Beatles News

Ignore the evidence of your own ears, dismiss the comments of eyewitnesses, scorn the testament of other musicians, reject the opinions of critics and historians, science has spoken: The Beatles were not really all that significant.

There is something very pompous and disdainful about the presentation of new research from the Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College suggesting the Fab Four did not spark the musical revolution they have long been credited with. “They were good looking boys with great haircuts but as far as their music was concerned they weren’t anything new,” according to Professor Armand Leroi, senior author of the paper. Now he sounds like a lot of fun at a party.

The gist of his study of underlying chord progressions, beats, lyrics, trends and “tone” in all US hits between 1960 and 2010 seems to be that there is no such thing as a musical revolution, only incremental progression. It is surely the latest dispatch from the department of the bleeding obvious. Our human instinct to create narrati details

The impact of hip-hop's arrival on the pop music scene eclipsed that of the Beatles-led British invasion of 1964, a computer analysis of 17,000 songs has found.
The unusual study found three revolutions on the charts: the 1991 emergence of rap and hip-hop on mainstream charts; the synth-led new wave movement of 1983, and the advent of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who and other British rockers in the early 1960s.
Although the Beatles -- paced by the songwriting of John Lennon and Paul McCartney -- enjoy perhaps the highest place in critics' esteem, the researchers found the hip-hop movement -- from pioneers like Afrika Bambaataa to megastars like Jay-Z -- more profound.

They wrote that the rise of rap and related genres represents "the single most important event that has shaped the musical structure of the American charts in the period we studied."
By contrast, the British bands -- heavily influenced by U.S. stars like Chuck Berry and Little Richard -- were found to have followed existing trends.
The study, released on Wednesday, was conducted by details

Remembering Ben E. King - Tuesday, May 05, 2015

It may seem foolhardy to compare Ben E. King, who died last week at age 76, with The Beatles. Their music and their backgrounds seem so totally different.

But King, himself, did that when this writer interviewed him for a 2005 Paste story about the late 1950s/early 1960s pop music associated with New York’s Brill Building. And he expressed hurt and complaint when he discussed what the Beatles did to the world he knew.

As the urbane baritone singer with both eloquently clear diction and an underlying streak of poignantly soulful gruffness, first with The Drifters and then solo, King worked with a record company (Atlantic), producers (Leiber and Stoller) and songwriters (Pomus and Shuman, Goffin and King, Phil Spector and Bert Berns) associated with the Brill Building’s heyday. He also was an excellent composer himself, co-writing “There Goes My Baby” and the gospel-influenced “Stand By Me.”

In that interview, King conveyed pride in his accomplishments. He felt he was part of something bigger than just chasing Top 40 hits. He details

What makes a song timeless? It could be the harmony, the subject matter or something intangible that defies explanation. Creating a song may seem easy enough -- add some drums, bass, guitars and vocal -- but some musicians go above and beyond to deliver a unique listening experience. Berklee College of Music experts applied their expertise to figure out what instruments were used in Rolling Stone's Top 100 Songs of All Time. The instruments employed most often shouldn't surprise you, but what about the timpani, mouth harp or sleigh bells?

Berklee created an infographic of the 58 instruments that were played in the 100 songs. The Beatles and the Beach Boys were sonic innovators, but they weren't the only artists using obscure instruments to add another element to their iconic songs. Led Zeppelin used the bongos for "Whole Lotta Love" and the recorder and Mellotron on "Stairway to Heaven." The Rolling Stones used the guiro on "Gimme Shelter" and the tambourine on "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."

The marimba, oboe, sitar, harpsichord, harmonium, cabasa, swarman details

In 1962, the Beatles did not pass the audition.

January 1 of that year was supposed to be the Beatles’ huge break, as manager Brian Epstein had secured an audition with Decca Records. Decca A&R rep Mike Smith had attended the group’s December 13, 1961 Cavern Club show. Liking what he heard, he approached the Beatles and Epstein to record an audition tape for the label. The recording session was set for December 31, 1961. What followed was a virtual comedy of errors.

First, road manager and assistant Neil Aspinall agreed to drive the boys from Liverpool to Decca’s West Hampstead Studios. However, the group encountered a snowstorm during the trip, resulting in Aspinall getting lost. When they finally arrived at 10 p.m. December 31, they had been on the road over ten hours. Epstein (who had arrived earlier via train) and Smith rescheduled the session for the following day, hoping the boys would be well rested.

When a freezing January 1 dawned, the Beatles’ anxiety was palpable; they felt tremendous pre details

Celebrated at the time as a partial Beatles reunion, Paul McCartney’s “Take it Away” certainly starts that way, with an off-kilter rhythm courtesy of Ringo Starr and all of the tasteful hallmarks of a George Martin production — right down to the stoic piano accompaniment. But there was more to this standout track from Tug of War, released in April 1982.

The song’s most interesting new element, really, comes from 10cc alum Eric Stewart, whose presence clearly sparked Paul McCartney to dabble in some of that group’s now-famous layering of background vocals. “Take It Away” ends with a soaring loop of wordless sighs from a thousand Pauls, Erics and Lindas. A darker undertone surrounds the album, too, no matter how high that coda rises. That had more to do with the Beatle who wasn’t there, rather than the ones who were.

When studio ace Steve Gadd arrived for these McCartney sessions in early 1981 at George Martin’s Air Studios, he says he could immediately sense how heavy John Lennon’s recent murder still hun details

Pink Floyd recorded its 1967 debut just one studio over from the Beatles at Abbey Road studios. But that’s where the similarities between Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band end, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters says.

“I remember when Sgt. Pepper came out, pulling the car over into a lay by, and we sat there and listened to it,” Waters tells KLCS. “Somebody played the whole thing on the radio. And I can remember sitting in this old, beat up Zephyr Four, like that [sits for a long period, completely agape].”

You can hear the immediately influence of the Beatles’ “Lovely Rita” on “Pow R. Toc H.,” from Piper at the Gates of Dawn. But Roger Waters, then still in ascendency as the principal creative force in Pink Floyd, says his entire approach to songwriting was forever altered.

“I feel as if I learned my lessons from [early blues legends] Huddie Ledbetter and Bessie Smith and I listened to a lot of jazz and Woody Guthrie,” Roger Waters s details

One day in 1968, Paul McCartney was driving his Aston Martin DB6 to visit John Lennon's son, Julian, when a song came into his head. There was a reel-to-reel tape recorder installed in the car's dashboard for moments just like this, so he turned it on and started recording.
This would have been the very first recording of the song that became "Hey, Jude." That Aston Martin is still around, and the carmaker let me take it out for a drive.

Indeed, this nearly 50-year-old "Goodwood Green" sedan was in very fine shape. The smooth wooden steering wheel felt good in my hands. The shifter slipped easily from gear. Fortunately, I'd been in England a few days by that time and had finally gotten used to driving on the "wrong" side of the road and shifting gears left-handed.
The car had a 282 horsepower 4.0-liter 6-cylinder engine and a five-speed transmission. Aston Martin Works, the automaker's own restoration shop, modified the engine so that it's now 4.2-liters and runs on unleaded fuel. It rumbled strongly as I steered into the English countryside. It coughed a bit as details

As the young auteur behind Electric Light Orchestra, Jeff Lynne hardly made his admiration for the Beatles a secret, with his distinctive take on Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound engineering, multitracked studio wizardry and soaring multipart vocal harmonies owing a clear debt to “Abbey Road” and “Magical Mystery Tour.”

So it made sense that Lynne would go on to become the defining producer for the group’s post-1960s diaspora.

Not only has he produced solo work for Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, Lynne was behind the boards for the Beatles’ final “new” hit records: “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love,” painstakingly recorded around existing Lennon demo tracks in honor of the Beatles’ massive “Anthology” releases in the 1990s. (The singles reached No. 6 and No. 11 on the Billboard singles chart, respectively.)

Lynne went on to produce McCartney’s “Flaming Pie” in 1997, netting Macca his highest album chart position (No. 2) since details

Oscar-winning director Ron Howard will direct a documentary about The Beatles' early touring career. The film will chronicle Beatlemania, from the band's appearance in the clubs of Liverpool, England, to its final appearance at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1966.

The documentary will be produced by Apple Corps Ltd. (which represents the Beatles), White Horse Pictures and Imagine Entertainment. It will also feature interviews with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison.

"What's so compelling to me is the perspective that we have now, the chance to really understand the impact that they had on the world," Howard told Rolling Stone. "That six-year period is such a dramatic transformation in terms of global culture and these remarkable four individuals, who were both geniuses and also entirely relatable. That duality is something that is going to be very interesting to explore."

The Beatles, consisting of McCartney, Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison, started performing in Liverpool in 1961 and began touring Europe in 1963. Following a fa details

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