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Criticism of the Beatles
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2 October 2011
5.03pm
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Into the Sky with Diamonds
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But not Sean Connery. He did a great reading of "In My Life" on George Martin's compilation of Beatle songs done by others. (I forget the name).

The following people thank Into the Sky with Diamonds for this post:

Oudis
"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
8 September 2014
4.28am
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parlance
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Article by a classic critic who eventually came around.

parlance

The following people thank parlance for this post:

Into the Sky with Diamonds, meanmistermustard

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at Vimeo or YouTube.

26 September 2014
2.20am
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georgiewood
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Note by Ahhh Girl: I moved this post here. The question GW asked in his thread title was

What is your reaction/defense to the Scaruffi article dismissing the Beatles as purveyors of overindulgent nursery rhymes?

I searched the Forum as well as I could and did not see any mention of this article by Piero Scaruffi analyzing the popular appeal of the Beatles:  http://scaruffi.com/vol1/beatles.html.  The article was obviously intended to be provocative and bombastic, but many of Scaruffi's observations/conclusions go way beyond controversy, and into the realm of scurrilous.

Such as, "the Beatles served as middle-class tranquilizers, as if to prove the new generation was not made up exclusively of rebels, misfits and sexual maniacs...For most of their career the Beatles were four mediocre musicians who sang melodic three-minute tunes at a time when rock music was trying to push itself beyond that format...Mediocre musicians and even more mediocre intellectuals, bands like the Beatles had the intuition of the circus performer who knows how to amuse the peasants after a hard day's work, an intuition applied to the era of mass distribution of consumer goods...Every one of their songs and every one of their albums followed much more striking songs and albums by others, but instead of simply imitating those songs, the Beatles adapted them to a bourgeois, conformist and orthodox dimension...George Harrison was a pathetic guitarist...Paul McCartney was a singer from the 1950s, who could not have possibly sounded more conventional. As a bassist, he was not worth the last of the rhythm and blues bassists...Ringo Starr played drums the way any kid of that time played it in his garage (even though he may ultimately be the only one of the four who had a bit of technical competence)...Overall, the technique of the "fab four" was the same of many other easy-listening groups: sub-standard...Beatles fans believed that the Beatles were first in everything, while in reality they were last in almost everything. The case of the Beatles is a textbook example of how myths can distort history."

Whew!  The only people who emerge from Scaruffi's microscope unscathed are George Martin and Yoko, both of whom he seems to hold in high regard.

Does he have valid points?

I say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit. I am then asked if I know of any artists who pulled that off. I reply, 'The Beatles did'. Kurt Vonnegut, Timequake, 1997
26 September 2014
2.37am
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Ahhh Girl
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I'm So Tired. My only reaction right now to the critic is a-hard-days-night-paul-11blue-meanie

Now we will let someone give an intelligent answer.

26 September 2014
5.00am
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Bongo
Somewhere In Time
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26 September 2014
3.14pm
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georgiewood
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I say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit. I am then asked if I know of any artists who pulled that off. I reply, 'The Beatles did'. Kurt Vonnegut, Timequake, 1997
26 September 2014
6.08pm
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WETSRoosa
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I shouldn't really do this, lest this guy get any more attention, but screw it: I find a LOT of "well, they didn't do this and they didn't do that..." in his criticisms that can easily be debunked... I just chose the last two paragraphs and I'll just respond from there... his words in italics...

They were influential, yes, but on the customs - in the strictest sense of the word. Their influence, for better or for worse, on the great phenomena of the 60s doesn't amount to much. Unlike Bob Dylan, they didn't stir social revolts

If you're inspiring kids to grow out their hair and learn to play guitars and form their own bands, I can safely call that a social revolt, because the Beatles caused the wave of the youth overtaking rock and roll and pop culture from their elders and never looking back. The "We're bigger than Jesus" flap was a social revolt, too. Albeit, the wrong kind, but still... 

unlike the Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead they didn't foster the hippie movement;

That's cause the Beatles weren't really hippies. (Well, John maybe.) And I could argue the Airplane really didn't foster that movement, either. The Dead, yes, but no one rock group could be credited with fostering the hippie movement, which is sort of what he's insinuating. It takes a village, so you have the Dead, the Charlatans (in antique clothing, no less!), Donovan, Country Joe and the Fish... and really, Timmy Leary or Ken Kesey (and in a roundabout way, Jack Kerouac) had more to do with fostering the hippie movement than any band ever could.

unlike Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix they didn't further the myth of LSD

If anyone furthered the myth of LSD, it would be Leary again. And if "Lucy in the Sky" didn't further the myth of LSD, not to say anything of "Tomorrow Never Knows," I don't know what else to tell you...

unlike Jagger and Zappa they had no impact on the sexual Revolution.

From Zappa himself: "The sexual Revolution failed and now we enter the age of AIDS..."

In their songs there is no Vietnam, there is no politics, there are no kids rioting in the streets, there is no sexual promiscuity, there are no drugs, there is no violence.

Other than the rioting in the streets, one can easily find examples of others in the Beatles' songs...

In the world of the Beatles the social order of the 40s and the 50s still reigns. At best they were influential on the secret dreams of young girls, and on the haircuts of young nerdy boys

Every band from 1965 to now would like a word with you in terms of how "influential" the Beatles are.

They had nothing to say and that's why they didn't say it.

Should have taken that last line to heart.  

The following people thank WETSRoosa for this post:

Beatleva, Von Bontee, Mr. Kite, Bulldog, Annadog40
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