwebs.." and others.

I think their first album is great with the exception of the James Brown covers. The sixties also had three of the Oo's greatest albums, namely "Sell Out", "Tommy" and "Live at Leeds" rock's second greatest live album ( I prefer the Isle of Wight Festival one myself ).
So as you see they had a pretty great output during the sixties. They didn't record more because of the judicial struggle with Shel Talmy over the music rights.

Quote:
If the Beatles released only 1 album a year of their stongest material; they would compare favorably to any band even today.
Their ordinary albums compare favorably to any of today's bands.
#25
Old 04-10-2001, 11:09 PM
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Quantity AND quality (that is, relatively consistent quality, by and large) I think is what it boils down to. How many one hit wonders make the top-40 and then fade away every single year? Hundreds, literally. Just take a gander at those retro compilations advertised on TV ("Just send $12.99 for CD, $9.99 for cassette to '70's Dredge, PO Box 666, Carlton, Connecticut...")

Hijack since this thread is attracting Fab Four connoisseurs: There is a picture I am trying to place in my head and I can't locate it on the web.... it is of the Beatles, early-ish, in suits, I think, cleanshaven anyway, all standing up in a row with one hand extended out. I thought it was an album cover for some reason but after looking for it, apparently it is not. Can anyone tell me what this is from? It is driving me NUTS.
#26
Old 04-10-2001, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by pulykamell
Twenty years from now, nobody will give a damn about the Backstreet Boys.
Please tell me it won't take that long!
#27
Old 04-10-2001, 11:42 PM
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I'm pretty sure that was one of the British album covers. Perhaps "Beatles - For Sale" or something like that.

George Harrison and Ringo Starr may have been the two least-talented Beatles, but they were good enough that in any other band they would have been stars in their own right. I know a lot of Drummers who worship Ringo, and George Harrison is a great songwriter and a decent guitarist. Let's not forget "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Here Comes the Sun", "Taxman", "Something" (the most covered song of all time, I believe, unless it's now 'Yesterday'), and "My Sweet Lord". The guy had enough great songs to make a huge career without the Beatles. He also had a big hit record around 1990 with "Cloud 9" ("I've Got My Mind Set On You", "When We Was Fab"), and a bunch of hits as one of the members (and lead writers) of The Traveling Wilburys.

And don't forget, Ringo had a string of hits on his own after the Beatles broke up ("It Don't Come Easy", "The No-No Song", "You're Sixteen", "Act Naturally", "Back Off Boogaloo", "Photograph", a few others). In fact, he was the first Beatle to have a hit record post-breakup.

When I started listening to music in the early 70's, it was just after the Beatles' heyday, and I was firmly in the, "WAY overrated band" camp. So I pretty much ignored them until I was in my late 20's. Then I started to listen, and started picking up on all the nuances and themes in their music. I became a fan. Now I think they are without question the greatest pop band of all time.
#28
Old 04-10-2001, 11:45 PM
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Quote:
Why the heck not? Am I allowed to do a lousy job as long as I can prove that I didn't devote sufficient time to the
task? By that logic, Michelangelo could have finished the Sistine Chapel ceiling in two weeks instead of four
years and said "Hey, whatsamatta you? I finsh da fresco ina da fortnight so it'sa not so bad, no?"
There is a reason they only had 10 hours to record the album. They didn't say to their producer "Hmmm, you know what? We just don't give a fuck. We'll slap something together."
It was their first album, and they were in the middle of a tour of England. They didn't have anything fancy, and they were 3rd or 4th on the bill. In the middle of shows, they drove to London, and George Martin could only reserve the studio at Abbey Road for a day. Since they really wanted to make their album (And after six years of trying to get a break, wouldn't you?) they took what they could get. After ten rushed hours, doing most of the songs in one or two takes, live, and all of the songs were from their show, they left, and continued on their tour.
They were allowed a whole 3 days for With The Beatles, but by the times A Hard Day's Night came along, they were popular enough that the people in charge were willing enough to give them Studio #3. Paul McCartney still uses that particular studio.

So yes, I think that the time alloted is a valid explanation for the roughness of their first two albums.

drpepper I could possibly help you, but I need a lil bit more info than that. That could be any picture from 62-64.
#29
Old 04-11-2001, 12:54 AM
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I'm slightly confused as to the nature of this thread. Are we asking, "do you like the Beatles, and why?" Or, "were the Beatles one of the most significant musical groups of the modern age?" In response to question one, I would say yes I do like the Beatles, because I enjoy a lot of their songs (yes, I know, that's a very redundant statement).

I think it would be very hard for someone to argue against the Beatles' influence. Many people seem to feel that because they don't like the Beatles, they must not be influential. I could think the theory of gravity is the most overrated, boring, talked about, ancient theory ever, but I still wouldn't argue that because everyone today knows about the theory of gravity Isaac Newton must not have been that great. I mean, he didn't even have a spell-check for his thesis!

Yes, I will agree that the Beatles' skill at playing their instruments is nowhere near as impressive as many many other musicians of today, and of their own time. But, that is irrelevant when talking about "significance" or "influence." The people who throughout the history of music have been the movers and shakers have not been the people who play perfectly, or the most quickly, but the people who play differently, and write differently.

Once I used to think that the Beatles were very over rated (I liked to listen to them a lot, I just didn't feel they were anything special). Then I thought about pop music before the Beatles, and pop music after the Beatles, and the difference (in my opinion) is stunning. My vote is for the Beatles as the most (or at the very least, one of the most) influential bands of rock music.
#30
Old 04-11-2001, 02:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by drpepper

Hijack since this thread is attracting Fab Four connoisseurs: There is a picture I am trying to place in my head and I can't locate it on the web.... it is of the Beatles, early-ish, in suits, I think, cleanshaven anyway, all standing up in a row with one hand extended out. I thought it was an album cover for some reason but after looking for it, apparently it is not. Can anyone tell me what this is from? It is driving me NUTS.
This sounds like the photo on the back of MEET THE BEATLES, their first Capitol album.
#31
Old 04-11-2001, 02:28 AM
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On second thought, this might be the cover photo from BEATLES VI, another Capitol album.
#32
Old 04-11-2001, 08:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lyllyan
I don't like them simply because they have been rammed down my throat for the past 30 years. Same with Elvis. Sure, the Beatles were okay, I suppose, I just don't like them. They were not the gods that the media hyped them to be.
Amen, sister!

I think they were groundbreaking and innovative for their time, but have since become cliche. I guess that's a good thing, generally, kind of like the Shakespeare example. I just can't stand to hear them anymore though and I will never buy one of their albums. We were in the bookstore a couple weeks ago and they had the new Beatles #1 (or whatever its called) on and it just was driving me crazy!!! It's not music to shop by, especially for books.
#33
Old 04-11-2001, 09:48 AM
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I can't describe music in terms of chords.
The Beatles where innovative for their time and some of the songs are still interesting now (like some tunes on Revolver). Now they're like a vehicle for mass nostalgia. ...and it's safe for the children. Kinda gross. I grew up listening to the Beatles and I'm sick of hearing them now. It's like CCR, great group, but way overplayed on those classic rock stations. There was a lot of really good music made at the same time the Beatles were out doing their thing and I never hear it except from my own collection (thinking of Captain Beefheart). Comparing the Beatles to XTC is a stretch at first reading, but come to think of it, maybe it's just because XTC is way underrated.
#34
Old 04-11-2001, 10:03 AM
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Over saturated? Sure. Cliche? Yeah, but by no fault of their own.
Denying this bands significance is pure ignorance.

In a similar vein, just because you've seen the Mona Lisa a hundred thousand times on everything from tote bags to napkins doesn't make Leonardo Da Vinci any less of a genius.
Just an over exposed genius.

If you don't like the Beatles, fine. Your call.
Heck, I have a hard time listening to them because they're so often played. But I won't deny their talent or unparalleled influence over almost every rock band since.

Just don't ridicule what you don't understand.
#35
Old 04-11-2001, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sam Stone
.... and George Harrison is a great songwriter and a decent guitarist. Let's not forget "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Here Comes the Sun", "Taxman", "Something" (the most covered song of all time, I believe, unless it's now 'Yesterday'), and "My Sweet Lord".
First of all I'm a huge Beatles fan, and agree that generally neither George or Ringo get the respect they deserve. However....

George didn't play lead guitar on either "Taxman" (that's Paul) or "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (none other than Eric Clapton handled that chore). Both great songs IMHO, but you can't give George credit for the guitar work on them.
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#36
Old 04-11-2001, 08:35 PM
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The Beatles were creative above all, constantly re-inventing themselves, and all with very limited technical means at their disposal (IIRC, a great part of their work was recorded using 4-track equipment). That they were (and still are) influential is an undisputed fact, and rightly so. Were they the most influential band? I would tend to say yes, but I'm biased.

BTW, a few of the little gems that come to mind (but have never reached the number 1 spot and were therefore not included in the latest compilation) are:

In My Life, by John Lennon
Here, There and Everywhere, by Paul McCartney.

They simply don't make them like that anymore.


P.S.: Dr.Pepper: You wouldn't be thinking of one of the inside cover photos of the Magical Mystery Tour, would you?
#37
Old 04-11-2001, 09:20 PM
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Hey you Beatle-haters, are your favorite bands going to hit number one with on a collection of their bootleg-like rejects, twenty-five years after they break up? Are their lyrics going to recited in the most popular cartoon on cable thirty years later? This is an indication of lasting appeal. Some bands have done it bettter (I think Hall And Oates represented blue-eyed soul better than anyone else). However, the Beatles will have that appeal that will last into the 22nd century at least.
#38
Old 04-12-2001, 08:02 AM
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plg, how could I miss a thread like this? And, appropriately, on the day I'm meeting with a drummer to see about putting together a Beatles cover band.

I can understand people not liking the Beatles. Hey, it's cool--I don't really care for the Stones. To each his/her own, right?

But to think the Beatles were actually bad boggles the mind. All modern pop/rock music owes an enormous debt to just a few groups of people: Lieber & Stoller, Goffin & King, Holland/Dozier/Holland, Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy, and Lennon and McCartney. (And maybe Brian Wilson.) They, collectively, invented the rock/pop/soul vernacular, undisputably. The Beatles set the standard for guitar bands with their musical inventiveness. An excellent musical analysis, song-by-song, by Alan Pollack, a PhD in music, can be found at http://rmb.simplenet.com/public/files/awp/awp.html. Even on their first album, they were a little more inventive than the average band at the time. While they were all rock-and-roll lovers from the age of 13 or so, they had grown up listening to their parents jazz and big band records, and were undeniably influenced by those and the British music-hall tradition.

I was introduced to Beatles music when I was five or six years old, which would have been around 1974-75, through my dad's Beatles albums. I have been a fan ever since. Unlike Uke, I do still listen to my albums, but like him, I can hear the songs full-fledged in my head whenever I want.

And about this "Ringo had no talent" business--let's settle that one once and for all. Ringo was not a songwriter--no doubt about that. Even if he had been, his stuff could only have paled next to Lennon/McCartney, not to mention Harrison. (The only other band that even comes to mind where all the members could both write songs and sing lead and backup is Queen.) But as a rock drummer, Ringo was and is top-notch. Before joining the Beatles, he was already a working professional, making a living by drumming. He and his band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, were the most popular band in Liverpool at the time, they preceded the Beatles to Hamburg (where they played in the best clubs), and they had a regular gig every summer, all summer, at a holiday camp.

When the Beatles were signed to Parlophone, and were told they had to replace Pete Best, they were unanimous in who they wanted--Ringo Starr. His drumming at the time was consistently inventive for rock music. And if he sucked so badly, why did all of the other ex-Beatles use him on solo albums? Paul McCartney is fully capable of drumming himself; he played all the drums on the McCartney and Band on the Run albums. Yet he's used Ringo several times on his records. John Lennon could have had any drummer in the world on his records, but who did he use much of the time? Ringo. Same with George.

And speaking of George, while he might not be Eddie Van Halen or Yngwie Malmsteen or even Richie Sambora, he was an excellent player in the rockabilly idiom (right up there with Burton and Moore--listen to his solos on "I'm A Loser" and "I Don't Want To Spoil The Party") and, eventually, the rock idiom. He also did excellent guitar work on songs of his own like "Savoy Truffle," "Old Brown Shoe," and "Something," and on all the other Beatles work, too.

The Beatles a bad band? Perish the thought. You'd have to literally know nothing about music to think such a thing.
#39
Old 04-12-2001, 08:26 AM
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Cripes.

Is it, "Here, here! Great post, phil!", or is it, "Hear, hear! Great post, phil!"?

I can never remember the written form of that particular idiom.

In any case, great post, phil.

And for you who think the Beatles are overplayed- what stations are you listening to? Most of the classic rock/oldies stations I've listened to seemed to conspicuously avoid playing Beatles songs except during specific time slots (you'll get a "Beatles Break" of three songs in a row at ten-to-three on weekdays).

John
#40
Old 04-12-2001, 09:48 AM
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I'm with Phil and Pepper. One may eschew the Beatles as a matter of personal taste, but to dismiss their music as universally bad is not even worth replying to.
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#41
Old 04-12-2001, 09:56 AM
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I'm not a big fan of the Beatles. I am able to get into them, but they'll never be one of my favorite groups. I do believe they were genius pop song writers and completely changed the face of pop culture and you gotta give em props, but I didn't grow up listening to them. I grew up listening to the groups they influenced, but the actual music the Beatles made doesn't push my buttons like Queen, for instance. I prefer a little more 'rock' in my pop music. I think the Beatles were amazing, but I'll never be a disciple.
#42
Old 04-12-2001, 01:47 PM
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Huh. I had an experience similar to Pepper's, in that I had not grown up listening to the Beatles. Not that I hadn't heard of them, just that I hadn't heard much of their music. My dad just adores music, and can't stand the Beatles. If you ask him, he'll tell you that they made bubble gum music, and he was actually a teenager when they made it big, so it's not like he wasn't there or anything. In my first year of college, though, my roommate was the world's biggest Beatles fan. I think she could compete with Pepper and Phil for this title, honestly. Naturally she listened to their music all the time, not to mention wearing Beatles t-shirts, watches, decorating our room with posters, etc., etc. So, for the first time, I was really exposed to Beatles music. And guess what.

I don't particularly like them.

I don't hate them. I really like a few of their songs. But I don't own any of their CDs, and have no desire to. IMHO, the Beatles are kind of lame, and I truly doubt the alleged songwriting genius of Lennon and McCarthy.

Your musical taste is your business, but I get pissed off when I hear that "if I don't like the Beatles, I don't know anything about music." Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. I get to like whatever music I like. It's not a personal slam against you.
#43
Old 04-12-2001, 02:11 PM
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I've liked the Beatles more or less continuously since I was about 12 - I've found that even as my musical tastes have changed over the years, at least part of the Beatles' stuff has always been appealing to me (different parts at different times).

I don't have any musical training aside from five ghastly years of piano lessons as a youngster, so I'm not really practiced at making rational arguments for why the Beatles are good. If you don't like 'em, fine, but there's no point in questioning why other people like 'em.

One thing I've started to wonder about is whether George Martin has been given due credit for the Beatles' success. From what I've read, a lot of the really innovative things that appear on their records were either Martin's doing or else something Lennon thought up and Martin vetted. I'm thinking of things like the high trumpet on "Penny Lane", the tape looping, the arrangement of songs like Strawberry Fields Forever, and the use of unusual instruments (have to give George credit for the sitar though). These kinds of things seem too highfalutin to have come from the boys themselves (considering their later solo work). As time goes on, this innovative aspect looms larger and larger when people talk about why the Beatles were good. Any of you Beatles freaks care to weigh in?
#44
Old 04-12-2001, 04:20 PM
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Let's not forget: they recorded their first album in twenty minutes, and the second one took even longer! They created a musical legend that will last a lunchtime. Why, without the musical contribution of Dirk, Stig, Barry and Nasty, popular music today wouldn't----oh, I'm sorry. I'm thinking of The Rutles!

Please continue...
#45
Old 04-13-2001, 12:31 AM
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Omni-- by golly, you might be right; perhaps my subconscious mind somehow superimposed the early-image, clean shaven lads on that one photo in MMT (weren't they in white tuxes or something?). More research is definitely warranted.

Thank you and the others for your suggestions in trying to jog my memory.
#46
Old 04-13-2001, 03:03 AM
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Here is a Beatle freak hijacking the thread for City Gent:

I think George Martin was given adequate credit for his role. If anything, his role was is overestimated, at least by mid-period.

Martin discusses his role in great detail in his own book, and never fails to stress that the ideas came from the Beatles, and to them go most of the credit.

The piccolo trumpet from "Penny Lane" was Paul's idea, according to George Martin in his book "All You Need is Ears". As for the arrangement, in the same book Martin states that "Paul would think up the notes he wanted, and I would write them down". That was more or less the situation with most of the arrangements by the time of "Rubber Soul" or so. Martin was excellent at executing their ideas on a technical level and in transcribing their arrangements, but he freely admits that any good producer could have done that. From very early on, the Beatles were interested and creative in the recording process.

The Beatles always overruled him on any decision regarding their music from the very beginning, when Martin urged them to do a cover song instead of "Love Me Do". Martin also lobbied to have "Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane" on Pepper and the make The White Album a single album.

Early on, Martin attempted to learn guitar so he would have a common instrument with the Beatles, but gave up when Paul and John learned piano much more quickly.

Martin's greatest genius was the fact that he didn't try to impose his own musical vision on them and instead devoted himself to helping them realize their ideas, and in the fact that he was able to create an atmosphere in the studio which was creative and experimental but efficient and productive. He should get a great deal of credit for his role here, but the myth that some Beatle detractors have constructed that he was the real force behind the Beatles is just silly.
#47
Old 04-13-2001, 03:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by pldennison
(The only other band that even comes to mind where all the members could both write songs and sing lead and backup is Queen
pl, I can't believe you left out Husker Du. For shame. And I'm pretty sure John Deacon never sang lead. (BTW, a Beatles cover band sounds great. And I play drums! However, I'm not going to move to some freezing-ass region of the midwest just to join a cover band).
Anyway, I think it's all pretty much been said, and if you've ever seen any of my music-related posts you know I'm a big Beatles fan. The only issue I'd address is Turbo Dog's assertion that he doesn't like the Beatles 'cause they were greatly influenced by Bob Dylan. While they (John especially) have admitted to this, it certainly doesn't come across in their sound much, aside from a few '65 tracks and a couple of songs on Rubber Soul. From what I can tell, they were more influenced by his lyrics and attitude. And you sure as hell couldn't say either John or Paul (or even George, though possibly Ringo) sang like a "constipated walrus."
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#48
Old 04-13-2001, 07:41 AM
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Kyla

I agree with you're point that "if you don't like the Beatles, you know nothing about music" is a silly statement. However, I think if you say straight out "The Beatles sucked" I would really question your knowledge of music. Listen, I can't stand "YES" or "ELP" or most of that prog-rock music (except Jethro Tull, King Crimson and Genesis.) Do I think they were good musicians? Yeah, on the whole. They certainly didn't suck.

An analogy. One day I was at the Art Institue of Chicago, passing by the Kandinsky paintings with some friends. I really love his work. One of my friends said "Hell, a four-year-old can do that." If you have any knowledge of art or its creation, you would realize the absurdity of that statement. I've painted on-and-off and there's no way in hell I can come even close to imitating his style. There is art and craftsmanship in his work. He wasn't sloppy. He was a skilled draftsman; he could paint realistically if he wanted to; he chose to do something different.

I feel similarly about the Beatles. They were great artists and skilled craftsman. At the time, their music was fresh, innovative and put together very intricately, with great attention to detail. I cannot phathom that certain people would write them off and say "they sucked."

Philosophocles
A big nod to XTC. They never got the acclaim they deserved, but I still don't think they're quite up there with the Beatles. Another band that fits in this category for me is Big Star. "September Girls" is one of the most beautiful pop songs ever written, and could hold its own against anything by Lennon/McCartney, but what happened to them? How many people have even heard of them?
#49
Old 04-13-2001, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by pepperlandgirl

Sgt. Peppers was the first concept album. Furthermore, they recorded Sgt. Peppers with 8 tracks, and that's it.
Actually, point of fact: Sgt. Pepper's wasn't the first concept album. Joe Meek and the Blue Men recorded a (truly bad) concept album called "I Hear A New World" several years (1960?) before Sgt. Pepper's. It was an instrumental with vocal sound effects album, used synthesizers (Joe Meek's the one who did "Telestar") but was undeniably a concept album. If you'd said "Sgt Pepper's was the first good concept album" I'd have agreed.

Other than that, I completely agree with what you said, and I'm a little miffed that you and PLD said it better than I could've and left me nothing else to say except:
<AOL>
Me TOO!
</AOL>


Fenris
#50
Old 04-13-2001, 09:03 AM
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broken link?

Quote:
Originally posted by pldennison
An excellent musical analysis, song-by-song, by Alan Pollack, a PhD in music, can be found at http://rmb.simplenet.com/public/files/awp/awp.html.
Sounds like a site I would like to visit, but all I get is the dreaded "404." pldennison, Could you check on this URL?
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