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If The Beatles Never Existed
20 February 2019
9.24am
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QuarryMan
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Hi everyone. I'm sorry if this is a thread that has been made before, but I just watched the trailer for a new film called Yesterday , in which a young musician discovers he's the only one who can remember the Fab Four, and I was wondering how different the music industry would be if they had never existed. 

Here are some of my thoughts:

The decline of rock n roll music: By 1963, the first wave of rock n roll stars had pretty much all faded from their former glory. Elvis was a production line of bad movies, Buddy Holly had died, Little Richard had renounced his music in favour of spirituality, etc etc.. Without the Beatles to pump new life into the movement both commercially and musically, I think it would have died off and been replaced by other sounds, potentially the flourishing Motown and folk movements at the time, which could have become the dominant popular genre.

DIY acts: The Beatles are commonly credited as one of the first successful acts to write their own songs, and famously refused to record the song 'How Do You Do It ' in favour of their own material. By becoming the biggest band in the world, they essentially set the precedent for artists writing, playing and singing their own material that continues to this day, and their success resulted in other artists feeling obligated to do the same or risk ridicule for being phoneys, like the Monkees. If they never existed, then maybe songwriting wouldn't have caught on with young musicians, who would have focused on performance rather than songwriting. 

Popularising the band format: as well as writing their own songs, The Beatles popularised the lineup of electric guitar/ electric bass/ drums which remains the backbone of most bands to this day. This led directly to other labels signing bands in a similar lineup, like the Rolling Stones, Kinks and Who in order to rival EMI's money making machine that was the Beatles. So these bands would likely never have come to prominence without the commercial support of major labels. 

Singles vs Albums: With Rubber Soul , The Beatles inspired Brian Wilson to create Pet Sounds, which was groundbreaking in its unified form and directly inspired Sgt Pepper which many consider one of the first concept albums. This soon led to albums overtaking singles in sales and being considered the definitive creative statement that an artist could make. If this development hadn't happened, then maybe artists would just continue to churn out albums more in the Please Please Me model. 

A few musical developments I could think of: Dylan not going electric and The Byrds not adopting the Rickenbackers would mean folk rock didn't happen as a genre. Their experiments with both Western and Hindustani classical instrumentation as well as tape loops could have done the same for psychedelic rock. Prog rock and all the excess of the 70s that led to the punk movement could also be considered a result of the psychedelic rock movement, so by extension we wouldn't have had that whole movement, or post punk, or new wave. 

And, of course we wouldn't have this wonderful forum and community .a-hard-days-night-paul-4

Hope this provides some food for thought. I'd love to hear all of your ideas, since this has really got me thinking. 

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Tall, dark-haired QuarryMan likes basketball, music, and naturally, boys. He was a valuable participant on the track team. He is one of Freeport's great contributors to the recording world. As for the immediate future, QuarryMan has no plans, but will take life as it comes. 

 

20 February 2019
2.16pm
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The Hole Got Fixed
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It's kind of hard to imagine, because a lot of the really successful bands were influenced by the Beatles. I guess music wouldn't have developed in the way it did so I guess music today might sound very different? We might be 10 years behind or in front of where we are now, I don't know.

My brain hurts after writing that small paragraph. Can't imagine writing that huge post QM!

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20 February 2019
6.07pm
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QuarryMan
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The Hole Got Fixed said
It's kind of hard to imagine, because a lot of the really successful bands were influenced by the Beatles. I guess music wouldn't have developed in the way it did so I guess music today might sound very different? We might be 10 years behind or in front of where we are now, I don't know.

My brain hurts after writing that small paragraph. Can't imagine writing that huge post QM!

  

It's pretty mind boggling to think about. I think we'd probably be a long way behind, since all the brilliant creative minds of the 60s and 70s might not have been given the chance of a commercial platform by record labels.

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Tall, dark-haired QuarryMan likes basketball, music, and naturally, boys. He was a valuable participant on the track team. He is one of Freeport's great contributors to the recording world. As for the immediate future, QuarryMan has no plans, but will take life as it comes. 

 

20 February 2019
6.21pm
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The Hole Got Fixed
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That's a good point - if 'guitar bands were on the way out' when the Beatles auditioned for Decca, they were a chance the EMI took. The precedent set by them paved the way for all guitar bands - also crooners would probably be much more common too.

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21 February 2019
12.44pm
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QuarryMan
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Exactly, and if you think about how many guitar bands we've had since them. The Stones, The Who, The Kinks, The Byrds, The Velvet Underground, Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and so on... and that's just the late 60s and early 70s...

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Tall, dark-haired QuarryMan likes basketball, music, and naturally, boys. He was a valuable participant on the track team. He is one of Freeport's great contributors to the recording world. As for the immediate future, QuarryMan has no plans, but will take life as it comes. 

 

4 March 2019
11.34am
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PurplishRain
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Girl Groups and Surf Rock would've lasted a lot longer. Rock probably would sound more like Poco

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5 March 2019
8.24am
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Jolly Jimmy
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I like what everybody said above.

Bands like the Rolling Stones were starting out around the same time as the Beatles.  But without the Beatles around writing their own songs, the Stones may have not felt the pressure to write their own material.  They may not have evolved beyond a blues cover band and would have faded away after a while.  A similar fate may also occur with other British bands we know and love.  Would Ray Davies have evolved the way he did?

There might have never been a full scale British Invasion in the USA too.  With no British band creating the same furor the Beatles did, Ed Sullivan would not be as inspired to bring any British bands across the pond.  The average American would not have heard of most of these bands since they pretty much stayed in England.  There might be an exception or two as a one hit wonder, though.

Without a British Invasion, the music of the prior generation in America would remain popular a bit longer.  We'd have more soft hits from the Frank Sinatra types.  Surf music would still be popular for a while.  Maybe Brian Wilson would still have the desire to expand the Beach Boy sound.  But without the Beatles as an influence, would it have been the same?  Would we still have a Pet Sounds or something totally different?

I don't think Motown would have been affected much.  They were cranking out hits before the Beatles and would still do so throughout the 60s.

Even without the Beatles, the political and social climate would still take place.  I believe there would still be musical reactions to these issues.  But how would they sound?  And would there still be hippies as we know them?  Perhaps to some degree.  We might see beatniks a bit longer although they may may evolve into something with a different style of dress and different name.

It would probably take a few more years, but eventually somebody somewhere would notice how stale the music scene was getting.  Perhaps a new genre we can't imagine would become popular.  But I doubt any specific artist or band would be as big as the Beatles.  They were the "perfect storm" for the times.

That is my theory which belongs to me and is mine.

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10 March 2019
8.30am
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QuarryMan
Rishikesh
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It's interesting to imagine who or what would have fulfilled the role of the Beatles. Would it have been a group, or another huge solo artist like Elvis? I was thinking maybe Michael Jackson, who had his first hits as a child in the late 60s/70s, but even he took a huge amount of inspiration from The Beatles.

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Tall, dark-haired QuarryMan likes basketball, music, and naturally, boys. He was a valuable participant on the track team. He is one of Freeport's great contributors to the recording world. As for the immediate future, QuarryMan has no plans, but will take life as it comes. 

 

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