The Beatles, also known as “The Fab Four” was an English band that was formed in 1960, consisting of four young and extremely talented Liverpudlian men, who would come to be a big part of the revolution of music. These men were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrisonand Ringo Starr. Lennon played a variety of instruments, including the guitar and the keyboard, McCartney played bass guitar, acoustic and electric guitars, piano and keyboards, as well as over 40 other instruments. Together, the two composed the songs that will never be forgotten and are known worldwide. Harrison played a variety of instruments from the conga drum to the violin but focused mainly on the guitar and the sitar and generally also sang the lead vocals. Starr was known as the group’s drummer, who energized The Beatle’s sound with his open hi-hat and four-to-the-floor bass drum. Starr could also sing very nicely, however, he was very insecure of his limited baritone voice. Lennon and McCartney therefore often wrote songs that would fit his voice.An example of this is their song “With a Little Help from My Friends”, where the others accompany him in the chorus.Music started out as nothing but a hobby for the four teenage boys who came from working-class families and worked their way up and quickly became very wealthy, thanks to their talents. This is one of the things about The Beatles, that many find amusing. Furthermore, the group played an important role in the development of 1960s counterculture and popular music’s recognition as an art form.Additionally, during mentioned time, they recorded their “main catalogue”, which consisted of 213 songs, of which 188 were originals.Bands and artists that desired to sign a recording contract in the 1960s had to behave and work professionally and look presentable. The group, however, did not quite live up to these standards. Recording labels saw their work ethnicity as based on fun, representing them as loud and “unserious”, rather than professional. Additionally, their looks also were not “acceptable” mainly due to their long hair. Lastly, the group composed and played their own music, which did not go down well with the music critics during that time. Separately, Lennon and McCartney worked on writing songs, which was far beyond the norm when looking at other bands. But The Beatles did not wish to be compared with other bands, so in order to break away from the traditional structure of music, the group exploited the usage of exotic sounds and sound effects, as well as different scales. An example of theband’s versatility is the song Within You, Without You, which reflects Harrison’s interest in Indian and Oriental culture (which I will get further into later). However, the songs that first grabbed the public ́s attention were some of their less daring songs, such asLove Me Do and Please Please Me.Lennon and McCartney experimented a great deal with tones and moods that were new and different at the time, and which did not always compliment the melody and rhythm of their
songs. However, when comparing their lyrics to former bands’, listeners tend to prefer The Beatles’, as they are less confusing and more comprehensible. The criticIan McDonalds believes that ‘this ‘carefree sensationalism’ that was expressed in The Beatles’ songs were partially responsible for the Sixties’ Cultural Revolution” (which I will write more about in relation to the boys’ impact on the world).It is said that another reason why The Beatles differ so much from other musicians at the time, is that each of them had their own individual character, which was a part of made the group so special. Furthermore, they had such a different style from any other band at the time, because they worked in many different genres of music. As Jake Hugheswrites in the magazine “The Paw Print”, “The group started off rooted in the Skiffle and 1950’s rock and roll, and later on expanding into pop ballads, psychedelic rock and also having some classical influences in their songs. The popularity of The Beatles grew as their music developed and became more sophisticated.”The Beatles “blossomed” in the very beginning of the counterculture in the 1960s, and therefore had an impact on many people during this time. The counterculture was an anti-establishment movement that spread throughout the Western world in the 1960s. Its movement involved large groups of (mainly young) people, who rejected many of the beliefs that were common in the society. Majority of the young generation (where many were either hippies, free-lovers, rock and rollers, junkies or punks) therefore rebelled against the authorities and seeked freedom and independence.The Beatles acted as leaders and guided everybody who would follow to the “Summer of Love” (which was a social phenomenon that occurred during the summer of 1967, when as many as 100,000 people, mostly young people sporting hippie fashions of dress and behavior, converged in San Francisco)andtheir guidance symbolized what society culturally meant. As The Beatles became the voice of the counterculture, the young generation started voicing their opinions more, and would soon be the change that they wanted to see in the world. The boys had a big effect on the way that the younger generation would dress, act and live their lives. Women for instance became more self-confident and independent, and started wearing different clothes like smaller skirts as well as trousers.Many soon started feeling an almost personal connection to the boys. As the band realized that they had an effect on people who championed liberal values, they continued to make more and more songs that encouraged the cultural change in the society, and their stance in the political world is reflected and shown in their song While My Guitar Gently Weeps. The Beatles also played a number of influential gigs on tour, and this is what made them so popular with the changing society of the 60’s. (Furthermore, Lennon was known to be aware of what was going on in the society and how people started dividing into social groups according to their difference in values. He had concerns about the social conflicts that were occurring, and these
concerns he illustrated as any songwriter would, in a song which he calledImagine, which was relatable to many.)The group did not only have a big impact on the counterculture and the world as a whole. As well as affecting the young generation’s lives by helping them express their thoughts and beliefs, The Beatles also inspired many artists we still know today to pursue their music careers. For instance, on social media, Dave Grohlfrom Nirvana/Foo Fightersexpressed that “If it wasn’t for The Beatles, [he] wouldn’t have become a musician.” Even Bob Dylansaid that they were “doing things no one else was doing,” and that“[he] knew they were pointing the direction that music had to go.” In other words, according to Bob Dylan, The Beatles found and led the way for other musicians at the time.They influenced many other artists such as Jimmy Hendrix, David Bowe and Oasis who later on become huge musical talents, but more importantly, they had a huge impact on British and American Rock and Roll. Many of the British artists they had an impact on, were also inspired to branch out into the states, and their success in the west would also come to be a big part of the migration.The Beatles were a “unique position of being both creators of new ideas and subcultures as well as being vehicles that took preexisting subcultures and brought them to light.”For example, they helped create a society of a mixture of cultures such as hippies and punks. Additionally, they were how many white Americans first found out about Black music. At the same time, The Beatles encouraged an interest in transcendental meditation, through their experience in India and with LSD. After the group went to India and participated in a transcendental meditation training course, Western attitudes about Indian spirituality completely changed. Partly thanks to The Beatles, it was as mentioned, now encouraged. The group reached a new level of relaxation and concentration during their stay; hence this was the most productive period for their songwriting.Lastly, back in the sixties, recording techniques were very different than how they are today, which of course was a milestone The Fab Four. However, with their hard work and unusual way of thinking, they still managed to break America. (They came to America and would soon gain popularity amongst the American population, which was known as the British invasion). Many other British artists and bands benefitted a lot from this as Americans now started listening to them, and according to the content specialist Shandi Pace, it is no secret that these artists and bands could never have reached such an achievement. About a year after their early U.K. successes, The Beatles finally completely won America’s public’s attention. Not long after, while playing a three-week residency in Paris, the band’s manager received a telegram from Capitol Records, saying that their first single for the label (I Want to Hold Your Hand) had just hit Number One on Cashbox, a music industry trade magazine, having sold a quarter-million copies in America within three days of its release. This was one of, if not the biggest achievement of the boys’ career.
To sum up, The Beatles were different in the way that they dressed and behaved, and they broke the norm by composing their own songs, whichdidn’t go well with the music critics during the time. Additionally, their lyrics’ were considered less confusing and more comprehensible, and last but not least, the boys didn’t stick to one genre, but worked in many different genres, which is why so many people listen to their music.During the sixties, when many young people felt like strangers in their own bodies, The Beatles were the voice of the counterculture and they encouraged the young to express themselves and their opinions. Many of the songs they recorded during this time, were songs that the majority could relate to. Other than having a strong impact on the people, the boys influenced artists to pursue their dreams, and after they “broke” America, it became easier for British artists to become known worldwide.