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Why do you think The Beatles were so popular?
30 November 2018
5.09pm
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50yearslate
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TheWalrusWasBrian said
Wow, I knew they were the best, but by that much? That's amazing. 

I think it's because of the just plain likable people they were, along with musical talent, of course.  

My thoughts exactly.

No matter what anyone else says, I will always know that the Beatles were the best, are the best, and will be the best, but it's nice to hear it confirmed all the same. a-hard-days-night-george-9ahdn_ringo_09a-hard-days-night-john-1a-hard-days-night-paul-8

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30 November 2018
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I'll add to all of obvious but had to be said above.......

 

Competitiveness......Between the Beatles and the world......and between John and Paul, (much later George too). 

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1 December 2018
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HammerDealer said
....The Who could have exploded on the seen, and they should have, but it just wasn't great timing, and The Kinks had horrible timing, thanks to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Zombies, The Animals, and some other british, and american bands.  

I don't think it was timing necessarily. The Beatles had their own sound and were attracting much excitement at the Cavern and in Hamburg (and to a far greater extent than the other bands) long before Brian Epstein discovered them. This was the reason his curiosity was whetted to begin with. Even then the Beatles worked hard to secure dates for tours around Britain. The Kinks, Stones et al limited themselves to playing in clubs at art school/university or in London waiting for some big showbiz name to come along and discover them.

The Beatles' sociological impact was felt more in the grey, austere post-war years of Britain than in the US. The effect of the assassination of President Kennedy on the American population with regards to the Beatles has been oversold, and I think the boys themselves got caught up this myth. From what I've read, it was the parents and older brothers and sisters of the young generation of teenagers who were more shocked by his death. American kids reacted to the Beatles in the same way that kids all over the world did - and there were a lot more of them!

1 December 2018
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Timothy
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TheWalrusWasBrian said
Wow, I knew they were the best, but by that much? That's amazing. 

I think it's because of the just plain likable people they were, along with musical talent, of course.  

Just as the Titanic will always be the most famous ship of planet Earth, The Beatles will always be the most famous band on planet Earth. Some people may find it depressing but the best has already been. It was 40 odd years ago, and what they did will never be repeated. It was a perfect storm. But we will always have the music to reminisce, as John said.

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1.The Beatles 2.Sgt. Pepper 3.Abbey Road 4.Magical Mystery Tour 5.Rubber Soul 6.Revolver 7.Help! 8.Let It Be
9.A Hard Day’s Night 10.Please Please Me 11.Beatles For Sale 12.With The Beatles 13.Yellow Submarine

1 December 2018
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georgiewood
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That’s funny.  Every 4 years, this thread rises like Phoenix from the ashes and then sinks to earth again. See you in 2022!

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50yearslate

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

1 December 2018
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Newpdog
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Interesting question. IMO, it was multiple things working together at just the right time, not least of which was the Beatles being well-prepared for a moment that hit them and all of us like a bolt of lightning. JFK's assassination really did set the tone and remains the single most traumatic day of my life. It was the only time I ever saw my Father cry. I watched Lee Harvey Oswald get shot. Live, ironically. Shock does not convey enough. Doing what you could to make the world a better place was a fundamental part of the JFK 'Camelot' legacy, the extent of which is difficult to convey to those who did not experience it, as we are far more jaded these days. The brilliance of African-American culture had begun making inroads into mainstream American culture, one manifestation being early 'rock and roll,' which then subsided as folk music then became very popular, with its heightened sense of social awareness. Young people realized that they were seeing real injustice and a stunted version of the American Dream. The status quo was in peril. Enter the Beatles. Upbeat, innocent, likable and talented songsmiths, their appeal was immediate, a counterpoint to Elvis a few years before and a challenge to Sinatra's generation. I personally didn't care much for them until Rubber Soul was released, but the difference between their initial popularity and the monumental cultural impact they made over the next 7 years is what really fascinates me. They might have simply faded away with a few feel-good hits under their belt, but that isn't what happened.

 

Bob Dylan paralleled America's musical currents very neatly as he fell in love with rock and roll and played it when quite young, then matured with folk music and  dramatically returned to his roots as rock music returned full-time due in no small part to the influence of the Beatles. Dylan gave back in urging the Beatles to become more developed in their lyrics. Interestingly, the Vietnam War was growing under LBJ at about the same rate as the Beatles' musical and lyrical sophistication. Being Brits, the Beatles weren't specifically an anti-Vietnam War musical act, but that war was symptomatic of other related issues affecting even more of the world. As their artfulness grew, the Beatles' resonance to what was happening in a larger sense and the vagaries of life itself kept pace and became instructive and even emblematic to many young people who were growing up at that time. Unconstrained by genre, the Beatles' musical genius was influenced by diverse idioms, individuals and musical ideas. This tended to separate them from most contemporary rock/pop music acts. The Beatles' music was versatile-- sometimes hard, often melodic, frequently conceptual, but always interesting and certainly transcendent to where they began just a few years earlier. I Want To Hold Your Hand became Something . Really...

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1 December 2018
7.22pm
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The Beatles were great, not because of a number of unique coincidences or that they'd had at least six years of preparation to reach a world platform. It was what they chose to do with every opportunity. They said themselves it was like moving from one stage to another, but that understates the uncanny ability with which they found the right next move, at least in artistic/career terms. Business, their Achilles heel, would bite them in the end perhaps, but it is undeniable that they knew what they were doing. If they weren't originating something new in genre/production/celebrity, they were promoting the best new genre/production/celebrity. Everyone knew this at the time. Whatever a Beatle's take on something was, it was important news, and generally they knew everyone knew, and were careful about what they did. The Kinks and the Rolling Stones did not have this acumen (although the Stones may appear to have acquired it by sheer persistence over decades).

Think about every genre or instrument, or production technique the Beatles touched, and it was their approach to them that is the difference, not whether they were just lucky (although that certainly helped).

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1 December 2018
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Dark Overlord
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It's quite simple really, they were marketed very well. These were 4 attractive and well mannered young adults from Liverpool that were skilled musicians who wrote catchy pop songs aimed at teenage girls and because of this many people from the music industry took the risk of promoting them and it sure payed off.

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If you're reading this, you are looking for something to do.

1 December 2018
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TheWalrusWasBrian
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They wouldn't have made it without Brian insisting on proper trousers. brian-epsteinheart

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1 December 2018
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It was the trousers you know. They were very... tight. You could see quite clearly... everything. Outlines... clear as day.

God I love that movie

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2 December 2018
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In the end I think it comes down to the songs. From small children to Expert musicologists, nobody can get these songs out of their head. 

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2 December 2018
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sir walter raleigh said
In the end I think it comes down to the songs. From small children to Expert musicologists, nobody can get these songs out of their head.   

Exactly. When I was a little kid I knew nothing about the Beatles' history or about the stuff going on in the 1960s or about the Beatles themselves. I just watched the movies and heard the songs and I have a very clear memory of being maybe around six, sitting on the floor listening to Eight Days A Week ,  and thinking, "The Beatles are the best band ever." 

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4 December 2018
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Into the Sky with Diamonds
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Still today, when I listen to their songs I marvel at how each one is a beautiful, finely crafted light-radiating jewel – whether it's "I Want To Hold Your Hand " or "Because "

You never tire of a beautiful sunset or a wonderful work of art. 

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"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)

5 December 2018
12.51am
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Dark Overlord said
... the music industry took the risk of promoting them and it sure payed off. 

        So true    

5 December 2018
1.13am
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Dark Overlord said
...These were skilled musicians who wrote catchy pop songs aimed at teenage girls...

Old film footage and photos of the early days show lots of boys too. It was the reaction of teenage girls that created press headlines the world over leading to the Beatlemania phenomenon, and was it ever. Teenage girls also purchased their records by the truckload and played them to death until they wore out and, contrary to popular opinion, knew just as much about the Beatles' music as anybody else. Sadly, even the Beatles gave the impression that young girls were only fit for screaming and thinking Revolver was probably beyond them ... I suppose that's the way people thought in those days. Oh, well...

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