Why the Beatles?

Billville

Over 100 posts
#1
Okay, so ... before anyone here rips me a new a-hole, i just want need to know, what am I missing with the Beatles. I just spent over an hour on Youtube watching the Making of Sgt Peppers... and I still don't get it.

George Martin goes on and on, demonstrating the clever recording techniques and the clever idea that inspired the clever songs and the whole time I'm thinking--it's just clever recording techniques--that's it, the songs are just as inane as Love Me Do but now with layers of newly developed technology behind them.

Is that the real genius? That time and space collided at such a place that allowed this particular pop band to take advantage of new advances in recording technology?

If Mozart or Beethoven took a time machine into the future and saw(heard) what we considered genius, would they be appalled? Would they think that the human race, although technically advanced, is actually sliding backwards culturally? (after all, look whats followed--whooo hooo--Jonas Bros, & Pro Tools)

Don't get me wrong, I love aspects of the Beatles. I love John Lennon and his whole anti-authoritarian stance. I love reading books about him and I even love watching Documentaries on the Beatles. I even love Rubber Soul--the perfect album between the poppy Beatles and the Artsy-fartsy Psychedelic Beatles, but come on, is this whole thing completely overblown?

(p.s mjp--this one outta pay your rent for the month :D)
 

mjp

Keep my good eye on the beat
Moderator
Founding member
Over 5000 posts
#5
There's nothing for you to learn. It's music. You listen to it. With your ears. You don't watch it on YouTube, VH1, MTV or Sabado Gigante.

Then, when the songs are over, you either enjoyed listening to them or you didn't. It's not more complicated than that.

Why would you try to force yourself to appreciate something you don't like? Life is too short to waste your time like that.
 

chronic

old and in the way
Over 1000 posts
#6
It might be that it's partly a generational thing. The Beatles are a big part of the soundtrack of the lives of people my age plus and minus 10 years or so. They, and their music, sort of evolved along with the culture and at the same time influenced the culture (as well as the music that followed) in a big way.

Bottom line though... they made catchy and relatively intelligent pop songs that stuck with a lot of people throughout their lives.
 

slimedog

Over 1000 posts
#8
The Beatles are important because they took the influence of Oasis and brought it to a new generation -though of course they are not as good as the original.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Over 5000 posts
#10
I don't listen to the Beatles. Just don't really like the music. I agree with mjp, though, that if you donly like the music, then move on to something else. There is nothing to be gained by trying to figure out what it is that you don't like.

This is the same with the folks that hate Buk. (like how I take it back on-topic?) They spend so much time and energy talking about why they don;t like his writing. They should just write their own stuff. I'm looking in the direction of Ellroy & Rollins, but there are many more that cannot create so they destroy.

from The Genius of the Crowd:

but there is genius in their hatred
there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you
to kill anybody
not wanting solitude
not understanding solitude
they will attempt to destroy anything
that differs from their own
not being able to create art
they will not understand art
they will consider their failure as creators
only as a failure of the world
not being able to love fully
they will believe your love incomplete
and then they will hate you
and their hatred will be perfect

like a shining diamond
like a knife
like a mountain
like a tiger
like hemlock

their finest art


Bill
 

mjp

Keep my good eye on the beat
Moderator
Founding member
Over 5000 posts
#11
It might be that it's partly a generational thing.
It is completely a generational thing, as far as considering them important. Taken out of the context of the time it's easy to miss it. A kid listening to Hank Ballard or Bill Haley now (on YouTube) might wonder why the hell anyone would think that was cool, but it's all about the context. You have to understand how boring shit was to appreciate how new and exciting something might have sounded at the time.

As far as the Beatles are concerned, there is a lot of meat on those old hippie bones, and that is why they are rediscovered every generation. Very little of what they did sounds dated to me. Throw away a dozen tracks with sitars or backward tape loops and it's all good rock music. That is why they are still selling like they do. It isn't just nostalgia.

I returned one of the new stereo albums to Best Buy (I picked up the wrong one...hey, one yellow cover is the same as the next to me ;)), and the 20 year old kid standing at the front door said, "The Beatles? You can't return The Beatles, man! That's not right!" So I know the music still speaks to people who weren't even alive when The Beatles albums were first released on CD, let alone in 1964.
 

nervas

more crickets than friends
Over 1000 posts
#16
I was born after the Beatlles were broken up, on their own etc. I just have never found a band that made it all sound so good. In my teenage years I argued with anyone that would listen, that the beatles had nothing on Led Zeppelin. I look back and would like to take this opportunity to apologize to all my friends back in the day.

The Beatles did it first and no one has ever done it as good. Well except maybe for the band they really ripped off, The Monkees.

Here we come, walking down the street....
 
#17
Notwithstanding slimedog's wisdom disguised as wit, there's something that has yet to be touched upon. I'll get to it in a minute. First off, mjp is right; it is, after all, just music, and as much as I love some music, I also loathe some of it (99% of which is in Billville's CD rack ;) ).

So, you either like it or not, no matter how famous or popular the group or musician.

But my main point is this, and I didn't really get it until years after I first bought all of the 12" vinyl and hacked it up on my close and play:

The Beatles as musicians really did bring a wealth of innovation to R&R. Sure much of it was borrowed and some had been done before in more obscure situations, but they really brought out the skeletons. One of my favorite things of all is McCartney's melodic bass playing. So very unconventional in the 1960s. Other than James Jamerson, I can think of noone who had more influence on the evolution of R&R bass playing than McCartney.

It all began in earnest in 1965 on Rubber Soul and the track Michelle. Other fine examples include Lucy in the Sky..., With A Little Help..., Dear Prudence, Something and I Want You (She's So Heavy).

If you've a mind to, try to listen to these tracks and concentrate on the bass part. To me, this is just mind-blowingly articulate, not flowery, borderline simple, but just perfect and melodic beyond compare at the time.

Further, Lennon, for all his bristle and wit, was deep inside, a tender tortured soul. Donovan taught him fingerstyle in Rishikesh, India in the spring/summer of '68, and listen to the results on Julia. Lennon was both a sponge and a foil, and most of his stuff just worked, at least with the Beatles. After that, he had a few other great songs, but nothing to the extent of '62-'69.

Harrison is highly regarded as a guitarist, and I often have trouble with that. To me, his greatest gift was that of tasteful adornement and as a composer of uniquely dark lyrics and perfect changes to accompany them.

Ringo gets slammed, and I say bullshit. Listen to Rain, I Want to Tell You, Helter Skelter, etc. He kept perfect time on so many songs that weren't in perfect time. No mean feat.

So, love 'em or not, they had something going on, and it goes far beyond all the bullshit Beatlemania, which only meant "Not a Dry Seat in the House."
 

mjp

Keep my good eye on the beat
Moderator
Founding member
Over 5000 posts
#18
Donovan taught [Lennon] fingerstyle in Rishikesh, India in the spring/summer of '68, and listen to the results on Julia.
Not just finger picking, but clawhammer finger picking, which, once you've been playing guitar for a while, is difficult to get a grip on. It goes against your natural (or ingrained) right hand movements, being essentially a banjo picking style. It's worth noting that Donovan tried to teach Lennon and McCartney, but McCartney didn't have the patience to learn it properly.

Ringo gets slammed, and I say bullshit. Listen to Rain, I Want to Tell You, Helter Skelter, etc. He kept perfect time on so many songs that weren't in perfect time. No mean feat.
I think when people say Ringo was a good time-keeper it's certainly true, but it's kind of a left-handed compliment. He was, above all, a very musical drummer. One thing that is ironic about the recent Beatles Rock Band video game release is it's giving a lot of drummers who dissed Ringo a new perspective.

I read somewhere in the past week or two some drummer who used to say that Ringo "wasn't even the best drummer in the Beatles." Then after a week trying to follow him in Rock Band he said, "You know, I was wrong about Ringo...some of those parts are hard!"
 

mjp

Keep my good eye on the beat
Moderator
Founding member
Over 5000 posts
#21
Ooooh, snap!
chronic been zinged boyee!
He down for the count!
Over and out!

By someone from France even!
Ha ha ha!
Woot!
Pow.
 

Rob.

Over 100 posts
#23
I am not.

But to say that a drummer is good because he keeps perfect time is like saying that a book is ggod because it has a lot of words in it.

The Beatles toured without him, and he never was missed. His work was on par with almost any studio drummer.
 
#24
Actually, what I said was this:

He kept perfect time on so many songs that weren't in perfect time. No mean feat.
Which is quite a bit different from saying that he was good because he kept perfect time. In fact, I will appear to contradict myself without actually doing so, as I express my point in another way: He didn't keep "perfect time." He kept imperfect time perfectly. In other words, he held together a group of very disparate, brilliant men who forged ahead in their own fashion. In my mind, Ringo was above all, as much of a Beatle as the others in terms of the creativity and drive he put into their music.

As for touring without him, I believe that the Beatles did four shows in Australia in the summer of '64 with Jimmy Nichol in place of Ringo. To say he wasn't missed is to confirm that the "Not a dry seat in the house" concept I brought up earlier holds true. After '63, the Beatles became nothing more than a studio band who did live shows.

Now, you can find him mediocre at best, and that's fine, but it strikes me that you are not hearing it if you feel that way. And yes, this is, of course, my own opinion. Perhaps mjp said it best when he indicated that Ringo was a musical drummer.
 

mjp

Keep my good eye on the beat
Moderator
Founding member
Over 5000 posts
#25
It's interesting to find out who the people who put down Ringo consider to be good drummers. I think "good" drumming are two very different things to a musician and a non-musician.

When I was a kid and people would say, "Oh, so and so is a great drummer!" I had no idea what they were talking about. How could you tell? They all just go BAM BAM BAM TSSSH, right? It wasn't until I started wasting my life in basements and garages with other wannabe musicians that I really learned to appreciate good drumming (and good bass playing). The further you go down that path the more you really appreciate how few and far between really good drummers are.

Purple Stickpin's characterization of Ringo as someone who kept a sometimes wonderfully sloppy band together and cohesive is spot on. There are few songs where Ringo keeps a straight beat from beginning to end. He is almost always augmenting and cementing the music with subtle fills and flourishes. Stuff that can often go unnoticed unless you listen for it.

Ringo swings, baby! And that's what it's all about.
 

Rob.

Over 100 posts
#26
Again, complimenting a drummer for keeping a beat is like complimenting Kobe Bryant for dribbling a basketball.
 

nervas

more crickets than friends
Over 1000 posts
#27
Well I don't care what anybody says, Kobe Bryant dribbles a basketball better than anyone.
 
#28
Again, complimenting a drummer for keeping a beat is like complimenting Kobe Bryant for dribbling a basketball.
I don't think that's what they're saying at all, but anyway, I'm curious now:

Rob, what constitutes a "good" drummer? Who do you consider to be a good drummer?
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
Over 1000 posts
#29
Lennon actually said that.
One of my favorite Lennon quotes.

But as much as I love to make and\or laugh at a good Ringo joke, he's a good drummer. Sure, he can't do a competent drum-roll, but he's admitted that. And sure, he managed to get a giant ring stuck on his finger... But he had enough sense to change his name from Starkey...

What was I talking about again?
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Moderator
Founding member
Over 5000 posts
#30
Ringo was a good drummer as a Beatle. stick him with Led Zeppelin, or Miles Davis, he's lost. but that doesn't matter, he didn't have to play with Miles or Zeppelin. he knew what he had to do and how to make it work. there's no need to take Ringo out of context.
 
Top