Of the top 10 most covered songs, The Beatles hold four spots, and solo John Lennon one.
I don’t particularly like The Beatles. From their time, I prefer the Rolling Stones, and, most of all, The Kinks.
But what that means is that I prefer to listen to the music of the Stones and The Kinks. I think it would be foolish to try to say that either of those bands was “better” than The Beatles. Given the track record, the longevity, the influence, the respect from other artists, on and on, etc., I don’t see how you can argue the point.
Music preference is such a personal thing. Just be okay with saying “I don’t like the Beatles”, and then go listen to something you do like. What do you win by trying to convince others that what they like is actually garbage?
So you don’t really love Metallica. You love early Metallica. Being a commodity and making good music are not mutually exclusive.
Beatles 1963-64: Vapid, disposable bubblegum pop.
Beatles 1965-66: Serviceable singer/songwriters.
Beatles 1967-70: Legendary innovators.
The Beatles are no doubt overrated. But their contribution to music cannot be denied. I would put The Who as the greatest rock band, followed by Dylan. Nevertheless, Lennon remains a genius, and I’m not even a fan.
“No doubt overrated”? I suspect there is doubt about that.
Los Angeles radio.‘Breakfast with the Beatles’ has been on the air every Sunday morning for 32 years. 32 goddamned years in the nation’s 2nd largest media market!!! (it went national in 2008)
Similar weekly programs can be heard in Chicago, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Phoenix, Boston, New York, Baltimore, Ithaca, Harrisburg/York, Tampa Bay, Cambridge, Dayton, Denver, Seattle, Baja California, and San Diego. Pretty much anywhere people listen to the radio.
I couldn’t agree more. It is arguable that the Beatles are overrated, but to say completely silly, and inaccurate, things like: “no one cites an individual Beatle as an influence” and “none of them were really that good” tells me that I can easily dismiss this opinion.
Ah, I’m starting to think that this explains the OP: he thinks they are mutually exclusive, and that if an artist is popular, that proves they can’t be any good.
I dunno about that timeline. “Hard Day’s Night” was 1964. I would not call it “vapid, disposable bubblegum pop.” Besides having perhaps the most recognizable opening chord in pop history with the title track, “Things We Said” today is a gorgeous, perhaps underappreciated, bit of pop songwriting with those modal, mysterious sounding minor verses segueing into the rocking major-key middle 8. And that chromatic melody line at “someday when I’m lonely,” ending with the harmonic surprise of Bb major at “wishing you weren’t so far away” before going back down to A minor… Just gorgeous and anything but disposable or vapid. Every time I hear it, something about those lines just sends chills down my spine: from the first time I heard it to now. The lyrical, melodic, and harmonic content of those lines just sell a feeling to me. And that’s exactly what I want music to do for me, emote.
Your argument fails on it’s face. Boy Bands are flash in the pans, pretty much by definition. The Beatles played the instruments. They wrote the songs. They wrote hits for other artists. They sold 600 million records. That trumps any argument you can come up with.
The Beatles’ popularity is unmatched in it’s fervor and in it’s longevity. The haven’t recorded as a group in 40 years, half of them are dead, and they are still getting new fans. Their music has been used to sell commercial products, their music has been used as a basis for multiple films and stage productions. There are 4 or 5 Beatles tribute bands touring nationally.
Care to guess what song has been recorded more times by more artists than any other? I’ll give you a hint.
[sub]It’s a Beatles song.[/sub]
“Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” was vapid, disposable bubblegum pop. In fact, there’s a Wikipedia entryon the genre–not bad for Wikipedia. (But I don’t agree with “Iko, Iko”–that’s got New Orleans roots.) Most of these songs have not withstood the test of time–so younger generations never had to try to erase them from their memories. Their ignorance of Bubblegum is to be envied. Amazon offers recorded anthologies but I won’t supply links–too nauseating.
Early on, the Beatles recorded smart pop. A few covers & originals that just got better…
Even if you remove the “bubblegum” moniker (which isn’t accurate) they pop they created wasn’t vapid or disposable. It was well crafted, innovative, and has stood the test of time. There’s nothing wrong with producing really good pop music and if that’s all The Beatles did they’d still have been a great group, just not the force they eventually became.
I actually enjoy a good bit of bubblegum. I think “Sugar, Sugar” by the fictional band the Archies is a wonderful song. I don’t think there’s anything inherently bad about bubblegum pop. I, like you, just don’t think the Beatles oeuvre really fits the genre.
I don’t generally respond to things like this OP, because I respect peoples’ musical tastes. But the part I’ve quoted above is demonstrably false. The Beatles’ “5 boldest ripoffs” contain exactly one instance (the similarity of the melody and one line of lyrics in “Come Together” to Chuck Berry’s “You Can’t Catch Me”) of the Beatles being sued for infringement. And the other four claims are… interesting. The funniest was the Pee Wee Crayton song “Do Unto Others” (I didn’t know you could copyright triplets and the major chord on a distorted guitar), followed closely by the claim that they ripped off the bass part from Chuck Berry’s “I’m Talking About You” for “I Saw Her Standing There”. By those standards, there is no original music. Whoever wrote that article for Rolling Stone knows nothing about songwriting, or is pretending not to. To update the old joke: What do you call a guitar player who knows two chords? A music journalist.
Let’s not accuse other posters of trolling outside of The Pit.
As to the “it’s silly to hone in only on the first three albums to claim that they didn’t write much of their own stuff” The first 3 albums are what got them their following. But you make a good point. Many bands at the time didn’t write their own stuff. So the Beatles were no different. Fair enough.
By the time that they DID write their own stuff there were a ton of people that did the same. In fact even before they started writing their own stuff there were a ton of people that wrote their own stuff. Writing your own stuff is, largely, a baseline for me.
I can’t give an answer to “the best group ever” because it is all subjective. My personal top 5 I can give you (though a few of them are “names” as opposed to groups") In no particular order - Leonard Cohen, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Kris Kristofferson, The Police, Metallica. Then there is Simon and Garfunkle, Offspring, Emimem, Anthrax, Bob Dylan.
I’m not sure what you’re saying here.
Are you talking tribute bands? If so then there are tonnes of them. For Christ’s sake Journey has tribute bands. If you are talking about bands that use the Beatles’ style give one - other than Oasis.
Yes I’ve heard of Herman and the Hermits. And you’ve essentially restated some of my points.
They were “… packaged for the teenyboppers (just like all the hitmakers)” not unlike NKOTB or Justin Beiber.
"But their early music was not “bubblegum.” Do you want to listen to “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” or “I Saw Her Standing There” and tell me that’s not bubblegum?
“They covered American blues & rock tunes. Then began writing more original stuff.” So they started with cultural appropriation and parleyed that. So did Elvis.
“Were the Beatles “the best”? They were pretty damn good & much of their music has held up. Timing made them influential; they & Electric Dylan convinced many folkies I knew to expand their horizons. There were other fine bands at the time & later”
I agree 100% with you on this. “They were pretty damn good & much of their music has held up. Timing made them influential.”
And then you did. I thought [gone home](
But you did… at length. I thought you’d taken the ball and [url=http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=19560079&postcount=128)
Fine, I accept that. So if that is the case why do Beatles snobs keep trotting out “they wrote their own stuff!”? Half of the stuff that made them famous they didn’t write. By the time they DID start writing their own stuff lots of groups / people were doing it.
Lots of people before them wrote their own stuff. It is not a great accomplishment.
Yup and who do they write for? Pre-packed pop groups.
And guess who bought them.
The point was that while being viewed by 73 million people and screaming girls in the audience - notice the audience is all screaming teenaged girls (was that typical of Ed Sullivan’s audience?) they didn’t even sing! They lip-synced. Did the Doors? Did the Stones? Nope. Did the Beatles? Yup.
It was a manufactured audience played to by a manufactured band for the sake of marketing.
Fucking Elvis was ,in no meaningful way, different than them in that respect.
I appreciate you and I checked out and actually read / watched your cites.
But… the Dave Grohl one was at a book launch for Ringo Star’s autobiography. Of course whoever is up there is going to lay on accolades - that’s what they’re being paid for. And Grohl said he got the book _ not heard the music - when he was six.
That’s like saying DR. Seuss was a huge influence on Chuck Palahniuk because the first book he read himself was Cat in the Hat.
I don’t know the occasion for the other but I did notice that George Martin was involved which makes me think it was another Beatles love-in.
Again, I am not now, nor have I ever said, that the Beatles suck or were terrible. I am saying that their place as music’s sacred cow is a result of brilliant marketing, great production and, now, nostalgia. Oh, and the payola that got them their exposure in the first place.
Thank-you for taking the time to type that. Do you need an Aspirin now?
So, if I write a column about Gwar’s 100 best songs that puts them alongside the Beatles? Cool.
Or are you relying on the Rolling Stone’s credibility as a reputable journal? Cuz that’s certainly held up.
Or do you think that by using a column written specifically to revere the Beatles you are somehow showing that the Beatles are the greatest?
I’m sorry but using fanboy cites in order to substantiate a fanboy position doesn’t carry much water.
Just to repeat - I do not hate the Beatles. I like a lot of the Beatles’ stuff. I’ve never said they suck or anything like that.
I have said that they are not the alpha and omega that the cult holds them up to be.
Their innovations are - demonstrably - not really innovations, their special sound was the result of producers and you can’t say “but they wrote their own songs” because at first they really didn’t and by the time they did so was everyone else.
There is no denying that they were a commodity packaged and sold to the American public and it was very successful commodification. There is no denying that they were a good band with a bunch of catchy tunes but for fuck sake they were not then nor are they now the bestest.
You’ll notice how personally people seem to take criticism of the Beatles. I don’t get it. There are bands that I’m super fond of (I luv you Supertramp) but if someone says they ain’t the best I don’t get offended. I just say - to myself - you don’t get it sucks to be you.
I certainly wouldn’t go so far as to deny some truths, ignore other truths and invent further “truths” in order to defend them.
Can I name bands that are "better than the Beatles? Certainly ,— with the understanding that I cannot speak to musical technicalities.
Toy Matinee - one album with better lyrics than the whole of the Beatles discography.
Anthrax - Pretty much invented rap-metal (you decide if that is good or bad.) State of Euphoria is genius throughout.
Kris Kristofferson - Self Titled and Silver Tongued Devil - music seems pretty simple to me (again, I’m not able to appreciate musical complexity) but it is melodic and lyrically brilliant.
Leonard Cohen - what need I say?
So there are to contemporary artists and two recent(ish) artists that I would happily put against the Beatles.
I also notice that no one has had anything to say about their blatant thefts. A speech from a model deserves denigration but the bestest band ever doesn’t? <— I am not Trumphead.
Why can Beatles fans not accept that not everyone lurvs them some Beatles? Why do Beatles fans feel the need to browbeat non Beatles fans?
Enjoy the fucking Beatles, love them to death. Kiss your Ringo picture goodnight every morning. I don’t fucking care. Just stop insisting thateveryone must revere them as you do.
Here’s a challenge for y’all. You hit me with the best lyrics the Beatles ever had and I’ll promise you that I can give you much better. I’ll stay contemporary.
As far as musical intricacies go I’ll have to leave that up to others.
TLDR I like the fucking Beatles but they ain’t the best.
If by “a ton” you mean Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry, then yeah. Those were the only two rock and roll acts known for writing their own material when Lennon and McCartney started composing together. Otherwise, not so much.
I wonder if the OP was even alive when the Beatles started. I was, and when they came to New York they dominated everything. Any marketer who knew how to do that would be making a fortune.
Sure a lot of their very early songs were covers. The interesting thing was how few were. Early Stones and even Who were covers also - but most of the Beatles really big hits (She Loves You, I Saw Her Standing There) were not.
There were plenty of choices for radio listening then - no FM AOR, but no albums worth playing. There were a lot of variety hits which showed how bad things were. Payola existed to get crap records on the air. Even at 11 years old I knew how bad things were then. I strongly suspect that without the Beatles rock would have died out within a few years.
And the OP never mentions how the Beatles pioneered the move from the simple love or protest song to the amazing diversity of music on their even greater albums. The true mark of genius is throwing away the style that succeeded to move to a new one. They did it, Dylan did it, I’m not sure who else.
After submitting my reply above, I remembered a quote from Lewisohn’s group biography Tune In that’s relevant:
Writing their own songs was by no means something “tons” of rock performers did. In taking it up themselves, Lennon and McCartney were displaying remarkable ambition, even as they were still teenagers. To say otherwise is either ignorant or disingenuous.