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Would rock music have been so commercially successful if the Beatles hadn't existed? Who were massive crowds of little girls screaming for before that? Not a rhetorical question, I really don't know.

 

 

NB: I've never been a Beatles fan but I have a hard time thinking they weren't influential, if only in terms of the ubiquity of rock as mainstream pop music.

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This might be worth further analysis.   Something which occurred to me last night was that The Beatles, for all the hysterical female following of their early days, are musical Action Men. Their so

"Back in the USSR" in which Russia is a metaphor for womankind.

Not sure why, but I just got a kick out of you choosing to not use one screen name but use the other.

Would rock music have been so commercially successful if the Beatles hadn't existed? Who were massive crowds of little girls screaming for before that? Not a rhetorical question, I really don't know.

 

 

NB: I've never been a Beatles fan but I have a hard time thinking they weren't influential, if only in terms of the ubiquity of rock as mainstream pop music.

Frank Sinatra.

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Would rock music have been so commercially successful if the Beatles hadn't existed? Who were massive crowds of little girls screaming for before that? Not a rhetorical question, I really don't know.

Frank Sinatra, Elvis, to name but two.

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I want to try to describe for my British colleagues the way the Beatles are seen in the United States. I think they will be as surprised at it as I am at the way the Beatles are seen in the U.K. I think the godliness the Beatles have attained here, as opposed to in their own country, might even be ascribable to the fact that here they came from far away: a prophet is not without honor, save in his own land.

 

In America we view the Beatles as foundational.

 

To us, the Beatles were the source of the notion of a rock group, where they play their own essential instruments (or at least pretend to) and where each member matters. Wilfrid points to Buddy Holly and the Crickets and other rockabilly groups as forerunners, but they were all stars-with-backup. The Beatles were a group: made up of four individuals, each with input into the music, more than the sum of its parts.*

 

We often hear that saw that only 200 people ever saw the Velvet Underground, but every one of them formed a band. With the Beatles in America, it's more like two million people saw A Hard Days Night, and every one of them formed a band. You see it in almost every interview with American rock musicians in the '60s: they saw A Hard Days Night, and they were inspired to do that themselves.

 

It may be hard for people who weren't in America in the '60s -- I'm talking more here of youth than geographic distance -- to believe what it was like. That whole garage-band thing wasn't a myth. If you walked down a residential street in an American suburb in the mid-sixties, just about every block would have a garage with a teenage band rehearsing in it. The whole idea of forming these democratic four-or-five-piece groups came directly from the Beatles.

 

And these groups -- together with the folkies who were inspired by A Hard Day's Night to pick up electric instruments -- were the foundation for all American rock that came after that. All of it. (I'm talking only about rock music here.) So every American rock musician from the mid-sixties on would acknowledge that the Beatles were the foundation for what he or she was doing. Every single one.

 

I will repeat: it never became cool in the U.S. not to like the Beatles. The Beatles never stopped being acknowledged as the foundation of post-'50s rock music.

 

_____________________________________________________________

* To be sure, there was a band scene in the Pacific Northwest before the Beatles. But they didn't have a national impact at the time. It is, in fact, instructional that the only band from that scene that went on to have a national impact -- Paul Revere & the Raiders -- did so only after the Beatles arrived here, and did it by incorporating a strong Beatles influence.

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ETA: On innovations - vocal double tracking, close miking of instruments, other stuff I've read about but am unqualified to discuss. I'm sure others did it before. It's still relevant that The Beatles are credited for it.

I think you could argue that most pop music from the mid-seventies onwards is a reaction against that sort of technical innovation.

 

Yes, but I also mentioned feedback, sampling, and orchestration.

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Would rock music have been so commercially successful if the Beatles hadn't existed? Who were massive crowds of little girls screaming for before that? Not a rhetorical question, I really don't know.

Frank Sinatra, Elvis, to name but two.

 

I have a hard time crediting Sinatra with the popularity of rock music, of course, but I could definitely see Elvis as being the start of it all...good looking white guy who can sing black music (well), huge commercial success raises interest of record labels and brings money in to the system...

 

eta: sneak's point about them being a BAND though is a good one. I would guess Elvis' success coupled with the "boy band" aspect of the Beatles (something for every taste -- you don't have to fight your girlfriends for them) resulted in a particular form of pop music crack.

 

In other words, if we didn't have the Beatles, the world would have been robbed of Take That!

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You poor saps. :lol:

 

It's almost a good point that The Beatles were a group in the sense of four members making a contribution. I think it's more accurate to say there were two stars and back up, as Ringo was always a novelty turn and George Harrison's alleged talent emerged slowly.

 

But saying you're right, for the sake of argument: most groups following The Beatles continued to be front man with dispensable back-ups to all intents and purposes.

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HOW COULD YOU LISTEN TO THE SMITHS AND NOT HEAR THAT THEY COME DIRECTLY OUT OF THE BEATLES?

 

I MEAN, THEY SOUND LIKE THE BEATLES!

Well there are guitars and drums and singing (but no harmonies). Other than that, how exactly do they sound like the Beatles? (I'll accept that you can't tell the difference between scouse and manc.)

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Would rock music have been so commercially successful if the Beatles hadn't existed? Who were massive crowds of little girls screaming for before that? Not a rhetorical question, I really don't know.

Frank Sinatra, Elvis, to name but two.

 

I have a hard time crediting Sinatra with the popularity of rock music, of course, but I could definitely see Elvis as being the start of it all...good looking white guy who can sing black music (well), huge commercial success raises interest of record labels and brings money in to the system...

I was thinking of the screaming girls bit.

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I have a hard time crediting Sinatra with the popularity of rock music, of course, but I could definitely see Elvis as being the start of it all...good looking white guy who can sing black music (well), huge commercial success raises interest of record labels and brings money in to the system...

 

It's true. Frank Sinatra was pursued by hordes of screaming, weeping girls. And he wasn't the first. This is the Sinatra we're talking about:

 

sinatrafrank_031.jpg

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I want to try to describe for my British colleagues the way the Beatles are seen in the United States. I think they will be as surprised at it as I am at the way the Beatles are seen in the U.K. I think the godliness they have attained here, as opposed to in their own country, might even be ascribable to the fact that here they came from far away: a prophet is not without honor, save in his own land.

 

In America we view the Beatles as foundational.

 

To us, the Beatles were the source of the notion of a rock group, where they play their own essential instruments (or at least pretend to) and where each member matters. Wilfrid points to Buddy Holly and the Crickets and other rockabilly groups as forerunners, but they were all stars-with-backup. The Beatles were a group: made up of four individuals, each with input into the music, more than the sum of its parts.*

 

We often hear that saw that only 200 people ever saw the Velvet Underground, but every one of them formed a band. With the Beatles in America, it's more like two million people saw A Hard Days Night, and every one of them formed a band. You see it in almost every interview with American rock musicians in the '60s: they say A Hard Days Night, and they were inspired to do that themselves.

 

It may be hard for people who weren't in America in the '60s -- I'm talking more here of youth than geographic distance -- to believe what it was like. That whole garage-band thing wasn't a myth. If you walked down a residential street in an American suburb in the mid-sixties, just about every block would have a garage with a teenage band rehearsing in it. The whole idea of forming these democratic four-or-five-piece groups came directly from the Beatles.

 

And these groups -- together with the folkies who were inspired by A Hard Day's Night to pick up electric instruments -- were the foundation for all American rock that came after that. All of it. (I'm talking only about rock music here.) So every American rock musician from the mid-sixties on would acknowledge that the Beatles were the foundation for what he or she was doing. Every single one.

 

I will repeat: it never became cool in the U.S. not to like the Beatles. The Beatles never stopped being acknowledged as the foundation of post-'50s rock music.

 

_____________________________________________________________

* To be sure, there was a band scene in the Pacific Northwest before the Beatles. But they didn't have a national impact at the time. It is, in fact, instructional that the only band from that scene that went on to have a national impact -- Paul Revere & the Raiders -- did so only after the Beatles arrived here, and did it by incorporating a strong Beatles influence.

yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!

 

ETA: add one more YEAH.

 

[i was influenced by the Beatles]

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