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Thread: The Beatles appraised

  1. #136
    Senior Member pianozach's Avatar
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    Four Random Beatles Songs for a Tuesday Evening

    In My Life (1965)
    Rocky Raccoon (1968)
    I've Got a Feeling (1970)
    Dear Prudence (1968)

    In My Life

    This John Lennon / Paul McCartney collaboration from their 1965 album Rubber Soul inspired many others to include harpsichord in their records, even though In My Life didn't actually have a harpsichord in it; it was actually a piano (played by producer George Martin) recorded at half speed, then speeded back up, resulting in it sounding like a harpsichord.

    I've always thought that Ringo Starr's drumming in the track to be rather unusual for the time; just such an original approach. The three-part harmony from John, Paul, and George Harrison is rather nice.

    In 1992 Bette Midler's cover of the song became a Top Twenty Hit.

    Rocky Raccoon

    This cute pastiche of Western American Folk from The Beatles' 1968 The White Album showcases McCartney's songwriting versatility. Lennon dragged out his harmonica again for this song, and George Martin plays a mean honky tonk piano.

    I've Got a Feeling

    This song is actually a partner song created from two separate songs from Paul and John. It was also recorded during their January 1969 rooftop "concert", although not released until May 1970 on their Let It Be album.

    Dear Prudence

    Also from the 1968 White Album, this John Lennon song features John's clawhammer guitar technique (learned from fellow musician Donovan). The drums were played by McCartney, as Starr had temporarily left the group.

    A cover version of the song became Siouxsie and the Banshees' biggest British hit, peaking at number 3 in 1983.





  2. #137
    Senior Member pianozach's Avatar
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    Four Random Friday Night Beatles Songs

    Hey Bulldog (1969)
    She Said She Said (1966)
    Get Back (1969)
    Yer Blues (1968)

    Hey Bulldog

    A simple rock song composed by John Lennon for the Yellow Submarine film.

    She Said She Said

    Another rocker from John, about a story relayed to him about an acid trip. Paul McCartney had walked out in an apparent disagreement over the songs arrangement, so he doesn't play or sing on the track. George Harrison plays bass guitar and lead guitar. It was released on the Revolver album.

    Get Back

    Get Back was released as a single in April 1969, and was to be the title track for their next album. They were disappointed with the overall results of the sessions, and the album was neglected until the tapes were given to producer Phil Spector almost a year later, with the resulting album being retitled Let It Be, released in May 1970. Spector removed the Coda that had been added to the single version, instead adding studio sounds at the beginning and end.

    This one has Lennon on lead guitar, as Harrison had briefly quit the band while the arrangement was being worked out. Harrison played rhythm guitar on the track.

    Technically, the single was credited to "The Beatles with Billy Preston"; Preston played Fender Rhodes electric piano on the track.

    This was a #1 Hit for the band in every country in which the single had been released.

    Yer Blues

    A rather anguished and emotionally-revealing moment in time from John.






  3. #138
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    Beatles are elite. I love Schubert because so much of his stuff is essentially songcraft, and he would have been a pop genius in the era of the Beatles. But not strictly 'pop', which is why the Beatles endure. They had some stank on their songs.

    Day in the Life
    Strawberry Fields
    In My Life
    Blackbird
    You Never Give Me Your Money
    Long, Long, Long
    Rocky Raccoon (heck, all the White Album just about)
    Tomorrow Never Knows
    I'm Only Sleeping
    If I Needed Someone
    Rain
    Dig A Pony

    This is all highly personal, like all music. But I *am* the Beatles. So formative for me. I connect so strongly with songs like Long, Long, Long and In My Life. Strawberry Fields. Rain. That's me. Just about as much as Chopin Op. 27/1 and Schubert D760 and Mussorgsky's Pictures.

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  5. #139
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    I should add that I can see now, in hindsight, I came to the Beatles at age 12 as a parched man arrives at an oasis.

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    Senior Member Forster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawgdriver View Post
    They had some stank on their songs.
    Did they indeed? What do you mean?

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    Senior Member pianozach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forster View Post
    Did they indeed? What do you mean?
    For me "They had some stank on their songs" infers that the songs had some meat on them. Deeper material than your average contemporary pop songs.
    Last edited by pianozach; Sep-25-2021 at 19:11.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forster View Post
    Did they indeed? What do you mean?
    They innovated, they had many things that I would consider the metaphorical equivalent of a 'surprise cadence'. Take their early work. It gets washed away in the tide of their later more exploratory phase, but even then, they surprised.

    Hard Days Night, for example. To begin a song with just a resonant strummed chord. There are other details about that particular intro that I don't recall that would add to the uniqueness. My point though is that the intro, it was mildly shocking.

    I can't find the article, but this article also described pop song innovation--something about beginning with the chorus of an AABA song structure--that was a bit like (metaphorically speaking) Beethoven electing a scherzo format in the 2d movement of his 9th.

    What I mean by they put some 'stank' on their songs is that it wasn't just their ability to excel within the existing pop format with use of melody and all the normal aspects of a tasteful song, but it was also the 'stank' or the unique and innovative touches that made them special.
    Last edited by hawgdriver; Sep-26-2021 at 00:01.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianozach View Post
    For me "They had some stank on their songs" infers that the songs had some meat on them. Deeper material than your average contemporary pop songs.
    And this, too. In terms of chords and progressions, you can find commentators on youtube that will do an excellent job of demonstrating how much ambiguity and sophistication were in the chord progressions of actual songs as compared to what one might find in a store-bought Beatles Songbook.

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    Senior Member Forster's Avatar
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    OK. Thanks. It was just the word 'stank' that I wasn't familiar with (except when it refers to something that smelled!)

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    Senior Member Luchesi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawgdriver View Post
    And this, too. In terms of chords and progressions, you can find commentators on youtube that will do an excellent job of demonstrating how much ambiguity and sophistication were in the chord progressions of actual songs as compared to what one might find in a store-bought Beatles Songbook.
    It has become interesting to me how people of different age groups remember the Beatles or think about the Beatles today.
    My parents disliked the whole movement. They thought they were too noisy, silly, unkempt and a corruptive influence.

    My grandchildren think they were silly and corny, compared to what they listen to today. Like an outdated comedy act. It's quite sad really.

    Most people understand that they did what they wanted to do (and because of the financial risks that was rare for the times) and they created enduring songs with the help of the grownups in the studio.
    People who were born in the 60s or much later often have gotten the idea that they were leaders in other areas too.

    How do you remember Beatlemania? Did you have other favorite groups at the time that you compared them to?
    Last edited by Luchesi; Sep-26-2021 at 17:27.
    Albert Einstein, "I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.

  14. #146
    Senior Member pianozach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luchesi View Post
    It has become interesting to me how people of different age groups remember the Beatles or think about the Beatles today.
    My parents disliked the whole movement. They thought they were too noisy, silly, unkempt and a corruptive influence.

    My grandchildren think they were silly and corny, compared to what they listen to today. Like an outdated comedy act. It's quite sad really.

    Most people understand that they did what they wanted to do (and because of the financial risks that was rare for the times) and they created enduring songs with the help of the grownups in the studio.
    People who were born in the 60s or much later often have gotten the idea that they were leaders in other areas too.

    How do you remember Beatlemania? Did you have other favorite groups at the time that you compared them to?
    I find it remarkable just how many covers of Beatles song are released, even these days.

    Take any random Beatles album, say, Revolver, with 14 tracks, and how many covers have been released in the last 10 years (since 2010):

    1. "Taxman" 23 covers
    2. "Eleanor Rigby" 161 covers
    3. "I'm Only Sleeping" 29 covers
    4. "Love You To" 8 covers
    5. "Here, There and Everywhere" 115 covers
    6. "Yellow Submarine" 31 covers
    7. "She Said She Said" 14 covers

    1. "Good Day Sunshine" 25 covers
    2. "And Your Bird Can Sing" 23 covers
    3. "For No One" 58 covers
    4. "Doctor Robert" 8 covers
    5. "I Want to Tell You" 8 covers
    6. "Got to Get You into My Life" 54 covers
    7. "Tomorrow Never Knows" 38 covers

    Just in the last 10 or 11 years.

    11 of the 14 songs from that album have been covered well over one cover version every year for the last 11 years. Eleanor Rigby has been covered 161 times since 2010; an average of 14 covers every year.

    Since 2010 there have been 595 covers of songs from this album released in 1966, now 55 years old. Every year an average of 54 songs have been covered from this album every year for the last 11 years. That's, like, one every week. Just from this one album.

    "Outdated"? Hardly.

  15. #147
    Senior Member pianozach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luchesi View Post
    How do you remember Beatlemania? Did you have other favorite groups at the time that you compared them to?
    Legitimate questions.

    I remember Beatlemania in terms of the songs, all of which sounded fresh, exciting, different, etc. at the time.

    Other groups? Sure.

    Mid-60s:

    There were the Byrds, whose success was partly due to covering songs of Dylan using sounds pioneered by The Beatles.

    The Mamas and the Papas: Some great songs, but even then I knew that only Papa John played an instrument, and wrote most of their material.

    Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass: Great catchy arrangements. I really thought they were a Mexican band (LOL).

    Donovan: Flower Power and fascinating production and arrangements. Interesting songs.

    There were bands from the 60s that never did it for me: The Rolling Stones and The Animals were sloppy garage bands with lousy lead vocals, Herman's Hermits were truly goofy, The Beach Boys were trite and bubble-gummy.

    Starting sometime in 1967 or so there were a great many excellent bands that were releasing albums, but practically all of them owed a debt to the groundwork laid out by The Beatles in one way or another.

    There were exceptions, of course: Simon & Garfunkel drew from The Everly Brothers and the folk tradition, The Mothers of Invention were highly imaginative and inventive in their own right.

    But for every "original" band, there were a dozen that were following the path of the Beatles, whether it was The Monkees, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Buffalo Springfield, The Small Faces, and even the Rolling Stones (who trotted out their garage version of Sgt. Pepper).

    Yep, I'll give ya Jimi Hendrix and the Doors; but even those artists were influenced by artists that were in turn influenced by The Beatles.

    BTW, "People who were born in the 60s or much later often have gotten the idea that they were leaders in other areas too." Those people got ideas like The Beatles being leaders in other areas because they were leaders in other areas.

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  17. #148
    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    "People who were born in the 60s or much later often have gotten the idea that they were leaders in other areas too."
    People born in the '60s or later were not the generation that were old enough to appreciate the Beatles first hand. That would people of my generation, born from 1948-1952 who would be 12-16 when the Beatles hit.

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    Senior Member pianozach's Avatar
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    Four Not-So-Random (sort of) Beatles Songs for a Monday Afternoon

    A Hard Day’s Night (instrumental) [1964]
    The Bitter End/You Can’t Do That [1965]
    Pepperland [1969]
    Revolution No. 9 [1968]

    Here's something a bit different: A batch of instrumental tracks that appeared on Beatles albums.

    Growing up with the Beatles (and an incredibly eclectic musical palette provided by my mom and older brother), the instrumental tracks made as much of an impression on me as the tracks played by the Beatles.



    A Hard Day’s Night

    When The Beatles released their albums in the UK, they had a big say on which songs would be on them, and the order in which they'd appear. They also took pride in NOT having their singles appear on their albums: The considered that to be gouging their fans by making them pay for the same song twice.

    They didn't have any say at all when their albums were released in the US. The UK version of A Hard Day's Night consisted of 7 Beatles songs from the film, plus another 7 Beatles songs on the B-Side of the album. In the US, The Beatles' distributor, Capitol Records, removed six of those extra songs and added four easy listening-styled instrumental versions of Lennon and McCartney songs arranged by George Martin conducting an orchestra of studio musicians (credited as George Martin and His Orchestra).

    This bouncy be-boppy instrumental is from that album. I enjoy how the time signature wanders around from 3/8 to 4/4, with one of the bridges in a perplexing 6/8.

    The Bitter End/You Can’t Do That

    Capitol Records did the same for the release of Help!, removing seven of the 14 tracks, and dropping in five orchestral tracks from the film's soundtrack composed or arranged by Ken Thorne, and contains one of the first uses of the sitar on a rock/pop album.

    Pepperland

    By 1968 The Beatles had managed to wrest control of distribution from "the Suits", but weren't all that keen on the notion of performing in yet another film. Yellow Submarine was a mostly animated psychedelic tour-de-fource, based on their song Yellow Submarine from 1966. Also included was Eleanor Rigby, also from 1966. Only four "new" Beatles songs were included on the soundtrack (one of which was cut from the US release of the film, and only two of which were written specifically for the film), and the rest of the album was filled with re-recordings of symphonic music from the soundtrack composed or arranged by producer George Martin.

    The film was released in the UK July 1968, but not until November 1968 in the US. The soundtrack album would not be released until January 1969.

    Pepperland is my favorite symphonic track from the soundtrack. What catches my ear is Martin's arrangement which seems to give a majority of the instruments in the orchestra a chance to shine, all in less than two and a half minutes.

    Revolution 9

    A lot has been written about this avant-garde/musique concrète track, which appeared near the end of the double-LP "The Beatles" (commonly referred to as "The White Album"), released in 1968. This experimental sound collage also included loops of an unused ending to Revolution 1, which was a largely improvised jam session meant to illustrate musically the chaos of an actual revolution. They had become enamoured by their discovery of the music of Edgard Varèse, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and, to a lesser extent, John Cage.

    Writing for Mojo in 2003, Mark Paytress said that "Revolution 9" remained "the most unpopular piece of music the Beatles ever made", yet it was also their "most extraordinary [recording]".

    While the songwriter credit is officially "John Lennon/Paul McCartney", it appears that it's more of a George Harrison, Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Ringo Starr creation, even though McCartney had already created the equally avant-garde/musique concrète Carnival of Light almost two years earlier.





  19. #150
    Senior Member pianozach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
    People born in the '60s or later were not the generation that were old enough to appreciate the Beatles first hand. That would people of my generation, born from 1948-1952 who would be 12-16 when the Beatles hit.
    I was a kid when the Beatles became a sensation in the US, and a teen by the time they broke up.

    By the time I started High School the individual Beatles had already released 13 albums and 5 non-album singles, although most of those were fairly oddball releases, either "experimental", soundtrack, live, or in the case of Ringo Starr, a nostalgia album and a Nashville album.

    By the time I graduated from High School, the individual Beatles had released 19 proper studio albums and a couple of live albums in addition to that. That included the massive 3-LP studio album from George, All Things Must Pass, and the massive 3-LP live album from George, The Concert for Bangla Desh.

    Yeah, I was pretty much right there in the middle of it.

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