Thread: The Beatles

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  1. #1
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    Default The Beatles

    There has to be a Fabs thread on the new PS!

    Actually, all I wanted to say (for now) is that I'm really enjoying the "Love" album. I was quite dubious about it and didn't expect to like it all that much, but I now think it's a fabulous idea and George and Giles Martin have done a grand job. The great songs are ll there but it's fascinating to hear bit so fthem in a differnt way. As it had the blessing of all the surviving Beatles (George included, before he passed away) it deserves a listen I think.

    What does anyone else think?

    Incidentally, I still can't believe George is dead.
    I must admit, just when I think I'm king, I just begin!

  2. #2
    Captain Tancredi Guest

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    Growing up on Merseyside in the 1970s, there was something of a feeling that something had happened and I was supposed to understand but couldn't. I suppose a lot of the people who'd seen them live or known them before they became famous were still around, and the Liverpool of the 1970s wasn't that far away from the Liverpool of the 1960s (apart from the Cavern being flattened, of course). And I couldn't connect with any sense of occasion when John Lennon was murdered either- I had no sense of what he meant to my parents' generation, and don't get me on to the problems 'Imagine' caused me when I was a Christian...

    I've been doing a bit of Beatles- exploring recently, and in a sense I think I appreciate their musical achievements more coming from a classical background so I can see what they're doing with instrumentation and experimenting with sound. And it never fails to bring a smile when they try to get away with a rhyme which only works in a Scouse accent- such as "fair" and "her" in 'She Loves You'. What I can never quite get my head round is that these musical geniuses came from pretty much the same background as my mum and dad- I can loosely claim that Dad worked with George Harrison's dad, but only because my dad would just have started working in the accounts department of Liverpool Corporation counting the bus takings when George's dad was still on the buses.

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    It's not just where you come from it's where you're at, la.
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    They're not as good as Oasis.

    Si.

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    Go and stand on the nearest hill so we can sing a Beatles song at you.

    I do hope you're joking you know.
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    I'm sure you do my dear.

    Si.

  7. #7
    Dave Lewis Guest

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    I prefer Wings... the band the Beatles could have been.


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    I listened to "1" not so long ago, and it was interesting to hear a whistlestop restrospective of their best known songs. To me, the early-mid stuff, while undoubtedly being fine in terms of original tunesmithery, is almost unpalatable today unless you are a milkman in need of something to hum - and we all know milkmen are a dying breed. It's all jolly, two-minute long fare, but pitched at one level - nothing rises above or below "jaunty" and as such I found it difficult evoking an emotional response to it, though "Help!" remains astoundingly unusual. There's no denying the importance of these songs - you only have to look at how often they're still recalled or covered today, but like the stone tablets on which were first carved the scientific formulae defining pop music, they arn't backwards compatible with the tastes of todays kids, even if they are still as fresh sounding and vibrant.

    Everything changed eventually of course, and the mid-period evoked by "Yesterday" (unfortunately such a standard it's now impossible to hear without imagining a curly-haired primary school teacher reciting it on a guitar) and the wonderful likes of "Eleanor Rigby" and "Paperback Writer" show artists flowering. This must be "Revolver" territory, their finest album. Presumably "Yellow Submarine" was a joke though.

    They end up unshackled, but creatively on-fire, and it's the later period of the Beatles that's the most interesting for me. "All You Need Is Love", "Hello, Goodbye" and "Penny Lane" make you wonder how long they could have gone on like this, producing fine, multi-coloured pop gems able to worm their way into the minds and hearts of the people. However, time has worked its curse on a lot of these tracks too, and I fear "The Long And Winding Road", "Hey Jude" and even "Something" are passing from art into the hands of the drunks and the X-Factor contestants; maybe once they sounded beautiful; today they have practically become nursery rhymes. Once again unpalitable, but for different reasons.

    I've never liked "Get Back" and "Come Together", lumpen tunes both, but "Ballad of John and Yoko" is most interesting and draws the line that would curve into the Lennon solo career. You wonder if the likes of "Imagine" and "Jealous Guy" (the former perhaps sung by McCartney?) could have been claimed by the Beatles, if things had worked out differently.

    The Beatles are impossible not to take for granted. We all KNOW that the number of classics they wrote is ten times what any artist would need to spend a career twilight touring them. And just as we all know them, they have all been loved quite literally to death, probably by our Dads before we were old enough, until they are no longer surprising or special. Perhaps I need someone to make me a "Beatles - Best Of The Rest" album? I'm sure the magic is now buried somewhere beneath the high street compilations - in the meantime, when it comes to The Beatles, I'll settle for whistling like a milkman.

    Si.

  9. #9
    Dave Lewis Guest

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    Best Of The Rest? That'll distract me from the quiz I should be writing. I'll get back* to you shortly.


    *Ahem

  10. #10
    Dave Lewis Guest

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    Lordy... about a million times more difficult than I hitherto suspected. Here, for your downloading pleasure, is The Beatles' "Another 1" album, as selected by me. It's a chronological selection of tunes that were never singles (or at least, A-sides) in the UK. Some are well known, some perhaps less so. Dig all of its fab gear.



    1. I Saw Her Standing There
    2. Twist And Shout
    3. Thank You Girl
    4. I Should've Known Better
    5. Things We Said Today
    6. You Can't Do That
    7. Yes, It Is
    8. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
    9. I've Just Seen A Face
    10. Nowhere Man
    11. I'm Looking Through You
    12. Wait
    13. If I Needed Someone
    14. Rain
    15. And Your Bird Can Sing
    16. Got To Get You Into My Life
    17. Getting Better
    18. Good Morning, Good Morning
    19. The Fool On The Hill
    20. Back In The USSR
    21. Happiness Is A Warm Gun
    22. Julia
    23. Sexy Sadie
    24. Old Brown Shoe
    25. I Want You (She's So Heavy)
    26. Two Of Us
    27. I've Got A Feeling
    Last edited by Dave Lewis; 16th Jan 2007 at 3:59 PM. Reason: I dig a pygmy, by Charles Hawtrey and the Deaf Aids. Phase one, in which Doris gets her oats.

  11. #11
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    "Rain"...oh...yes.


    As for The Beatles early to mid stuff, that's where I came in. My first memories of The Beatles were the '60s American cartoon series (much syndicated throughout the '70s) and the 1982 re-issue of "Love me do". The cartoon series was precisely pitched at that point where the band were breaking America, with their suits and mop-top haircuts. Like an on-going animated version of Richard Lester's Beatle films, with many mis-adventures punctuated by songs and the band 'performing' while the action continues (as adopted by "The Monkees" and who knows how many series since). I loved it. I haven't seen it since I was very small, but the sound of The Beatles has stayed in me- all those harmonies and great hooks in amongst the shrieks and tambourines. Nobody sounded like them back then and nobody does still. Not even Oasis and whoever else says they are the band's greatest fan.

    When I hear early Beatles I can still imagine hearing them as a kid and what it sounded like then and in quick succession I think I can appreciate how it would have been to have them thrust onto the scene in 1962/63 with all that was going on at the time. Personally, with sounds as diverse as disco, Olivia Newton John, crap easy listening and New wave being played around me they sounded just as fresh and vital.

    I love The Beatles from "Help!" onwards for precisely the reasons Si probably does, but I differ in that I can hear the early songs for more than milkman fodder (not that Si is disputing their brilliance). It takes real talent to write songs so simple and apparently disposable and to be fairt by the fast emerging '60s counter-culture the early singles perhaps already sounded old hat by the end of the '60s. They didn't quite rock like "Purple Haze" for example.

    But "Please, please me" must have sent the kids of '63 ape-shit (in the best possible way). Come on, come on, come on...and then some. As twee as the lyrics might be it charms you into excitement. Whether they conciously had a formula back then is open to debate, but what a formula! Simple lyrics of getting with someone you fancy, and those infectious jingly jangly guitars (before such things were the hallmark of a hundred indie wannabes) with the most lush cheeky voices.
    A lot of those early singles just stumble into the ether with a quick drum roll or a twang of the guitar- they know what they're doing and that usually means building up to the arse shaking chorus as quick as you can say "whooooooooo".
    The rest of the world caught on to them because of these fab (haha) early singles (not that we're disputing that). Although I still want to know what the Spaniards were playing at, giving the Beatles just 4 no.1s (fact!) in a world were country's charts are swamped by Beatle no.1s. Odd bastards.
    "I want to hold your hand", for example, is a great single. It's about holding hands, of course, which hardly puts it in the Tupac terrirory of popping a cork in your mo-foing ass, but it's gonna be played for decades to come. It's....sort of special. It's still the 4th best-selling single in the world. Ever. Beneath Elton John's "Candle in the wind '97", Band Aid and Bing Crosby I think. 12 million singles sold. A band can usually count themselves exceptionally lucky if they sell one million copies of one album.

    So, definitely songs that are going to be whistled by milkmen and the like, but that's an ultimate accolade perhaps. In another few decades someone will be having the same discussion, I guarantee it. The early Beatles are so out of time, yet so above it all....so part of our lives. The happy parts, the parts that need parties and screaming and daft dancing at weddings and running down a backstreet jumping in the air. It's nice to think there will always be some young kid hearing the Liverpool boys with the same feelings as those kids of '63.

    So let's whistle away...There's so much great music out there, but only a small fraction gets that wonderful accolade.



    ...and if that's what I think of the early singles, you don't want to get me raving on about their later stuff!
    Last edited by Carol Baynes; 16th Jan 2007 at 8:53 PM. Reason: It's been a hard days night
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  12. #12
    Captain Tancredi Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Baynes View Post
    As for The Beatles early to mid stuff, that's where I came in. My first memories of The Beatles were the '60s American cartoon series (much syndicated throughout the '70s)
    Ah yes, Granada in the 1970s...every so often you come out with something which reminds me that we were almost certainly watching the same stuff about 30 miles apart some 25 years ago.

    From having had my own little Beatle drive in the last couple of weeks, if one thing's struck me more than anything else it's the sense of three very different talents working together for so long and then going their separate ways- John following the political/activist path, George the spiritual and Paul more of a pure musician. As well as just how slow some of their early dance numbers are compared to what we're used to today!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Tancredi View Post
    From having had my own little Beatle drive in the last couple of weeks, if one thing's struck me more than anything else it's the sense of three very different talents working together for so long and then going their separate ways- John following the political/activist path, George the spiritual and Paul more of a pure musician.
    Three?? Three?!!

    Be every careful what you say about Mr. Starkey.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Tancredi View Post
    As well as just how slow some of their early dance numbers are compared to what we're used to today!
    Mmmmm...not sure I agree. They don't need to be any faster or slower. Most modern guitar bands are similar. They're never gonna be played at Cream or wherever, but as far as guitar pop music is concerned it's fine....they're fast enough for the indie kids in Bolton town centre anyway. "Hard day's night" always gets played in places....I'm thinking you've not heard "Helter Skelter" yet!
    I must admit, just when I think I'm king, I just begin!

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    I got the Love album for Miranda for Christmas, the version that comes with a bonus audio DVD with the album in 5.1 surround sound. We listened to it on the DVD player on Christmas day, and I took the cd with me in the car and listened to it the next day, but since then it has recieved no attention that I know of. (It would have more from me, but I don't want to be accused of buying her a Christmas present that was really for me). Anyway, I really enjoyed the album and like spotting the differences. Strawberry Fields was probably the highlight for me. I really liked what they did with the different takes on that one.
    Last edited by Jeff; 16th Jan 2007 at 11:41 PM.

  15. #15
    Pip Madeley Guest

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    The first half of Glass Onion is one of their best moments. Bloody wonderful.

  16. #16
    Wayne Guest

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    I spoken at length about The Beatles on various threads over the years, so it's hard to think of anything that i haven't said before, but....
    I'm not actually a huge fan of them, as in i listen to 'em loads, but there are many good reasons why they're the probably the most influential pop group of all.
    I suppose for me it inevitably comes down to the musical/guitar side. When i first started learning guitar, i was already into rock music that was broadly more advanced than The Beatles, & i thought that beyond the childhood nostalgia of my Mum's albums, they didn't have anything to offer me.
    Then someone threw me a copy of 'Beatles Complete' songbook which i dipped into out of curiosity at the songs i knew from when i was a kid. I was surprised to find that this band was not the usual '3 or 4 chord trick' pop group that i'd expected. Infact i learnt a variety of chords from that book that i didn't know, & more importantly, i got a gist of how to use them in a melodic context.
    Even on their early stuff, which mainly uses the 'open' & 'bar' chords that charicterize many basic pop songs, i was surprised at the amount of chord movement, & even the use of such chords as augmented & diminished, which at that time had never even heard of, & only encountered again later when i got into Led Zep, & later Jazz in a big way.

    'All My Loving' from 1963 is a good example:

    F#m B7
    Close your eyes and I'll kiss you
    E C#m
    Tomorrow I'll miss you
    A F#m D B7
    Remember I'll always be true
    F#m B7
    And then while I'm away
    E C#m
    I'll write home every day
    A B7 E
    (2nd verse):
    And I'll send all my loving to youI'll pretend that I'm kissing the lips I am missingAnd hope that my dreams will come trueAnd then while I'm awayI'll write home every dayAnd I'll send all my loving to you
    CHORUS:
    C#m C+(aug) E
    All my loving I will send to you
    C#m C+(aug) E
    All my loving, darling I'll be true
    VERSE ONE,
    CHORUS
    C#m E
    All my loving, all my loving ...

    Don't get me wrong, they've been over-hyped at times, & foolishly compared to classical composers like Schubert & Beethoven & such like, which from a musical point of view is ridiculous. A certain ex-poster at the controls who used to try to bring them down, would make comparisons to the likes of Genesis & Led Zeppelin etc... who obviously came along several years after the Beatles did, in the era of Heavy & Prog Rock.
    But in the context of what they were, The Beatles remain a hugely influential group, & their creativity within pop music & beyond, is a big pot which is still plundered, by many commercially successful guitar based bands of today.


    *Edited to add: For some reason the gaps in between the chords don't show up in the post, (even though they're here in the 'reply' field), so the chord changes don't appear over the right lyric.
    Last edited by Wayne; 17th Jan 2007 at 1:12 AM.

  17. #17
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    'It's All Too Much' is my current favourite.

  18. #18
    Pip Madeley Guest

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    Tony Banks of Genesis gives a lot of praise to the Beatles for their chord progressions, and they were one of Genesis' influences. And he's one of popular music's best when it comes to chord progressions.

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    Not even Oasis and whoever else says they are the band's greatest fan.
    I'm not quite sure where this idea that Oasis sound like the Beatles came from, let-alone that they try to sound like the Beatles... just because they've professed their love for the band (hasn't, or shouldn't, everyone in some way?). They sound more like Slade or the Faces to be honest. They've only ever covered one or two Beatles songs in concert, and none on a studio album that I can remember. I skirted over Carol's earlier outrage that, of course, I couldn't possibly think Oasis were better than the Beatles? But actually I do, because they are more relevent to me... and after ten years, I think they have just as many original classics to their songbook (none of which sound anything like Beatles songs). You Beatles fans have "The Long and Winding Road", "Help!" and "All You Need Is Love", us Oasis fans have "Whatever", "Wonderwall" and "Don't Stop Crying Your Heart Out". And many, many more in each case.

    Of course, one definate similarity between the two bands, which neatly ties in to the above conversation between Pip and Wayne, is that both revitalised the guitar as an instrument of choice for students of the day. When I read how Wayne learnt a lot from the novice-friendly chords of the Beatles, it struck an (ahem) chord with me because the Oasis songs were always really easy to learn - that's not to say they are rubbish or 'simple' songs, but wonderfully original songs with very common chords in them. Nothing wrong with that I say! I think Oasis got short change from that - of the two bands, both are stunningly original in my opinion - it's actually an utter myth that Oasis are wholly derivitive, except perhaps of themselves, show me another song that sounds like "Champagne Supernova". Or "Rock'n'Roll Star". Or "Go! Let It Out" - except, of course, that the Beatles didn't have to follow The Beatles.

    Si.

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    I was actually saying that Oasis sound nothing like The Beatles just incase that's in doubt.... agree they sound more like Slade.

    Not sure if I agree that both The Beatles and Oasis "revitalised the guitar as an instrument of choice for students of the day". The guitar certainly didn't need revitlising in a popular context in the early '60s, and in 1994 the likes of Suede and Blur were already at no.1 in the album charts and in the top ten singles, prior to "Definitely maybe". But Oasis did appeal to the common people (no Pulp jokes) and still do, in a similar way to The Beatles, but they could never be anywhere near as big.
    The Beatles are by far the more important group and I agree with much of what Wayne said, and I would add that they completely changed the way we can work in a recording studio. Things became possible because the Beatles wanted to be (and obvioulsy they had more commercial clout than most!)
    Last edited by Carol Baynes; 17th Jan 2007 at 9:24 AM. Reason: Help!
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    Then guitar certainly didn't need revitlising ina popular context in the early '60s, and in 1994 Suede and Blur were already at no.1 in the album charts and int he top ten singles, prior to "Definitely maybe".
    I can only go by my own experience, and of course I wasn't around in the 60's so have no idea about what the Beatles achieved other than what Wayne said. But I would debate the Oasis point - they wern't the first Britpop guitar band, but they were the first properly ape-able one. I remember everyone in my University house having a guitar and learning the songs, and going over to my mates and being wowed that his housemate could do all these tracks - "Masterplan", "Live Forever" etc. They had an acoustic angle which just leant themselves to it. Because Oasis/Noel are really very acoustic/soft-rock at root level when you explore the band, especially the B-sides. The other bands like Blur and Suede didn't do that - I don't remember anyone playing "The Universal" or "We Are The Pigs" on their guitars, whatever the merits of those songs, and you never got Damon Albern appearing on Jools Holland alone with his guitar like Noel did. Oasis were the best to copy, because they had so many songs (like the Beatles, very productive) and most of them could be played really easily acoustically.

    Si.

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    Yeh, I agree with some of that. Oasis had a very accessible style.

    You have to remember that probably one of the most important 'revitilasations' of the guitar in pop music was Punk which still cast a formidable shadow over the '80s and '90s in my opinion.

    Anyway, it's my morning off and I havn't had any breakfast yet!
    I must admit, just when I think I'm king, I just begin!

  23. #23
    Captain Tancredi Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Baynes View Post
    Three?? Three?!!

    Be every careful what you say about Mr. Starkey.
    Thomas the Tank Engine was never the same without him...

    Actually, I have a fair amount of time for Ringo because he's the one I can see most clearly coming from the generation slightly before my mum and dad- and if the drumming hadn't worked out, he'd probably have ended up on the bins or the buses. It's interesting how his Beatle persona gets played around with as well- using what isn't necessarily a strong singing voice but a distinctive one, particularly on the fun songs like Yellow Submarine and Octopus's Garden. Knowing little about the context, I'm not sure how that fits in with the way other bands at the time promoted their drummers- I'm guessing that they weren't mostly put forward on a more-or-less equal basis with the lead singers and guitarists.

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    Oh, I don't know, Keith Moon was as famous as anyone else in The Who, for example. The other thing we forget about Ringo is how great a drummer he actually was. I'm not suggesting he was the best, but he was up there. He was in The Beatles for crying out loud. His drum solo is one of my favourite things about side 2 of "Abbey road".
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  25. #25
    Wayne Guest

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    Re. The revitalizing of the guitar:
    I'm not sure of my ground as to what is considered 'Brit-pop', but it's clear that whilst the guitar never disappeared entirely of course, it did come back into prominence around the time of Brit-pop, after several years of a pop scene largely dominated by keyboard/synth/dance material. Guitar based bands were always there as i say, but there was definitely an increase at the time that Oasis & the like started to get big.
    Carol is right though with reference to the 60's. The biggest british band pre.Beatles were The Shadows, who had become a huge success in their own right, by the early 60's. I think you could safely say that The Shadows were guitar based. And of course Cliff & The Shads started out as Britian's biggest representation of the American phenomenon of 'Rock & Roll', which was the big music movement of the late 50's. And that was definitely guitar based.

    Just to add more to a previous point re. the musical influence of The Beatles:
    A band doesn't actively have to sound the Beatles in order to make use of some of their chord changes & melodic ideas. And i'm not just talking about Oasis.
    A certain Benny & Bjorn for instance, borrowed a bit from The Beatles, although ABBA don't really sound anything like them. Which is not to denigrate Benny, Bjorn or ABBA, because some of their material actually surpasses The Beatles musically in certain ways, IMO. There's loads of different sections & chord & key changes even in ABBA's most famous singles. They managed to come up with memorable, singable, catchy tunes, & yet there's so much happening in them. Bloody clever stuff for what it is.
    As for Oasis, i can't say too much, because i've only heard their first album once, when it came out, & a few singles here & there. But based strictly on what i've heard, they may have the sound of rockier band than The Beatles, but hearing their chord changes, & their melodic ideas, i strongly detect The Beatles, even if they don't outwardly sound like them.
    I accept that some people love 'em, & that they are relevant to a whole generation etc.. etc.., but from what i've heard they're not exactly original.
    Of course, every musician/band/artist is influenced by what came before, but originailty is determined by those who create sopmething new out of something old, & at the end of the day it's all down to personal perception, but for my money, ABBA (as just one example) succeeded. Whether Oasis have is a matter of opinion, but i'm not convinced, personally. But i accept that i've perhaps not heard enough to judge.
    Last edited by Wayne; 17th Jan 2007 at 11:49 PM.