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The Beatles were a British rock band who brought a new style to the teenagers of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. They made a lasting impression and changed the world forever when they formed their group in 1957. They impacted the music industry, influenced pop culture, and decreased the amount of violent protests drastically during The Vietnam War.
The Beatles music style began with skiffle and 50’s rock and roll but eventually evolved into a mash up of many different genres of music. The mix of sounds was a very important factor that contributed to the popularity of the British group. The Beatles were the first artists to put feedback onto their record. Genres such as classical, indian, psychedelia, and hard rock were incorporated into the music produced by The Beatles. The sophistication of their style grew as the group became more and more popular and as The Beatles gained more experience.
One very important way The Beatles became so influential was the use of feedback through out some of their most popular songs. The use of feedback was completely accidental the first time the musicians incorporated the hardcore, high pitched noise into their music. The accident occurred when John Lennon, the lead singer, propped his Gibson electric guitar up against an amplifier that was turned on. The amplifier immediately rang out the loud sound of feedback. Surprisingly, Lennon asked the producer George Martin to include the sound into the song they were working on. The first song released by The Beatles that included feedback was the track “I Feel Fine”. The song was featured on the album Beatles ‘65, which was released in December of 1964. The song spent five weeks at the top of the British charts and was the first song by The Beatles that made the top 10 on the American charts. The track remained the number one song in The U.S. for 3 weeks.
The Beatles were able to become so influential due to their global reach. They began the revolutionary group in Liverpool, U.K. This factor greatly increased the spread of their music. The Beatles made their first appearance in America in February of 1964 on The Ed Sullivan Show. The show was viewed by approximately 73 million people, which provided the group with plenty of exposure. The Beatles also participated in a world tour, it began in Copenhagen, Denmark and continued throughout multiple locations all over the world, such as Hong Cong, Australia, and New Zealand. It carried on through 1964 to 1966.
Not only did the British phenomenon change the music of the time they continue to influence music today. Many current artists give The Beatles credit for inspiring their music and being a group that they look up to. Artists such as Billy Joell, Gene Simmons, Bruce Springsteen, and many more. Artists of the modern day continue to recreate and perform covers of some of The Beatles most popular songs; songs such as “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” has been covered by Elton John, an artist that still remains prominent in the music industry today. The Beatles also continue to sell albums, prolonging their legacy. The Beatles sell 72,000 copies of their album “Abbey Road” in vinyl form annually, making it the number one selling vinyl album.
Along with the musical influence The Beatles had they also drastically changed pop culture. There is no definition of the exact style of music the group created and that is exactly what made them stand out. They designed a sound that set them apart and began the frenzy among teens and young adults known as Beatlemania. They were the first world wide craze of their time, selling over 1.3 billion albums globally. The Beatles are recognized for beginning what some call “The British Invasion”, where British artists began becoming more and more popular in America.
Not only was The Beatles music style new and innovative, they also brought a fresh look to the time. With their statement looks, such as, “Mop Top” haircuts, colorful suits, and chunky ankle boots. The Beatles also changed the game with their unusual liverpudlian accents, and the one big factor that set them apart- they did what they wanted. The Beatles were one of the first teenage groups who wrote their own music and composed it. The world was already in love with The Beatles, but the charismatic personalities of the group just added to the obsession of the British group. There was John, the smart but dangerous one; Paul, the cute, lovable one; George, the shy one; and Ringo, the goofy one. The personalities of the young prodigies catered to anyone and everyone.
The Beatles kicked off the “peace and love era” during a hard time in the country, The Vietnam War was progressing and tensions were high among the people of The United States. The group began writing songs like “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, the song was a reference to the psychedelic drug LSD (Lucy). Drugs like this became popular in the late 60’s and 70’s when the “hippie” lifestyle was at an all time high. People, including The Beatles, wore long, shaggy hair, facial hair, and colorful, flowy clothes with different extravagant prints. The group’s music styles began to reflect their psychedelic lifestyle, they incorporated things like indian style music to attempt to recreate their experiences through music.
Along with the “hippie” lifestyle The Beatles promoted, they also encouraged peace (Friedman). The younger population of the country was not satisfied with The Vietnam War and its events. Many of the American college students and citizens responded to the violence of the war with violent protests, which The Beatles disapproved of (Goodwin). The group made many songs to try to discourage violence and push people to make a change the correct way. In a press conference in New York in 1966, a reporter questioned John Lennon, asking ‘Would any of you care to comment on any aspect of the war in Vietnam?’. He responded by saying, ‘We don’t like it.’ After being asked to elaborate he stated ‘No. I’ve elaborated enough, you know. We just don’t like it. We don’t like war.’
One of the largest ways that The Beatles impacted The War was through their music. The group created many songs that were meant to make a statement but the most popular one is titled “Revolution”, the song is featured on their album The White Album. The album was released in August of 1968. At this time the country was in the middle of transitioning presidents, making it impressionable and fragile. Lennon sang the lyrics “Well, you know, we all want to change the world, but when you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out”. The Beatles music clearly presents the musicians view on war and violence.
While “Revolution” was the most popular song The Beatles wrote on the topic of peace, it wasn’t the only one. “All You Need is Love” also played an important part in The Beatles mission to create peace. “All we’re saying is give peace a chance” sings Lennon. The statement of the song itself is self explanatory but the timing of it was ideal. The song was released in 1969. The previous year there were 15 violent protests regarding the war that resulted in the death or injury of people, in 1969 the number decreased to 3. People continued to protest the war, but the The Beatles did not intend to stop the protests. Their efforts were focused on the violent side of the protesting
There is no doubt that The Beatles left a lasting impression on the world. They began a revolution of style, sound, and ideals. They can be compared to no one when it comes to their creativity involving musical production, with the use of feedback and the mash up of styles they brought to the music industry. The British rock stars lit a flame under the somewhat arid industry with their unusual styles and accents. Not only did they move people with their music they made them think, they used their power by constantly promoting peace. The Beatles are next to none.
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