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I first heard of the Beatles when I was nine years old. I spent most of my holidays on Merseyside then, and a local girl gave me a bad publicity shot of them with their names scrawled on the back.
This was 1962 or '63, before they came to America. The photo was badly lit, and they didn't quite have their look down; Ringo had his hair slightly swept back, as if he wasn't quite sold on the Beatles haircut yet.
I didn't care about that; they were the band for me. The funny thing is that parents and all their friends from Liverpool were also curious and proud about this local group. Prior to that, the people in show business from the north of England had all been comedians . The Beatles even recorded for Parlophone, which was a comedy label, as if they believed they might be a passing novelty act.
I was exactly the right age to be hit by them full-on. My experience — seizing on every picture, saving money for singles and EPs, catching them on a local news show — was repeated over and over again around the world. It wasn't the first time anything like this had happened, but the Beatles achieved a level of fame and recognition known previously only to Charlie Chaplin, Brigitte Bardot and Elvis Presley, along with a little of the airless exclusivity of astronauts, former presidents and other heavyweight champions.
Every record was a shock. Compared to rabid R&B evangelists like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles arrived sounding like nothing else. They had already absorbed Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers and Chuck Berry, but they were also writing their own songs. They made writing your own material expected, rather than exceptional.
And John Lennon and Paul McCartney were exceptional songwriters; McCartney was, and is, a truly virtuoso musician; George Harrison wasn't the kind of guitar player who tore off wild, unpredictable solos, but you can sing the melodies of nearly all of his breaks. Most important, they always fit right into the arrangement. Ringo Starr played the drums with an incredibly unique feel that nobody can really copy, although many fine drummers have tried and failed. Most of all, John and Paul were fantastic singers.
Lennon , McCartney and Harrison had stunningly high standards as writers. Imagine releasing a song like “Ask Me Why” or “Things We Said Today” as a B side. They made such fantastic records as “Paperback Writer” b/w “Rain” or “Penny Lane” b/w “Strawberry Fields Forever” and only put them out as singles. These records were events, and not just advance notice of an album. Then they started to really grow up: simple love lyrics to adult stories like “ Norwegian Wood,” which spoke of the sour side of love, and on to bigger ideas than you would expect to find in catchy pop lyrics.
They were the first group to mess with the aural perspective of their recordings and have it be more than just a gimmick. Engineers like Geoff Emerick invented techniques that we now take for granted, in response to the group's imagination. Before the Beatles, you had guys in lab coats doing recording experiments, but you didn't have rockers deliberately putting things out of balance , like a quiet vocal in front of a loud track on “Strawberry Fields Forever.” You can't exaggerate the license that this gave to everyone from Motown to Jimi Hendrix.
My absolute favorite albums are Rubber Soul and Revolver. On both records you can hear references to other music — R&B, Dylan, psychedelia — but it's not done in a way that is obvious or dates the records. When you picked up Revolver , you knew it was something different. Heck, they are wearing sunglasses indoors in the picture on the back of the cover and not even looking at the camera . . . and the music was so strange and yet so vivid. If I had to pick a favorite song from those albums, it would be “And Your Bird Can Sing” . . . no, “Girl” . . . no, “For No One” . . . and so on, and so on. . . .
Their breakup album, Let It Be , contains songs both gorgeous and jagged. I suppose ambition and human frailty creeps into every group, but they delivered some incredible performances. I remember going to Leicester Square and seeing the film of Let It Be in 1970. I left with a melancholy feeling.
The Beatles - "20 Greatest Hits" (U.S. Version!)
In one early sequence, McCartney tells reporters that they will soon appear on The Ed Sullivan Show and then points into the camera: “There he is, hi, Ed, and Mrs. Ed” — “and Mr. Ed,” chimes Ringo. It might have been practiced, but it plays entirely off-the-cuff.
Just a year later , they are seen at a press conference in Los Angeles for their final tour. Suits and ties are a thing of the past. Staring down a series of dismal attempts at provocation from the press corps, they look exhausted and disenchanted.
When probed by one blowhard to respond to a Time magazine critique that “Day Tripper” was about a prostitute and “Norwegian Wood” about a lesbian, McCartney responds, “We were just trying to write songs about prostitutes and lesbians.” In the laughter that follows, he mutters, “Cut.” They were giving the impression that the game was up, but in truth, they were just getting started.
The word “Beatlesque” has been in the dictionary for quite a while now. You hear them in Harry Nilsson's melodies ; in Prince's Around the World in a Day ; in the hits of ELO and Crowded House and in Ron Sexsmith's ballads. You can hear that Kurt Cobain listened to the Beatles and mixed their ideas with punk and metal. They can be heard in all sorts of one-off wonders from the Knickerbockers' “Lies” and the Flamin' Groovies' “Shake Some Action.” The scope and license of the White Album has permitted everyone from OutKast to Radiohead to Green Day to Joanna Newsom to roll their picture out on a broader, bolder canvas.
Now, I'll admit that I've stolen my share of Beatles licks, but around the turn of the Nineties, I got to co-write 12 songs with Paul McCartney and even dared to propose that he too reference some of the Beatles' harmonic signatures — as, astonishingly, he had made up another musical vocabulary for Wings and during his solo career.
in 1999, a little time after Linda McCartney's passing, Paul performed at the Concert for Linda, organized by Chrissie Hynde. During the rehearsal, I was singing harmony on a Ricky Nelson song with him, and Paul called out the next tune: “All My Loving.” I said, “Do you want me to take the harmony line the second time round?” And he said, “Yeah, give it a try.” I'd only had 35 years to learn the part. There was inevitably a poignant feeling to this song, written long before he had even met Linda: Close your eyes and I'll kiss you Tomorrow I'll miss you Remember I'll always be true. At the show, it was very different. The second Paul sang the opening lines, the crowd's reaction was so intense that it all but drowned the song out. It was very thrilling, but also disconcerting. Perhaps I understood in that moment one of the reasons why the Beatles had to stop performing. The songs weren't theirs anymore. They belonged to everybody. This is an updated version of an essay that appeared in RS 946.
我9歲的時候，我第一次聽到的披頭士。我花了我的假期默西塞德郡然後，和一個當地女孩給了我一個壞的宣傳，他們拍攝的背面潦草地寫上自己的名字。 這是1962年或63年，才來到美國。的照片被嚴重亮起時，他們也不太有自己的樣子;林檎他的頭髮稍微後掠，如果他不是很出售披頭士的髮型。 我不關心，他們給我帶。有趣的是，來自利物浦的父母和他們的朋友也很好奇和自豪此本地組。在此之前，從英格蘭北部的人在演藝事業都是喜劇演員。披頭士樂隊更錄得Parlophone，這是一個喜劇標籤，如果他們認為他們可能會通過新穎的行為。 我是完全正確的被擊中他們的年齡上。我的經驗–抓住每一個畫面，節省 單曲和EP的錢，趕上他們在當地的新聞節目–反復一遍周圍的世界。這是不是第一次發生了這樣的事，但披頭士樂隊取得了一定的知名度和認可以前叫做查理·卓別林，碧姬·芭鐸和貓王，隨著一點點的宇航員，前總統密不透風的排他性和其他重量級冠軍 。 每一條記錄是一個震驚。相比狂熱的R＆B傳福音的像滾石，披頭士樂隊抵達好像沒有別的。他們已經吸收了巴迪·霍利，Everly兄弟和查克·貝瑞，但他們也寫自己創作的歌曲。他們寫你自己的預期，而不是 特殊的材料。 約翰·列儂和保羅·麥卡特尼出色的詞曲作者羅麥卡尼是，是，一個真正的演奏家音樂家喬治·哈里森不是那種撕下野生的，不可預知的獨奏吉他手，但你可以唱的旋律幾乎所有他的休息時間。最重要的是，他們總是適合的安排。林戈·斯塔爾打鼓，一個令人難以置信的獨特的感覺，沒有人能真的複製，但許多優秀的鼓手嘗試和失敗。最重要的是，約翰和保羅都非常出色的歌手。 列儂，麥卡特尼和哈里森作為作家的令人震驚的高標準。想像一下，放一首歌曲如“問我為什麼”或“事情，我們今天說的”B側。他們做了這樣夢幻般的紀錄，“平裝書作家”B / W“雨”或“便士車道”B / W“草莓園（Strawberry Fields）永遠”只有把他們作為單打。這些記錄事件，而不是提前通知的專輯。然後，他們開始真正成長起來：簡單的歌詞成人故事，如“挪威的森林”，其中談到了愛的酸側，並在更大的想法比你所期望的發現，在朗朗上口的流行歌詞。 他們是第一批惹的聽覺角度的錄音，是以上只是一個噱頭。像傑夫Emerick的工程師發明的技術，我們現在習以為常的想像。前披頭士樂隊，你有傢伙在實驗室的大衣做記錄實驗，但你沒有搖滾樂隊故意把東西失去平衡，永遠喜歡安靜的聲音“草莓園（Strawberry Fields）的前一個響亮的軌道上。”您可以不誇張的許可證，這給了每個人都從摩城Jimi Hendrix的。 我絕對最喜歡的專輯是橡膠靈魂和左輪手槍。在這兩個記錄中，你可以聽到其他音樂- R＆B，迷幻，迪倫-這是顯而易見的日期記錄的方式，但它沒有這樣做。當你拿起左輪手槍，你知道這是不同的東西。哎呀，他們都戴著墨鏡室內封底上的圖片，甚至不看相機。。。和音樂真是太奇怪了，但如此生動。如果我不得不選擇一個最喜歡的歌曲從那些冊頁，它會是：“你的鳥能唱”。。。沒有，“女孩”。。。沒有，“因為沒有人”。。。等等，依此類推。
Beatles – Let It Be