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The Beatles

 

The Beatles

 

  Could you change the world in ten years? Would your work over that ten years stand the test of time, the way that we now look at the great master artist of the renaissance?

 

  A lot of people forget that The Beatles were not around for a very longtime. In ten short years they rose from the streets of Liverpool in England, to embed themselves as a permanent fixture into our culture. The influence of The Beatles in music and culture is now immeasurable, remove them from history and what would the world of today be like?

 

  The path of history could have been very different for The Beatles. Many today know the Fab four by name, even if they have never listened to a Beatles album. But names like Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe our lost to most now a days.

 

  In the late 1950's John Lennon was one of the founding members of a Skiffle band first known as the Blackjacks before quickly becoming The Quarrymen, along with Rod Davis, Len Garry, Eric Griffiths, Collin Hanton, Pete Shotton, and Bill Smith.

 

  Skiffle was a type of music that rose up in America in the 1920's that saw a revival in the United Kingdom during the 50's. Skiffle is a mix up of jazz, blues, roots, and country music played on mostly nontraditional instruments such as cigar box fiddle, jugs, kazoo, washboard, musical saw, and tea chest bass, along with the traditional instruments like the guitar, and banjo.

 

Skiffle instruments

Ah Skiffle... Whatever it is we will make an instrument out of it!

 

   Like many bands of the era The Quarrymen line up changed over time and included at times Ken Brown, John Lowe, Ivan Vaughan, Nigel Walley, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison. In an interesting side note to history, John Lennon was a little apprehensive of letting George Harrison join the band, because when he was invited to join by Paul McCartney in 1958 he was only 14 years old.  

 

  Along with lineup changes came name changes, The Quarrymen name was changed several times being known at various times as Johnny and the Moondogs, The College Band, The Silver Beetles until at last they settled simply on The Beatles in 1960.

 

  The original 1960 line up for The Beatles included John Lennon, George Harrison, Pete Best, Paul McCartney, and Stuart Sutcliffe.

 

The Beatles original lineup

The Fab 5?

 

  Stuart Sutcliffe decided to leave The Beatles a year later in of July 1961 to pursue his passion for art at the Hamburg College of Art. The next Beatle to leave would be Pete Best but not of his own accord.

 

  The band recorded an audition of four songs at Abby Road Studios for record producer George Martin in June of 1962. Martin did not think their initial songs were very good but he thought he could work with them, and the engineer on duty complained about Pete Best's drumming. What saved the band was their personality and wit which had made George Martin smile. Martin and his engineers suggested using a session drummer when the time came to make a record.

 

  When the rest of the band heard that Martin wanted a session player to replace Best when recording for the album started, they took it upon themselves to have their manager Brian Epstein dismiss Best. Years later George Martin would feel guilty that his wanting to use a session player (which was standard practice by many record producers at that time) was the reason for Best's release from the group. He never meant for it to happen that way.

 

  In August of 1962 Ringo Starr (real name Richard Starkey) became the new official drummer for The Beatles, and the classic lineup was settled upon at last.

 

The Cavern Club 1962 The Beatles

Ah now we have the Fab four at last.

   

  When discussing The Beatles we are going to generally weigh in on strictly their United Kingdom releases as the poor job that capital records did with the United States releases has led to a lot of confusion over the years.

 

How bad did Capital Records mess up The Beatles various albums? Will let the band speak for themselves.

The Beatles Yesterday and Today

 

 

The Beatles first four studio albums

1962-1964 How many bands now a day's put out four hit albums in two years time?

 

  Please Please Me was the band's debut album recorded in a single day during three marathon recording sessions. George Martin remarked that day "I don't know how they do it. We've been recording all day but the longer we go the better they get."

 

  Please Please Me was ranked number 39 on a list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2003.

 

  The band followed up the success of Please Please Me with well With the Beatles that very same year. This album could not be done in a single day like their previous effort, as the band was constantly moving all over the place doing concerts and appearances.

 

  With the Beatles was ranked number 420 on a list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2003.

 

  The following year saw the release of two more albums by the band A Hard Day's Night, and the Beatles for Sale.

 

  The British Invasion had begun and so had beetlemainia. In 1964 the band flew to the United States for a tour, and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. The episode was seen by an estimated seventy-four million viewers, which was more than forty percent of the population living in the United States at that time.

 

  A Hard Day's Night (the title being a reference to a Ringoism) was the bands third studio album and also (at least on one side) the soundtrack to the mockumentary film also titled A Hard Day's Night that The Beatles made about the beatlemainia phenomenon that was sweeping the world.

 

  Working on Beatles for Sale was a little harder for the band as this was their forth studio album in under two years and it was becoming more and more difficult to create new material with all of their time spent touring and making appearances once more.

 

  A Hard Day's Night was ranked number 388 on a list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2003.

 

The Beatles Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh studio albums

1965-1966 Can nothing stop these guys?

 

  In 1965 The Beatles made their second film Help! along with an accompanying album of the same name. Help! was done in a different style from A Hard Day's Night. Gone is the mockumentary to be replaced with a bizarre James Bond-esque spoof about a ring that Ringo cannot remove from his hand that everyone wants.

 

  1965 would also see the beginning of their second American tour with a famed show at Shea Stadium to a sold out crowd of 60,000 fans.

 

 Help! was ranked number 332 on a list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2003.

 

  Rubber Soul was the sixth studio album released by the band, and was released in time for the Christmas season in 1965 just four months after the release of Help! that year. Rubber Soul is the album that introduced the Indian sitar as a rock instrument to the world, after it was featured on the song Norwegian Wood. The sitar would find use by many more bands in the latter half of the 1960's.

 

  Rubber Soul was ranked number 5 on a list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2003.

 

  After The Beatles returned home from touring they were mired in a controversy over a comment that John Lennon had made during an interview five months previously were he had said that The Beatles "were more popular than Jesus now". The comment had been taken out of context and reprinted in an American magazine called Datebook.

 

  Revolver was the bands seventh studio album released in August of 1966. Revolver was a turning point in music in general and helped to usher in the psychedelic era of music.

 

  Revolver was ranked number 3 on a list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2003.

 

  The same month that Revolver was released the band decided that they would no longer tour. The Beatles has spent literally years of their lives touring the world and it had taken its toll upon them. From this point on they would be a studio only band.

 

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

One of the most important albums of all time.

 

  Unlike Please Please Me which was recorded in a single day, The Beatles spent over 400 hours working on the recording of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The band had left the crush of touring behind them at this point and at last had time to concentrate on their art.

 

  How important and influential is Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band upon the music world? Well being ranked number 1 on a list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2003 might give you a small clue about the power of this album.

 

  Knowing that they would not have to play the album on tour left the band open to try out many new experimental techniques to create sounds for their songs.

 

The Beatles Studio albums nine, ten, eleven

1967-1969

 

The beginning of the end...

 

  On August 23, 1967 the long time manager and friend of The Beatles, Brian Epstein passed away from a drug overdose of Carbitral, a medication used for sleeping. This would be the beginning of the end for The Beatles. Epstein had been very much a father figure to The Beatles. Epstein handled the bands financial affairs and settled internal disputes between the bands members. Even with his reduced role since the bands decision to end touring it was Epstein that The Beatles continued to look toward for advice. Now that he was gone Paul McCartney tried to fill his role but like a brother who assumes the head of a household after his father's death, his band mates began to resent him.

 

  The Magical Mystery Tour movie and album was The Beatles answer to not touring anymore. Seeing television as the new and best medium to connect with their fans. The film much of it improv work and recorded in color was shown for the first time in black and white due to the lack of proper technology at BBC1. It failed miserably and the band apologized for it publicly soon after.

 

  The Magical Mystery Tour album itself was a success and landed on the charts at number 1 in the United States.

 

  The Beatles often referred to as The White Album due to its stark white package with nothing more than the name of the band and a serial number on it followed the release of The Magical Mystery Tour. The songs on this double album range far and wide in style, mimicking the turmoil that was going on behind the scenes with the band.

 

  The band had decided to fly out to India for several weeks of meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to help get away from everything. The Beatles did not finish their meditation course but they did come away with an astounding amount of material. John Lennon feeling betrayed by rumors circulating at that time that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had made sexual advances on a friend of his was one of the last of the beatles to leave and he later acknowledged that the song Sexie Sade was about Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and that he had just changed the name.

 

  It was during the recording sessions for The White Album that John Lennon's new girl friend Yoko Ono started to become a fixture at beatles recording sessions.

 

  At one point tensions where so high that Ringo quit the band, but he was later talked back in by his fellow beatles.

 

  One of the few high points for the band during the recording of the white album was when Eric Clapton played lead guitar on George Harrisons song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". It was one of the few moments that seemed to relieve the tension in the studio.

 

  The Beatles (The White Album) was ranked number 10 on a list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2003.

 

  Yellow Submarine the tenth studio album released by The Beatles, was another soundtrack to a movie, this time an animated one. Yellow Submarine became the complete opposite of The Magical Mystery Tour, with the film doing well, while the album did poorly.

 

The Beatles Abbey Road

One of the most iconic images of all time.

 

  Abbey Road was the last beatles album recorded but not the last beatles album to be released that honor would go to the album Let It Be. After all the trouble with the recording of Let It Be, Paul McCartney suggested to George Martin that the band needed to get together and make an album "the way we used to".

 

  The Beatles knew at the time that this would likely be their last project together as an entity and decided to set aside all of their differences so that the band could go out on a high note. The iconic photograph of them crossing the road was taken by Lain Macmillan. It is an image that seems to come up again and again in pop culture.

 

Rockband 3 review

Shut up.

 

  Abbey Road was ranked number 14 on a list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2003.

 

The Beatles Let It Be

In the end let it be.

 

  Let It Be was to be the twelfth and final studio album to be released by The Beatles. Released on May 8th of 1970 it was the swan song that would end a decade that The Beatles had helped to shape.

 

  The concept for Let It Be was to create a live album and to get back to basics, a theme a lot of bands were exploring around that time. In fact the original title for the album was Get Back. The recording of the album coincided with the making of a documentary of the same name.

 

  The Let It Be film showed the stress and tension that the band was suffering from while making the album. Tensions remained high throughout the recording process and at one point George Harrison quit the band for awhile. At one point during Harrison's absence John Lennon suggested replacing him permanently with Eric Clapton but both Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr vetoed the idea.

 

  The last live performance of The Beatles happened on January 30th on the rooftop of The Beatles Apple Building and was filmed for the Let It Be documentary. The performance was cut short by the police who were responding to noise complaints.

 

  Let It Be was ranked number 86 on a list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2003.

 

  The final dissolution of The Beatles was coming for sometime as the weight of the world came down on The Beatles shoulders. It almost seemed like they were taking turns quitting the band and coming back near the end. It was not one singular event that ended The Beatles, but a culmination of several factors that led to the end.

 

  So we come to the end of an era as The Beatles officially split up and never truly reunited. In just ten short years The Beatles released twelve studio albums and influenced an entire generation of people and music across the globe. But their influence did not end in 1970 and it is carried on to this very day, nearly 50 years after the release of their first album.

 

  Harmonix released the Beatles Rock Band on September 9, 2009 introducing a new generation to the band's music, and Apple recently announced that The Beatles music would finally be coming into the digital age, with a release of their music on iTunes. It makes me smile to know that the cycle continues.

 

Final Verdict: The Beatles 10/10

 

  -Professor

 

  Remember have fun out there, and don't let others expectations and criticisms eat away from the joy that you do get from what you do.

 

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