Friday, January 22, 2010

#1 In the Beginning, there were BEATLES

I doubt anyone could have even guessed that in July of 1957, the meeting of 16 year old John Lennon and 15 year old Paul McCartney would have the kind of explosive impact upon Music, and cultures around the world that would soon follow these two young lads. The Beatles officially formed in 1960 and soon became one of the most successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of music. The group consisted of John Lennon (rhythm guitar, vocals), George Harrison (lead guitar, vocals), Paul McCartney (bass guitar, vocals) and Ringo Starr (drums, vocals).

Today, 50 years later, The Beatles remain one of the top selling acts in the world, almost 40 years after they disbanded. Their album "Beatles 1" features virtually every #1 single released in the UK and USA from 1962 to 1970. Despite being issued on the 30th anniversary of the band's breakup, it was their first compilation available on one CD. 1 was a critical success, and became a blockbuster phenomenon, the biggest selling album of the 2000s. They have been awarded 6 Diamond Albums, as well as 24 Multi Platinum Albums, 39 Platinum Albums and 45 Gold Albums in the United States alone. They have won an Oscar, 7 Grammys and have occupied the number one spot on the UK charts more then any other group in History. This doesn't mean everything however; we all know that the Jonas Brothers or Britany Spears can each sell a million records. And yet, they will never impact the world or affect us as deeply as the Beatles. As I sat here trying to decide what to write, I thought I would mention that if you go to google, and type "Why do we love the beatles so much?" you get back about 8,770,000 pages.

For me, I have always had the Beatles as a part of my life. I have deep childhood memories that I can't even remember clearly but I remember infant memories, sounds, smells, etc. Of those sounds, there often consisted the Fab Four. Their music touches my soul and I can often find a Beatles track to suit any mood I might be in. Their voices reach straight into me and their message of Love and Peace have always influenced who I am in this life. They broke up over a decade before I was born but to this day they are my favorites and still a big influence on my life. You can hear on each track how they are playing in near perfect unison. The awesome thing about the Beatles: they were each amazingly talented in their own right, yet they came together as one. Everyone who loves the Beatles generally has a favorite member and it totally divides people into camps, like being asked about your political leanings. Being asked "Are you a John guy or a Paul guy?" is no light question.
For myself, I'm definitely a Lennon fan but I love them all.

The Facts:

-If you haven't heard of them, you have most likely been living under a rock on the far side of the moon for the last 50 years.
-Genius songwriting both lyrically and instrumentally.
-4 reasons: John, George, Ringo and Paul
-They took popular music to a new untouched level (see Beatlemania)
-Bootlegs Galore! The Beatles may be one of the most heavily bootlegged bands of all time (almost every single session/home recording/interview/live track that ever was exists in bootleg form)

Fave Album:

"So Tosh, whats your fave album?"

I would usually say that I can't choose just one, but for this entry I will try. It's a tie between Rubber Soul and Revolver. George Harrison once said that he thought the two separate albums should have been a single double album, and that's kind of how I like to look at it too--they are really best thought of as part one and part two.

Rubber Soul (1965)

The Facts:

-The Beatles 6th album.
-Recorded in just under four weeks
- #5 on Rolling Stone Mag, "500 greatest albums of all time" list

I love this album, the pure mellow feel of acoustics and groove abound on this album. From Harrison's budding interest in the east (i.e: his Sitar playing on "Norwegian Wood") to Lennon's move from producing love songs to producing more philosophically orientated songs ("Nowhere Man" was one of the first of such, and a big classic), to McCartney showing a bit of his darker side (his reaction to the dissatisfaction in his relationship with his then girlfriend expressed in "I'm Looking Through You")
Not to mention the album has "In my life" which is usually regarded as one of the finest songs of the modern era. The entire album is golden from front to back, and always an enjoyable listen.

Revolver (1966)

The Facts:

-instantly went to number one and stayed there on the charts for 7 weeks.
-marked a more electric feel to their music.
-released shortly before their last tour.

The Beatles explode out of the gate on this album, firing out a scathing satire of "the man" with the infamous "Taxman" a great example of Harrison's budding songwriting talent.
"Eleanor Rigby" is one of the most hauntingly beautiful songs I have ever heard, and "Tomorrow Never Knows" is Lennon beginning to explore his psychedelic future, and shows his reading of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
Revolver is often cited as one of the greatest albums of all time, and one of the most innovative for the Beatles. It heralded the end of their touring days and the beginning of their middle period, leading up to the massive album Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

I could go on of course, every Beatles album holds more for me then the one before it, and the bootlegs would be a blog unto itself. Any comments are appreciated as always.
Thanks folks; stay tuned for the next blog in this series where we continue to explore the amazing gift that is music.

As they say:
'All you need is Love'


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