Pt. 3- Why The Beatles were the Best Band in the World – Pt 3


Phase three was probably their highest achievement. This is when their level of song writing, performance and innovation all came together.


It spanned four albums and a number of singles.


For a variety of reasons, such as they had got fed up with it, couldn’t hear themselves and didn’t think they could do justice to the music they were producing in the studio, they gave up live performance.


It gave them more time in the studio and the influence of Dylan and the burgeoning sixties counter-culture and arts movement started to come through. Nothing was off limits – electronic sounds, loops, backward tapes, strange instruments, music forms from Jazz, Indian, Folk and brass bands were fused together with classical instrumentation and a touch of avant garde. It all went in the mix.


There was the first glimmer of things to come on Rubber Soul with its production and songs such as Here, There and Everywhere, Nowhere Man and I’m looking Through You. Then there was the B-side of Ticket To Ride – Rain, with its backwards tape. Things were afoot.


By the time we got to Revolver things were in full flow. It was a mass of innovation with searing guitar, electronic distortions, sitar and lyrical developments. Tomorrow Never Knows would have been unthinkable an album before. We have the beauty of Here There and Everywhere and Eleanor Rigby and the up tempo Got To Get You Into My Life. The counter-culture and psychedelia was beginning to raise its head. The love song fodder had been surpassed and extended into new arenas. No longer were Beatle songs based on the two and a half minute formula. The Beatles had moved to Adult Orientated Rock – as it became known.


Many believe that the next album – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heartsclub Band – was their epitome. Those that know them better reckon that it was the next double white album that saw them reach their peak. It is of little importance. These two albums along with the single Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane saw them at their zenith. They were still there at the top setting the standard for others to follow. Even the Stones, when they tried to match Sgt Peppers by making a psychedelic album – Their Satanic Majesties Request – fell short. The Beatles had made the jump from a teenybop band to a recognised force in the burgeoning counter-culture field of psychedelic Rock. They were looked up to by the likes of Hendrix.


It did not get much better than this. They could pound out heavy riffs, do acoustic ditties, Indian ragas or produce experimental electronic music. There were no limits other than their imaginations and with the run of the studio and George Martin’s skills they forged brilliance.


opher goodwin Added Oct 1, 2017 - 12:17pm
As I am indisposed (final edit of a book for publication next week) - I thought some of you might like to read the final sections of my article on the Beatles.
Stone-Eater Added Oct 1, 2017 - 1:40pm
Respect - you know them :-) My favs are:
Your mother should know
Lady Madonna
Strawberry Fields
Hello Goodbye
Glass Onion
The End
I want you
The Word
Helter Skelter
Cry Mother cry
She loves you
And your bird can sing
And more, but these come into mind instantly.
Stone-Eater Added Oct 1, 2017 - 1:43pm
Oh...Paperback Writer ! I always like to listen to that after Crosstown Traffic from Hendrix. Both TOO good to be so short !
Stone-Eater Added Oct 1, 2017 - 1:46pm
Lennon had some masterpieces after too, such as Mother, Cold Turkey or God. I don't name Imagine's so worn out, although the message is still important.
Stone-Eater Added Oct 1, 2017 - 1:47pm
BTW2: Wings was quite underrated too. McCartney iS an excellent bassist. Silly Love Songs has one of the best bass lines I know.
wsucram15 Added Oct 1, 2017 - 1:53pm
I wondered why you didnt comment my article. 
This was their creative period...Revolver was influenced by Dylan and weed.  They wrote so many songs for St Peppers they could not fit them onto one album and had to do a followup called The Magical Mystery Tour.
In June of this year, a 50th anniversary re-release of St Peppers hit #3 on Billboard for a week.  How crazy is that?  No one does that, except the Beatles.  I saw a site or two that had it at #1, but Billboard says #3.
Revolver(Elenor Rigby, Yellow Submarine, Got to get you into my life, Tomorrow Never knows..and on) or maybe the White Album were their best (Revolution 9, Blackbird, Back in the USSR, While My Guitar gently Weeps,  on and on)  But your right, who can deny A dAy n the Life or Lucy from St Peppers?  Or Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane from Magical Mystery Tour (which they tired to put onto St Peppers).
Yes this was their best period...Hey Opher, your fav Beatles song? would have to be  A Day In the Life maybe the best song they ever wrote "together" and in retrospect of life.     But I am partial to McCartneys stuff like Hey Jude, Blackbird, and Let It Be.    If I picked one, it would be Hey Jude.
On Lennons work - In My Life, Come Together, Strawberry Fields.  IDK about this one.   Probably Strawberry Fields.
Great series..Opher
wsucram15 Added Oct 1, 2017 - 1:54pm
SEF..I saw McCartney with was good.  I was waiting to see Lennon and he was killed.  Broke my heart.
opher goodwin Added Oct 1, 2017 - 1:56pm
SEF - All Across the Universe
Get back
Ballad of John and Yoko
Here There and Everywhere
So many excellent tracks!!!
wsucram15 Added Oct 1, 2017 - 1:57pm
I forgot Glass Onion Paperback writer and Lady Madonna. Oh well you have my list. Such a good band.
opher goodwin Added Oct 1, 2017 - 1:58pm
Thanks Jeanne - I'll get a look at your post tomorrow when I gety a minute. Off to a Barry Melton gig right now!!
Jeff Michka Added Oct 1, 2017 - 2:54pm
opher goodwin sez: A Day In the Life maybe the best song they ever wrote "together" and in retrospect of life.-Can't agree more with that, seemed to be the brightest cut on a truly life altering LP.
wsucram15 Added Oct 1, 2017 - 3:04pm
Jeff..I said that..Jeanne
opher goodwin Added Oct 1, 2017 - 7:53pm
Jeff - Jeanne said that. A Day in the Life is awesome, as are so many others, but Across the Universe is my particular favourite.
opher goodwin Added Oct 1, 2017 - 7:54pm
Jeanne - Wings were recording next door in Abbey Road - but I never got to see them. John Lennon was also in and I never saw him either. One of my biggest regrets is that I never saw the Beatles or Lennon live.
wsucram15 Added Oct 2, 2017 - 7:32am
Mine too Opher.  I would have made an exception and gone to the UK to see them, BEFORE they came here. 
In fact, if I could go back in would be to see them actually maybe on the rooftop or in a small club somewhere, I know they were in Germany for a bit.
I missed Lennon by months...the album was released and my sister, cousin and I were supposed to see him in NYC, he was talking about touring..the size of venue was undetermined at the time. My cousin lived in NYC and we were waiting for the know how that goes.  Instead, I was crushed, like everyone else.
You know at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they had the Lennon exhibit, it was hard to see.  Yoko kept everything "as it was" from the day he was killed. She wanted people to see what they had done to John. The broken glasses and the sealed homicide bag were terrible...I dont think anyone that saw it didnt shed a tear.  
I think the only other musician's death that bothered me that much was Prince and maybe not quite AS much, but very close.
Other than Jimmy on monday at Woodstock or Janis in a small club..Im good.
Stone-Eater Added Oct 2, 2017 - 7:36am
Me too. I remember exactly where I was, I think it was October 1980, and I was in Las Vegas ... when I read the headline. I even remember the moment and location. Like a photo. It felt like having lost a big brother.
Stone-Eater Added Oct 2, 2017 - 7:38am
.....I stayed for 10$ (!) a night at the Stardust, and the following days there was no other talk than his death in town.
wsucram15 Added Oct 2, 2017 - 8:06am
He was killed in December Stone...I can tell you exactly what I was doing.  I was cleaning house and I got a phone call to turn on the I did.  Then the phone rang and rang and rang.   
I just sat in the chair, and listened to the music I had with my doberman Cali.  What a waste.   I was really angry, I remember my husband came home and he knew already and  while he liked Lennon was really insensitive about it.  My sister gave him hell though.
I knew even before then...that we would have problems specifically over music and we did. Sounds dumb, but he never understood that part of me. 
The Burghal Hidage Added Oct 2, 2017 - 8:18am
Favs from their latter years -
I want you/Shes so heavy
Mean Mr. Mustard medley
Its all too much
Yer Blues
I dig a pony
Happiness is a warm gun
Stone-Eater Added Oct 2, 2017 - 8:19am
Ah yeah true. December. Well in Vegas it's never cold :-) I mixed it up with his month of birth !
wsucram15 Added Oct 2, 2017 - 8:29am
Its ok..Stone.  Its like anything you just stopped and remember the day, not the date.
Stone-Eater Added Oct 2, 2017 - 8:46am
Sorry, hatte Yer Blues vergessen !!!!
opher goodwin Added Oct 2, 2017 - 9:34am
Jeanne - yes Lennon's death was tragic. It robbed us of a possible reunion.
I reckon Jimi was the biggest loss though.
I would have liked to see that Hall of Fame exhibition.
opher goodwin Added Oct 2, 2017 - 9:36am
SEF/Jeanne - I was in the car on the way to work. My friend that I shared a lift with told me. I was stunned. The school was like a morgue. I did an assembly and a special dinner-time memorial. It was packed and loads of boys in tears. It felt like the end of an era.
opher goodwin Added Oct 2, 2017 - 9:37am
TBH - a good set of songs. There were so many weren't there.
opher goodwin Added Oct 2, 2017 - 9:39am
Jeanne - I wrote a book about going back to all those gigs - to see Elvis in the small clubs, the Beatles in Hamburg, Stones in Richmond. My character started off in Mississippi and moved through it all. I called it The Blues Muse.
Stone-Eater Added Oct 2, 2017 - 10:44am
My input was Hunter Davies' "All you need is love" back in 1972 or German at that time.
wsucram15 Added Oct 2, 2017 - 11:11am
Mine would begin  in the 70s and progress from there...I think the largest contribution I could make would be the band interaction at various points which only means something to me.
 I wrote about some of it...its just too much over the years and would require its own at least section, although it spans 4 decades and I dont even know how many different kinds of music.  
I ve seen some huge concerts and appreciated them(one or two being my favorites), but I still like the small venues the best.  
opher goodwin Added Oct 2, 2017 - 11:35am
SEF - That was an early one. Hunter Davies got the inside track. There have been so many books on them. I love reading them.
opher goodwin Added Oct 2, 2017 - 11:38am
Jeanne - I used to teach a History of Rock Music course that started in the twenties and thirties with Rural Blues and Country. They were so similar then you couldn't tell them apart.
My book started with my character on Tutwiler station in Mississippi - the earliest written account, by W C Handy, of someone playing the blues. I sat on that station and tasted the air.
wsucram15 Added Oct 2, 2017 - 11:48am
I know WC HAndy and the I guess St Louis blues...
wsucram15 Added Oct 2, 2017 - 11:52am
Or the song Memphis Blues?
opher goodwin Added Oct 2, 2017 - 12:36pm
Jeanne - Spot on - WC Handy was a bandleader who did Sousa. He heard that itinerant musician playing a guitar using a penknife and singing a repeating refrain. It had a profound effect on him and he went away and started writing those blues pieces. I think St Louis Blues was probably his most well-known.
Stone-Eater Added Oct 2, 2017 - 12:48pm
When you need real info about when and where the Blues started ask me :-)
opher goodwin Added Oct 2, 2017 - 1:02pm
SEF - I'd like to hear from you - but I wasn't really talking about where it started so much as the first written evidence of it being sung.
My understanding is that the Blues really had its roots in Africa. The rhythms, chords and structure can be clearly heard in recording of African musicians in places like Mali. They were brought across to the US during slavery and adapted to western instruments (slaves weren't allowed drums or African instruments - they thought they could talk with them and plan mutiny) in the latter part of the 19th century. What we now call Blues probably started up properly at the turn of the twentieth century. But we have no record of that. The Blues is really a diverse mixture of chants, musical styles and melodies.
What's your take SEF?
Stone-Eater Added Oct 2, 2017 - 1:25pm
No comment - that's it :-)
mark henry smith Added Oct 2, 2017 - 2:39pm
Good Day Sunshine! I took a ride, I took a road, I didn't know what I would find there. Thanks Opher for reminding me of the song I live by. ...could meet another kind of mind there.
Or is it called, Gotta get you into my life. And do you interpret a religious meaning in the refrain? I grew up on the Beatles and I believe I'm a better person for it.
wsucram15 Added Oct 2, 2017 - 2:49pm
It was African spiritualistic music..but thats all I know about it from that way. 
SEF..whats up? We were talking about Ophers book.
Stone-Eater Added Oct 2, 2017 - 2:59pm
All music is connected :-)
wsucram15 Added Oct 2, 2017 - 3:24pm
SEF..yes it is..some way...its sound. 
wsucram15 Added Oct 2, 2017 - 3:25pm
Opher  this is a great series.  It really is.
wsucram15 Added Oct 2, 2017 - 4:02pm
OMG..Tom Petty died @ 66.
opher goodwin Added Oct 2, 2017 - 6:58pm
SEF - you could have at least embellished it a bit.
opher goodwin Added Oct 2, 2017 - 6:59pm
Mark - I grew up on them too - they were very life affirming.
opher goodwin Added Oct 2, 2017 - 7:02pm
Jeanne - thanks for that. I enjoyed writing it.
opher goodwin Added Oct 2, 2017 - 7:02pm
Jeanne - WHAAATTT!!!  Tom Petty dead. What is going on!!
wsucram15 Added Oct 2, 2017 - 7:06pm
No..the LAPD..reported it wrong...I dont know how, but they did.  He is in the hospital though.
He was in cardiac arrest when he was found. Somehow someone said he was dead and LAPD reported it and the tributes began.
opher goodwin Added Oct 2, 2017 - 7:08pm
Jeanne - so he's alright??? He's only just finished touring hasn't he?
Jeff Michka Added Oct 2, 2017 - 9:15pm
opher goodwin sez: My understanding is that the Blues really had its roots in Africa. The rhythms, chords and structure can be clearly heard in recording of African musicians in places like Mali. They were brought across to the US during slavery and adapted to western instruments-Well last time roots of Blues/Jazz came up, ol SEFa said it was all African in origin.  Well, BY African and in America, I don't remember ever hearing about all the Blues rooms, and clubs fostering the blues and jazz in Mali, respective of his dislike of America.  Here it was New Orleans, Chicago, Kansas City and New York.  Consult some works by Stanley Crouch, if you are interested.  Your views of Blues being late 19th C, early 20th C are correct.  Re: Petty, yes just finished a tour, and had announced he was taking time off to spend with his family.  Hopefully, he'll survive.
Jeff Michka Added Oct 2, 2017 - 9:21pm
BTW, in general, one of Crouch's better books was "Kansas City Lightning-The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker," which IMO, went far beyond just "The Bird," and is more of a history of blacks and black music beyond just Parker.  Insightful seems a good word for the book, and one the lends itself to audible, hence: Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker: Stanley Crouch: 9780062005595: Books
Jeff Michka Added Oct 2, 2017 - 9:25pm
wsucram15 sez: Jeff..I said that..Jeanne-Re: day in the life....You did, so consider the little I wrote a "second."
opher goodwin Added Oct 3, 2017 - 4:54am
Jeff - Ha - I don't think there were clubs and juke joints quite the same in Africa in the 18th and 19th century. What there was were ceremonies and gatherings, festivals and fun where villages got together and played their music for free, to dance to, to entertain, to celebrate. When you listen to some of those recordings you can hear the structure of the Blues. Fascinating stuff. The American blacks just reinvented it. I've a couple of great collections of African music that really demonstrate that.
opher goodwin Added Oct 3, 2017 - 4:55am
Jeff - I've never heard of Stanley Crouch - I'll look out for it - sounds good.
opher goodwin Added Oct 3, 2017 - 4:56am
Jeff/Jeanne - hopefully Tom Petty will be OK. Strange thing to have been proclaimed dead and have all your obituaries!!
Stone-Eater Added Oct 3, 2017 - 7:50am
...Into the great wide open....hope he gets through, so he can sing "Christmas time again". Two of my favorites.
opher goodwin Added Oct 3, 2017 - 8:31am
SEF - I wonder what brain damage has been done if his heart stopped beating for so long? Hope he's OK.
opher goodwin Added Oct 3, 2017 - 9:52am
OK - heard Tom Petty is actually dead. A great shame. We have lost so many great people.
Stone-Eater Added Oct 3, 2017 - 10:25am
Stone-Eater Added Oct 3, 2017 - 10:27am
It's a sign we get old. More will die around us and we will too. Life ;-)
opher goodwin Added Oct 3, 2017 - 12:58pm
SEF - that is true. Death and illness surround us as we age. I've lost good friends. It is sad but it is life. We make space for the next generation.