Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Simple Question About the Beatles


Doug:  When you think of the Beatles, which era do you "see"?


22 comments:

david_b said...

As I interpret the question, are you asking what era they 'represent'...?

As most will probably answer, their music, their ideas, their story (humble beginnings to stardom), their talent, their industry influence, was~is timeless (as 'Love' shows today..). As much as they were influenced by trends and events in the sixties, they also possessed the quality (and tightness as a group) of either being 'sheltered' or staying above the fray sufficient enough to remain focused in developing staying power commercially to keep releasing hits, attributed equally to both Lennon's drive as McCartney's polish.

Anonymous said...

My introduction to the Beatles was the Yellow Submarine film. I don't recall where I saw it but odds are it was on TV. Could this have been mid-70s? Whenever I hear their music, I always think of them as their cartoon images from that movie. (I sang no part of this post).

The Prowler (from the old Spider-Man Crawlspace site)

Edo Bosnar said...

Even though I prefer the music of their later, "hippy" phase, I think the first image that pops into my head when someone says the Beatles is the more clean-cut image from their early, "boy band" days like in that picture you posted. Probably has to do with the fact that as kid I remember seeing part of one of their movies, maybe Help, on TV, and video clips from their early televised appearances.

Matt Celis said...

Actually, I would say it was McCartney's drive. Lennon himself had stated on occasion how lazy he was and it was McCartney who would push them forward as he was the driven one teeming with ambition.

Matt Celis said...

I'm so deeply steeped in Beatles lore and imagery that I can't separate them into periods...things blend and merge, there's no Pleistoscene separate fromJurassic.

But my favorite is the '65-66 Rubber Soul to Revolver era. I don't think any band ever looked snazzier than that. Except maybe 1965 Byrds.

david_b said...

Matt, I'm a huge Fab lore fanatic as well. I'd totally agree Lennon slacked off by mid-'65, but I was referring to their energetic beginnings. If you count the recorded songs in '63 and '64, Lennon greatly out-wrote McCartney.

I'd agree my fav period is late '65 to early '68. It was only recent that I've moved to '68 as a fav time as well

Doug said...

I tend to see the Beatles as they looked on the Ed Sullivan Show. I like their music from all eras, but for some reason that Fab Four look is what sticks in my head.

I'm still amazed after all these years that Sullivan let people perform live, while Dick Clark always insisted on lip synch.

Doug

themiddlespaces said...

I really can't say I think of "one era" when I think of the Beatles. It depends on the context in which they come up.

For the record, I tend to think of them in 3 eras. The early stuff, the middle period (Help! thru Revolver + the singles in that era) and then Sgt. Pepper's on.

J.A. Morris said...

I think of the psychedelic Revolver/Pepper era. I could listen to Revolver every day for the rest of my life and never get sick of it.

david_b said...

If one is allowed to wax Fab discussion on this snowy afternoon as a sidelight, one interesting contrast was the contrasts around the mid-period.

For as stylish yet trite the movie 'Help!' was, it manifested the birthpangs of serious growth.

1) It was on the set that George was introduced to indian music..

2) It was on the set that Paul was drivin' everyone nuts with playing 'Scrambled Eggs' that Dick Lester playfully threatened Paul to knock off playing it on every piano he came across.. ('Scrambled Eggs' obviously was the working title for 'Yesterday').

3) It was early in production where John started earnestly writing about his lonliness and depression, which turned into the title track (an earlier excursion being 'I'm A Loser'..).

Ringo..? Well, he just got married.

Even if you're a many-decade fan, I still love finding new Beatle written material. While they came out years ago, I love taking the Mojo Special Editions with me on trips; I know a hard cover is available of the three editions (early, middle, late career covered), but I just love the mags, for the exhaustive wealth of material and great topic analysis, not to mention the awesome pics..:

Mojo Special Editions

Incidentally, if anyone saw the MMT boxset a year or so ago and thought it too expensive, check out Amazon...:

Magical Mystery Tour NEW on Amazon

The price fluctuates but with free PRIME shipping earlier this year, I spent only $12 on it. It's up to around $20 now, but it's still a nice deal if you're into boxsets (comes with both bluray and standard DVDs). Granted the movie's an amateur effort, but it's at least it's not Lester-ized like 'Hard Days Night' or 'Help!'.

Anonymous said...

A tie between Rubber Soul & Revolver....but add "Rain" & "PBack Writer".

david_b said...

One additional note on Mojo magazine specials.. Those free CDs with covers are sometimes 'throwaways', but you'll find some interesting covers.

The Yellow Sub Mojo CD had a grand-ole-opera-styled country rendition of 'Its All Too Much'. Very.. interesting, but it worked.

Also another pleasant country-twangish sound with a female trio was included for 'Nowhere Man'.

Graham said...

The era I picture is the Help!/Rubber Soul/Revolver '65-66 era. I think they really hit their stride during those years.

Fred W. Hill said...

My earliest memory of the Beatles was seeing Yellow Submarine on tv circa 1972. Within a few years, however, I was absolutely mad about the Beatles, not because anyone else in particular turned me on to them, but just from hearing so many of their songs on the radio and just loving them. They went through so many changes in such a relatively short period that it's hard for me to say that I have just one image of them in my head. Just to list the most iconic images are those of them in their pre-fame Hamburg days; the Nehru Jacket phase as on the Ed Sullivan Show and the back of the Meet the Beatles lp; the oh so cool photos adorning Rubber Soul and Revolver; the mustaches and silk finery of Sgt. Pepper; the casual look of late 1968; and, finally, the very long haired and mostly bearded look of 1969. Which image pops to mind usually depends on the context or the particular song or album. Revolver is my pick for their best album but I'd be hardpressed to come up with a pick for best song as they have soooooo many great ones, with such variety that it anyone who didn't know anything about them would insist many of them couldn't have been the work of just one band.

Matt Celis said...

I used to buy Mojo regularly pre-kids...actually bought issue 1 on the newstand, which apparently people pay $$$ for now. Had too many issues taking up too much room and gave 'em all away. Now I can't afford it, sadly glance at them whenever I see it at Barnes & Noble. Same with Uncut.

The free CDs were so hit-or-miss. Something for everyone, I guess. I preferred the compilations of old obscure stuff to the newly recorded covers which I found about 95% disappointing.

Matt Celis said...

Even with his greater output early on, it's doubtful he would have recorded anything or been signed by any label without McCartney to push things forward.

david_b said...

Speaking of recollections of Yellow Submarine, like a few here, you probably remember the very last days of the Beatles. I remember my brother buying 'Let It Be' the day it was released (as well as 'All Things Must Pass' on it's first day..), him about 8yrs older than me and just getting into the Fabs the year before. I still have his 1969 Time magazine with the review of 'Abbey Road'.

I recall watching the network showing of 'Yellow Submarine' in 1972, my parents buying Jiffy Pop popcorn for the Yellow Submarine rub-on decals inside. Like all the late-night reruns of Help! and AHAD, my brother would tape record them and play 'em back for weeks on end. I probably still have them somewhere in the basement; I know I have some WOKY-AM 'Beatles Weekend' on tape from 1973 with news updates on Watergate.

Soooo, log another entry in the 'Thats All We Had Back Then' file.

BONUS, I love this 1976 clip of George enjoying 'This Boy' (with his future wife Olivia behind him..)..:

George watching 'This Boy'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TeqyovfJzE

Anonymous said...

That Yellow Submarine cartoon scared the hell outta me when I was a little kid.
I found out what a bad acid trip looks like, at a young and tender age. Thanks, guys!
Liked the song, though.
George was my favorite Beatle, with Ringo a close second.
Cool dudes.

Anonymous said...

Er, to elaborate on my earlier brilliant remark, I once heard George singing "Here Comes the Sun" on somebody's radio when I was in the Army during the dead of winter, when I was cold, miserable, and absolutely hating the U.S. Army.
That song always stuck in my head after that.

Redartz said...

Loved the Beatles going away back. One of my earliest memories involves hearing them on the car radio from the back seat after church, about 1965. Then there was the Beatles Saturday morning cartoon, which at the time attracted me more for the stories than the music. Therefore, the'65-66 era is what I think of. And a great period it was, too: Help! And Rubber Soul...

Fred W. Hill said...

Funny thing -- my dad was born in 1940, the same year as John & Ringo, and my mom was born on June 18, 1943, exactly a year after Paul was born and in the same year as George. If they'd all lived in the same town, they would have all gone to high school or the British equivalent together. But they were only vaguely aware of the Beatles in the '60s -- a neighbor accused my mom of giving my brother and I Beatles' haircuts when we were toddlers circa 1965 but my mom was more inspired by the haircut of John F. Kennedy, Jr. who was likewise a toddler at the time. Their record collection contained some Ray Charles, a collection of hits by the Supremes, a Jan & Dean lp, several by Jim Nabors, a lot of country, but none of the rock music most associated with the 1960s. Wasn't their cup of tea but it most definitely became mine, even if I didn't get into it until the late '70s.
Oh, and although I was not familiar with their songs at all the first time I saw Yellow Submarine when I was 9 or 10, I loved the whole thing -- the songs that really made the biggest impression on me right away were Eleanor Rigby and Nowhere Man. I really liked poor ol' Jeremy Hillary Boob!

Karen said...

I see the Beatles from the 'Hard Day's Night' era typically when I visualize them. Musically I go for Revolver and Rubber Soul as high points.

When I was a kid, one of the Santa Barbara radio stations would do a "Beatles Christmas" every year and for about two days straight play nothing but Fab Four tunes, including the Christmas fan club messages and bootleg songs. I used to sit by my boombox with my finger on the button, ready to record anything I hadn't heard before.

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