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Mike

Remembering John Lennon

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I'm trying to take this in stride, but it's really hard. There is no way in hell that the Beatles are overrated, especially not "highly". I'm sure if pressed I could actually prove it scientifically. :) There is no band post-1960's that is not greatly influenced by them directly or even unknowingly. Maybe you're just not quite aware of the impact they had. I'm not meaning any of this in an accusatory way, though it may sound like it. But honestly I'm not - I just hold them in such a high regard that I'm compelled to defend them at the drop of a hat.

As far as the Dylan/Lennon comparison - I think that's also a bit off base. Lennon indeed "made it on his own" for a decade after the Beatles disbanded. Sure, he may have dropped off had he not been killed, but Dylan didn't eventually? Dylan had his amazing period; I'm not taking anything away from him. But he hasn't been "Dylan" in a few decades. You also don't think that Dylan's "political activism" had anything to do with his legend?

Regarding the Dylan/Lennon comparison, in my opinon Dylan made the better music. By no means was I hinting that Dylans legend had nothing to do with his political activism... especially the fact that he was already up and about protesting and releasing political albums in 1962 while the Beatles had only just released their first work, a 45 called "Love me Do".

Your claim that the Beatles were possibly the most highly influential band is something I strongly disagree with. (If anything that award should go to the Velvet Underground).

I'll get back to you as soon as I can with a reasonably detailed explanation as to why I don't regard the Beatles as highly as most.

I apologise if i've sounded like a bit of a mud flinger for now.

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Your claim that the Beatles were possibly the most highly influential band is something I strongly disagree with.

That´s not a claim, that´s a fact.

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That´s not a claim, that´s a fact.

I whole-heartedly agree with Edna!

I challenge you to find a quote similar to yours, Nick, from ANY professional musician, record executive, media critic, radio executive or musical tradesman insider. I believe that if you were to actually make an indepth search for only one who would support your stand, you would find - to a person - they would assert the Beatles to be the musicians most influential to the transition from do-wop and rock-abilly to the complexities rock embodies today. Elvis Presley was influenced by the Beatles. I'll bet if you asked the members, the Velvet Underground was influenced by the Beatles.

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how could have elvis been influences by the beatles? he was around before them!

I'm glad to see that no one has mentioned 'the nobody' by name. He doesn't deserve any sort of recognition for what he did. I don't think he deserves any recognition as a human being, much less anything else.

dare i ask who you are talking about?

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how could have elvis been influences by the beatles? he was around before them!

In addition to Elvis' music selections moving away from starry eyed love ballads (Love Me Tender) to more social relevancy (In The Ghetto) at the same pace and about the same time as the Beatles, Elvis' outward appearance changed to meet the new rock music buying public ushered in by the style and sound of the Beatles.

Elvis did not go from this:

El.jpg

to this:

El2.jpg

accidentally overnight. In his world, all of Elvis' decisions were well planned and choreographed. It was the Beatles influence on the hearts and minds of the public that brought changes into the throneroom of The King.

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Regarding the Dylan/Lennon comparison, in my opinon Dylan made the better music. By no means was I hinting that Dylans legend had nothing to do with his political activism... especially the fact that he was already up and about protesting and releasing political albums in 1962 while the Beatles had only just released their first work, a 45 called "Love me Do".

Your claim that the Beatles were possibly the most highly influential band is something I strongly disagree with. (If anything that award should go to the Velvet Underground).

I'll get back to you as soon as I can with a reasonably detailed explanation as to why I don't regard the Beatles as highly as most.

I apologise if i've sounded like a bit of a mud flinger for now.

The Beatles were definitely influenced by Dylan; there’s no question about that. “Help†was a direct result of that influence. The statement about Dylan’s 1962 political bent and “Love Me Do†merely shows the growth the Beatles went through in an insanely short time period. Sure, Dylan “went electricâ€, but the Beatles possibly did some innovative stuff as well. :)

Do you really think The Velvet Underground was more influential than The Beatles? In what way(s)? A Velvet Underground influence may be more obvious, but that doesn’t make it “the winnerâ€.

No need to apologize – this place is made for spirited, civil debates. ;)

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Edna and S2V...I agree with everything you have stated here. I can't imagine anyone thinking that The Beatles were just a passing through group. I am a fan of The Velevet Underground and would not put them in the same category.

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The Beatles were definitely influenced by Dylan; there’s no question about that. “Help†was a direct result of that influence. The statement about Dylan’s 1962 political bent and “Love Me Do†merely shows the growth the Beatles went through in an insanely short time period. Sure, Dylan “went electricâ€, but the Beatles possibly did some innovative stuff as well. :)

Do you really think The Velvet Underground was more influential than The Beatles? In what way(s)? A Velvet Underground influence may be more obvious, but that doesn’t make it “the winnerâ€.

No need to apologize – this place is made for spirited, civil debates. ;)

I hate to sound trendy, by using the word "trendy", but I think it has been trendy for a while to put The Beatles down and put bands like The Velvet Underground at the forefront of musical pioneers.

The were a solid group but their association with the likes of Andy Warhol made them musical darlings...not their music. Like I said, they were good and somewhat influential...but they didn't change world...The Beatles did.

By the way, I think Dylan falls into the trendy category a bit too...although he has a large block of masterpiece quality work..and he popularized a style of music...and he influenced many....many folks now like "the image" of Dylan. Just my opinion.

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I see that theres a massive support for the beatles here... :P but nevermind I'm here to debate, and I don't mind being proved wrong.

My first question is, what did The Beatles influence?

No need to apologize – this place is made for spirited, civil debates.

Actually I was apologising for simply making a statement without giving any information to back up my claim, which I will try to do now. I sincerely hope I won't offend anyone too much - its a rather harsh critique of the band.

I'll start off with a basic chronology of the years 1962 through 1970. Comparing what was happening in the political world and the music world with what the beatles were doing.

1962: The year of Bob Dylan, of peace demonstrations, of songs of protest. The Beatles debut with a 45, Love Me Do.

1964: The first student protests take place in Berkeley, California. The Beatles, oblivious of this, record Can't Buy Me Love a record filled with catchy refrains and some feedback mostly copied from the work of guitarists in the 50's.

In the meantime on the otherside of the pond some pretty intense marketing encourages EMI to sell Beatles wigs, Beatles attire, Beatles dolls, cartoons inspired by the Beatles while, in the meatime, Vietnam, and the Assasination of JFK are taking place.

1965: The Year of LSD, psychedelic music and hippies. The Beatles recorded another melodic masterpiece, We Can Work It Out. A weak response to the hits Satisfaction by the Stones and You Really Got Me by the Kinks (both songs having been released a few months earlier).

1966: The Beatles finally stop copying others and release their first decent album by Pop standards - Revolver.

Dylan in the meantime, releases Blonde on Blonde (arguably his best work, and one of the best albums of all times) a double album with compositions almost 15 minutes long (Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands for instance), while Frank Zappa releases Freak Out, another double album. Rock music in the meantime begins to experiment with free form jams.

1967: The Beatles release Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields forever... quite the masterpiece i'll admit that unfortunately never reaches the top of the charts. Britain at the time was passing through the year of psychedelia. Pink Floyd were releasing psychedelic singles, and along with Red Crayola and other psychedelic bands were playing long free form psychedelic suites that often drifted into avant garde.

The Beatles record Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (another relatively good album by their standards) which the Beatles took 4 months to put together (unlike many other masterpieces of the day, recorded quickly and on often low budgets). One can only imagine what many other less fortunate bands could have accomplished with 4 months at their disposal. One problem was that the album sounded somewhat like the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" and can barely be considered psychedelic at all.

They later release Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine (in '69)... also rather experimental albums (a bit late in the day) yet at the same time Cream were pulling off some brilliant guitar solos, while Hendrix was weaving his magic. The Beatles, as far as I know, didn't have any guitar solos (except while my guitar gently weeps, with Eric Clapton)

1968: Beatles Release Hey Jude. (a long track by Beatles standards) while Cream's live jams reach a peak in popularity.

End of 1968: The Beatles finally release a double album - The Beatles... two years after everybody else.

1969: Britain at this time is affected by the concept album/rock opera bug, the Who release Tommy, The Kinks release The Village Green Preservation Society among others. The Beatles try their hand at it (a year late) and produce Abbey Road. The album is pretty good overall, however when compared to to the creative standards of the time it falls a little short.

During this album it becomes clear that the bandmembers had some substantial differences. The popularity of Cream begins to rival their own, while Led Zeppelin begins to change the importance of radio and charts.

1970 - the Beatles break up and the bandmembers begin a solo career.

Interestingly enough, the Beatles were very similar to a band from the 50's - Tin Pan Alley as well as the Beach Boys, whom The Beatles practically copied throughout a large chunk of their career.

My criticism is aimed at the world of rock music rather than the beatles themselves. Unfortunately rock critics are still blinded by commercial success: the Beatles sold more than anyone else (not true, by the way), therefore they must have been the greatest.

Rock critics grant too much attention to commercial phenomena of the day (beatlemania, grunge, alternative, you name it...) and too little on the real musicians.

The Beatles are probably the best example of this.

As Piero Scaruffi (a music critic I tend to agree with) puts it:

"George Harrison was a pathetic guitarist, compared with Townshend of the Who, Richards of the Rolling Stones, Davies of the Kinks, Clapton and Beck and Page of the Yardbirds, and many many others). Paul McCartney was a conventional singer who sounded a lot like the singers from the 50's. Although within the Merseybeat his style was indeed revolutionary, he wouldn't have lasted very long against the Rythmn and Blues bassists back then. Ringo Starr played drums the way any kid of that time played it in his garage - granted, he was probably the most technically accomplished of the lot, while Ray Davies of the Kinks and Lou Reed of Velvet Underground were far better songwriters than Lennon & McCartney (most of the time). The Stones were certainly much more skilled musicians and Pete Townshend was a far more accomplished composer, capable of "Tommy" and "Quadrophenia".

While the Velvet Underground, Frank Zappa, the Doors, Pink Floyd and many others were composing long and daring suites worthy of avant garde music, thus elevating rock music to art, the Beatles continued to yield three minute songs built around a chorus. Beatlemania and its myth notwithstanding, Beatles fans went crazy for twenty seconds of trumpet, while the Velvet Underground were composing suites of chaos twenty minutes long. Actually, between noise and a trumpet, between twenty seconds and twenty minutes, there was an artistic difference of several degrees of magnitude. They were, musically, sociologically, politically, artistically, and ideologically, on different planets.

Their influence, for better or for worse, on the great phenomena of the 60s doesn't amount to much. Unlike Bob Dylan, they didn't stir social revolts; unlike the Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead they didn't foster the hippie movement; unlike Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix they didn't further the myth of LSD; unlike Jagger and Zappa they had no impact on the sexual revolution. Indeed the Beatles were icons of the customs that embodied the opposite: the desire to contain all that was happening.

In their songs there is no Vietnam, there's barely any politics, there are no kids rioting in the streets, there is no sexual promiscuity, there are no drugs, there is no violence. The social order of the 40's and 50's remains."

Do you really think The Velvet Underground was more influential than The Beatles? In what way(s)? A Velvet Underground influence may be more obvious, but that doesn’t make it “the winnerâ€.

Simple, The Velvet Underground were the first band to write poems about the cynical dark side of urban life playing pessimistic psychedelic rock while everyone else was dishing out optimistic, protest and macho-rebellious songs. Their huge influence, especially on the music of the 90's is easy to see. Granted, they usually used the same three chords for most of their songs but their songs are arranged in ways that had never been tried before, and sometimes are pure chaos. (Sister Ray comes to mind here - a 17 minute masterpiece)

Personally I consider them as the forerunner of at least the entire punk genre.

The were a solid group but their association with the likes of Andy Warhol made them musical darlings...not their music. Like I said, they were good and somewhat influential...but they didn't change world...The Beatles did.

And didn't the Beatles have George Martin? We wouldn't be hearing of them today had it not been for his good marketing campaign and the creation of Beatlemania.

I hate to sound trendy, by using the word "trendy", but I think it has been trendy for a while to put The Beatles down and put bands like The Velvet Underground at the forefront of musical pioneers.

Well, to tell you the truth, I hadn't even heard of the Velvet Underground until a couple of years ago when I actually became interested in music. Back then I still believed that The Beatles were the most influential band of all times.

Personally, I believe that Dylan's lyric-writing prowess is a bit overrated (quite frankly his first 3 albums are sub-par). Its the image he created by stirring political revolt and his fusion of folk with rock (something which Johnny Cash managed before him) that allows him a claim in the rock n roll hall of fame.

Dylan started the fire. He's the first rock myth... he turned music into a form of mass communication, galvanized a generation through folk songs that became anthems. When he went electric, everybody did.

Edited by Guest

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Okay, sorry for the length.

Incesticide - you red, me black. :)

1962: The year of Bob Dylan, of peace demonstrations, of songs of protest. The Beatles debut with a 45, Love Me Do.

***You obviously mean that 1962 was the year of Bob Dylan and his debut album that contained mostly blues covers and a total of 2 songs that he wrote himself. Is that what you meant to say? And that “Love Me Do†was on an album that had 8 songs written by The Beatles? So who had a more innovative and creative debut?

1964: The first student protests take place in Berkeley, California. The Beatles, oblivious of this, record Can't Buy Me Love a record filled with catchy refrains and some feedback mostly copied from the work of guitarists in the 50's.

***How much was Dylan writing about social unrest in the U.K. at this time? â€Catchy refrains†are certainly horrible things, aren’t they? And everybody copies something from the people before them. You think Dylan never heard a Leadbelly record?

In the meantime on the otherside of the pond some pretty intense marketing encourages EMI to sell Beatles wigs, Beatles attire, Beatles dolls, cartoons inspired by the Beatles While in the meatime Vietnam, and the Assasination of JFK were taking place.

***Blame Brian Epstein for the marketing, not The Beatles. By the way, the group made basically nothing from anything of this. Zero relevance to the musical question.

1965: The Year of LSD, psychedelic music and hippies. The Beatles recorded another melodic masterpiece, We Can Work It Out. A weak response to the hits Satisfaction by the Stones and You Really Got Me by the Kinks (both songs having been released a few months earlier).

***So “Satisfaction†and “You Really Got Me†make more important social statements? Tell me exactly what is psychedelic about those songs? I believe “Rubber Soul†was a pretty good “answer†to anything else at the time.

1966: The Beatles finally stop copying others and release their first decent album by Pop standards - Revolver.

Dylan in the meantime, releases Blonde on Blonde (arguably his best work, and one of the best albums of all times) a double album with compositions almost 15 minutes long (Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands for instance), while Frank Zappa releases Freak Out, another double album. Rock music in the meantime begins to experiment with free form jams.

***That first sentence is filled with inanity. Tell me exactly who they were intentionally, 100% copying on “Helpâ€, “Rubber Soulâ€, “A Hard Day’s Nightâ€, etc. Everybody copies unconsciously; how you incorporate influences is what makes your “styleâ€. Can I use your argument against you and say that Zappa did nothing but copy Varese? So far it seems that your main requirement for good music is social commentary and self-indulgence.

The Beatles record Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (another relatively good album by their standards) which the Beatles took 4 months to put together (unlike many other masterpieces of the day, recorded quickly and on often low budgets). One can only imagine what many other less fortunate bands could have accomplished with 4 months at their disposal. One problem was that the album sounded somewhat like the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" and can barely be considered psychedelic at all.

***No “less fortunate band†would’ve come up with anything within light years of “Sgt. Pepperâ€. Yes, it was influenced by “Pet Soundsâ€; Paul has admitted that himself. But did “Pet Sounds†have the diversity of songs like “She’s Leaving Homeâ€, “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!â€, “Within You Without You†and “When I’m Sixty-Fourâ€? No. Again with the psychedelia?

They later release Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine (in '69)... also rather experimental albums (a bit late in the day) yet at the same time Cream were pulling off some brilliant guitar solos, while Hendrix was weaving his magic. The Beatles, as far as I know, didn't have any guitar solos (except while my guitar gently weeps, with Eric Clapton)

***And Your Bird Can Sing, A Hard Day’s Night (12-string!), All My Loving, All You Need Is Love, Can’t Buy Me Love, Come Together, Dig A Pony, Fixing A Hole, Get Back, Helter Skelter, I’m Only Sleeping (backwards!), Let It Be, Norwegian Wood (sitar!), Nowhere Man, Octopus’s Garden, Revolution, Something, Taxman, The End, Yer Blues. Is 20 enough? We’ll add long guitar solos to your list of requirements for a great song. It’s not like they’re mostly filler when the ideas run dry. And I’m a guitar player. That was tongue-in-cheek, by the way – I love Hendrix and Clapton, but those groups were vehicles for the star to shine. I guess The Beatles should’ve had some virtuosic sidemen.

End of 1968: The Beatles finally release a double album - The Beatles... two years after everybody else.

***What’s the point? Did everyone after “Blonde On Blonde†owe Dylan money for releasing a double album? Should the Beatles have put a bunch of crap on a second disc of “Rubber Soul†to keep up? Oh wait, “Rubber Soul†and “Blonde On Blonde†both have 14 songs. So you’re just concerned with the length of individual songs? Because that’s the only difference.

1969: Britain at this time is affected by the concept album/rock opera bug, the Who release Tommy, The Kinks release The Village Green Preservation Society among others. The Beatles try their hand at it (a year late) and produce Abbey Road. The album is pretty good overall, however when compared to to the creative standards of the time it falls a little short.

***In what way is “Abbey Road†a concept album? Because it has a medley (of mostly unrelated songs)? For a Broadway album “Tommy†rocks, and “Village Green…†is a great album. But “Abbey Roadâ€, from song to song, is way more creative than either of them.

Interestingly enough, the Beatles were very similar to a band from the 50's - Tin Pan Alley as well as the Beach Boys, whom The Beatles practically copied throughout a large chunk of their career.

***What band from the 50’s? Tin Pan Alley is a style of music, not a band. You don’t think the Beach Boys sounded like 50’s bands? Those two groups influenced each other for a bit, until Brian Wilson went nuts trying to keep up. Because he couldn't.

My criticism is aimed at the world of rock music rather than the beatles themselves. Unfortunately rock critics are still blinded by commercial success: the Beatles sold more than anyone else (not true, by the way), therefore they must have been the greatest.

***You slyly state that commercial success has nothing to do with being “the greatestâ€. Yet a few paragraphs up you mention the single “Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever†and state that it “unfortunately never reaches the top of the charts.†What are you saying exactly? Why “unfortunatelyâ€, if the charts have nothing to do with credibility? And, by the way – everyone here please raise your hands if you’ve heard of “Red Crayolaâ€. Apparently they were more important than the Beatles in the 1960’s. Any takers?

As Piero Scaruffi (a music critic I tend to agree with) puts it:

***This guy oddly has a lot of bad things to say about critics, seeing how he is one. He calls the Beatles “Aryan†music, and basically says that they were only popular because they arrived at the right time to “save white kidsâ€. He also says that their music had “no difficult content, it had no technical innovations, it had no creative depth.†Right, but how many books about his beloved Pere Ubu’s technical brilliance exist? This guy seems to only like bands most people haven’t heard of. How else would he sound like the smartest kid in class? From what I’ve read from him it looks like you’ve adopted his opinions as your own. Please realize that commercial success isn’t always at the expense of genius. Every now and then something slips through the cracks.

The Velvet Underground were the first band to write poems about the cynical dark side of urban life playing pessimistic psychedelic rock while everyone else was dishing out optimistic, protest and macho-rebellious songs. Their huge influence, especially on the music of the 90's is easy to see. Granted, they usually used the same three chords for most of their songs but their songs are arranged in ways that had never been tried before, and sometimes are pure chaos. (Sister Ray comes to mind here - a 17 minute masterpiece)

Personally I consider them as the forerunner of at least the entire punk genre.

***So making something interesting out of something basic is always the best way? “Three chords and the truth†is a wonderful rock slogan, but it doesn’t give an automatic pass to anyone who employs it. The Beatles did more with basic I-IV-V-VI chords than Lou Reed could’ve ever dreamed of doing. And they also went way beyond that, while Lou Reed spent his time trying to be shocking. And, no, I don’t care for old Lou.

As far as the whole punk statement – I’ll leave that one to Blind-Fitter. :)

And didn't the Beatles have George Martin? We wouldn't be hearing of them today had it not been for his good marketing campaign and the creation of Beatlemania.

***George Martin was a producer, and had zero to do with Beatlemania. The Beatles had no clever marketing after Brian Epstein died, and it wasn’t all that clever to begin with. He was an astonishingly bad businessman.

Well, to tell you the truth, I hadn't even heard of the Velvet Underground until a couple of years ago when I actually became interested in music.

***Man, they’re obviously every bit as influential as you say. That's my favorite part of your argument.

Personally, I believe that Dylan's lyric-writing prowess was a bit overrated (quite frankly his first 3 albums are sub-par). Its the image he created by stirring political revolt and his fusion of folk with rock (something which Johnny Cash managed before him) that allows him a claim in the rock n roll hall of fame.

***But I thought 1962 (when he released the first of those 3 sub-par albums) was the year of Dylan? Surely he wouldn’t have a year named after him because he did something below average? And why aren’t we arguing that Johnny Cash is the most influential artist of all time, if he did Dylan before Dylan?

You’re confusing political leanings and controversy/â€rocking the boat†with great musical talent. Music is made of notes, not statements. Certainly personal feelings and words are a part of music, and I love nothing more than when people do both well. But the basic topic here is musical viability. I love Dylan – amazing songwriter, important figure. But The Beatles because, musically, they were leaps and bounds ahead of anybody else.

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I love you, guys. I really needed some debate... I´ve had a great day on the mountain and I come home, check my mails, PTs, and find this!! :):):)

Thank you!!! :bow: :bow: :bow:

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Beautiful response ;)

I'll be back later :P

I'm enjoying myself. :) I hope you are. I meant to add a disclaimer that everything I said was in good humor, even though I might've gotten a touch uppity in some places. I'm not passionate about much, so I overdo it sometimes.

Can't wait to read your response. I leave in a few hours, and most likely won't be here again until Monday morning. So don't start making chicken noises if I don't respond right away. :blush:

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Enjoying myself a great deal here too. :) Don't worry about offending me das - I assure you i'm taking it all in good humour.

Unfortunately, i'm rather busy myself - i've a bunch university work to catch up with, so its probably you that'll be making the chicken noises first ;)

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