Jan. 16, 2014

Debunking The Anti-Beatle Naysayers

The big Beatles 50th year Anniversary is upon us.

I am in the "Beatle fanatic" category. I can understand the people writing the "Beatles Are Overrated" articles, but couldn't disagree more.

The band has been split up since 1970. The final track the band ever worked on was George Harrison's "I Me Mine" for the Let It Be soundtrack, which was produced by Phil Spector. Most of their material was produced by George Martin. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were responsible for writing about 80% of their material, but George Harrison held his own, especially late in the band's run.

The Beatles had a brief eight-year recording career in which their songs transformed popular music. I don't need to go through the statistics of all their Billboard chart success and record sales. That would be meaningless in today's pop music culture.

I want to focus on subjective creative analysis to debunk what some of these "critics" are writing about the Beatles' music.

Let's start with "Eleanor Rigby," a 1966 Lennon-McCartney composition from Revolver about a lonely spinster.

John Lennon's sole contribution is one line in the song: "Aw, look at all the lonely people." Needless to say, that line sums up the brilliant McCartney lyric about the main character: 

"Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been,
Lives in a dream/Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
/Who is it for?"

The song goes on to bring in "Father McKenzie, who also resides at the same church:

"Father Mckenzie writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear/No one comes near/Look at him working, darning his socks in the night when there's nobody there/What does he care?"

McCartney was only 23-years-old when he wrote Eleanor Rigby. Never mind that The Beatles sang and performed this song immaculately, this is a heady lyric for such young writers. Lennon and McCartney worked so well with each other as editors and collaborators and knew how to make each song better.

The song is tied up brilliantly at the end:

"Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name
Nobody came/Father Mckenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave/No one was saved."

McCartney and Lennon bring the two together as the spinster dies and Father McKenzie is the only one at the gravesite.

Bob Dylan is the ONLY other artist in this age range at that time to deliver this quality. While The Beatles started off with tribal dance music like "I want To Hold Your Hand" and Please Please Me," they moved on to "Yesterday" and "She's Leaving Home." Dylan and The Beatles were the leaders and others soon followed their lead.

I could go on and on. Look how Lennon and McCartney worked together on "Getting Better." McCartney wrote the entire song himself in 1967 and Lennon once again had ONE line that helped the song immensly:

McCartney: "It's getting better all the time"
Lennon: "It couldn't get much worse"

That line helps make the song better in the irony. This is great stuff I look at all the time as a songwriter. I teach writing and use these examples all the time.

Lennon wrote biting and inner soul-searching songs like "I'm A Loser," "In My Life," "Nowhere Man" and "Revolution." Those songs all have important messages and were hailed by fans and critics at the time as major contributions.

George Harrison penned "Taxman," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Here Comes The Sun" and Frank Sinatra's "Favorite" Lennon & McCartney song "Something."

Harrison's "Something" has been covered by Sinatra and MANY other artists worldwide for more than 43 years.

Paul McCartney's "Yesterday" is one of the most recorded songs in history.

So, to my "friends" on the wrong side of this Beatle issue, I believe from a lyrical standpoint I have made my point. The melody and music speaks for itself.

Most popular music that has been recorded SINCE the Beatles arrived have in some way been influenced by their music, recording techniques and style among other characteristics.

I find it offensive that anyone would just simply dismiss the Beatles as "rubbish." I'm not going to even dignify some of the articles I read directly. This is how I choose to deal with those.

Thanks for reading my rant. I now feel better.

Enjoy the 50th year anniversary.