I have seen The Beatles in concert twice. The first time I saw them was not intentional as I had gone to a concert at a theater in London to see Roy Orbison and Chuck Berry. Looking back the supporting line up was amazing. The first half had Gerry and the Pacemakers (another Liverpool group) The Animals (from Newcastle) and the great Chuck Berry himself closed the first half. The second half opened with The Rolling Stones and they were followed by The Beatles and then Roy Orbison closed the second half. What a show! But do you know that I hardly heard any song because the girls were screaming so loud for the Beatles. I heard 'How Do You Do It' and 'The House of the Rising Sun' and a little bit of 'Sweet Little Sixteen' and nothing else.
My second Beatles concert was about 18 months later when they were household names and not just with the kids either. They were scheduled to appear on Sunday Night at the London Paladium and my friend's dad was the stage manager at that theater so I had tickets. It also meant that I was invited back stage afterwards and I met John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, and got their autographs too.
Those were my early memories of the fab four and of course I bought all their singles, all their albums and saw all their movies. I saw their first live recording on television when they recorded All You Need Is Love in front of a live studio audience with the Stones, and other then famous artists as part of the audience. The Beatles went on to sell more albums than any other group in the history of music. Only Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and Nana Mouskouri have sold more.
The rest is history now. The Beatles split up after ten fabulous years of entertaining us. Each one of the fab four had and in the case of Paul McCartney still has a successful solo career. Sadly John Lennon and George Harrison are no longer with us. Paul is still rocking it and doing live concerts. In fact I saw him with Wings at Giants Stadium in New Jersey in 1998 and it was an amazing concert. I saw him again in London at Wembley stadium in 2001.
The Beatles revolutionized pop music. Is this phrase merely a cliche? Who knows. They certainly had a huge influence on contemporary music and of course they appeared at the right time in 1962 with Love Me Do and the start of the swinging sixties. Now all their music has been remastered and reissued in digital format for the current generation of kids and of course us oldies who still love The Beatles sound.
Were they the best? Were they better than the Stones? I don't know. All I know is that they influenced not just a teenage generation but they took the parents of that teenage generation and befriended them too. When I saw them live I have never seen anything like it at the time or since. I have never heard a noise which can approximate to the ceaseless frantic hysterical screaming which met The Beatles when they walked on stage. Everyone wants to see and listen to The Beatles. I suppose that is the answer to the question: if The Beatles were the greatest pop group ever, what made them so? The answer is simply.....because they were 'The Beatles'.
Here are some of my favourite albums:
I Saw Her Standing There
Please Please Me
Please Please Me
Though popular music has changed much in the decades since the Beatles’ broke up, their music continues to reach and inspire new generations of listeners. Half a century after their humble origins in Liverpool, the Beatles remain the most enduring phenomenon in the history of popular music. The Beatles debut album was Please Please Me. It was childlike, it was innocent, and above all, it was rock 'n' roll fun. Seven of the songs were cover songs as Paul and John had not yet perfected their songwriting perfection. The pick of the bunch? For me, it's 'I saw Her Standing There.'
This album which were released in December 1965 and if you haven't heard it yet you should buy it. This is the album that marked the maturity of The Beatles. All the songs except three were written by Paul and John. George wrote 'Think for Yourself' and 'If I Needed Someone.' Ringo wrote 'What Goes On.' Of course, this is the album the produced the classic song 'Michelle.'
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band
This was the first Beatles masterpiece. If Rubber Soul earmarked their maturity as song smiths this album which took 135 days to write and record in 1967, was probably the most creative period for The Beatles and the most creative period in rock history. It features one of the first psychedelic songs in John's 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'.
Abbey Road was intended to be the Beatles final album before they broke up. Although Let it Be was released after Abbey Road most of the songs had been recorded before Abbey Road was made. It's a shame because Let it Be is not the masterpiece that Abbey Road is. Despite John and Paul constantly quarreling they produced a brilliant tight musical masterpiece with superb vocals and harmonies which couldn't have been bettered. The famous 'medley' which begins with 'You Never Give Me Your Money' was assembled from many unfinished songs and is a work of genius. Abbey Road is a testament to the creative genius of two people John and Paul who were constantly bickering and didn't really want to do this album, but they did, and they proved to us the genius will win out. I'm listing the tracks on this album because to my mind there is not a bad track here.
- Come Together
- Something (George)
- Maxwell's Silver Hammer
- Oh Darling
- Octopus Garden (Ringo)
- I Want You
- Here Comes The Sun (George)
- You Never Give Me Your Money
- Sun King
- Mean Mr Mustard
- Polythene Pam
- She Came in Through the Bathroom Window
- Golden Slumbers
- Carry That Weight
- The End
- Her Majesty
Once There Was A Way
That's it for now, folks. Just one last factoid — Paul McCartney's song Yesterday is the most covered song in the history of music and is the second richest in royalties song after Happy Birthday. I say Paul's song because even though John is credited with Paul he had no input at all. So if you want to feel good, do yourselves a favor and listen once again to the most successful composers, lyricists, songwriters, pop band of all time.