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Old Jun 15, 2010, 09:34 PM   #1
Matildamother
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Default Are the Beatles the most influential rock artists?

I found this article on the Internet and while I don't agree with all of this it makes a good debate that maybe they were the most influential rock artists.

BEATLES: Cursory Summary of Some of their Significant Influences and Precedents

Social/Cultural
- caused cultural (as well as musical) upheaval
- made RnR central to youth's lives
- globalize RnR to extent previously unknown
- appearance: most visibly, introduce fashion of long hair through "Beatle haircut" (made obligatory)
- attitude: make it fashionable to be cute, smart, irreverent, eclectic, chic, cultured etc.
- fostered through personal appearances in which musical act now are non-threatening in earlier tradition of EPresley, JLLewis, LRichard; (but are "threatening" to youth in their seductive, influential nature)
- fostered through movies: Hard Day's Night and Help, which allowed fans an "up-close-and-personal" view of Beatles, with appeal of movies e.g. (1) bringing "beach-genre" movies to close, (2) causing creation of spin-off group "Monkees", (3) inspiring future folk-rocker Roger McGuinn to purchase Rickenbacker 12- string guitar just like one seen in movie, etc.
- overall, Beatles convey attitude: "Be yourself, don't let anybody tell you how to run your life"
- success lifts UK out of lingering post-WW2 doldrums, helps to redefine UK (ironic in that UK authority/press reject US RnR from beginning)
- help to reshape RnR into "Rock": music that is capable of introducing serious social issues into the mainstream and though that becomes more than mere commercial entertainment (as is Pop)
Musical
- renders much of existing USA RnR (esp Rockabilly, Phil. Mach., doo wop, pre-Motown girl groups, etc) out of style during initial introduction in 1964
- intense appeal of music revives bland/stultified pop market, success set up environment for British Invasion
- lay foundation for "arena rock," with their 1965 performance in Shea Stadium (NYC) entertaining 55,000 fans, demonstrating their intense appeal
- Beatles helped set in motion a maturation process for RnR, ultimately ending with their contribution for establishing "Rock" by proving that RnR could be conduit for significant message re culture/society: in process they expanded to embrace topics and musical style formerly excluded from RnR genre
- expansion in full bloom on Revolver '66: "Taxman"--protest about rapacious taxation by UK govt, "Eleanor Rigby"-- reflecting on emptiness of life and religious ritual, melody set to string quartet (no trad. rock insts), "Love To You"-- introduction of subcontinent Indian musical style (raga) and instruments (tabla and sitar), "Tomorrow Never Knows"-- Lennon advocation for opening one's mind to new experience, exploiting technical innovations (see technical)
- music sets new artistic and commercial standards for future RnR (the "yardstick" by which every group will be measure in '60s and into '70s)
- sets trend for bands establishing and maintaining artistic control over their music:
- inaugurate era of "self-contained" band (inspiring thousands to pick up guitars and imitate them)
- help to reestablish trend that artists compose songs for themselves: bands now expected (by fans) to create own material; redirects song-writing trend away from centralized, production-line, professional song-writing concept indicative of Brill Bldg
- set trend for bands to record their music themselves
- in all, establishing many aspects of "DIY" trend, which becomes measure of authority
- accorded credit for creating new style of album with Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band: "concept album," in which songs can be seen to relate to one central topic or idea
- helps establish "album" rather than "single" as industry standard
- seen as pushing Beatle creativity into realm of classical music: Pepper's songs now contain stylistic diversity and artistic sophistication to be considered equivalent to Romantic "art-song" and album equivalent to Romantic "song cycle" by Schubert, Schumann, Wolf, etc
- seen as early pioneers of music video with promotional film for "SFF", also sections of HDN
- said to start (but re-introduce) concept of double A-side single

Music Technology/Creative Process
- begin to create exclusively in studio (retire from touring in 12/66)
- first successful band to do so, set trend for future bands
- pioneer new techniques to maintain creative/innovative musical style
- begin to rely on creativity of studio technicians/producer:
- E.g. ADT (artificial double tracking ["flanging"]) created to ease problematic vocal double-tracking process for JLennon, comes into wide-spread use on instruments in future albums
- E.g. Lennon's request that G Martin combine two "uncombinable" versions of "Strawberry Fields Forever"
- E.g. subjecting voices, instruments to unusual electronic modifications (limiters, etc) to produce sophisticated, inimitable "sound"
- explore innovative, avant-garde techniques (formerly unused in RnR)
- E.g. musique concrete--modification of sound through unconventional techniques: tape loops used in "Tomorrow..", steam calliope 'wash' used to help create circus atmosphere in "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite"
- E.g. Aleatoric approach toward creating orchestral crescendos in "Day In A Life"
- E.g. avant-garde influence in "Revolution No. 9"
- experimentation is so pervasive that nearly every subsequent technique used in Rock can be traced to precedent in Beatles music
- first significant group to achieve "verticality" in business through Apple Corp. (i.e controlling all significant aspects of their business (from songwriting to recording to movies etc. through an in-house/self-contained entity)
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Old Jun 15, 2010, 09:50 PM   #2
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A lot of people will disagree with the designation of "most influential", but I don't have a problem with it. I think there's a very strong case for saying they were.
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Old Jun 15, 2010, 10:18 PM   #3
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The Beatles are the most influential artists of all time! They revived old (20's/30's/40's) music, revamped rock n roll, created modern classical music, country music, etc, etc... and invented every type of music that was to follow.
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Old Jun 16, 2010, 12:06 AM   #4
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Between everything that emerged within the last 50 years, it may be impossible to determine how much influence the Beatles really have had. However it may be easier to just infer that they are, without the need to examine their overall affect. Let the Beatles be a new 'theory of everything!'
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Old Jun 16, 2010, 02:36 AM   #5
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Were they?

YES.
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Old Jun 16, 2010, 03:55 AM   #6
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Are the Beatles the most influential rock artists?

Absolutely, yes and without a doubt.
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Old Jun 19, 2010, 03:07 AM   #7
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The Beatles are unquestionably the most influential band/music artist of the 20th century.
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Old Jun 19, 2010, 09:48 AM   #8
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They changed the game totally which allowed other to carry on with the change and take it further. The fact that they wrote their own stuff more or less destroyed Tin Pan Alley as artists that followed The Beatles also wrote their own material, rendering independant songwriters nearly redundant.
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Old Jun 19, 2010, 10:22 AM   #9
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Well said, all. And yes, Mat, the short answer is yes.

In short, the Beatles raised the bar.
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Old Jun 19, 2010, 07:47 PM   #10
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Absolutely positively and undoubtedly ...................... YES.

There wasn't before or since, and it's hard to imagine if there will ever be again, anyone who can match the success and influence that the Beatles had and continue to have all these years later.
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Old Jun 30, 2010, 09:30 AM   #11
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Yes, they are.
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Old Jun 30, 2010, 10:04 AM   #12
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Uniquely so. The Beatles are a phenomenon of history like no other band both in rock music and out of it.
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