Are the Beatles overrated ?

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nickcat0
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I've never understood why the Beatles are so revered . To me they are the musical equivalent of the Emperor's New Clothes .

Their tunes are generally very simple and basic , and for the most part rather bland .

Although in their later years , they did explore a couple of social issues e.g. Blackbird ; for the most part their songs are boy meets girl naff pop . In 1963 when Dylan was recording "Times They Are A Changing" ; Paul was singing " I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and " Love Me Do " :roll:

As musicians , they weren't top notch , for example , Clapton had to play the solo on " Whilst My Guitar Gently Weeps " . Paul Gilbert's work with Yellow Matter Custard is an example of what could have been achieved on Beatles' songs . And please don't say that Harrison should be excused because it was the 60's and nobody :headbang on the :guitar , after all Hendrix was doing it ; and Clapton, Beck , Page , Blackmore, Iommi etc were all starting to follow his lead .

I will admit that my musical tastes lean towards rock and blues based music as opposed to pop , but even so , I am usually able to appreciate the talents of bands/artists that I don't enjoy listening to ; I can acknowledge their ability as songwriters and musicians even if I don't like that genre .

I can't see why the Beatles are so revered , why they're cited as an influence by so many , when to my ears they're not a patch on Hendrix, Dylan , the Kinks , or even the Beach Boys .

I've posted this here because , I respect you guys as serious musos , who may be able to shed some light on the Beatles' appeal .
sonny sixshooter
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Taste. It's all about taste.

I'll admit that they have been sanctified a bit too much, but hey, that happens with every musician who dies. And I think you are right, they did play simple lalala rock, however, later on they also did some really cool stuff. Personally, I prefer Sgt. Pepper's, Abbey Road and The White Album, because those are albums with some thought behind them. I usually have the same thought about The Rolling Stones. They play simple, simple, simple (!) rock. Nothing more. and they are far from being virtuosoes of any kind! But there is so much energy and life in their music. It truly comes alive when you listen to it, it jumps off the record and pulls you around. You can't help but get caught up by it. The same, I find, is the case with The Beatles. Well, some of it at least. They had that something extra which put them on the map. Something that makes it worth listening to, even today.
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boswell
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Don't confuse popularity with musicianship :D
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Big Bad Bill
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I'd agree with you when referring to their early work-all the "baby, baby I love you" crap was just average pop. But I think their later work was rather good but in particular George Martin's classical and theory-driven influence had a big effect upon the sound of the Beatles for example the use of plagal cadences. Howard Goodall (excellent musician, composer and musical educator-he's very well thought of in the classical music world) made a programme about the Beatles and what made their music so influential. It may answer some of your questions more eloquently than any of us can and back them up with example. You can see it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zddh5Vp-ApI" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The 'taste' issue as pointed out by sonny sixshooter, is probably pertinent too. I, for example, can't stand Hendrix's sloppy, out of tune playing, bad singing and bog-standard blues riffage and Dylan's awful vocals make me want to punch small children full in the face, but that's my taste only-I'm sure they were great musicians!
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Instrumentalrockrocks
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wait a second there...

They were popular because they pretty much invented the pop music...

That's why I do not think they are overrated...

And in the end they were / are good musicians
(quite technical and very creative because they are just about the first to come up with pop music)

The Rolling Stones for example are (in my opinion) less technical and creative than the beatles (Charlie Watts is really a good example of an overrated drummer)
I DO like their music tough


Groove On 8)
Desert_Runner
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I've contemplated this thought a few times. The Beatles were pretty good considering everything, (bear in mind I wasn't alive in the 60s), but a lot of their songs sound a little sloppy to me. Paticularly from the White Album. Don't get me wrong, I like them, but they have the feel of 'old' production to them, which is another thing that annoys me, to me, nobody in the 60s really had a nice guitar tone, except Hendrix.

But then, there wasn't really anyone else like the Beatles back then. Remember there were far fewer bands then than there are now. And the next generation of musicians and bands grew up listening to the Beatles, so they can hardly avoid being an influence.
Big Bad Bill wrote:The 'taste' issue as pointed out by sonny sixshooter, is probably pertinent too. I, for example, can't stand Hendrix's sloppy, out of tune playing, bad singing and bog-standard blues riffage and Dylan's awful vocals make me want to punch small children full in the face, but that's my taste only-I'm sure they were great musicians!
You're right, it is your taste only :P
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boswell
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Instrumentalrockrocks wrote:wait a second there...

They were popular because they pretty much invented the pop music...
So all the music prior to the Beatles that was Popular was not POPular music?
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Breeder
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Boswell what you say is true but you must also take into account that popular music before that time was not intended for all nor did all dictated its course
(pope says: you play me a tritone and I chop your head off; king says: if you play song in minor you will get your hand cut)
nor did it have world wide impact the same time it was created

so let`s say today`s pop music is a byproduct of democratization and globalization
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lydian2000
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boswell wrote:Don't confuse popularity with musicianship :D
hey mate, I find that incredibly harsh, what is true for some of their work does not apply to all of their songs(takethe disgustingly awful "obladi oblada" and one of my absolute favourite "a day in the life") plus I think they genuinely inserted "snippets" of more sophisticated chord changes and progressive music

my two favourites are "a day in the life"
and "I want you", two of which cannot be labelled as "pop", not in my book anyway.


:peace
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boswell
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Big Bad Bill wrote:But I think their later work was rather good but in particular George Martin's classical and theory-driven influence had a big effect upon the sound of the Beatles for example the use of plagal cadences. Howard Goodall (excellent musician, composer and musical educator-he's very well thought of in the classical music world) made a programme about the Beatles and what made their music so influential.
This is what happens with many artists, behind many a revered artist there is often a skilful producer who knows how to manipulate or coach the artist to push their musical boundaries and sometimes into regions the artist would rather not venture. Witness the number of people who "hate" their iconic album, Nevermind and Kurt Cobain being a good example, Joe Public loves the album artist feels they were compromised.
It was Martin's idea to put a string quartet on Yesterday, against McCartney's initial reluctance. Martin played the song in the style of Bach to show McCartney the voicings that were available. Another example is the song "Penny Lane", which featured a piccolo trumpet solo. McCartney hummed the melody he wanted, and Martin wrote it down in music notation for David Mason, the classically trained trumpeter.

I feel without George Martin the Beatles would have been just another 60's Pop group who people would remember for one or two singles not their whole body of work.

In a way The Beatles were a precursor to the modern "Boy Bands", an industry savvy producer/management team moulded them into a marketable product.
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boswell
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Breeder wrote:Boswell what you say is true but you must also take into account that popular music before that time was not intended for all nor did all dictated its course
(pope says: you play me a tritone and I chop your head off; king says: if you play song in minor you will get your hand cut)
nor did it have world wide impact the same time it was created

so let`s say today`s pop music is a byproduct of democratization and globalization
So when do you think music was popular was intended for all?
Desert_Runner
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I've just watched BBB's link, the Howard Goodall programme. It's excellent - I reccomend it to everybody in this discussion.
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Breeder
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boswell wrote:
Breeder wrote:Boswell what you say is true but you must also take into account that popular music before that time was not intended for all nor did all dictated its course
(pope says: you play me a tritone and I chop your head off; king says: if you play song in minor you will get your hand cut)
nor did it have world wide impact the same time it was created

so let`s say today`s pop music is a byproduct of democratization and globalization
So when do you think music was popular was intended for all?
...please...

edit: all-->people with similar cultural pattern and not "too" scattered territorially

a lot of western "serious" music before 20th century owns to church and higher class for its shape and form

happy?
now stop provoking
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boswell
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Breeder wrote:
boswell wrote:
Breeder wrote:Boswell what you say is true but you must also take into account that popular music before that time was not intended for all nor did all dictated its course
(pope says: you play me a tritone and I chop your head off; king says: if you play song in minor you will get your hand cut)
nor did it have world wide impact the same time it was created

so let`s say today`s pop music is a byproduct of democratization and globalization
So when do you think music was popular was intended for all?
now stop provoking

Not provoking, I just don't understand how you think there was no Pop music before the Beatles.
The term "pop music" was first used in 1926 in the sense of "having popular appeal", but since the 1950s it has been used in the sense of a musical genre, originally characterized as a lighter alternative to rock and roll.[
ActofGod
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I think they transitioned from a popular band to a great band as soon as they shed their teeny bopper style and started cranking out musically interesting stuff. I don't care to hear "twist and shout", but I'll always be happy to hear "Sgt. Pepper" or "Helter Skelter". Towards the end they teetered on being too out there with numbers like "No. 9".

Definitely not overrated in my book, that title is reserved for U2
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