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The Canonization of The Beatles
11 December 2014
2.01am
mr. Sun king coming together
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This is going to be controversial - I accept that, and I'm willing to engage anyone in a good faith debate about this.

However, there's something I've thought a lot about for a while - the tendency for fans of bands, but especially Beatles fans, to canonize the Beatles. To treat them as something greater than they were, ascribe greater meaning to a group of four musicians who made some great music. I'm not here to say they weren't great musicians - but that they were merely musicians. Their influences were in the realm of music. They didn't fundamentally change anything, either as a collective or on their own. They were 4 kids from Liverpool. Paul and john's forays into politics - John in the early 70's, Paul late 80's early 90's, led them to support politicians (George McGovern for US President for John in 1972, Neil Kinnock UK PM in 1992 for Paul) who lost elections despite having a well known endorsement from a Beatle. But we glorify them, both as these out of this world musicians and these amazing agents of social change. And I think it is overdone. I think sometimes people overglorify both their acts and the music.

 

Yes, the music is overglorified. In my opinion it is. I am a staunch Beatles fan, yes I am. But it is not the be all end all. I'm more likely to go to Eminem or Dallas Green or even Bruce Springsteen. Maybe my cynicism is too deep - maybe It's All Too Much . But I sometimes feel in our praise of the Beatles we make them something they never were or wanted to be.

 

Am I crazy?

As if it matters how a man falls down.'

'When the fall's all that's left, it matters a great deal.

11 December 2014
2.56am
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Mr. Kite
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I think they were more than just a band, but I agree it is overdone quite a bit.

Whether I agree with him or not, here's John:

"We were four guys... I met Paul and said, 'You want to join me band?' Then George joined, and then Ringo joined. We were just a band that made it very, very big, that's all." John Lennon – 1970

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

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11 December 2014
3.20am
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Starr Shine?
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Maybe this is the reason that people now a days can't get into the Beatles is because they feel they are over-hyped

https://youtu.be/52nwiTs7bk8

Brainwashed by RadiantCowbells.

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11 December 2014
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Annadog40 said
Maybe this is the reason that people now a days can't get into the Beatles is because they feel they are over-hyped

If I could beg your indulgence, I'd correct your quote to read:

"Maybe this is the reason that people now a days WON'T get into the Beatles..."

That's my perspective.  I didn't get into them until just recently, and I'm 53.  And I think it was quite by accident.  For many years, going back to when I was a teenager, I  wouldn't listen to them; I stooped to peer pressure from the people who I associated with.  Those that would refer to them as flower-power hippies or -even worse- the boy band prototype (which is categorically wrong - they weren't the first), but what did I know then?  When I heard what they were capable of before becoming famous for all the falsetto 'ooohhhs' and 'yeah-yeah-yeahs,' I found an very talented and hard-rocking band.  What a discovery!

beatlemaniacs_02_gif I know, right?!

I believe that's still happening for a lot of people.

“Send John out first; he’s the one they want.”

~ someone said it, dammit.

Memphis, 1966

11 December 2014
4.14am
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C.R.A.
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mr. Sun king coming together said
This is going to be controversial - I accept that, and I'm willing to engage anyone in a good faith debate about this.

Am I crazy?

I don't see your opinion as being controversial.  It's a good perspective for a healthy discussion.

If I take your view correctly, what you're looking for is for people to take a step back and truly examine their legacy; are they worth everything heaped on them?  Should they be credited with the social impact so many ascribe to them?

The political spectrum is subjective; they may very well have had a direct impact on how their fans (and perhaps the populace in general) viewed politics and associated persons, but that influence is regional.  I'm far from being versed in this area, so that's the limit of my perspective.

As for their impact on music... is there a thread here somewhere that lists all the 'firsts' they're credited with?  That might shed greater perspective of their worth.

Their impact on society is the greater, and more complex, debate.  So many views, so many emotions.  Music is an emotional thing to start with.

This will be interesting.

“Send John out first; he’s the one they want.”

~ someone said it, dammit.

Memphis, 1966

11 December 2014
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parlance
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I'm still in the middle of Beatleness - I had to put it down because of school. But from what I can tell so far, not only has their impact not been exaggerated, it may have been understated, in that those of us coming after the first generation of fans can't really fathom how deeply their influence was felt.

parlance

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Mr. Kite

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

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11 December 2014
6.42am
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I could never get over to anyone the joy Beatles music has given me. Remember each new record was new…….Untried, unproven……Even given their fan-base, how much of a shot in the dark was Strawberry Fields.?? Imagine hearing that in the context of Englebert Humperdinck. 

 

I have to admit I'm not the one to answer the OP's question. Just glad….very glad I lived when I did….and was born where I was born.

 

And for the record…... for me, there isn't a Saint dead………or well ….dead that can fill their boots….!

 

Each to his own. If Bruce Springsteen does it for the OP I'm happy for him.

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Mr. Kite
11 December 2014
12.41pm
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All ventures into politics by any of the Beatles were lame and achieved nothing (George went public with the Natural Law Party in the early 90's, his last own concert was to raise funds for it/them, and they got nowhere). 

Music-wise they did influence it a hell of a lot (and still are), probably more than anyone else ever has (maybe one of the Great Classical musicans like Beethoven has a greater claim i dont know); Dylan said "they were doing things nobody was doing. Their chords were outrageous, just outrageous, and their harmonies made it all valid...I knew they were pointing the direction of where music had to go."). The Beatles were simply at the forefront throwing open the doors and leading the way ( (at times dragging people along), not that that should in any way reduce their achievements or belittle their music as everything about them had to be right to do so; talent, charisma, looks, being willing and open to new influences and expressing them, not giving a shit about traditions and authority and sticking to what was accepted as the good proper norms but instead smashing thru perceived limitations etc - for example America (and especially the teens) was ready to drop for a great band to come along but no other ground had the all round package to be able to do it.

 

As for are they over-hyped i dont think they are. To look at all the stats the Beatles set down is mindblowing and no one act has ever gotten close to all of those, that must say something. In some ways they might be however the music does largely stand up to the intense scrutiny it comes under from all sections. Not every track is awesome and shouldn't be treated as such but the great far outweight the bad. Album-wise 'Pepper' might sag under such a weight musically song-by-song but taking into account what it achieved at the time and how in tune it was with the times in America and the UK and i think it becomes underrated; 'Beatles For Sale ' is often viewed as their weakest album but most groups would kill for such a release to be in their catalogue.

And if in doubt look at their schedule from the beginning of 1963 to the end of 1965: 2 films, 50 BBC radio shows (not including all the non-music performance appearances), 2 US tours, 1 further US visit, 5 UK tours (including endless touring of the UK thru most of 1963), 1 World tour, 1 European tour, 2 trips to Sweden, 2 Christmas Show runs, 1 residency in France, countless tv appearances - and amongst all of that they recorded 6 full albums (bar 4 tracks recorded in 1962), 5 unique singles (a & b-sides), 2 further b-sides, 1 additional track ('Bad Boy ') and 1 EP that still stand today as great music.

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Mr. Kite

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11 December 2014
3.45pm
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This really isn't that controversial. It's just a matter of personal opinion. If I choose to canonize them, I will - and I do. Others may not - I am perfectly OK with that.

The Beatles referred to themselves as "a little dance hall band". To me, they were and always will be much more.

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, let it roll for all its worth. And all the children boogie.

11 December 2014
10.46pm
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^ I don't think their significance is a matter of opinion - they were the greatest rock band of all time who had a significant influence on society then and since.  No canonization - just the facts.

Do we treat them differently than other mortals?  Well, some do, I don't.

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12 December 2014
5.06am
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Mr Sun King CT said "Their influences were in the realm of music. They didn't fundamentally change anything, either as a collective or on their own."

I would say, "really? Look at your avatar." Every guy who over the last 50 years has worn his hair even a bit on the long side owes a debt of gratitude to the Beatles.

80% of barbershops were out of business by the end of the '60s.

What other musical act has had such an impact on how men have looked a half century down the road.

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12 December 2014
6.11am
Michael Rogers
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"but that they were merely musicians. Their influences were in the realm of music. They didn't fundamentally change anything,"

Meanwhile 'Down Under', they beg to differ.

Powerhouse Museum Presents the Beatles in Australia
Developed by the Powerhouse Museum and Arts Centre Melbourne to celebrate the forthcoming 50th anniversary of the tour, the exhibition explores the story of the Fab Four’s thirteen days ‘down under’ and the tour’s lasting impact on Australian music and popular culture.

The tour was a major Australian event of the 1960s and ignited an exciting period in music and culture. From 1964 the pace of social change accelerated, not just in music, clothing and hairstyles, but in social attitudes, as young people demanded greater freedom in all areas of their lives.

http://www.powerhousemuseum.co.....dia/?p=435

Also listen to the radio program here that asks the question: "... did they also spark the beginning of an overdue generational and social shift in this country?"

http://www.abc.net.au/radionat.....64/5474080

Also see if you can find a copy of this: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/progr.....e-us-wild/

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Into the Sky with Diamonds
12 December 2014
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parlance said
I'm still in the middle of Beatleness - I had to put it down because of school. But from what I can tell so far, not only has their impact not been exaggerated, it may have been understated, in that those of us coming after the first generation of fans can't really fathom how deeply their influence was felt.

parlance

I think that's true. Like the hair example - I feel like many people don't realise the extent to which The Beatles have influenced our culture because these things have become so ingrained in us.

12 December 2014
1.44pm
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Aw, shucks, the Powerhouse Museum exhibit has ended. I wonder if @trcanberra got to see it.

12 December 2014
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Ahhh Girl said
Aw, shucks, the Powerhouse Museum exhibit has ended. I wonder if @trcanberra got to see it.

Didn't manage to get down to Sydney unfortunately - nice museum that one too.  I think I also missed a Yoko art exhibition recently :)

==> trcanberra and hongkonglady - Together even when not (married for those not in the know!) <==

13 December 2014
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@mr. Sun king coming together said
Their influences were in the realm of music. They didn't fundamentally change anything, either as a collective or on their own.

The money The Beatles earned for EMI lead to research that created the CT scan. No Beatles = no CT. That or it would've taken much longer to be created.

That on its own is a major change scientifically and to all the people that machine has saved and their families.

They had many major impacts on society and continue to along with very personal impacts on millions.

Politically, well that's debatable depending on how you define politics, but even if absolutely nothing in this realm was effected by them, the examples above are more than enough to show they did cause important changes.

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

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13 December 2014
7.34pm
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Their effect on politics was strong though indirect.

The 60's were very much an 'us against them' decade - the 'generation gap'

Though never actively espousing such a position, the Beatles certainly kick-started it.

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13 December 2014
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Into the Sky with Diamonds said
Their effect on politics was strong though indirect.

The 60's were very much an 'us against them' decade - the 'generation gap'

Though never actively espousing such a position, the Beatles certainly kick-started it.

Even things like the 'rattle your jewelry' comment stirred up a storm in the UK.  The Literary Anthology book also has lots of contemporary accounts of just how influential they were.

==> trcanberra and hongkonglady - Together even when not (married for those not in the know!) <==

14 December 2014
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Just off the top - this is exactly the sort of discussion I dreamt of. Passionate, intelligent. Thanks guys. Makes me glad to be back.

 

 CRA - that's a good summary of what I want. I feel too often the Beatles ' impacts are looked at as symbols, not for what they achieved. My definition of political influence is roughly "Did they help get the policies/politicians they endorsed enacted/elected?" By that scale, they were pretty marginal, or really useless.

Michael Rogers - that exhibit is exactly the sort of thing I'm talking about. Australia didn't elect a different government until 1972, didn't substantially change in ways people arguing for change from the staid 50's would have wanted until 1972, or even the 80's. They didn't have an effect, a tangible effect. And exhibits like that distort how we see them.

Into The Sky - I'll agree on the hair.

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Into the Sky with Diamonds

As if it matters how a man falls down.'

'When the fall's all that's left, it matters a great deal.

14 December 2014
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Nothing on the CT @mr. Sun king coming together?

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

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