The Beatles have been a sound for decades; their influence ranges from Black Sabbath, Bruce Springsteen to even Steve Jobs-Entertainment News, Firstpost
The Beatles paved the way for all modern British and American musicians from the 1960s to today, only points out something even their harshest critics don’t want to acknowledge: everyone is inadvertently a Beatles fan. .
In #TheMusicThatMadeUs, senior journalist Lakshmi Govindrajan Javeri talks about the impact musicians and their art have on our lives, how they are shaping the industry by rewriting its rules and how they make us the people we become: their greatest heritage.
Modern English music can be divided into different eras depending on the social and cultural influences of the time. The 1920s saw jazz take on its full meaning and coexist harmoniously even as the blues began to make waves in the 1940s; the 1950s pushed rock n ‘roll into our consciousness far beyond its origins in Memphis, setting the perfect mood for an unprecedented musical revolution – The Beatles.
Four Liverpudlians twisted, shouted, hummed, begged, cheered, wooed and wooed their way through history. Suffice it to say, then, that the modern pop and rock genres can be widely considered pre- and post-Beatles; a bit like using Jesus as the fulcrum of time in our modern calendars. They may not have been more popular than Messiah (sorry, John Lennon), but the monumental change in the way music was played, created and consumed cannot be overstated.
They have achieved extraordinary levels of critical and commercial success, making them the best-selling musical group of all time, having sold over 600 million units worldwide in nearly 60 years. With seven Grammy Awards, four Brit Awards, an Academy Award (for best original score for the 1970 film So be it) and 15 Ivor Novello Awards, the Beatles have, over the course of their short career (but with half a century of legacy), given generations of musicians the blueprint to turn their creative power into tangible success.
Fifty years since the release of their last album So be it, The Beatles released Let It Be: 50th Anniversary Edition, an expanded reissue of the 1970 album. Giving their fans an overview of the creative processes, plenty of demos and conversations dot the box set that makes you feel like a fly in the wall during sessions of registration. The upcoming three-part premiere of Peter Jackson’s three-part documentary series The Beatles: Come Back, which uses unpublished raw images from the recording sessions of So be it, should be an absolute treat for fans and musicians.
Every band or pop / rock artist we’ve loved over the past 50 years has been distilled by The Beatles’ sound experimentation lab.
So while the quartet is proudly mocked for their weird hairstyles and weirder nods in the 1950s, the fact that The Beatles rewrote the rules of music over and over and paved the way for all modern British and American musicians from the 1960s until today, only points out something that even their harshest critics fail to acknowledge: everyone is inadvertently a Beatles fan.
If you like Queen, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Tom Petty, Bon Jovi, Sting, Nirvana, Alice Cooper, Foo Fighters and Bruce Springsteen…. you are part of a growing list of Beatles fans. Simply put, without The Beatles, a lot of these bands and artists wouldn’t have been here in the first place. Is this an exaggeration? Not really.
Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl said, “From generation to generation, The Beatles will remain the most important rock band of all time. The Beatles are the foundation of everything we do.
Of all their enormous contributions to music, their most important role has been the combination of immense talent and a refreshing attitude: they put their confidence in themselves on stage. The Beatles made all the bands that followed believe that they too could do it. After all, the very essence of art is how it reminds us of the joy of being alive and thriving.
The fact that they did this collaboratively is a testament to the importance of getting the right people to do the right job. In a conference years ago, Apple founder Steve Jobs said, “My business model is The Beatles. They were four guys who controlled each other’s negative tendencies. They balanced out and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. And that’s how I see business. Great things in business are never done by one person. They are made by a team of people.
This winning team changed the musical grammar of the time, pushed the boundaries of tone, songwriting and social mores, transcending genres in just seven years. Even today, we have a hard time agreeing whether this is a rock or pop group. And that’s just the start of things. People quickly place The Beatles in pop simply because of the cheerfulness of some of their early music. Dressed in a bowl cut out to boot, these four guys from Britain sang about sex on their debut album in 1963. This is hardly an example of 1960s pop behavior. Ask Philip Larkin whose tongue-in-cheek poem Annus Mirabilis alludes to the bursting of social restrictions from the Beatles’ debut LP.
They may have made their debut at the height of the rock n ‘roll era, but the Beatles quickly passed through the various pop and rock soundscapes, many of them well ahead of their time. Yes ‘Lucy in the sky with diamonds‘is a perfect material for acid rock, so’ Twist and Shout ‘with its harsh vocals, maniacal drums and insane energy, is a precursor to hard rock sound. The Beatles moved away from their more cheesy pop songs to delve into progressive rock (‘Eleanor Rigby‘), folk rock (‘I’ll be back‘), and even rock art (‘You never know what tomorrow brings‘). With ‘Helter Skelter, ‘ they introduced a sound so heavy that even Black Sabbath was drawn to it, making it one of the first known attempts at metal before metal became a thing. ‘I want you (she’s so heavy) ‘challenges every idea we have of the Beatles with a sound so dark it spells doom (metal).
Their wide range, their experiences with the album format, album covers, sounds and spirituality, musical arrangements and videos, as well as the recognition of audience expectations, made them not only genius musicians. but extremely intelligent businessmen. Riding on the powerful songwriting combination of Lennon and Paul McCartney, and joined by the frantic drumming of Ringo Starr and the evocative guitar playing of George Harrison, The Beatles were among the very few groups to understand the difference between art and entertainment. And they thrived in the psychedelic tones that were in between.
We can sum this up with the succinct observations of Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister, who once said of The Beatles: “The greatest rock band of all time. No one even comes into the same planetary system in terms of writing and presentation. They never repeated themselves. They continued to grow stronger. “
The Beatles: Get Back premieres on Disney + Hotstar on November 26.
Senior journalist Lakshmi Govindrajan Javeri has spent a good part of two decades chronicling the arts, culture and lifestyles.