The Revolutionary Beatles

The opinions of the writer of this article are just that – opinions – and even though they are absolutely dead-on 100% correct, you are entirely welcome to disagree and be wrong. Having said that, I’m going to present you with my thesis statement. The Beatles Are The Best Rock Band Of All Time. I realize that the naive among you may reject this notion. You might say to yourself “Self, the Beatles are not the best. I don’t even like green eggs and ham. I will not eat them, Sam I Am.” Ah, you are so cute when you are being a contrarian.

I was once like you and I thought the Beatles were some mop-top bebop bellyflop slop – but stop! Rethink your thinking, Eleanor Rigby. The Beatles were like six years old when they came to America (actually, I’m eggsagerating; I am the EggMan). When the very young Fab Four came here, leading The British Invasion, they had actually changed their style from when they were England’s wildest rock band; complete with leather jackets and shaggy hair. Brian Epstein, their manager, and a man in dire need of a bran muffin, made sure that they stifled their rebellious, FU to authority attitude. Even the music they played suggested extreme contrast in style before coming overseas.

Before America: the best things in life are free, but you can give them to the birds & bees. I need money. That’s what I want.

After Arriving in America: I don’t care too much for money. Money can’t buy me love.

So Epstein tamed the wild Beatles – for a little while anyway. Though the early, mop-top Beatles revolutionized music (that term is overused, but the Beatles did, in fact, revolutionize music), with the best songwriting duo ever in Lennon & McCartney and songs like: Yesterday; Eight Days a Week; A Hard Day’s Night. Then Bob Dylan introduced the boys to Mary Jane and rock ‘n’ roll history began down its long and winding road. And, by the way, why don’t we do it in the road?

According to Me, Myself, and I, Rock History is broken into two periods: Pre Pepper & Post Pepper. This obviously refers to the landmark album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; arguably the most influential album of all time. Psychedelic music was born in a studio in London. The ironic thing is, the Beatles were written off as has-beens just prior to this album’s release. All these other British invaders were dubbed the next band to seize the Beatles’ throne, and most of ’em didn’t even have time to flush. A week after Sgt. Pepper was released, Jimi Hendrix played the title track in front of a sold out crowd. The Voodoo Child was so impressed with Pepper, he learned the song in a week. Sgt. Pepper bumped off the debut album of The Monkees, “America’s Answer to the Beatles,” and reclaimed the Fab Four’s place at the top of the charts.

If you dissect the Beatles (and maybe you did in Biology), three-fourths of the quartet were intensely gifted and went on to have major success as solo artists. It would be like if Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach happened to grow up in the same town, became close friends, and said, “Eh, jus fo the bloody ell of it, let’s collaborate and compose music together. That would be jolly good!” Some would say The Rolling Stones had the same kind of serendipitous synergy going on, and I’m somewhat inclined to agree – somewhat.

The Stones, however, followed the path The Beatles paved. Like John Lennon pointed out in his jab at them in the song ‘Dig A Pony’: “… I… I… I roll a stoney. Well, you can imitate everyone you know.”

Mick and Keith’s sound could be traced back to its blues roots. Not that The Beatles didn’t have their influences, too; it’s just that they influenced The Stones and just about everyone else who came after them. It’s also important to note that The Beatles were together less than ten years; whereas, The Stones are currently on their Geriatric Tour and, if you compare their respective bodies of work, the guys from Liverpool have far fewer stinkers. I’m a huge Rolling Stones fan, but even their most ardent supporters will admit that they have just as many misses as hits. (Plus, Mick Jagger looks like Howard the Duck.)

It’s this simple, if you like music, you like The Beatles. I always liked their music, even before I knew whose music it was. Revolution; Here Comes the Sun; A Day In the Life of; Let It Be; While My Guitar Gently Weeps; I’ll Follow the Sun; Come Together; Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da; Blackbird; Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds; Strawberry Fields Forever; Help; Don’t Let Me down; Across the Universe; Twist and Shout; Hey Jude etc. etc. I could go on forever!

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