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The Beatles are among the most influential popular music artists of the second half of the 20th century, affecting the culture of Britain and America and the postwar baby boom generation, and the entire English-speaking world, especially during the 1960s and early 1970s. Certainly they're the most successful, with global sales reaching past 1.2 thousand million records sold as of 2003. Their influences on popular culture extended far beyond their roles as recording artists, as they branched out into film and even semi-willingly became spokesmen for their generation. The members of the group were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey), all from Liverpool, England. The effect of the Beatles on Western culture (and by extension) on the rest of the world has been immeasurable.
Originally a high-energy pop band (typified by the early singles "Twist and Shout" and "Please Please Me"), as the Beatles progressed their style became more sophisticated, influenced in equal measure by Bob Dylan and Chuck Berry. Their popularity was also aided by their attractive looks, distinctive personalities, and natural charisma; particularly on television where they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and others.
This was the beginning of Beatlemania in which the committed pop-music band found itself turned into a worldwide phenomenon with worshipful fans, hysterical adulation, and denunciations by others such as Frank Sinatra. None of this had much to do with music and was regarded by the band members with intermittent awe and resentment.
Lennon met McCartney on July 6, 1957 at St. Peter's Church garden fete. Lennon was in a skiffle group called The Quarry Men who were performing at the event. McCartney joined the band, and brought Harrison along soon after. In 1958, The Quarry Men recorded a demo of two songs; the first was an original Harrison/McCartney tune called "In spite of all the danger"; the other was a cover of Buddy Holly's "That'll Be The Day". A number of songs that were later recorded for Beatles records, were originally written at this time including "I'll Follow The Sun", "Michelle", "When I'm 64", and "One After 909".
After a brief split, the Quarry Men regrouped in 1960 as The Fabulous Silver Beetles, later shortened to The Beatles. The name was a tribute to Buddy Holly's band, The Crickets, combined with beat music, a common British term for rock and roll at the time. In another tribute, they had sometimes called themselves the Foreverly Brothers.
The reformed band consisted of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, plus Pete Best on drums and Stuart Sutcliffe on bass. In late 1960, they embarked upon a tour of Hamburg, West Germany, only to return to Liverpool when Harrison was deported for being under the age of 18.
In March 1961, the Beatles played their first gig at Liverpool's 'Cavern Club' before returning to the lucrative Hamburg scene with a now legal Harrison. During their stay in Germany they were hired by Bert Kaempfert to record backing for the singer Tony Sheridan. A single, "My Bonnie", was released in Germany on the Polydor label in August 1961, credited to Tony Sheridan and the Beat Boys. It was the Beatles' first commercial release.
In the Spring of 1961, whilst still in Hamburg, Sutcliffe decided to leave the band in order to concentrate on his art studies. McCartney, who had been playing guitar, replaced him on bass.
In their early days, the Beatles composed and rehearsed their songs at 20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool, the home of Paul McCartney, and now a National Trust property open to the public.
On December 10, 1961, Brian Epstein agreed to become the band's manager, after receiving requests for the band's music two months earlier in his record store and watching them perform at the Cavern Club. Epstein arranged for the Beatles to audition for Decca Records on January 1, 1962. Decca, in one of the most embarrassing business decisions in music history, rejected the band, on the grounds that guitar music was "on the way out".
The Beatles then signed with EMI's Parlophone label in early 1962. George Martin, who was at first unimpressed by the band's demos, fell in love with the band when he met them in person. Not only did he feel as though they had musical talent, but he felt that their wit and humor made them extremely "likeable." He did have a problem with Best however, whom he criticized for not be able to keep time. The Beatles let Best go, and immediately asked Starr, whom they had met and even performed with previously, to join the band permanently. Martin, unaware of this personnel change, hired session drummer Andy White to play drums on the Beatles' first studio session on September 11, 1962.
The Beatles recorded their first full length album, live in the studio, on February 11, 1963 in one 12 hour session. On February 22, 1963 the Beatles' second single, "Please Please Me" went straight to No. 1. Meet the Beatles, the first Beatles album in the United States, was released on January 20, 1964. On February 7, 1964 The Beatles travelled to New York for a number of U.S. television appearances and performances. Upon arriving at JFK airport, The Beatles noticed thousands of kids screaming and awaiting the plane's arrival. They assumed that there must have been someone important on the plane with them and were a bit shocked to learn that the crowds were actually there for them.
On February 9, 1964 The Beatles performed on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time. To this day it remains one of the highest rated television programs of all time, with 73 million people tuning in. The Beatles made four more live appearances on the show in months to come. Two days later, on February 11 in the Washington, DC Coliseum, The Beatles made their first live stage appearance in the United States.
On April 4, 1964, The Beatles set a record that has yet to be broken when they occupied all five top positions on Billboard's Top Pop Singles chart (they first appeared on Billboard on January 18th that year). Their single "Can't Buy Me Love" was at number one. In August of that year, The Beatles' first motion picture was released, A Hard Day's Night. They started filming their second film, Help! on February 23, 1965 in the Bahamas.
The psychedelic years
In early 1965, Lennon and Harrison were dosed with LSD by their dentist. In the ensuing years, the Beatles met with psychedelic counterculture icon Timothy Leary, experimented extensively with LSD and released two heavily LSD-influenced albums, Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
On June 12, 1965, The Beatles were individually awarded the order of Member of the British Empire (MBE) by the Queen. Since it was unusual for rock stars to receive the MBE, some previous recipients complained and protested, and a small number went so far as to return their own honours, complaining they had been "devalued". Lennon would return his own in 1969 with the note:
"Your Majesty, I am returning my MBE in protest against Britain's involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against "Cold Turkey" slipping down in the Charts.
On August 15, 1965, The Beatles started their second North American tour at Shea Stadium, which was the first rock concert to be held in a venue that size. The concert also set new world records for attendance (55,600+) and for revenue.
On March 4, 1966, in an interview for the London Evening Standard with Maureen Cleave, John Lennon made the following statement:
"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."
The statement, was part of a two page interview and went virtually unnoticed in Britain. In July of that year, Lennon's words were reprinted in the United States fan magazine Datebook leading to a backlash by conservative religious groups mainly in the rural South and Midwest states. Radio stations banned the group's recordings, and their albums and other products were burned and destroyed. Spain and the Vatican denounced Lennon's words and South Africa banned Beatles music from the radio. On August 11, 1966 Lennon held a press conference in Chicago in order to address the growing furor.
On June 5, 1966, The Beatles returned to The Ed Sullivan Show, this time with a taped appearance, where they introduced their two new music videos, "Rain" and "Paperback Writer". In later years, The Beatles would appear on the show to introduce more music videos for the songs "Hello Goodbye", "Penny Lane", "Strawberry Fields Forever", "Two Of Us", and "Let It Be".
On July 2, 1966, The Beatles became the first musical group to perform at the Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo. The performance ignited a lot of protest from local citizens who felt that it was inappropriate for a rock and roll band to play at Budokan.
By the end of July, the band headed to the Philippines for a series of shows. The Beatles, while relaxing in their hotel room, read in the newspaper that they would visit the Malacanang Palace of President Ferdinand Marcos. This came as news to the Beatles, who were tired from the tour and didn't plan on using their one day off to visit the President. They spent a relaxing evening in the hotel, and awoke the next morning to death threats and newspaper headlines like "Imelda stood up!" and "The Beatles snub the First Lady!". Epstein attempted to make a televised apology for the incident, but none of the local stations would air it. The following day, armed guards attempted to keep the band from leaving the country until they paid a fee of some kind. The Beatles, who hadn't been paid for their shows in the country, paid out of their own pockets. The Beatles literally had to fight their way to the airplane. Decades later with the fall of the Marcos regime, the members of the band took some pride that they stood up to the Marcos' in some small way.
Events like in the Phillipines, added to the fact that the fans screamed so loud at their concerts that they couldn't even hear themselves perform, led to the band deciding to quit touring altogether. The band performed their last concert (at least on a large scale) at San Francisco's Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966.
The Studio Years
With the distractions of touring behind them, The Beatles began recording Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on November 24, 1966. The album took so much time to record (for a Beatles record anyway) that the press started to suggest that the Beatles had "lost it" and had run out of creativity. Three early tracks, "Strawberry Fields Forever", "Penny Lane", and "Only A Northern Song", were left out of the "Sgt. Pepper" LP but saved for later albums, the latter song becoming part of the "Yellow Submarine" film.
Nonetheless, "Sgt. Pepper"'s release on June 2, 1967, was a high point both for the band and for all of rock music, for it was the first-ever concept album (built around a particular theme) and helped to launch what we know today as the "Classic Rock" format.
On June 25, 1967 The Beatles performed "All You Need Is Love" for the Our World television special. It was the first television special to air worldwide. Singing backup for the Beatles were a number of artists including Eric Clapton, and members of the Rolling Stones and The Who.
Manager Brian Epstein died of a drug overdose on August 27, 1967, while the Beatles were in Bangor, Wales, attending a weekend conference given by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The death was officially ruled accidental, although it has often been speculated that it was a suicide. Epstein had managed every aspect of the Beatles' career, and his absence was immediately noticeable. The Beatles' business affairs began to unravel.
In January 1968, The Beatles launched Apple Corps., a disastrously mismanaged entertainment company that included a recording studio, a record label (Apple Records), a film division and clothing store. In addition to Beatles records, Apple released albums by James Taylor, Mary Hopkin, Billy Preston, Badfinger, Ravi Shankar and other artists.
Towards the end of the 1960s, members of the band began to pursue their own musical interests and were writing together less and less. This became more and more obvious on releases like 1968's The Beatles (a.k.a. "The White Album"), and Let It Be. The Beatles was largely written during the band's visit to India, where they had several meetings with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. With the exception of Harrison, the Beatles eventually rejected what they were hearing from The Maharishi - even occasionally writing songs that made fun of him (like "Sexy Sadie", originally titled "Maharishi", and a number of unreleased songs from the Let It Be sessions).
In January of 1969, The Beatles began rehearsals for a new album project (at the time entitled Get Back). The rehearsals at Twickenham Film Studios and recording sessions at Apple Studios were filmed for what would eventually become the Let It Be movie. Many ideas had been thrown around for the Get Back album, including the idea of recording it live during a surprise concert performance on top of a submarine, in an amphitheatre, or in a dance hall. None of these happened, but they did end the project with a live performance on top of the Apple Corps. building in London, which was cut short when a local bank manager called the police to complain about the noise. This impromptu concert, held on January 30, 1969, was to be the Beatles' last public performance. Eventually the band gave up on the project and turned the results of the sessions over to producer Phil Spector. The Beatles professed themselves happy with Spector's re-working of the recordings to make a releasable album; Paul McCartney later indicated he was not happy because Spector had added things like an orchestra and a choir to the stripped-down performances (although he signed the release authorisation at the time). The original intent of the record had been to bring the band full circle, and record what was essentially a live studio performance - just as their first album had been.
The Beatles began recording their final album in July of 1969, entitled Abbey Road which proved to be a relatively smooth and peaceful production of the acclaimed album. Lennon announced to the other Beatles that he was leaving the band soon after that album's release but was persuaded to remain quiet in public.
In September of 1969, Russell Gibb, a radio DJ in Detroit, Michigan, announced that Paul McCartney was dead. Other DJs, television news reporters, newspapers and magazines picked up on the story and began to look for clues. This snowballed into what is commonly referred to today as the Paul Is Dead hoax. People that believed the rumors, claimed that McCartney had died in a car accident and was replaced by a look-alike named William Campbell. Numerous clues were supposedly hidden in album artwork, lyrics, and recordings themselves (fans even went so far as to play Beatles records backwards--for instance, the words "number nine, number nine" on the song "Revolution #9" on The Beatles (a.k.a. "The White Album") became "turn me on, dead man, turn me on, dead man" when played counterclockwise). Another key clue apparently was the cover of the album Abbey Road in which Paul held a cigarette with his right hand, indicating his becoming reduced to ashes. Paul is left handed. The entire details behind the hoax could fill several volumes of Beatles biographies.
The band officially broke up in 1970. The last Beatles studio session that included all four band members took place on August 20, 1969. The song they worked on had an ironic title..."The End". The final Beatles session was on January 4, 1970.
EMI released Let It Be in May of 1970, and the film of the same name shortly after (for the main purpose of fulfilling the group's contract with United Artists).
After the Breakup
On December 8, 1980, John Lennon was murdered in front of his New York City apartment by a mentally deranged fan, Mark David Chapman, thus forever crushing any hope of a Beatles reunion. His death was mourned by millions of fans around the world.
Singer Michael Jackson bought the publishing rights for most of the Beatles' music, on August 10, 1985, for $47 million. McCartney, who had been attempting to purchase the rights himself, had told Jackson that he should get into publishing. McCartney did not expect Jackson to purchase the Beatles music. "I wrote a couple of letters and I said, Michael, don't you think that - even if I was just a writer on the payroll - after 30 years of being reasonably successful to this company that you now own, don't you think I could have a raise?" said McCartney. "And he said 'Oh Paul, that's just business'. He won't even answer my letters, so we haven't talked and we don't have that great a relationship. The trouble is I wrote those songs for nothing and buying them back at these phenomenal sums... I just can't do it." This is an example of how future royalties of an entertainment work are difficult to value and how creators should be cautious in making business decisions.
In 1988, The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Both Lennon and McCartney were also inducted separately in later years.
On November 30, 1994, Apple Records released a 2 CD collection of early Beatles performances on the BBC, entitled Live At The BBC.
In February of 1994, the three surviving Beatles reunited to produce and record additional music to a few of Lennon's old unfinished demos, with Jeff Lynne co-producing. The first new song, "Free As A Bird", premiered November 19, 1995 as part of The Beatles Anthology series of television specials on the ABC network in the US and ITV in the UK. The song was also included on a CD with the same title, which was released on November 21, 1995. The following year, a second "new" track was released, entitled "Real Love", on March 4, 1996. That song was also included on the second Anthology collection which was released on March 18, 1996. A third Anthology collection followed on October 12, 1996, but did not include any new material. At least one other song, entitled "Now And Then", was worked on during these sessions, but remains unreleased.
In 2000, The Beatles released a best of collection, entitled "1". The CD included 27 number one hits by the band and, within five weeks, became the best selling album of the year. Later that year, The Beatles released the Anthology book, which included interviews with all four band members and others involved, plus rare photos. The book went straight to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list.
George Harrison fought a long battle with lung and brain cancer throughout the 1990s, finally succumbing and passing away on November 29, 2001.
In 2002, the Let It Be film was being restored and prepared for release on DVD sometime in 2004. It is expected that the DVD will include additional footage, not seen in the original film. The album Let It Be... Naked, featuring stripped-down (but intended) versions of the original album, was released in November, 2003.
In January, 2003, following an investigation by The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and London detectives, police raids in England and the Netherlands recovered nearly 500 original Beatles studio tapes, recorded during the Let It Be sessions. Five people were arrested. The tapes have been used for bootleg releases for years.
In March, 2003, the Anthology television series was released on DVD with additional bonus material.
Several individuals who played an important role in the history or promotion of the band have at various times been called, or called themselves, the "fifth Beatle".
The following individuals were real members of the band before the Beatles achieved international success:
* Pete Best - Their drummer before being replaced by
* Stuart Sutcliffe - A bassist (apparently very shy) who left the group in Hamburg for the love of Astrid Kirchherr and died from a brain hemorrhage on April 10, 1962 . His life, and his friendship with John Lennon, was fictionalized in the 1993 movie Backbeat.
* Chas Newby - bassist in Germany, 1960. Left the band to return to college.
* Tommy Moore - drummer for the Silver Beetles for one month in 1960. Quit the band, claiming to have had "just about enough of Lennon".
* Norman Chapman - drummer for the Silver Beetles for a few weeks in 1960. Left when conscripted into the Army for two years service in Kenya and Kuwait.
The following individuals have played a role in the studio when Beatles records were recorded:
* George Martin - Their producer, who translated their
musical ideas into studio productions, and also did some piano work on, for
example "In My Life"
* Jeff Lynne - co-producer for The Beatles Anthology and 1994-1995 sessions
* Geoff Emerick - studio engineer
* Mal Evans - roadie and assistant
* Neil Aspinall - assistant, road manager
* Andy White - drummer on the Beatles' first single, "Love Me Do"
* Billy Preston - Organist on "Let It Be", electric piano player on "Get Back" and "Don't Let Me Down", first met them in their Hamburg days while touring with Little Richard
* Eric Clapton - Lead guitarist on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
* Alan Civil - French horn soloist on "For No One"
* David Mason - piccolo trumpet soloist on "Penny Lane"
Others have been associated with the Beatles in several ways. These include:
* Allan Williams - original manager
* Brian Epstein - The manager who took them from Hamburg to the world stage
* Tony Barrow - press officer 1963-1968
* Derek Taylor - assistant to Brian Epstein, press officer 1968-1971
* Alf Bicknell - Chauffeur until 1966, body guard
* Murray the K - A disc jockey in New York, the first to claim to be the fifth Beatle
* Dick James - publisher
* Magic Alex - head of Apple electronics
* Klaus Voormann - German bassist and artist; a friend of Stu Sutcliffe's girlfriend Astrid Kirchherr member of the Plastic Ono Band, drew the cover for Revolver.
* Jimmy Nicol - temporary drummer on the Beatles' 1964 overseas tour
* Roy Orbison - In 1963 the American rock and roll star headlined a European tour with the Beatles. Recognizing their unique sound and extraordinary talent, and the reaction of the crowds to their performances, Orbison was instrumental in encouraging the fledgling group to come to the United States.
Studio Style Evolution
By 1966 the influence of the peace movement, psychedelic drugs and the studio technique of producer George Martin resulted in the albums Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, still widely regarded as classics. Particularly notable, along with the use of studio tricks such as sound processing, unconventional microphone placements, and vari-speed recording, was the Beatles' use of unconventional instruments for pop music, including string and brass elements, Indian instruments such as the sitar, and early electronic instruments. At the height of their fame in the mid-sixties, bolstered by the two films Help! and A Hard Day's Night, the band discontinued touring. The increasingly sophisticated arrangements of their songs were difficult to perform in front of thousands of screaming fans who typically made such noise that the music could not be heard anyway.
By then, the stress of their fame was beginning to tell and the band was on the verge of splitting at the time of the release of The Beatles (the "white album"), with some tracks recorded by the band members individually, and Starr taking a two-week holiday in the middle of the recording session. By 1970 the band had split, with each of the members going on to solo careers with varying degrees of success.
In the Movies
The Beatles also had a limited film career, beginning with A Hard Day's Night (1964). Directed by the up and coming American Richard Lester, it was a gritty black-and-white documentary-like account of a short period in the life of a rock-and-roll band. In 1965 came Help!, a Technicolor extravaganza shot in exotic locations with a thin, if not almost transparent plot regarding Ringo's finger! The critically slammed Magical Mystery Tour (the concept of which was adapted from Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters LSD-orientated bus tour of the USA) was aired on British television in 1967, but is now considered a cult classic.
The animated Yellow Submarine followed shortly after, but had little input from the Beatles themselves. The voices of the characters in the movie were not those of the Beatles. However, the real Beatles appeared in a live-action epilogue at the film's conclusion. They also contributed five new songs for the film, including a holdover from the "Sgt. Pepper" sessions, "Only A Northern Song". Nonetheless, it was acclaimed for its boldly innovative graphic style and clever humour as well as the soundtrack. It did much to restore the reputation of the group for appearing in superior film musicals.
Finally, the documentary of a band in terminal decline, Let It Be was shot over an extended period in 1969; the music from this formed the album of the same name, which although recorded before Abbey Road, was (after much contractual to-ing and fro-ing) their final release.
Throughout their relatively short time recording and performing together, The Beatles set a number of world records - most of which have yet to be broken. The following is a partial list.
* The Beatles are the best selling musical
group of all time, estimated by EMI to be over one billion discs and tapes sold
* The most multi-platinum selling albums for any artist or musical group (13 in the U.S. alone)
* The Beatles have had more number one singles than any other artist or musical group (22 in the U.S., 23 in Australia, 23 in Holland, 22 in Canada, 21 in Norway, 18 in Sweden). Ironically, the Beatles could easily have had even more number ones, because they were often competing with their own singles. For example, The Beatles' "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" were released as a "double A" sided single, which caused sales and airplay to be divided between the two songs instead of being counted collectively. Even so, they reached number two with the singles.
* The Beatles have had more number one albums than any other act (19 in the U.S., 15 in the U.K.)
* The Beatles spent the highest number of weeks at number one in the albums chart (132 in the U.S. and 174 in the U.K.)
* The most successful first week of sales for a double album (The Beatles Anthology Volume 1), which sold 855,473 copies in the U.S. from November 21 to November 28, 1995).
* In terms of charting positions, Lennon and McCartney are the most successful songwriters in history, with 32 number one singles in the U.S. for McCartney, and 26 for Lennon (23 of which were written together). Lennon was responsible for 29 number one singles in the U.K., and McCartney was responsible for 28 (25 of which were written together).
* During the week of April 4, 1964, The Beatles held the top 5 positions on the Billboard singles chart. No one had ever done anything like this before, and it is doubtful that the conditions will ever exist for anyone to do it again. The songs were "Can't Buy Me Love", "Twist and Shout", "She Loves You", "I Want to Hold Your Hand", and "Please Please Me".
* The next week, April 11, 1964, the Beatles held 14 positions on the Billboard Hot 100. Before the Beatles, the highest number of concurrent singles by one artist on the Hot 100 was nine (by Elvis Presley, December 19, 1956).
* The Beatles are the only artist to have back-to-back-to-back number one singles on Billboard's Hot 100. Boyz II Men and Elvis Presley have succeeded themselves on the chart, but the Beatles are the only artist to three-peat.
* The Beatles' "Yesterday" is the most covered song in history, appearing in the Guinness Book of Records with over 3000 recorded versions.
* The Beatles had the fastest selling single of all time with "I Want To Hold Your Hand". The song sold 250,000 units within 3 days in the U.S., one million in 2 weeks. (10,000 copies per hour in New York City alone for the first 20 days)
* The Beatles have the fastest selling CD of all time with "1". It sold over 13 million copies in 4 weeks.
* The largest number of advance orders for a single, at 2.1 million copies in the U.S. for "Can't Buy Me Love" (it sold 940,225 copies on its first day of release in the U.S. alone)
* "Sgt. Pepper`s Lonely Hearts Club Band" is the best selling album of all time in the U.K. (over 4.5 million copies sold)
* With their performance at Shea Stadium in 1965, The Beatles set new world records for concert attendance (55,600+) and revenue.
* The Beatles broke television ratings records in the U.S. with their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show.
* On June 12, 1965, The Beatles were awarded the order of Member of the British Empire (MBE) by the Queen.
* On July 2, 1966, The Beatles became the first musical group to perform at the Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo.
Unlike their contemporaries the Rolling Stones, the Beatles were seldom directly influenced by blues. Though they drew inspiration from an eclectic variety of sources, their home idiom was closer to pop music. Chuck Berry was perhaps the most fundamental progenitor of the Beatles' sound, the Beatles covered "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Rock And Roll Music" early in their carrers on record (with most other Berry classics heard in their live repetoire). Chuck Berry's influence is also heard, in an altered form, in later songs such as "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me And My Monkey" (1968) and "Come Together" (1969).
A significant and acknowledged musical influence was the Beach Boys, who were in turn spurred on by the work of the Beatles. The song Back in the USSR contains an overt allusion to the Beach Boys, but many other songs exhibit the kind of attention to vocal harmony for which the Beach Boys are also famous.
Individually, the four Beatles drew further inspiration from different sources. John Lennon's early style owed a huge debt to Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison ("Misery" 1963 and "Please Please Me" from 1963). After becoming acquainted with the work of Bob Dylan, Lennon became influenced heavily by folk music ("You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" and "Norwegian Wood" from 1965). Lennon played the major role in steering the group toward psychedelia ("Strawberry Fields Forever" and "I Am The Walrus" 1967), and renewed his interest in earlier rock forms at the close of the Beatles' career ("Don't Let Me Down" 1969).
Paul McCartney is perhaps best known as the groups romantic balladeer, beginning with "Yesterday" (1965) he pioneered a modern form of art song, exemplified by "Eleanor Rigby" (1966) and "She's Leaving Home" (1967). Meanwhile, Paul maintained an affection for the driving R&B of Little Richard, in a series of songs which John Lennon dubbed "potboilers", from "I Saw Her Standing There" (1963) to "Lady Madonna" (1968). "Helter Skelter" (1968), which is the closest the Beatles ever came to heavy metal music, is a McCartney composition.
George Harrison derived his early guitar style from 1950's rockabilly greats such as Carl Perkins, Scotty Moore (who worked with Elvis Presley), and Duane Eddy. "All My Loving" (1963) and "She's A Woman" (1964) are prime examples of Harrison's early rockabilly guitar work.
In 1965, George Harrison broke new ground by recording with an Indian sitar on "Norwegian Wood". Many of his following compositions were based on Indian forms, most notably "Love to You" (1966), "Within You, Without You" (1967), and "The Inner Light" (1968). Indian music also influenced the band as a whole, with the use of swirling tape loops, droning bass lines, and mantra-like vocals on "Tomorrow Never Knows" (1966) and "Dear Prudence" (1968). George returned to Western musical forms in his later compositions, where he emerged as a significant pop composer in his own right. His later guitar style, while not displaying the virtuosity of Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, became distinctive with its use of clear melodic lines and subtle fills ("Something", "Let It Be" (1969)) in contrast to the increasingly distorted riffs and rapid fire guitar solo work of his contemporaries.
Ringo Starr's contributions to the Beatles' sound are widely underestimated. While he is mostly appreciated for his gentle comic baritone ("Yellow Submarine" (1966)), steady drumming, and everyman image, he was likely responsible for the group's occasional interest in surprisingly authentic country sounds ("What Goes On" (1965), "Don't Pass Me By" (1968)).
In their later music the pace of the songs tends to be moderate, with more of the interest usually (but not always) coming from the melody and the orchestration than the rhythm. Penny Lane (1967) is a good example of this style; it is a song you might emulate if you wanted to create a recognizably "Beatlesque" sound. Their earlier songs were often a bit faster paced. Throughout their career, their songs were rarely riff-driven. "Day Tripper" (1965) and "Hey Bulldog" (1968) are among the exceptions.
As stated above, a lot of Beatles songs had some psychedelia in them ("Yellow Submarine", "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", " I am the Walrus" from 1967) but these also link to The Goon Show and the work of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear. Both "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Field(s)" are places in Liverpool, but the song In My Life (1965) also invokes such ideas. The song "Being For the Benefit of Mr Kite" (1967) is based on a Music Hall poster and the song "All Together Now" (1968) is based around children's rhymes.A handful of Beatles' songs both musically and lyrically border on the dadaist or absurd ("Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey", "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)", and "Why Don't We Do It In The Road", from 1968).
While romantic themes permeate the Beatles' work, in contrast to the Rolling Stones, The Who, and The Doors, songs with overtly sexual themes are rare in the Beatles catalogue. "Norwegian Wood" very obliquely refers to sexual infidelity, and "Lovely Rita" (1967) alludes to casual sex. "Happiness is a Warm Gun" (1968) is a rare Beatles' song that deals with erotic imagery. The "Ballad Of John and Yoko" (1969) also raised some eyebrows with a sexual pun ("were only trying to get us some peace"), as well as the use of Christ as an expletive in the chorus.
The Beatles song _Dear Prudence_
was written for Mia Farrow's sister, Prudence. When the Beatles were at
a spritual retreat in India, they were playing around with Mia. Her sister
wouldn't come out and play with them. Hence, "Dear Prudence, won't
you come out to play?"
Lisa Simpson became vegetarian on the Oct. 15, 1995 episode; she goes to Apu's and they go to the secret place upstairs and talk to Apu. Paul McCartney of The Beatles is there, and he says that if you play _Maybe I'm Amazed_ backwards you'll hear a recipe for a "real ripen soup!" Of course in the real song, this is not true but, at the end of the show when the credits roll, a new _Maybe I'm Amazed_ plays, and in between lyrics, Paul McArtney reads a recipe for soup.
_El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro
Homer (aka The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)_ [Aired January
5, 1997] Season 8/Episode
Consuming too may hot peppers gives Homer visions, which tell him to seek out his "soulmate". Johnny Cash guest stars.
references track _I Am The Walrus_ MP3 - Homer hears Jasper say, "Goo goo ga joob"
_Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band_ (1967)
Paul McCartney listened to composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, a messiah in the world of electronic music but to the mid-60s pop star an unknown commodity. It was the German's 1956 'plick-plop' piece t - _Gesang der Junglinge_, a boy's voice construed and converted with a panoply of electronic sounds, that inspired McCartney to utilize his Brennell tape recorders for less conventional purposes, as Stockhausen himself had done the previous decade. McCartney, an advocate of all things melodious, had undergone a reformation of thought, no longer subscribing to the ingrained belief that rhythm, time signatures and even melody were essential.
The Beatles' musical language expanded incredibly in their consummate masterpiece, _Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band_ (Parlophone: June 1, 1967). The album was a potpourri of rock 'n' roll, Western classical music, Indian classical music, early 20th-century vaudeville music, and modern electronic music employing compositional techniques such as indeterminacy and playing tapes backwards, as pioneered by the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen whose photo appeared on the album cover along with a host of other celebrities.
row 1: Sri Yukteswar Giri
(guru) / Aleister
Crowley (mystic) / Mae West (actress) / Lenny
Bruce (comedian/political activist) / Karlheinz
Stockhausen (composer) / W.C. Fields (comedian) / Carl
Gustav Jung (psychologist) / Edgar Allen Poe (writer) / Fred Astaire
(actor) / Richard Merkin (artist) / The Varga Girl / Huntz Hall (actor)
/ Simon Rodia (outsider
artist - creator of Watts Towers) / Bob Dylan (musician)
row 2: Aubrey Beardsley (illustrator) / Sir Robert Peel / Aldous Huxley (writer) / Dylan Thomas (poet) / Terry Southern (writer) / Dion (singer) / Tony Curtis (actor) / Wallace Berman (actor) / Tommy Handley (comedian) / Marilyn Monroe (actress) / William Burroughs (writer) / Sri Mahavatara Babaji (guru) / Stan Laurel (comedian) / Richard Lindner (artist) / Oliver Hardy (comedian) / Karl Marx (philosopher) /H.G. Wells (writer) / Sri Paramahansa Yagananda (guru) / wax hairdresser's dummy
row 3: Stuart Sutcliff (former
Beatle) / wax hairdresser's dummy / Max Miller (comedian) / "The Petty
Girl" / Marlon Brando (actor) / Tom Mix (actor) / Oscar Wilde (writer)
/ Tyrone Power (actor) / Larry Bell (artist) / Dr. David Livingstone (missionary,
explorer) / Johnny Weismuller (swimmer, actor) / Stephen Crane (writer)
/ Issy Bonn (comedian) / George Bernard Shaw (writer) / H.C. Westermann
(sculptor) / Albert Stubbins (soccer player) / Sri Lahiri Mahasaya (guru)
Carroll (writer) / T.E. Lawrence A.K.A. "Lawrence of Arabia" (actor)
row 4: Sonny Liston (boxer) / "The Petty Girl" / wax dummy of George Harrison / wax dummy of John Lennon / Shirley Temple (actress) / wax dummy of Ringo Starr / wax dummy of Paul McCartney / Albert Einstein (physicist) / John Lennon / Ringo Starr / Paul McCartney / George Harrison / Bobby Breen (singer) / Marlene Dietrich (actress) / Diana Dorrs (actress) / Shirley Temple (actress)
Beastie Boys - _Paul's Boutique_ (1989)
604 track _Delta Skelter_ by The Delta off of _Scizoeffective_ on D-Drum
release _Abbey Road_ 12" (1969)
The Wailers have often been called the "Jamaican Beatles" throughout the 60's and the 70's. The comparison doesn't end here as they also covered two Beatles songs. The earliest one is _And I Love Her_ MP3, released in 1965, originally on the Beatles' _A Hard Day's Night_ LP from 1964. Bob Marley sings lead on that track, but it is Peter who sings on the other Beatles rendition, this time a cover of _Here Comes The Sun_ MP3 released in 1971. The original version can be found on the Beatles' _Abbey Road_ album from 1969.
REPORTER: I'd like to direct this question
to messrs. Lennon and McCartney. In a recent article, _Time_
magazine put down pop music. And they referred to _Day Tripper_ as being about
PAUL: Oh yeah.
REPORTER: ...and _Norwegian Wood_ as being about a lesbian.
PAUL: Oh yeah.
REPORTER: I just wanted to know what your intent was when you wrote it, and what your feeling is about the _Time_ magazine criticism of the music that is being written today.
PAUL: We were just trying to write songs about prostitutes and lesbians, that's all.
"Christianity will go," he said. "It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now. I don't know which will go first -- rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."
- John Lennon
novelty comedy entity Beatallica - combining The Beatles with the sound of Metallica
_Magical Mystery Tour_ (1967)
_Magickal Mystery D Tour ep_ 12" by Psychic TV on Temple (1986)
STEF HOLWECK : At the heart of the project Stef
got everybody together and has kept the enthusiasm
going for their first gig, due to take place on the web.
LOIC VANPOUCK: The man behind Totally Eclipsed Recordings and a member of TOTAL ECLIPSE he now lives in Ibiza.
MICHIO BABA: Electronic music teacher in Tokyo. He is a computer freak, spending his tie putting PC bits together to get the best performing machine possible.
FLORIEN SERIOT: Leader of the group Toires he visits the Sahara desert as much as he can and takes most of his inspiration from the Gnawa tribes.
GUILLAUME THEVENIN: Multi instrumentalist from Bordeaux, while still conserving the traditional sound of the band Toires he is now hooked by electronic music.