The Beatles

By: Venla Kuvaja

The Beatles


How did this musical artist or group change Rock and Roll/Rhythm and Blues forever?

It’s difficult to underestimate the Beatles’ influence on the course of popular music in America. Like certain other key individuals in the history of American pop, such as Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley, they caused an initial fervor, a “mania” period when teenagers expressed their excitement en masse at their concerts and public appearances. But the Beatles, like their predecessors (but even more so), progressed beyond this stage and became a cultural force, their compositions and attitudes transforming the way pop music was experienced by large numbers of people. Coinciding with one of the most socially tumultuous periods in the history of America, the Beatles’ music reflected its era but also transcended it, so that even now their music remains fresh to each successive generation that discovers it.

What components of this group made them so appealing in the 1950s, 1960s, or 1970s?

How did the Beatles ever manage to inspire such frenzy in the first place? People used to ask them all the time, and even they weren’t entirely sure. When it comes to explaining Beatlemania—a phenomenon unlike anything the world has ever seen, before or since—it would seem that we’ve all been afflicted by a tremendous failure of collective discernment. They also had the extraordinary luck to come along at precisely the right moment. Had any of the four been born just a few years earlier, the Beatles would not even have existed. Thankfully, instead of being shuffled off to various military bases for two years apiece, the four were able to find each other and devote several years to playing music together, burnishing their chops in front of small but adoring audiences. By the time they finally began hitting their creative stride, the first wave of post-World War II baby boomers were reaching their teens. It was time of unprecedented economic prosperity in the West, and for many listeners, the Beatles’ joyous and optimistic music seemed as suited to the era as a soundtrack.

­Summarize the Roots of Rock “n” roll/Rhythm and Blues.

Rock and Roll emerged as a defined musical style in the United States in the early to mid-1950s. It derived most directly from the rhythm and blues music of the 1940s, which itself developed from earlier blues, boogie boogie, jazz and swing music, and was also influenced by gospel, country and western, and traditional folk music. Rock and roll in turn provided the main basis for the music that, since the mid-1960s, has been generally known simply as rock music. The phrase rocking and rolling originally described the movement of a ship on the ocean, but was used by the early twentieth century, both to describe a spiritual fervor and as a sexual analogy. Various gospel, blues and swing recordings used the phrase before it became used more frequently – but still intermittently – in the late 1930s and 1940s, principally on recordings and in reviews of what became known as rhythm and blues music aimed at a black audience. In 1951, Cleveland-based disc jockey Alan Freed began playing this music style while popularizing the term rock and roll to describe it.

Various recordings that date back to the 1940s have been named as the first rock and roll record, including the frequently cited 1951 song “Rocket 88", although some have felt it is too difficult to name one record. Bill Haley's “Rock around the Clock” is often cited as the first rock and roll record to achieve significant commercial success and was joined in 1955 by a number of other records that pioneered the genre.

­Today, what makes this musical artist or group still popular? ­What are some of their top songs?

All four Beatles were born during World War II. After the war there was a so-called baby boom. This means that many babies were born. At the time that The Beatles broke through, the babies of the baby boom were teenagers. So The Beatles had a massive audience. About half of the population was younger than 20 years old. The first time that The Beatles were broadcasted on British national television was during the Winter of 1963. This was one of the worst winters of the 20th century. Since the winter of 1963 was the coldest winter ever, people stayed inside as much as possible. Behind the television, which was fairly new at that time. The Beatles broke through in a, kind of, depressive period. So The Beatles were one of the few possitive things you could find in the news. In America, the Beatles were a bright spot in the news too. The U.S. president, John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22 that year. The whole country was still mourning. But The Beatles were of course all four very talented. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were both very good songwriters and musicians. Also, Ringo and George were both very good at what they did. All four wrote songs and sang, what inspired each other again. They tried something new with each album to do. It was Paul McCartney who found that many successful bands repeat their formula after their successful single. The Beatles wanted to avoid this and tried something new every time.


Hey Jude


A Day in the Life


Let It Be


Yesterday


Here Comes the Sun


Strawberry Fields Forever


While My Guitar Gently Weeps


Eleanor Rigby


In My Life


Come Together


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