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There will never be another band like the beatles

There+will+never+be+another+band+like+the+beatles
Sav Vivanco

The Beatles remain one of the most innovative and unique rock bands to ever exist.

I could ramble on about each album and every little detail in them but today I’m going to focus on the bigger picture. How the Fab Four took the world by storm by taking a different approach to their musical style and how they would thrive as a band to get to where they wanted.

The British rock band consisted of four members: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. The band was forged by guitarist Lennon, who recruited bass player Paul McCartney, second guitarist Harrison and drummer Starr who joined the band in 1962 just before the band took off. Lennon and McCartney were the main songwriters for the band, but Harrison was also a great songwriter who would end up creating some iconic songs for the group.

But what exactly made the British rock group so special?

 

A unique sound in every album

The Beatles spent their first three years creating classic pop-rock hits such as “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Love Me Do” and many more. The members were 20 years old and inspired by blues rock artists such as Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. They helped define the rock scene and paved the way for the British Invasion of the United States in the 1960s.

The Beatles would take a small step forward in a new direction with the releases of “Rubber Soul” (1965) and “Revolver” (1966). “Rubber Soul” was where the band began to expand in all areas as they spent more time on the record compared to their first few releases. This would send pop music in a new direction as it had flashes of alternative rock throughout the album.

The Beatles would not just create a unique sound in their records, but a unique way of storytelling. For example, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is one of the first albums to use a collection of songs to tell a story and give the album a bigger picture throughout. This is now known as a concept album.

One of the songs in this album that does a fantastic job of setting the scene is the third track “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.”

The first five seconds of the song starts with a Lowrey organ which gives you an early idea of the setting with its warm and mellow tune. Lennon has the listener put themselves in the scene as he describes the landscape, “Picture yourself in a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies.”

Lennon’s voice was also slowed down to hit a higher pitch at a mellower tone. Between the organ and his slowed-down vocals, the song gives this hazy effect as if you are in a dream.

Just almost being able to grasp a clear image but it’s foggy.

 

 

The song also allows the listener to use a little bit of their imagination as he describes another person in the song being “A girl with Kaleidoscope eyes.” Only describing her eyes lets the listener do their best to piece together what this other person may look like.

Between the use of the Lowrey organs, unique tone and Lennon’s songwriting, the song transports the viewer to a new world in a matter of seconds.

It seems like today, most bands or musicians are too scared to steer in new directions for fear of losing their followers, missing out on revenue or are just too lazy to do so.

For example, Drake’s latest release “For All The Dogs” (2023) has been described as repetitive, having familiar beats with dull lyrics as critics call it flat-out boring.

Another example is Taylor Swift and her latest album “The Tortured Poets Department.”

El Hunt, editor and writer of The Standard posted a review on Album of the Year that said, “Predictable production choices and occasional hollow lyricism dulls the glow of the US mega stars eleventh album.”

Amidst another record breaking album in “Midnights” (2022) Taylor Swift took the easy route in creating an album with similar concepts and sounds. Failing to challenge herself to go and actually create music.

However, despite artists like Taylor Swift making no changes or experimenting with new sounds, consumers will take it and be happy with it everytime.

This can be applied to most mainstream artists as they use similar beats for future projects and keep creating similar, if not, the same lyrics to their music without expanding on the storytelling aspect of music.

The Beatles were not afraid to experiment, by the time they broke up, they had performed in around 20 different genres.

 

The Beatles were pioneers

Many techniques used in recording studios were first done by The Beatles. The Beatles are known as the first recording band, meaning they had quit touring and dedicated more time in the studio producing albums.

They would come up with various new recording methods and techniques to enhance their records.

The Liverpool natives were one of the first to use Tape loops when recording. This would consist of an audio clip of an instrument or vocals being played on repeat at different speeds to add to the environment of the track.

One of the biggest recording techniques the Beatles pioneered was automatic double tracking. Double tracking is when two different takes of a vocal are played together to broaden the sound more. This process was time-consuming as the vocalist had to do their best to match the pitch and tone of the original clip.

Artificial double tracking was done by Abbey Road studios engineer Ken Townsend who rooted the signal through the tape differently to get the same clip slightly delayed to help add volume to the recording.

This would allow Lennon to focus on other aspects of the album rather than spend hours trying to replicate what he already worked on.

Harrison would expand culturally and use a sitar, a 19-stringed instrument used in Indian classical music. It can first be heard in “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown),” becoming the first pop song to include the sitar. Harrison would dive deeper into Indian classical music and be more present in “Within Without You” for “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

The use of the sitar would influence Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards to use it to record “Paint It, Black.”

The song consists of a grimy rift and is also one of their most iconic riffs as the song is considered one of their greatest hits.

 

 

“Helter Skelter,” is considered one of the first heavy metal rock songs after McCartney had read about the Who’s “I Can See For Miles.” Pete Townsend, guitarist of the Who was on the paper describing the song as one of the “dirtiest” they had ever created.

McCartney read that line and went into the studio having the urge to create something even heavier and “dirtier” than The Who. If you listen to these songs back-to-back, it’s safe to say that McCartney and the Beatles went up and beyond as compared to the Who and in the process, cleared the way for a whole new generation of rock.

The Beatles came up with new methods of recording music and ways of adding to it that many artists still use today. They experimented in hopes of expanding on their work and giving the listener different things to pick up when listening.



The Fab Four

The Beatles are like an all-star team. Each member of the band could have started their own band or had a successful solo career, which they would all eventually go out and do following the band’s demise in April 1970.

The way this group worked together to create songs is special. One instance appears in the latest documentary “The Beatles: Get Back” where McCartney is in the studio beginning to compose the song “Get Back.” Lennon, Harrison and Starr sit and watch for about a minute before they begin to chime in with their own instruments and backup vocals.

The way they were able to complement one another’s work to create their signature sound was what made the Beatles who they were.

When looking back at their creativity, McCartney said in an interview in 2018 with GQ, “They never had a dry session.”

Harrison created iconic riffs for the group throughout their discography. Harrison was also a fantastic songwriter and wrote some of my favorite Beatles songs including “Something,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Here Comes the Sun.”

Starr’s unique drumming style, where he would lead with his left hand, allowed his drumsticks to hit the drum at a different angle to get a slightly different sound. Starr also did not try to do too much on his kit, he just did enough to support what his bandmates were doing in their session.

I could continue to list off several things they have achieved as a group but the only way to truly understand the band is by watching and listening to them.

In the coming years, there will be four different biopics covering each member of the band. This will give people the opportunity to gain a better understanding of not just the band, but of each member’s life and what they brought to the band as an individual.

Until then, the best way to truly understand the band is to drop the needle on one of their records and let their music play host to your ears.

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    QurtmanJun 22, 2024 at 8:39 am

    Very informative.

    Reply