Please consider registering
Guest
sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register
Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search
Forum Scope


Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
sp_Feed sp_TopicIcon
Criticism of the Beatles (including the Piero Scaruffi article)
27 September 2014
12.03am
Avatar
Von Bontee
A Hole In The Road
Rishikesh
Members
Forum Posts: 4383
Member Since:
14 December 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I can't even understand what the hell "furthering the myth of LSD" has to do with making great music! Same goes for impacting the sexual Revolution /stirring social revolts/etc.

The following people thank Von Bontee for this post:

Starr Shine?, Beatlebug

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!"
-- Paul McCartney

                 Winner-Funniest-Post-and-Most-Creative-Contribution-2017-1.pngfunniest-post-badge2018.png

27 September 2014
3.40am
Avatar
Mr. Kite
910 Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, Pepperland
Apple rooftop
Members

Reviewers
Forum Posts: 6147
Member Since:
4 February 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

And throughout his whole... rant I'll call it, he compares them to musicians doing completely separate things. Saying that they didn't have 20 minute hard rock jams in which they angrily contemplated the merits of the Vietnam war. Obviously Scaruffi is entitled to his opinion (and boy does he have one!), but when you're comparing a group who's style you don't like to those you do it's a pointless invalid argument.

If I wanted to argue, for example, that I don't feel One Direction is a good band, Id give direct examples of things I don't like. I wouldn't compare them to someone I like and who in my mind they obviously are nowhere near. If i did, my argument (in the style of Scaruffi) would sound like this:

While many brainwashed prepubescent girls fall head over heels for 1D, there's nothing about the band worthy of any sort of recognition. They don't have thought provoking lyrics of The Police, nor amazing blues-rock solos like Cream. The one thing they actually attempt is singing, and The Beatles had beautiful harmony vocals fifty years ago and a smaller group of singers and available tracks!

I also love how he acts like Beatle fans are stupid and believe anything we hear about The Beatles and think they're great because that's how it's been told. We enjoy The Beatles because we think they were great musicians who made great music, and ultimately because its our tastes and opinions.

There are also many studio techniques The Beatles did pioneer. And while others were first in some things as he was correct in pointing out, The Beatles brought these things into the mainstream (in a good way).

This guy just seems like a hipster, unable to like the band because of their success.

meanmistermustard said

Surely going by that logic none of us here can criticise any musician who is of a better standard than us.

You're right... But I'm saying everyone can have their opinion, but making fun of someone's musical skills when you don't play and cant respect the difficulty is unfair.

The following people thank Mr. Kite for this post:

georgiewood, StrawberryFieldsForever, Beatlebug, Von Bontee

If I spoke prose you'd all find out, I don't know what I talk about.

Can buy Joe love!
If you're shopping at one of these two websites use the links below to support the Beatles Bible:

Amazon | iTunes

27 September 2014
12.41pm
Avatar
georgiewood
In my tree
Hollywood Bowl
Members
Forum Posts: 792
Member Since:
22 September 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Immense artistic popularity will always cause a backlash from a certain element of critics who believe that they are more insightful/perceptive/refined than the scruffy masses.  It is a way to set themselves apart and draw attention to their individuality.  Might they also be secretly (or subconsciously) jealous of the success of the popular artist?  Who would not want to be Paul McCartney on February 9, 1964, looking at his mates and saying "1...2...3...4!"?  What joy.

As Freud said "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."  And sometimes, massive popularity is due to massive talent.  Scaruffi's main assertion is that the Beatles' appeal was a product of a brilliant public relations machine, mostly unrelated to the musical ability of the individuals.  They produced pabulum designed to enthrall the greatest number of undiscerning teenagers. That assertion ignores the most compelling possible rejoinder: perspective gained by history.  If the Beatles were truly a group of mediocre musicians with nothing to say, would their music still be celebrated and revered by millions of people of all ages, nationalities and artistic sensibilities?

The mere fact that Scaruffi chose the Beatles as his target is telling.  Do you think he wrote any deeply analytical critiques about the Dave Clark 5?  a-hard-days-night-george-4

The following people thank georgiewood for this post:

Mr. Kite, Beatlebug

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

27 September 2014
1.54pm
Avatar
Starr Shine?
Waiting in the sky
Apple rooftop
Members
Forum Posts: 15868
Member Since:
1 November 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

rigorously white

ahdn_paul_06That quote made me laugh. What other kinda white could they be? Unless they changed band members of something or are a chameleon band. And also their were white rockers before the Beatles

Rock and roll could finally be included in the pop charts.

Guess Elvis wasn't a thing

The Beatles were the quintessence of instrumental mediocrity. George Harrison was a pathetic guitarist, compared with the London guitarists of those days (Townshend of the Who, Richards of the Rolling Stones, Davies of the Kinks, Clapton and Beck and Page of the Yardbirds, and many others who were less famous but no less original). The Beatles had completely missed the Revolution of rock music (founded on a prominent use of the guitar) and were still trapped in the stereotypes of the easy-listening orchestras. 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 (even though within the world of Merseybeat his style was indeed revolutionary). 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.

How can you say overall about the bands technique when you don't even mention John?

While the Velvet Underground, Frank Zappa, the Doors, Pink Floyd and many others were composing long and daring suites worthy of avant garde music, thus elevating rock music to art

So in order to be an art it has to be avant garde and super long? What makes that art versus any other kind of music?

Beatles fans can change the meaning of the word "artistic" to suit themselves,

It seems Beatles fans aren't the only ones who can change the meaning of words a-hard-days-night-ringo-8

As popular icons, as celebrities, the Beatles certainly influenced their times, although much less than their fans suppose. Even Richard Nixon, the American president of the Vietnam war and Watergate influenced his times and the generations that followed, but that doesn't make him a great musician.

a-hard-days-night-ringo-7

Several times he mentions how long 15 - 20 minute songs are better than the Beatles 3 minute songs. What is his problem with short songs? A song can be just as "artistic" and still be short.

They scatter studio effects here and there, pretending to be avant garde musicians, in Fixing A Hole and Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite , but in reality these are tunes inspired by the music halls, the circuses and small town bands

So? If everyone is doing the avant garde thing except them would they be considered the out their different group. Avant garde music can't be inspired by the circus? Where are avant garde musicians supposed to get their inspiration?

classical (Piggies , a rare moment of genius from Harrison, a baroque sonata performed with the sarcastic humour of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, with a melody borrowed from Stephane Grappelli's Eveline)

Piggies is classical? Well your not too far gone if you like Piggies

All efforts at cohesion notwithstanding, their personalities truly became too divergent. The modest hippie George Harrison became attracted to Oriental spiritualism. (Something and Here Comes The Sun are his melancholy ballads). Paul McCartney , the smiling bourgeois, became progressively more involved with pop music (every nursery-rhyme, Get Back and Let It Be included, are his). John Lennon , the thoughtful intellectual became absorbed in self-examination and political involvement. His was a much harder and/or psychedelic sound (Revolution , Come Together , the dreamy and Indian-like Across The Universe ). They were songs ever more meaningless and anonymous. After all, the break-up had begun with Revolver (Lennon wrote Tomorrow Never Knows , Harrison Love You To , McCartney Eleanor Rigby ), and had been camouflaged in successive records by Martin's painstakingly arrangements.

What about Ringo? Where does he stand in all this?a-hard-days-night-ringo-5

He gives a summery of their solo years expert for Ringo! What happened to Ringo? Did he fall in a black hole?! a-hard-days-night-ringo-14

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

Was that something that needed to be furthered? Was their a demand for people to explore the myth of LSD? Wouldn't it be better to share the facts of LSD so that everyone is well informed before they try it?

I just read his article and I found it amusing and pretentious. Their are a lot of thesis type of articles everywhere on the internet and it doesn't really stand out compared to the other critical articles. It doesn't really go into the Beatles instead just compares the Beatles to everyone else. I found it funny that he talked about the avant garde yet he hardly brings up Yoko Ono and her influence on the Beatles. I don't get why a lot of the comments before are so angry at this article

Mr. Kite said

meanmistermustard said

Surely going by that logic none of us here can criticise any musician who is of a better standard than us.

You're right... But I'm saying everyone can have their opinion, but making fun of someone's musical skills when you don't play and cant respect the difficulty is unfair.

I am not sure how that is unfair. It is free speech and the first amendment. I don't think he is making fun of them. He is just stating they are inferior compared to other acts at the time. He does mention that the Beatles are good at writing melodies. Your One Direction comparison includes only past acts by a few decades if it was more like this article it would include modern acts and how they are all so much better then One Direction.

The following people thank Starr Shine? for this post:

Ahhh Girl, Bulldog, georgiewood, meanmistermustard, Mr. Kite, Von Bontee, Linde, Beatlebug

https://youtu.be/52nwiTs7bk8

Brainwashed by RadiantCowbells.

If you can't log in and can't use the forum go here and someone will help you out.

27 September 2014
3.22pm
Avatar
Mr. Kite
910 Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, Pepperland
Apple rooftop
Members

Reviewers
Forum Posts: 6147
Member Since:
4 February 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@Starr Shine? I can't think of good modern acts... a-hard-days-night-ringo-6

And I knew you'd like the mention of Piggies . a-hard-days-night-george-9

The following people thank Mr. Kite for this post:

Starr Shine?, Bulldog, J Alesait

If I spoke prose you'd all find out, I don't know what I talk about.

Can buy Joe love!
If you're shopping at one of these two websites use the links below to support the Beatles Bible:

Amazon | iTunes

27 September 2014
9.30pm
Avatar
Von Bontee
A Hole In The Road
Rishikesh
Members
Forum Posts: 4383
Member Since:
14 December 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

georgiewood said 

 
The mere fact that Scaruffi chose the Beatles as his target is telling.  Do you think he wrote any deeply analytical critiques about the Dave Clark 5?  a-hard-days-night-george-4

To be fair, Scaruffi's written many, many words about a whole lot of musicians, including both popular and jazz. (And possibly others.) And most of what I've read is better than that anti-Beatles rant. I don't believe he wrote that just to seek attention - he comes off as entirely sincere, however misguided.

@Starr Shine?, that's the longest thing I've ever seen you post! And possibly the best. My hat is off (and I don't even wear one)!

The following people thank Von Bontee for this post:

Starr Shine?, StrawberryFieldsForever, Mr. Kite, Beatlebug

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!"
-- Paul McCartney

                 Winner-Funniest-Post-and-Most-Creative-Contribution-2017-1.pngfunniest-post-badge2018.png

27 September 2014
10.43pm
Avatar
StrawberryWalrus
Royal Command Performance
Members
Forum Posts: 278
Member Since:
1 August 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Well, I'll just throw in an example of my mother's criticism of Beatles.

I listen to them probably on daily basis, and then out of sudden while I'm working on a paper she says: "Beatles are boring".

Alright, my reaction was probably something like: mom, don't say nonsense. Call them awful, but boring?

Her opinion is, basically, that she's always hearing the same song over and over again. This quite annoyed me because of the fact she never bothers to actually LISTEN, not just hear, and her general lack of interest in things I like. Anyways, it somehow ended me with being an obsessive Beatles maniac defending them with my life and I was obviously guilty for the argument in the first place, somehow. Then I just sigh and move on, but then I remember she likes only the hit songs (oh how this sounds like a typical 3-song fan, heh) like Hey Jude and Come Together . Whatever.

The following people thank StrawberryWalrus for this post:

Beatlebug
27 September 2014
11.03pm
Avatar
Von Bontee
A Hole In The Road
Rishikesh
Members
Forum Posts: 4383
Member Since:
14 December 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I'll never speak to your mother again.

The following people thank Von Bontee for this post:

Starr Shine?, Bulldog, StrawberryWalrus, Mr. Kite, Linde, Beatlebug

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!"
-- Paul McCartney

                 Winner-Funniest-Post-and-Most-Creative-Contribution-2017-1.pngfunniest-post-badge2018.png

28 September 2014
12.13am
Avatar
StrawberryWalrus
Royal Command Performance
Members
Forum Posts: 278
Member Since:
1 August 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Oh.

The following people thank StrawberryWalrus for this post:

vonbontee
28 September 2014
10.26pm
Avatar
Linde
The Netherlands
Rishikesh
Members
Forum Posts: 2781
Member Since:
21 November 2012
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

My mom always goes on about how she was young when the Beatles were famous and how she knows so much about them so I made her do that quiz where you have to fill in all song titles in 20 minutesahdn_george_06The result wasn't good.

The following people thank Linde for this post:

Bulldog, Beatlebug
18 August 2016
8.14pm
Avatar
mcsugalumps
Australia
St Peters Church
Members
Forum Posts: 14
Member Since:
5 April 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

http://www.scaruffi.com/vol1/b.....atles.html

I have been reading through an article written by Piero Scaruffi and he is critical of The Beatles status as innovators. I'd be interesting to see everyone's opinion on this article.

28 March 2018
5.50pm
Avatar
J Alesait
The Kaiserkeller
Members
Forum Posts: 53
Member Since:
27 March 2018
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

My two cents on the Piero Scaruffi article:

The Beatles were the quintessence of instrumental mediocrity. George Harrison was a pathetic guitarist, compared with the London guitarists of those days (Townshend of the Who, Richards of the Rolling Stones, Davies of the Kinks, Clapton and Beck and Page of the Yardbirds, and many others who were less famous but no less original).

First, there's no common standard on the minimun level of prowess one has to have in order to play in a rock/pop band (ask the Sex Pistols about it, for example). This is no jazz nor classical music.

Second, they were quite competent on their instruments, they didn't need to be virtuosi.

Third, the Who, the Stones, the Kinks, the Yardbirds, the Beatles, they all sounded different, and that's the great thing about it.

Fourth, how about the Beatles as singers? Scaruffi avoids the subject, except that McCartney is described as a 'singer from the 1950s'

Fifth, how good a guitarist was Elvis? How good instrumentalists were The Miracles?

The Beatles had completely missed the Revolution of rock music (founded on a prominent use of the guitar) and were still trapped in the stereotypes of the easy-listening orchestras. 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 (even though within the world of Merseybeat his style was indeed revolutionary). 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.

IIRC, when they auditioned for Decca, they were told "guitar groups are on they way out" or something to that effect.

McCartney a singer from the 50s? He is a worthless bassist? (just his opinions, no arguments whatsoever)

Ringo playing like any kid of that time? How does he know? It was more the other way around. Has he ever heard Charlie Watts on Ruby Tuesday or Let's Spend the Night Together, for instance?

If their technique was sub-standard, how come millions of people and musicians enjoy their music so much? And I wonder, what is the standard? Is Lou Reed a standard singer? Is Bob Dylan one?

While the Velvet Underground, Frank Zappa, the Doors, Pink Floyd and many others were composing long and daring suites worthy of avant garde music, thus elevating rock music to art

He obviously never heard of Carnival Of Light , nor of Revolution 9 . And who said avant garde is THE way of elevating music to art?

Does he know what 'suite' means? Has he heard A Day In The Life or Tomorrow Never Knows ?

As popular icons, as celebrities, the Beatles certainly influenced their times, although much less than their fans suppose. Even Richard Nixon, the American president of the Vietnam war and Watergate influenced his times and the generations that followed, but that doesn't make him a great musician.

And the Beatles certainly weren't great politicians, no matter how they tried...

They scatter studio effects here and there, pretending to be avant garde musicians, in Fixing A Hole and Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite , but in reality these are tunes inspired by the music halls, the circuses and small town bands

No big studio effects on Fixing A Hole though... What is wrong with music halls, etc? (I'm thinking about the Kinks here)

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

I remember Paul McCartney speaking of LSD on TV, but I can't recall Morrison doing so...

I could go on...

The following people thank J Alesait for this post:

Beatlebug, mcsugalumps
29 March 2018
11.57am
Avatar
Pineapple Records
Shea Stadium
Members
Forum Posts: 844
Member Since:
14 May 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Nice dressing down by J Alesait of this critic with the puffy name "Piero Scaruffi".  The excerpts quoted by J Alesait read more like a high school essay where the assignment was to try to come up with a criticism, so the student reaches for anything he can just to sound good, irrespective of whether it's cogent or relevant.

The following people thank Pineapple Records for this post:

J Alesait

A ginger sling with a pineapple heart,

a coffee dessert, yes you know it's good news...

29 March 2018
1.31pm
Avatar
Beatlebug
Find me where ye echo lays
Moderator

Moderators
Forum Posts: 17138
Member Since:
15 February 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Nice job @J Alesait apple01paul-mccartney-thumb_gif

The following people thank Beatlebug for this post:

J Alesait

We have a way of saving our own lives
Silly-Girl-2016.png Silly-Girl-2017.png bbbadge2018.jpg BBawards 2019
New to Forumpool? You can introduce yourself here.
StarSpangledBanner-1.png 
ScotsIrishFlag-1.jpeg Vietnam Heritage and Freedom Flag

1 April 2018
7.59pm
Avatar
J Alesait
The Kaiserkeller
Members
Forum Posts: 53
Member Since:
27 March 2018
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Pineapple Records said The excerpts quoted by J Alesait read more like a high school essay where the assignment was to try to come up with a criticism, so the student reaches for anything he can just to sound good, irrespective of whether it's cogent or relevant.

It's all his opinions, no proofs offered at all

4 April 2018
12.26am
Avatar
mcsugalumps
Australia
St Peters Church
Members
Forum Posts: 14
Member Since:
5 April 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

The problem is he has one definition for "innovation"

The composition in his terms has to be long and completely avant garde. While this is not wrong in it of itself, the fact that he rejects any other forms of experimentation is questionable. Taking avant garde concepts and repurposing them in a pop context is just as experimental. Also the fact the songs are well written, have great melodies etc is also a reason for The Beatles long lasting appeal.

Although I kinda agree with him on his Trout Mask Replica opinion.

The following people thank mcsugalumps for this post:

QuarryMan
17 May 2019
8.33am
Avatar
QuarryMan
Rishikesh
Members
Forum Posts: 3414
Member Since:
26 January 2017
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Reviving this thread, I'd like to join the crowd of voices rejecting Scaruffi's pompous analysis of The Beatles' career. It's disappointing, since Scaruffi otherwise has pretty solid taste and is pretty good at recognising talent without prejudice based on genre or era (his website is a goldmine for unusual and interesting music), but for some reason his opinion on The Beatles reads like he arbitrarily decided one day he didn't like them, and then spent weeks plundering their history for justifications why.

It's completely frustrating to read, because he clearly has a good deal of knowledge about their history, but he applies it in the most idiotic ways. He joyfully points out the Byrds influence on Rubber Soul , but doesn't mention at all that the Byrds got their sound by buying Rickenbackers in order to copy George's playing on A Hard Day's Night .

His obsession with song length is completely bewildering - he seems to have this idea that the longer a band's songs were the better, as if that makes any difference whatsoever as to the quality of the content. I love Bob Dylan, but the Beatles fitted more experimentation into 3 minutes on Tomorrow Never Knows than he did in any of the 15 minute compositions Scaruffi lauds from Blonde On Blonde. And he says that The Beatles were merely 'pretending to be avant garde' on Sgt Pepper , but this is a useless criticism since he doesn't offer any justification for why they might be pretending whilst other bands were genuine.

Also, he literally calls Sgt Pepper a concept album, and then a few paragraphs later says that 'Great Britain became infected by the concept album/rock opera bug' which The Beatles decided to give a try with Abbey Road , which isn't really a concept album at all, at least not compared to Sgt Pepper paul-mccartney-facepalm_gifpaul-mccartney-facepalm_gif

There is no final victory, as there is no final defeat. There is just the same battle to be fought, over and over again. So toughen up, bloody toughen up.” - Tony Benn
2019 BB awards: Most-respectful-even-through-disagreements-Awesomest-signature.png
UK.jpg demsoc2.jpg bi-flag-1.jpg

Avatar courtesy of Beatlebug and Ms. Björk Guðmundsdóttir

Forum Timezone: America/Chicago
Most Users Ever Online: 700
Currently Online: meanmistermustard, Ron Nasty, Teddy Salad, 50yearslate, TheQuietOne, KaosTictaw
Guest(s) 1
Top Posters:
Starr Shine?: 15868
Ron Nasty: 10618
50yearslate: 8584
Necko: 7891
AppleScruffJunior: 7189
parlance: 7111
mr. Sun king coming together: 6403
Mr. Kite: 6147
trcanberra: 6064
sir walter raleigh: 4903
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 87
Members: 2540
Moderators: 6
Admins: 1
Forum Stats:
Groups: 3
Forums: 44
Topics: 4863
Posts: 346470
Newest Members:
The Cman, halboatman316, antonella, Stan, willitrue
Moderators: Joe: 5091, Zig: 9812, meanmistermustard: 23169, Ahhh Girl: 19189, Beatlebug: 17138, The Hole Got Fixed: 7795
Administrators: Joe: 5091