The Beatles


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A text about The Beatles, edited by Oralia Vera, Marianne Castañón, Laura González and Maricarmen Mayorga.

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The Beatles

  1. 1. Influence of the Beatles in the world.What the Beatles have meant for people all aroundthe world has been partly discussed so far. And as itwould be absolutely impossible to covereverything, I would like to present at least a fewconcrete examples of their influence.
  2. 2. was the strongest during theiractive career, in the sixties. DuringBeatlemania (approximately 1963-1966), when their fame reached ahigh, they had an unbelievableimpact on the young and a stronginfluence on everyone else. Theyvery much influenced men’sfashion. In the chapter‚Beatlemania‛ from the Beatles’authorized biography by HunterDAVIES we can read:Manufactures all over thecountry were by [December 1963]competing to get a concession touse the word Beatle on theirproducts. collarless ones,usually in corduroy, first wornby Stu in Hamburg- were on salevery where as early asSeptember 1963. Beatle wigsstarted appearing[...]Mostteenage boys were growing theirown Beatle-length hair, fromNovember on there was acontinuous stream of newspaperstories about schoolboys beingsent home from school because
  3. 3. Beatles’ image of rebels. In the firsthalf of the sixties, however, their‘rebellion’ was fairly moderate. Itwas very rock’n’roll-like: cheekyguys who wanted to provoke andannoy their parents’ generation bywearing hairstyles and clothes thatgeneration did not approve of,listening to and playing loud andnoisy music, talking back etc.On the one hand, it seems nearlyridiculous to consider theseyoungsters ‘rebels’ and then use thesame word in connection with the punkmovement, which was at its peak somefifteen years later (according toMACDONALD, it was in 1976-8).On the other hand, society hadchanged in the twenty years, and rockand rollers in the fifties and earlysixties were regarded as rebels asmuch as punks were in the seventies. Inthe case of rock and roll it was morethe form than the content – theloudness of the music,rather than lyrics – that mattered;
  4. 4. Night (1964). The movie shows the Beatles’disrespect to authorities (there is a chase withthe police towards the end of the film etc) andnaughtiness. This film also presents a newapproach to music films in Britain: ‚British rockwas never fully integrated into a plot until theBeatles made A Hard Day’s Night (1964) and Help!(1965)‛ (GAMMOND 497). Several movies have beenmade according to this model since; a quiterecent example is the 1997 film Spice Worldstarring the girl band Spice Girls.However, the Beatles’ influence was also morespiritual. When Paul McCartney had a concert inRed Square in Moscow in 2003, a documentarywas shot, in which several Russian personalitiesrecall what the Beatles have meant to them,even though they were not allowed to performin the Soviet Union and their records wereextremely hard to obtain. Sociologist ArtemyTroitsky said:[...] the Beatles have started the whole hugemovement in the Soviet Union. Movement, whichinvolved not thousands or even hundreds ofthousands, which involved millions of youngpeople who became, as communist publicistshave said, inner immigrants. They still lived inthe Soviet Union with their body but mentally
  5. 5. What the Beatles did [...] they gave us theopportunity to look each other in the eyeand to say ´Look, we are the same. We arethe same. And the terms like capitalism,socialism, communism, they mean nothingbecause we´re human beings. Do you wantme to prove it? [...] listen to the Beatles.("Paul McCartney in the Red Square").The popularity of the Beatles in the sixtieswas really fantastic. And they wereawfully rich too. The article ‚How Does aBeatle Live? John Lennon Lives Like This‛ byMaureen Cleave, published in the EveningStandard on 4th March 1966, describes JohnLennon’s house in Weybridge and sketchesout what his hobbies and interests are andwhat he does in his free time. The article is,however, famous for something else. It isthis article in which Lennon said theBeatles were bigger than Jesus:Christianity will go [...]. It will vanish andshrink. I needn’t argue about that; I´m rightand I will be proved right. We´re morepopular than Jesus now; I don´t know whichwill go first- rock´n´roll or Christianity.Jesus was all right but his disciples were
  6. 6. This started a wave of protests all overthe world. Shortly after the article hadbeen published, the Beatles went on tourto the United States, where the outragewas the strongest, especially in the ‘BibleBelt’ (the South and Midwest of the USA),where their records and everythingconnected with them were boycotted andburnt at the stake. Lennon apologized inChicago, but the tour was unsuccessfulanyway. It was not only due to thearticle, but the article largelycontributed to it. The bigger-than-Jesusaffair, however, hardly shook theBeatles’ popularity. Nevertheless, itclearly shows how the Fab Four wereinfluential: had someone unimportantsaid something like that nobody wouldhave minded. It was the fact that theBeatles were inconceivably famous andmaybe indeed more popular than Jesusand thus threatening his position thatenraged Christian fundamentalists.
  7. 7. The Beatles were probably the mostimportant trendsetters of the 1960s(definitely the most importanttrendsetters in Britain). They largelycontributed to the popularization ofthe hippie movement outside the UnitedStates. They were against the war inVietnam. According to KUREISHI theywere ‚popularizers of esoteric ideas –about mysticism, about differentforms of political involvement andabout drugs‛. For many people thesixties mean the Beatles and viceversa.Their career stretched over the eraand ended with the end of the decade.Composer Aaron Copland once said:‚When people ask to re-create themood of the ‘60s, they will playBeatles music‛ (gtd. in MATZNER 5,MACDONALD 7)10. Both the music and thelyrics capture the spirit of the sixties.New ideas, new approach, sexualrevolution, generation gap and drugs –we can find it all in the lyrics of theBeatles’ songs, as well as in thestories of their lives.
  8. 8. The evolution of the band fromcarefree and cheeky boysscreaming She loves you to hairyhippies searching for the meaning oflife and singing Strawberry FieldsForever reflect the increasinginfluence of hippie and orientalcultures and the overall shift inpeople’s interest from earningone’s living to other morephilosophical issues too.After the breakup of the band in1970, every Beatle pursued his owncareer as a musician; they, however,remained very influential in otherfields too. John Lennon was an anti-war activist. George Harrisonorganized the ‚Concert for BanglaDesh‛ in 1971 to help the starvingpeople in that country.Nevertheless, they usuallybenefited from the fame of theBeatles.
  9. 9. Written by: Lennon-McCartney Recorded: 25, 26, 31 January; 30 April 1969; 4 January 1970Let it be Producers: George Martin, Chris Thomas Engineers: Glyn Johns, Jeff Jarratt, Phil McDonald Released: 6 March 1970 (UK), 11 March 1970 (US) Paul McCartney: vocals, backing vocals, piano, bass guitar, maracas John Lennon: backing vocals George Harrison: backing vocals, lead guitar Ringo Starr: drums Billy Preston: organ, electric piano Linda McCartney: backing vocals Uncredited: two trumpets, two trombones, tenor saxophone, cellos
  10. 10. It Be was also the title track ofthe last album of their career.The song was written during thesessions for the White Album, at atime when Paul McCartney feltisolated as the only member ofThe Beatles still keen to keep thegroup together. His enthusiasm andbelief had kept them going afterthe death of Brian Epstein, butincreasingly he found the others atodds with his attempts to motivatethem.Although his public personaremained upbeat, privatelyMcCartney was feeling in secureand wounded by the gradualdisintegration of the group. Duringthis period, his mother Mary - whohad passed away in 1956 whenMcCartney was 14 - appeared tohim in a dream.
  11. 11. about dreams: you actually are reunited with thatperson for a second; there they are and youappear to both be physically together again. It wasso wonderful for me and she was very reassuring.In the dream she said, Itll be all right. Im notsure if she used the words Let it be but that wasthe gist of her advice, it was, Dont worry toomuch, it will turn out OK. It was such a sweetdream I woke up thinking, Oh, it was really greatto visit with her again. I felt very blessed to havethat dream. So that got me writing the song Let ItBe. I literally started off Mother Mary, whichwas her name, When I find myself in times oftrouble, which I certainly found myself in. Thesong was based on that dream. Paul McCartney Many Years From Now, Barry MilesIt was perhaps inevitable - even fortuitous for thegroup - that Let It Be took on religious overtones,with many listeners interpreting it as referring tothe Virgin Mary.Mother Mary makes it a quasi-religious thing, soyou can take it that way. I dont mind. Im quitehappy if people want to use it to shore up theirfaith. I have no problem with that. I think its agreat thing to have faith of any sort, particularly
  12. 12. John Lennon felt little affection for thesong, and was partly responsible forsandwiching it between the throwawayDig It and Maggie Mae on the Let It Bealbum, which effectively sent up anyperceived portentousness.Thats Paul. What can you say? Nothing todo with The Beatles. It couldve beenWings. I dont know what hes thinkingwhen he writes Let It Be. I think it wasinspired by Bridge Over TroubledWaters. Thats my feeling, although I havenothing to go on. I know he wanted towrite a Bridge Over Troubled Waters. Chart success John Lennon Let It Be was We Are Saying, David Sheff All the last single to be released by The Beatles before their split was announced to the press. A final US single, The Long And Winding Road, was issued two months later, and a month after Paul McCartney revealed to the press that the band were no more. Let It Be was released in the UK on 6 March, billed as "an intimate bioscopic experience with THE BEATLES". Its b-side was You Know My Name (Look Up The Number). The single reached number two in the charts. It fared better elsewhere, charting at number one in the US, Australia, Italy, Norway and Switzerland.
  13. 13. SomethingWritten by: HarrisonRecorded: 16 April; 2, 5 May; 11, 16July; 15 August 1969Producers: George Martin, ChrisThomasEngineers: Jeff Jarratt, GlynJohns, Geoff Emerick, PhilMcDonaldReleased: 26 September 1969 (UK),1 October 1969 (US)George Harrison: vocals, leadguitar, handclapsJohn Lennon: guitar, pianoPaul McCartney: backing vocals,bass, handclapsRingo Starr: drums, handclapsBilly Preston: Hammond organUnknown: 12 violins, 4 violas, 4cellos, double bass
  14. 14. showed him finally leaving thesongwriting shadow of Lennon andMcCartney.Something was written during the 1968sessions for The Beatles (White Album),though it wasnt finished until thefollowing year.I had written Something on the pianoduring the recording of the White Album.There was a period during that albumwhen we were all in different studiosdoing different things trying to get itfinished, and I used to take some time out.So I went into an empty studio and wroteSomething. George Harrison AnthologyThe song took its first line from theJames Taylor song Something In The WayShe Moves.I could never think of words for it. Andalso because there was a James Taylorsong called Something In The Way SheMoves which is the first line of that. Andso then I thought of trying to change thewords, but they were the words thatcame when I first wrote it, so in the end I
  15. 15. Lomax, the guitar-and-vocals demo wasgiven to Joe Cocker. Cockers version wasrecorded before The Beatles, but notreleased until November 1969.In her autobiography Wonderful Tonight,Harrisons former wife Pattie Boydclaimed the song was written about her.Harrison downplayed the sentiment,saying it was, in fact, written with RayCharles in mind.It has probably got a range of five notes,which fits most singers needs best. When Iwrote it, in my mind I heard Ray Charlessinging it, and he did do it some yearslater. At the time I wasnt particularlythrilled that Frank Sinatra didSomething. Im more thrilled now than Iwas then. I wasnt really into Frank - hewas the generation before me. I wasmore interested when Smokey Robinsondid it and when James Brown did it. ButIm very pleased now, whoevers done it. Irealise that the sign of a good song iswhen it has lots of cover versions.I met Michael Jackson somewhere at theBBC. The fellow interviewing us made acomment about Something, and Michaelsaid: Oh, you wrote that? I thought it was
  16. 16. George had a smugness on his face when hecame in with this one, and rightly so - he knewit was absolutely brilliant. And for the firsttime, John and Paul knew that George hadrisen to their level. Geoff Emerick Music RadarSomething has been recorded by a range ofperformers, including Elvis Presley, ShirleyBassey, Frank Sinatra, James Brown andSmokey Robinson. It has become the second-most covered Beatles song after Yesterday.Sinatra called it "the greatest love songever written," and made it a fixture of hislive set.I thought it was Georges greatest track - withHere Comes The Sun and While My GuitarGently Weeps. They were possibly his bestthree. Until then he had only done one or twosongs per album. I dont think he thought ofhimself very much as a songwriter, and Johnand I obviously would dominate - again, notreally meaning to, but we were Lennon andMcCartney. So when an album comes up,Lennon and McCartney go and write somestuff - and maybe it wasnt easy for him toget into that wedge. But he finally came up
  17. 17. Yellow SubmarWritten by: Lennon-McCartneyRecorded: 26 May, 1 June 1966Producer: 5 AugustMartinReleased: George 1966 (UK), 8 August 1966Engineer: Geoff Emerick(US)Ringo Starr: vocals, drumsJohn Lennon: backing vocals, acousticguitarPaul McCartney: backing vocals, bassGeorge Harrison: backing vocals,tambourineMal Evans: backing vocals, bass drumNeil Aspinall, George Martin, GeoffEmerick, Pattie Harrison, Brian Jones,Marianne Faithfull, Alf Bicknell: backingvocals
  18. 18. moments, and an unnecessary bout of whimsyon the otherwise flawless Revolver.I dont actually know where they got theidea for it; I just felt it was a reallyinteresting track for me to do. Id been doinga lot of covers. At that time I did eithercovers or something they wrote specificallyfor me. Ringo Starr AnthologyWritten by Paul McCartney, YellowSubmarine was always intended to be achildrens song. It chimed perfectly with thecarefree, nostalgic and childlike attitudesthat dominated the burgeoning psychedelicera.I remember lying in bed one night, in thatmoment before youre falling asleep - thatlittle twilight moment when a silly ideacomes into your head - and thinking ofYellow Submarine: We all live in a yellowsubmarine...‘I quite like childrens things; I like childrensminds and imagination. So it didnt seemuncool to me to have a pretty surreal ideathat was also a childrens idea. I thoughtalso, with Ringo being so good with children- a knockabout uncle type - it might not be a
  19. 19. Since The Beatles had stopped recording coverversions by 1966, Yellow Submarine was given toRingo Starr as his vocal contribution to Revolver.It became his first lead vocal on a Beatles single.I was thinking of it as a song for Ringo, which iteventually turned out to be, so I wrote it as nottoo rangey in the vocal. I just made up a littletune in my head, then started making a story, sortof an ancient mariner, telling the young kidswhere hed lived and how thered been a placewhere he had a yellow submarine. Its pretty muchmy song as I recall, written for Ringo in thatlittle twilight moment. I think John helped out;the lyrics get more and more obscure as it goes onbut the chorus, melody and verses are mine. Therewere funny little grammatical jokes we used toplay. It should have been Everyone of us has all heneeds but Ringo turned it into everyone of us hasall we need. So that became the lyric. Its wrong,but its great. We used to love that. Paul McCartney Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
  20. 20. One couplet in the song was suggested by Donovan, whose single Mellow Yellow was released in October 1966. McCartney visited Donovans apartment in London on 26 May, prior to the recording session for Yellow Submarine. He played one about a yellow submarine. He said he was missing a line and would I fill it in. I left the room and returned with this: Sky of blue and sea of green/In our yellow submarine. It was nothing really, but he liked it and it stayed in. Donovan Many Years From Now, Barry MilesYellow Submarine was the inspiration and basis forThe Beatles fourth film, released in 1968, as wellas its accompanying soundtrack album.
  21. 21. YesterdayWritten by: Lennon-McCartneyRecorded: 14, 17 June 1965Producer: George MartinEngineer: Norman SmithReleased: 6 August 1965(UK), 13 September 1965 (US)Paul McCartney: vocals,guitarTony Gilbert: violinSidney Sax: violinKenneth Essex: violaFrancisco Gabarro: cello
  22. 22. Guinness Book of Records.Well, we all know about Yesterday. Ihave had so much accoladde forYesterday. Thats Pauls song andPauls baby. Well done. Beautiful - andI never wished Id written it. John Lennon, 1980 All We Are Saying, David SheffStreet, London.The melody came to McCartney fully-formed, although he was initiallyunsure of its originality.I was living in a little flat at the topof a house and i had a piano by my bed.I woke up one morning with a tune inmy head and I thought, Hey, I dontknow this tune - or do I? It was like ajazz melody. My dad used to know alot of old jazz tunes; I thought maybeId just remembered it from the past. Iwent to the piano and found thechords to it, made sure I rememberedit and then hawked it round to all myfriends, asking what it was: Do youknow this? Its a good little tune, but Icouldnt have written it because Idreamt it.
  23. 23. love your legs. George Martin claims tohave first heard the song at the George Vhotel in Paris in January 1964.Paul said he wanted a one-word title andwas considering Yesterday, except that hethought it was perhaps too corny. Ipersuaded him that it was all right.George MartinThe Complete Beatles Recording Sessions,Mark LewisohnMcCartneys authorised biographer BarryMiles put the date of composition at May1965, during the filming of Help!, when hewas known to have been experimentingwith the songs lyricsWe were shooting Help! in the studio forabout four weeks. At some point duringthat period, we had a piano on one of thestages and he was playing this ScrambledEggs all the time. It got to the point whereI said to him, If you play that bloody songany longer have the piano taken off stage.Either finish it or give up!Richard LesterA Hard Days Write, Steve Turner
  24. 24. in June 1965. McCartney took a holiday atWelchs Portuguese villa, where he is saidto have settled on the title Yesterday. I was packing to leave and Paul asked me ifI had a guitar. Hed apparently been workingon the lyrics as he drove to Albufeira fromthe airport at Lisbon. He borrowed myguitar and started playing the song we allnow know as Yesterday.Bruce WelchA Hard Days Write, Steve TurnerAlthough famously arranged for guitar andstring quartet, McCartney consideredhaving the BBC Radiophonic Workshop do afuturistic electronic version of Yesterday.It occurred to me to have the BBCRadiophonic Workshop do the backing trackto it and me just sing over an electronicquartet. I went down to see them... Thewoman who ran it was very nice and theyhad a little shed at the bottom of thegarden where most of the work was done. Isaid, Im into this sort of stuff. Id heard alot about the BBC Radiophonic Workshop,wed all heard a lot about it. It would havebeen very interesting to do, but I neverfollowed it up.