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What was the key to the Beatles success?
27 July 2012
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mr. Sun king coming together
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What was the one thing, the one trait, the one main reason they had this massive amount of success? What was it?
Personally, I think the key was timing. In the UK, the music seen was horrible, and needed one good British band to revive it. And, in the US, I Want To Hold Your Hand came out (and I might have my dates slightly off) less then a month after John F. Kennedy was killed, which put America in a perfect state to receive 4 scruffy British lads with open arms (and open wallets) like they did in late 63/early 64. Honestly, I think they got the perfect chance to hit it big, and took it. They might still have been big in the UK, but I maintain if She Loves You had been the big (US) hit, in September 1963, that all chances of mass American success would be killed by JFK's assination.
What do you all think?

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
27 July 2012
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mithveaen
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Timing, talent and charisma.

Here comes the sun….. Scoobie-doobie…… Something in the way she moves…..attracts me like a cauliflower… Bop. Bop, cat bop. Go, Johnny, Go. Beware of Darkness…  I believe in SH...
27 July 2012
6.18pm
Dipsy
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Personal histories; timing; talent; appearance/style in dress that impacted the fashion scene; uniformity within the group; wit; daringness to experiment musically; constant but gradual progression in the style of their music; personal progressions...

Need I go on? a-hard-days-night-george-10 I hope not, because this list was difficult enough as it was!

"I'm not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I've always been a freak. So I've been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know? I'm just one of those people."
27 July 2012
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minime
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Good manager  brian-epstein with links to the music business

 

I doubt whether without him they would have even secured a recording contract... Brian marketed them, "evolved" them and increased their popularity while allowing their artistic creativity to sprout. I also think that the the pressures of staying popular sped up their progression, if they had maintained as "lovable moptops" they would probably have been very popular for some time, but I don't think they would have turned up to be quite as iconic as they are today. They had their scruffy teddy boy phase, lovable moptop phase, crazy psychedelic phase, world embracing hippie phase and well, time they were just human beings? They are so versatile

 

I would say "talent", as well, but it's not like the Beatles is the only band in the world with incredible talent in its members... It's such a cliche to say that they were as big as they were/are because of their combined power, and it's probably partly true, but I think ambitiousness is more likely the answer. They could have been satisfied manufacturing happy-go-lucky love songs, but they didn't (at least most of them didn't...). 

27 July 2012
8.23pm
vonbontee
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Regarding talent: We need a poster who was there at the time - somebody like Robert or Celebrated Mr. K, who hasn't posted here in a long long while - to attest to the fact that nothing on USA airwaves sounded like "She Loves You" in early '64...but yeah, it was a perfect storm of timing, talent, looks, etc.

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
27 July 2012
8.48pm
The Walrus
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Being the best band in the world to date by a considerable margin.

And I neeeeeeeeed her all the time
28 July 2012
1.37am
unknown
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I think it was all timing. Having talent probably helped them a bit too. Brian was also a big help to all this, because he didn't give up on them when they kept getting rejected.

All living things must abide by the laws of the shape they inhabit
28 July 2012
1.59am
meanmistermustard
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There wasnt just one thing, as mentioned above (but not complete)

 

Brian (without Brian i dont believe they would have gotten their act together, smartened up, been more professional, and progressed to higher levels),

Timing (so many ifs)

Personaliity/Charmisma (eg the fact that when asked stupid questions as was the norm back then by the media they didnt give the same stock answers as all who came before but would reply with more daft answers - the fact they were openly enjoying themselves, something that is so appealing even now, talked sense, took no crap)

Talent and Drive (a must for any band who wants to get anywhere)

George Martin (he gave them a chance at the beginning unlike most producers despite not being knocked out, let them compose the singles and not settle for some average candy fodder hit, make serious suggestions, listen to their ideas, let them experiment...)

Sex Appeal (all those screaming girls)

Going to Germany (molded them into an exceptionally tight band)

Musical Influences and competition thru the 60's.

John

Paul

George

Ringo

 

And the trousers. 

 

Sorry its not a concise 1 thing answer but there isnt one. As soon as i think "yeah that one" then i think of something else equally crucial.

He told us not to get overwhelmed by grief and whatever thoughts we have... to keep them happy, because any thoughts we have of him will travel to him wherever he is. (John Lennon - 27/8/67)
28 July 2012
2.50am
Into the Sky with Diamonds
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Vonbontee said, "Regarding talent: We need a poster who was there at the time – somebody like Robert or Celebrated Mr. K, who hasn't posted here in a long long while – to attest to the fact that nothing on USA airwaves sounded like "She Loves You" in early '64…"

 

The biggest hit in the U.S. in 1963 was "Dominique" by the Singing Nun.

Check out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHhyyRByuJ0

Need we say more?

[We DID have the Beach Boys and the Four Seasons though...]

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
28 July 2012
11.52am
meanmistermustard
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Ken Dodd had the biggest selling single in the uk in 1965 with Tears, there are always times when songs that arent any good sell bucket loads. Mr Blobby hit no 1 in 1993 for 3 weeks.

Certainly the music scene back in 1962 in the UK and 1964 in the US was filled with bland artists who had about as much charisma as a flat pancake, but then there is also a myth that the 60's was filled with amazing bands at every turn after the Beatles turned up. The Beatles certainly influenced many bands and kicked down the dull safe barrier that record executives had installed after the highs of Elvis, Buddy Holly, Little Richard etc.

In the end it probably has to be timing because if the timing is off then nothing can really come together, all those ifs. But you need to add all the other bits together or it wouldnt have been as insane and long lasting as it has been.  

He told us not to get overwhelmed by grief and whatever thoughts we have... to keep them happy, because any thoughts we have of him will travel to him wherever he is. (John Lennon - 27/8/67)
29 July 2012
6.28am
mithveaen
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Well yeah I know the talent is a cliche, because there were another fantastic bands, but let's be honest. How many bands can say "We have 3 of the best songwriters in the world?" It's hard to find one single band with 2 great songwriters. Pink Floyd is one that comes to my mind.

Here comes the sun….. Scoobie-doobie…… Something in the way she moves…..attracts me like a cauliflower… Bop. Bop, cat bop. Go, Johnny, Go. Beware of Darkness…  I believe in SH...
30 July 2012
2.52am
Into the Sky with Diamonds
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As this forum proves, there are those who love the Beatles mainly because of John, or mainly because of Paul, etc...

A band with 4 "equals" (yes, early on some loved Ringo most) casts a much wider net than an individual performer or a band with just a single front man.

But I agree with everyone else: it wasn't a single factor. It was the fact that they had ALL these different things going from them.

And no one has since.

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
30 July 2012
5.22pm
meanmistermustard
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To think that one of the biggest rappers in the world Jay Z said in in Beyonces Crazy In Love "a star like Ringo". America went insane for Ringo, well past the extreme levels of Beatlemania. Anyone remember the 'Ringo for President' buttons over there in '64?

He told us not to get overwhelmed by grief and whatever thoughts we have... to keep them happy, because any thoughts we have of him will travel to him wherever he is. (John Lennon - 27/8/67)
30 July 2012
6.51pm
Into the Sky with Diamonds
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Ummm I think I have one... But I swear I never wore it (well, maybe once)

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
30 July 2012
10.49pm
vonbontee
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Yeah, that fascinates me, the following and the notoriety that Ringo had. I've got this jazz book called "Four Lives in the Bebop Business", a profile of four struggling jazz musicians written mostly around 1965, and it quotes alto sax player Jackie McLean reminiscing about some 1940s musical hero of his (Charlie Parker, maybe?) and describing him as "...huge, like the way maybe Ringo Starr of the Beatles is today."

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
2 August 2012
2.25pm
Into the Sky with Diamonds
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Left out of this discussion - and also left out of the Anthology video/DVD series [the only serious flaw in that production] - was the ONLY thing anyone ever talked about when the Beatles burst on the scene.

Talent played a big part in their success, but only in retrospect. [Initially, the critics were unanimous in agreeing that the Beatles had NO talent.]

That one thing everyone talked about was .... THEIR HAIR.

By the standards of the day, their hair was frightfully long and "ridiculous"

 

But there's a great marketing lesson there: it's not enough to be great. You have to get people to notice you, even if it's in a negative way. The way the Beatles got people to notice them was through their hair.

For the last 50 years, any guy around the world who wears his hair slightly on the long side owes a debt to the Beatles.

That cultural legacy is arguably as big as their music.

 

[as part of my research for Into the Sky, I looked up all the reviews from the New York Times, Newsweek, TIME, etc... The bewilderment of the press and criticisms are striking with the benefit of hindsight. As far as the press was concerned, the Beatles were bad, loud, and looked like the Three Stooges with their ridiculous hair.  ONE event completely turned the critics around. And that would be ...]

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
2 August 2012
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vonbontee
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And that would be...the unanimous rave reviews of "A Hard Day's Night"?

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
2 August 2012
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mr. Sun king coming together
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Maybe Ed Sullivan show? I mean, that's truly when this "The Beatles are such nice people" myth got perpetrated.

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
3 August 2012
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vonbontee said, "And that would be…the unanimous rave reviews of "A Hard Day's Night"?"

 

Right on!

And most reviews began sheepishly, as in "You're not going to believe this, but ...."

[Mr Sun King CT, the Ed Sullivan Show is essentially when the Beatles were introduced to America, and the critics' reviews were beyond  belief when seen in hindsight]

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
3 August 2012
6.36pm
RevolvingPiggies
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I haven't been on here for so long! Been busy.

Don't know if anyone said this, but they all sang and eventually all wrote songs. Also, their hair was a a sign of rebellion, and as George said they were an excuse to go crazy. They had a lot of tv appearances, etc.

I am very happy, and one reason is because I have The Beatles. Thank you!!!! <3 <3 <3 <3
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