Sunday, 23 June 2019

What would the world have been like without The Beatles?

The Guardian feature on what would the world have been like without The Beatles ahead of the new Yesterday film got me thinking ... what would it have been like?!

Would as many kids have picked up guitars and form garage bands in America and beat bands across the UK?

Would kids have grown their hair into that famed moptop that provoked so much debate and imitation? Think of how the band inspired tailors, designers and artists and of course, The Beatles gave us Beatlemania - a way for millions of teenagers to scream and let go of pent up frustration, urges and to express their feelings.

What would the world have been like without these things?

The platform The Beatles had was worldwide; allowing them to discuss the music they listened to, what books they read and what films they watched.

Everyone wanted a piece of the fab four, sometimes literally as hair was snipped, suits were torn and minds were blown. And money was made! See my previous blog on Seltaeb.

The Beatles kicked down the door for the underground, in part because it was the underground that inspired them. Drugs, art, fashion, music, different sounds and ways of thinking - The Beatles were keen to explore, reflecting and amplifying underground scenes from London all the way to San Francisco and in turn inspiring more kids to think that they could do something. The Beatles even went as far as opening the crazy Apple Corps Ltd to give grants to dreamers.

The Beatles got the world singing, talking about love and peace, thinking about art and experimentation in mind, body and music.

As the 60's progressed and The Beatles developed from Love Me Do to All You Need Is Love you had Harrison endorsing Indian meditation, McCartney discussing drugs in mainstream media and living it up on the London arts scene and Lennon going from Lucy In The Sky to Cold Turkey via Give Peace A Chance, oh and he happened to mention that Christianity will go, it will vanish and shrink.

The Beatles developed from wide eyed amphetamine fuelled cellars in Liverpool and Hamburg to glazed eyed psychedelic experimenters, aided by George Martin and unlimited studio time. All in the glare of the world who fell in love with them.

Indeed, without The Beatles, the world wouldn't have one of the greatest love stories of all, a story continuing to this day through McCartney and Starr and the ever lasting legacy of Lennon and Harrison. The story of friendship, adventure, luck, hard work, fame and music, not all pretty.

So many have fallen under their spell, discovering the band through parents, elder siblings or via the media's never ending love affair with them. You could start at The End and work your way back, or through Love Me Do up until The End, or somewhere in between,

My own introduction came via a cassette of my Dad's - 20 Greatest Hits. I discovered pure pop, feedback, chiming guitars, riffs, a touch of psychedelia, nursery rhymes, harmonies and rock n roll. Four guys took on the world and won. I was transfixed and bought loads of books, records and old bootleg cassettes from their time in Germany.

What would the world have been like without The Beatles? Imagine not having the thrill of stomping to their take on Twist and Shout, of singing the na, na, na, na chorus to Hey Jude, of marvelling at the production on Sgt Pepper, the flow of side 2 of Abbey Road, the mind blowing Tomorrow Never Knows, b-sides like Rain and shaking your head and singing yeah, yeah, yeah ...

The world would have been darker, less fun and in 8-years The Beatles produced a stunning catalogue of music that showed the world you could change and develop. The Fab Four did it in front of the eyes of the world

Thankfully we had The Beatles, we have them, we'll always have them.

Read on for loads of top 5 lists of my favourite Beatles songs, moments, albums, solo songs and covers ...

Five favourite Beatles songs
1. Don't Let Me Down 2. Got To Get You Into My Life 3. Tomorrow Never Knows 4. Ticket To Ride
5. I Saw Her Standing There

5 from John (in addition to any above) - I Feel Fine, Rain, Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey, Strawberry Fields Forever, A Day In The Life

5 from Paul - You Never Give Me Your Money, I'll Follow The Sun, I've Just Seen A Face, I've Got A Feeling, I'm Down

5 from George - Something, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, It's All Too Much, Here Comes The Sun, If I Needed Someone

Five faves The Beatles covered - You Really Got A Hold On Me, Twist and Shout, Bad Boy, Money (That's What I Want), Please Mr. Postman

.... just rattle your jewellery

Five favourite Beatles albums
1. Revolver 2. Abbey Road 3. The Beatles (White Album) 4. Let It Be 5. Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

Five favourite Beatles moments
1. Shea Stadium 
The Beatles on fire, laughing at the absurdity of it all. I once bought a jacket from Topman because it vaguely resembled a Shea Stadium jacket. Lennon playing keys with his elbow is super cool.

2. When John met Paul
6th July 1957. An iconic photograph of Lennon playing with his band The Quarrymen at a garden fete in Liverpool. A young Paul McCartney was there and was introduced to John via Ivan Vaughan who sometimes played tea chest bass with The Quarrymen. McCartney had the confidence to teach John how to properly tune his guitar and show off playing and singing Eddie Cochrane's Twenty Flight Rock and Gene Vincent's Be Bop A Lula.

3. JFK press conference
The Beatles land on American soil and charm the hysterical American press with their natural humour - Elvis impressions, sheer cheek, super confident, poking fun at themselves and Beatlemania. And the scenes outside are just insane. More info HERE

4. All You Need Is Love worldwide broadcast
The height of the summer of love - 25th June 1967. The Beatles perform All You Need Is Love to a worldwide television audience of 400 million. For a brief moment in time maybe 400 million people believed that was true, simpler and more hopeful times.

5. The rooftop show
On a cold 30th January 1969 The Beatles played together for the last time along with Billy Preston on keyboards. They look and sound fantastic. McCartney in black suit, as confident and as cheery as ever; Lennon in fur coat, those classic round granny glasses,  black trousers and converse; Starr looking cold in his red mac but still managing a stoned grin; Harrison rocking a black fur coat with a red shirt and green trousers. Oh to have been on that roof as they played Get Back, Don't Let Me Down, One After 909, Dig A Pony and I've Got A Feeling - various takes of each.

Five favourite Beatles solo songs
1. Watching The Wheels - John Lennon 2. What Is Life - George Harrison 3. Wah Wah - George Harrison 4. Maybe I'm Amazed - Paul McCartney 5. Instant Karma - John Lennon

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