Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Beatles Achievements: Part II

Read the first part of our article by following the link The Beatles Achievements: Part I.

The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Studio Masters
The Beatles had incredible success with their live performances. The latter were a major part of Beatlemania with their fans behaviour being rather hysterical throughout the band's concerts. Yet, the Beatles stopped their live performances at the middle of their (short) career. It was an unprecedented step and it was seen like the end of their existence but in fact, it was mostly due to their frustration of hysterical fans around them and their wish to have more time for studio recordings. And they used that time well by pioneering advanced techniques and multi-layered arrangements. They experimented with distortion, backward taping, 12-string electric guitars, multi-tracking, unconventional (especially for rock music) instruments like sitar and mellotron, avant-garde electronics, orchestral arrangements and many other techniques and stuff while at the same time not abandoning memorable melodies throughout their whole career. All those pioneering efforts immensely helped rock/pop music to become regarded as Art.

Pushing the limits
With the Beatles being extremely popular even at the dawn of their career they had nothing to prove commercially or in terms of chart positions. So, they began constantly expanding the rock genre boundaries. With albums like 1965's Rubber Soul and 1966's Revolver they (together with Bob Dylan) were hugely influential on folk-rock music and bands like The Byrds. With their 1967's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band considered to be one of the best rock albums of all time they defined psychedelic rock although other bands had used psychedelic elements in their recordings before the Beatles. The 1968's song Helter Skelter could be considered not only a hard rock attempt but even a heavy metal recording. The band (successfully) experimented in many other stylistic directions and that as well as their technical studio achievements frustrated many of their contemporary competitors not able to be on the same level, including the Beach Boys' mastermind Brian Wilson.

Forever Strong
The Beatles achieved everything in just 7 years of recording and 4 years of live performing (if not counting their pre-1963 years). They sold 3 times more albums in the United States compared to the Rolling Stones' album sales over a 6-7 times longer career and that's valid almost in the same proportions if comparing them to the King of Pop Michael Jackson. Yet, this is not the "achievement" we have in mind. The real one (although hardly made intentionally) is that they left a catalog of songs and albums that is uniformly strong in its entirety. It's really hard to point something weak in their works. Of course, this is partly because of the group's early split and thus the lack of time for decline of their career but then again even genius people should have a little "luck" in order to become legends.

So, we've acquainted you with the Beatles' achievements, which we think to be among their most important ones for the development of pop and rock genres. You might have guessed that they have also many other contributions to the music world as well as some not directly related with music. Of course, your guess is totally right but we're not going to list any other of the Beatles accomplishments here. However, if this article has kindled your interest, you probably will find enough additional information on your own.

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