April 6 – The Turntable Talk, Part 4 – We Could Still Be Talking About Them In 100 Years

Today we continue our new feature at A Sound Day, which we hope to run from time to time throughout the year – Turntable Talk. In it, we’ve invited several other ardent music fans and bloggers to discuss one topic. To start off, a timely one : “The Beatles : why are we still talking about them 50(+) years on?”

It seems that The Beatles are more in the news and public’s eye now than they have been in decades, with the release of the Get Back documentary last year. But, then again, they never really went away. So we’ve got a group of fellow fans to discuss what it is about the Beatles that makes them stay relevant, decade after decade. Today, we have Max, from the Power Pop blog. Although based near Nashville, Max writes daily about great rock and pop songs from the ’50s through the ’90s and at times, some of the great TV of that era as well. We recommend you checking it out! Max writes:

So why are The Beatles still popular with older and younger generations? Their influence seems never-ending. It’s as though they have never left. There are other bands that left a legacy but nothing like the footprint of the Beatles.

The Beatles shaped culture instead of following it. Society changed after that appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. They cast such a large net in music compared to everyone else. They influenced everything from rock, folk-rock, power pop, psychedelia, progressive rock, and heavy metal. They practically invented the thought or image of a rock band. They moved passed that and have become a huge part of the culture they helped create.

The Beatle’s breakup was announced in 1970. Many rumors flew that they might regroup through the years but that ended on December 8, 1980, in New York with the assassination of John Lennon.

Through the seventies, the Beatles were still quite popular with the Red and Blue greatest-hits albums released in the early seventies. The greatest hits album Rock and Roll Music (terrible silver cover) was released in 1976. Capitol released “Got To Get You In My Life” as a single off of the album and it peaked at #1 in Canada and #7 in the Billboard 100 in 1976. This was 10 years after it was released as an album track on Revolver.

I bought my first Beatle album (Hey Jude) in 1975 when I was 8 and then bought the Rock and Roll Music album. So, I was a 2nd generation Beatles fan and there were many of us. The solo Beatles dominated the charts to the mid-seventies. After 1975 they had hits but not as many as before. Beatles’ popularity waned in the mid to late 70s when the “newer/ younger” generations considered the Beatles as belonging to their parents. Many youngsters believed Led Zeppelin, Queen, and all newer bands would replace the Beatles in scope and success.

Everything changed when Lennon was murdered. A newer generation heard the music. Their popularity would go up and down but with the first Beatle CDs released in 1987…again another generation heard the Beatles. Sgt Pepper was re-released 20 years after the original and it went to number one.

What really cemented them in the public’s mind happened on November 20, 1995. The Beatles Anthology CDs were released, and the documentary was viewed during prime time on ABC. Since then, they have never left. On November 13, 2000, they released the compilation album “1” which was the best-selling album of the decade worldwide. The Beatles were also the largest selling band between 2000-2010. In 2009 The Beatles Rock Band game came out and…yet another generation found their music. One was my son who was born in 2000.

Between 2010-2020 they remixed and reissued many of their classic albums with 50th-anniversary editions. The Get Back film by Peter Jackson is the latest project that has thrust them in the spotlight again…but really, they have never left.

The bottom line for their staying power is their music. The songwriting was outstanding. Even the early music was something new. They used minor chords, and different rhythms, along with harmonizing over the top. I’m not going to go into musical theory, but they never repeated themselves. Every album stands on its own.  John Lennon’s rhythm guitar was quirky and inventive, George Harrison brought in a Chet Atkins style along with jazz chords, Paul brought bass playing to a new level, and Ringo was a left-hander that played right-handed with an open high hat. The main thing was the songwriting, quality, and quantity that is rarely if ever seen.

Bob Dylan: “Their chords were outrageous, just outrageous, and their harmonies made it all valid.”

They rarely included their singles on albums. Most bands used singles to sell albums, but The Beatles treated both formats as different entities. Songs that weren’t released as singles include “Norwegian Wood”, “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”, “With A Little Help From My Friends”, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”,” All My Loving”, “A Day In The Life”, “Back In The USSR”, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”, “Helter Skelter”, “Michele”, “The Night Before”, and one of the most popular Beatles song “Here Comes The Sun”, and many more. Any other band would have released these songs as singles but with the Beatles…they were just album cuts. That is how deep their songwriting was at the time, and from 1966 onward George was contributing to the quality as well. George developed into a great songwriter in an impossible situation of being with two of the best in history.

They had more of a variety than many others. They were rockers in Hamburg and The Cavern. They were pop stars in the Beatlemania years. They were rock-folk-pop in the middle period of Rubber Soul and Revolver. They were Psychedelic rockers during the Sgt Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour era. Then they went back to their roots and were rockers again with the “White Album” and Let It Be. Abbey Road saw them perfecting their craft in all genres. They knew when to make an exit…while still on top.

They broke up because they outgrew each other and were together constantly, much like brothers. John, Paul, and George grew up together in Liverpool and they knew Ringo well early on. They were never made to stay together like the Stones. The Stones developed a business/brand attitude, but the Beatles were more of a family and things were more personal.

They were not this clean polite band that Brian Epstein and the press created. In fact, the Stones and Beatles’ images should have been reversed… but to make it…they had to clean up to get through the international door. After they did, the door was open for all others. They did however speak of whatever was on their mind. They said things stars just didn’t say, even in the early days. There was something honest about them that is still there to this day.

They were symmetrical… John brought in Paul, Paul brought in George, and George brought in Ringo.

Their story adds depth to their legacy. The odds of them finding Brian Epstein, George Martin, Stuart Sutcliffe, and everyone on the way was nearly zero. If one key person would have would have gone the other way…the story would not be the same or had not happened.

In a hundred years…the question will still be asked… why are the Beatles still relevant?

A couple of videos to leave you with –  New bands on the importance of The Beatles   Even Motorhead Were Fans

 

 

 

 

44 thoughts on “April 6 – The Turntable Talk, Part 4 – We Could Still Be Talking About Them In 100 Years

  1. Thanks for that, Max! You raise several really good points there – especially how they changed genres so seamlessly and effectively through the decade, and how they did get some really good luck hooking up with Brian Epstein and George Martin. You see many stories of bands wrecked along the way by crooked managers and when you read about the Beatles in detail, you really see how much Martin added to their sound in the studio – amazing for a guy who’d mostly recorded comedy records before.

    Like

    1. Badfinger (Max)

      Thanks for allowing me to post Dave!
      They connected with people that really loved them. That was the big thing. Lennon could smell a fake (it must have dimmed on Klein) at the first. Other managers wanted to sign them but would not let them be them…and Lennon would not let that happen.
      Even their press agent Tony Barrow thought the world of them along with the engineers and everyone else associated with them. Once you were in their circle you were in. Now you have people by your side and that makes your unit even stronger.

      They were lucky and also they made some of it by being stubborn until they got what they wanted. No one…including George Martin dreamed they could be such prolific songwriters.

      What was hard about changing genres was being able to keep their own style through it.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Oh yeah, it’s thoroughly amazing they were able to do so many sounds and make it sound legit and good… can’t think of any band that quite matched that kind of range of sounds .
        Even the secretary- I forget her name but there’s a documentary on her – she went so far above and beyond to both answer fan letters for them and keep negative stories out of the press and everything… they really had a fleet of good people around them.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Badfinger (Max)

        Oh yea Freda! She was really good to them. They were good to them and treated them like friends…that was a difference also. Today in our world that would probably not happen.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: A Concert of The Mind…Fantasy Park – PowerPop… An Eclectic Collection of Pop Culture

  3. Excellent post. You’re absolutely right, The Beatles shaped popular culture. Plus, they were shape shifters…not crazy, unrecognizable shape shifters, but innovative, maverick revisionist that took rock n roll to a new level. So much so that their significance is now stronger than the genre itself.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. No, it’s not in particular reference to the song Thriller, though I do use the lyrics on the cover page of my blog. I am a big fan of Michael Jackson the singer/songwriter/performer, but not the person….All Things Thriller refers to the thriller genre. I love thriller films and literature.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Yep. Starr wasn’t awful and he was the entirely inferior companion to the other three in that band. I think you pointed out something really relevant – the album cuts that everyone loves and know. LZ had ‘Kashmir’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven’; Pink Floyd had ‘Comfortably Numb” and a few of those Dark side of the Moon songs with names we never remember… songs people love that weren’t singles. The Beatles had, like 30 of those on top of the hits.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Badfinger (Max)

        Ringo was a really good drummer and he kept the band grounded…and that was a big deal. Someone who could tell either one of the others to shut up or whatever and they would listen…without fighting….but a songwriter no…not as much.
        Those albums cuts were great…yep like the others.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I think I got caught up in a popular misconception for a long time and figured Ringo was fluff… a fun guy but an amateur. Until I really began listenign to some of his drumming on so many tracks. He was up there- he was good at what he did. And a good personality that probably helped things along.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It did that! I remember back in ’76 in Canada, with ‘got to Get You into My Life’ being a big hit and I- a child – was confused…didn’t the Beatles break up? How do they have a new record out on the radio ? I bet if someone put out something like ‘Michele” or “Fool on the Hill’ as a ‘single” now with a new video it would jump back up the downloads chart.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. we can hope! Though part of me thinks they’d say ‘get this old people crap off of here- I want to watch videos of skanky chicks eating Wendy’s ghost pepper sauce while dancing to Drake’ …

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Max – this is fantastic and hits the nail on the head! I love this. The silver album was the first one I owned of I remember correctly. With my paper route money I bought the actual albums – Rubber Soul, Beatles ’65, etc… I think the point you make about how they “never left” is SO accurate. Their music transcends generations for all the reasons you mentioned. The Beatles songs are right up there with the songs of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and the songs from the “Great American Songbook” in that they are still popular today. Bottom line – a good song is a good song. They were lucky enough to be the writers and singers of those songs. Think about it, Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald and those legendary singers gained popularity because they sang great songs … But they had to rely on someone else’s words.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Badfinger (Max)

      Thank you Keith that means a lot to me!
      Yea Elvis also had to interrupt other people’s music and words. Also, I think with them shaping the culture along with the songwriting…they did about all you could do in a few short years.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. the very point was a shift too- Motown put out some great songs, as did Elvis… but they were almost entirely covers and almost entirely played by nameless musicians in the studio. The Beatles set the pace for writing their own material and playing it too.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Badfinger (Max)

        That is one of the things they were stubborn about to Martin…he found them a hit to record…but they didn’t exactly play it great…Martin gave in and didn’t release it but it was a number 1 for another band…they knew it didn’t fit them…

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Yep! I mean, it says something too when Paul McCartney got honored by the American Library of Congress and President Obama for his songwriting …US doesn’t give a lot of awards to foreigners… and dave Grohl played for him, because the guy who was at the front and center of grunge in the 90s was a gigantic Beatles fan. They reach a whole lot of people.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. They got to the top, others slavishly copied what they had done. Like, say, Gerry and the Pacemakers’ they’d rush out, oh, lets say, ‘Ferry Across The Mersey,’ then the Beatles would put out, say, Norwegian Wood’. Out would come say, ‘The Sounds of Silence’. But the Beatles had already easily and seamlessly moved on to Sgt Peppers,’ leaving, say, Brian Wilson in the studio with his Master work obsolete. They stayed at the forefront, leaving others to follow.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Badfinger (Max)

      I tried to find a comparison to write about but I really couldnt… One artist may have one part but never the songwriting and the culture changes.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Enjoyed reading that. The Beatles are still pros at managing every aspect of their catalog. Thinking about their movies, they get released and then pulled back out of circulation. For years, i couldn’t find a way to buy Yellow Submarine in any format, including streaming. Then they had the big release a couple of years ago, and made it widely available to stream. Now they’ve reined it back in. A few years before Yellow Sub, A Hard Days Night had come out in streaming format. Right now, just try to find a way to rent or buy the streaming version of the Help! movie. It’s not out there. One of these days that one will be ‘released’, too, I assume. And I’ll probably buy that version too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Badfinger (Max)

      Thank you!
      You know…I never realized that on Help! I think it might be on Apple TV to rent or buy but I could be wrong. I’m hoping to catch one of their movies at our art house movie theater in Nashville.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Kind of like Disney in that aspect – they don’t have the big movies available all the time thereby creating more demand for them. And it brings to mind one more aspect of the Beatles significance – they were really video pioneers .

      Like

  7. Great point about cleaning up to get through the door Max. Having a smart manager paid off huge for these guys. “Ok boys clean up for the public appearances do whatever u want at the hotel” was perhaps the lingo used lol

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Badfinger (Max)

      And they did… I think they resented the Stones for being able to be pretty much what they wanted to be at first because once the Beatles opened the door…others could follow and be more who they wanted to be… when you get bored…look up what Lemmy says about them lol. That man is awesome.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. yeah, may he RIP. In Dave Grohl’s book when he talks of meeting Lemmy he says something like “I won’t tell you his band because if you don’t know who Lemmy is, we can’t hang out”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Badfinger (Max)

        That man saw a lot in his life. Watched The Beatles in the Cavern…he was a roadie for Jimi Hendrix…he got around….plus he merged two musical styles together and it worked.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. his idea of putting them in suits early on was probably a big help, when you think of things like Ed sullivan… he was pretty tight on what he’d allow and without those appearances, their American success might not have happened so quickly nor to such a degree

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Why The Beatles Are Still Relevant… and my 5th Year Anniversary. – PowerPop… An Eclectic Collection of Pop Culture

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