Interesting Take on the Beatles

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Jimmy Jazz
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Re: Interesting Take on the Beatles

Post by Jimmy Jazz » 22 Jun 2008, 12:52pm

speak for yourself I will forgive Pat Boone for nothing!

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Re: Interesting Take on the Beatles

Post by matedog » 22 Jun 2008, 1:06pm

Jimmy Jazz wrote:speak for yourself I will forgive Pat Boone for nothing!
JJ and Matedog - agree on Bruce, disagree on Pat Boone.
Look, you have to establish context for these things. And I maintain that unless you appreciate the Fall of Constantinople, the Great Fire of London, and Mickey Mantle's fatalist alcoholism, live Freddy makes no sense. If you want to half-ass it, fine, go call Simon Schama to do the appendix.

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Re: Interesting Take on the Beatles

Post by Jimmy Jazz » 22 Jun 2008, 1:14pm

interesting that if you google Pat Boone, the third link down is his IMDB page and it reads:

Pat Boone (I)
Self: Fuck. Actor, singer, author and songwriter


Turns out he appeared as himself in a documentary called "Fuck". But still looks funny when you search.

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Re: Interesting Take on the Beatles

Post by classof77 » 22 Jun 2008, 7:59pm

First off cheers to Dr. Med for dropping miscegenation into the conversation.

I don't really have a problem with the Beatles but I do have a problem with their legacy. They were marketed like breakfast cereal and they pretty much jumped on every sixties bandwagon that rolled down the pike (musical, cultural, political)--and that I'll lay on their handlers. Truthfully, they handled the integration of styles quite well--and eventually stood out as individuals (yeah, well that's another arguement....). But they were pioneers only in a marketing sense--along with the Monkees and coca-cola.

Why should it matter? Because no artist in the modern world has ever wielded the kind of world wide appeal they did. Did they ever speak out against segregation and racism (even though their music was steeped in black r&b)?--not to my knowledge. In fact, until the late sixties when they came out against Viet Nam (post Tet offensive when pretty much everybody in the world except Nixon, Kissinger and Elvis were anti-war) they were pretty apolitical. You can blame so much on their handlers--meanwhile they got rich, they got knighted and they get lauded as the most influential pop/rock band of all time. Bullocks.

AND...I don't buy the argument that white acts popularizing black music to mass white audiences helped bring down racial barriers. In most cases those mass white audiences had no freaking clue there were black influences.

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Re: Interesting Take on the Beatles

Post by Dr. Medulla » 22 Jun 2008, 8:35pm

classof77 wrote:Why should it matter? Because no artist in the modern world has ever wielded the kind of world wide appeal they did. Did they ever speak out against segregation and racism (even though their music was steeped in black r&b)?--not to my knowledge. In fact, until the late sixties when they came out against Viet Nam (post Tet offensive when pretty much everybody in the world except Nixon, Kissinger and Elvis were anti-war) they were pretty apolitical. You can blame so much on their handlers--meanwhile they got rich, they got knighted and they get lauded as the most influential pop/rock band of all time. Bullocks.
This was a criticism launched in '67 and especially '68 and, frankly, it's true. When it came to the political issues of the day, they pretty much took a pass, offering airy-fairy notions of "all you need is love" or the ambiguities of "Revolution" (count me in? count me out?). Culturally, by '67 they were an anachronism because the Beatles represented the notion of togetherness and peace, whereas the culture had moved to division and increasing stridency. In some respects, they were a nostalgia act at the height of their creative abilities. Check out Mark Mazullo's remarkable book Magic Circles: The Beatles in Dream and History, which argues that it's not until the White Album that the band caught some of the mood of youth culture, but thereafter were only a symbolic force.
AND...I don't buy the argument that white acts popularizing black music to mass white audiences helped bring down racial barriers. In most cases those mass white audiences had no freaking clue there were black influences.
I couldn't disagree more. Early rock n roll audiences in the mid to late 50s in the north were mixed race, black kids and white kids seeing both black and white rock n roll acts. That shit brought kids together like they never had before, not just in a love of the music and the sexualized lyrics, but in the unity of being scolded by adults and moral censors (and, at live shows, the cops). Listening to rock n roll was fucking rebellious. It was rebellion against racial and sexual codes, and it was rebellion against parents and all authority. The dividing line was between those who loved Elvis and Chuck Berry and who hated them. And the kids tended to come together on that. That's the beginning of breaking down barriers. Come the 1960s and more widespread civil rights efforts, how many of these kids, now young adults in university, are going down to Mississippi and Alabama to participate in Freedom Summer, in voter registration drives? Based on the memoirs and histories of the time, there's a ton of overlap. Like with everything else, the splintering occurred in the mid to late 60s, but in the early years of that decade, rock n roll brought the kids together. When Lester Bangs wrote, "we will never agree on anything as we agreed on Elvis," it wasn't just the music that white kids listened to, but of all kids.
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Re: Interesting Take on the Beatles

Post by Flex » 22 Jun 2008, 8:58pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:I couldn't disagree more. Early rock n roll audiences in the mid to late 50s in the north were mixed race, black kids and white kids seeing both black and white rock n roll acts. That shit brought kids together like they never had before, not just in a love of the music and the sexualized lyrics, but in the unity of being scolded by adults and moral censors (and, at live shows, the cops). Listening to rock n roll was fucking rebellious. It was rebellion against racial and sexual codes, and it was rebellion against parents and all authority. The dividing line was between those who loved Elvis and Chuck Berry and who hated them. And the kids tended to come together on that. That's the beginning of breaking down barriers. Come the 1960s and more widespread civil rights efforts, how many of these kids, now young adults in university, are going down to Mississippi and Alabama to participate in Freedom Summer, in voter registration drives? Based on the memoirs and histories of the time, there's a ton of overlap. Like with everything else, the splintering occurred in the mid to late 60s, but in the early years of that decade, rock n roll brought the kids together. When Lester Bangs wrote, "we will never agree on anything as we agreed on Elvis," it wasn't just the music that white kids listened to, but of all kids.
I think you could, and maybe I would (I'm not really sure), argue that the kind of "mixing" that took place in the 50s was different than the Beatles. While the dividing line in the 50s was those who loved Elvis and Chuck and those who hated them, with the Beatles you could still love the Beatles and completely disengage from black artists like Chuck Berry or whatever. The Beatles whole image was as a "safer" band to listen to, so it seems sort of intuitive they would tend to push racial issues aside rather than to the fore (unlike, say, the Stones... although they get a lot of criticism for ripping off black music). I only have anecdotal evidence of this, so I wouldn't be confident proclaiming it Truth or what have you... but it's something to chew on.
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Re: Interesting Take on the Beatles

Post by Dr. Medulla » 22 Jun 2008, 9:27pm

Flex wrote:I think you could, and maybe I would (I'm not really sure), argue that the kind of "mixing" that took place in the 50s was different than the Beatles. While the dividing line in the 50s was those who loved Elvis and Chuck and those who hated them, with the Beatles you could still love the Beatles and completely disengage from black artists like Chuck Berry or whatever. The Beatles whole image was as a "safer" band to listen to, so it seems sort of intuitive they would tend to push racial issues aside rather than to the fore (unlike, say, the Stones... although they get a lot of criticism for ripping off black music). I only have anecdotal evidence of this, so I wouldn't be confident proclaiming it Truth or what have you... but it's something to chew on.
Offhand, I'd say it's less "different" than a stage of development. Elvis and Chuck and Little Richard and Jerry Lee were huge in cracking the wall. But rock n roll actually went into decline around when Elvis went into the army, and all kinds of sugary vocal groups went into ascendency. The British Invasion was a kick starting of rock n roll again. The whole thing about the Beatles being safer, tho, seems an unnecessary blurring of things. Yes, they did gain a greater initial acceptance than, say, Elvis, in no small part because of how they were packaged and their personal charm, but the absolute hysteria of their audiences exceeded anything ever seen before, be it Elvis or Sinatra. That shit was unnerving. Maybe it was more unnerving in a sexual way than a racial, but it was about breaking free of the norms. And once you go down that road, all kinds of accepted norms are challenged. I don't want to seem like I'm overstating things, but I also don't want people to underestimate how dangerous all these artists were to the status quo. It may seem all halcyon in retrospect, but it was pretty damn contested.
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Re: Interesting Take on the Beatles

Post by classof77 » 22 Jun 2008, 9:48pm

I couldn't disagree more. Early rock n roll audiences in the mid to late 50s in the north were mixed race, black kids and white kids seeing both black and white rock n roll acts. That shit brought kids together like they never had before, not just in a love of the music and the sexualized lyrics, but in the unity of being scolded by adults and moral censors (and, at live shows, the cops). Listening to rock n roll was fucking rebellious. It was rebellion against racial and sexual codes, and it was rebellion against parents and all authority. The dividing line was between those who loved Elvis and Chuck Berry and who hated them. And the kids tended to come together on that. That's the beginning of breaking down barriers. Come the 1960s and more widespread civil rights efforts, how many of these kids, now young adults in university, are going down to Mississippi and Alabama to participate in Freedom Summer, in voter registration drives? Based on the memoirs and histories of the time, there's a ton of overlap. Like with everything else, the splintering occurred in the mid to late 60s, but in the early years of that decade, rock n roll brought the kids together. When Lester Bangs wrote, "we will never agree on anything as we agreed on Elvis," it wasn't just the music that white kids listened to, but of all kids.
Ok...I'll give you that to an extent (and it was certainly a profound effect where it did occur). And that was mostly the big cities and university towns of the north/northeast--and to a lesser extent the west coast. And it did have a huge impact. But this was already going on in the same places earlier with bebop. Meanwhile in the south: black kids on one side, white kids on the other. Really, of the millions worldwide buying Beatles lunchboxes, notebooks, posters, trading cards, wigs, boots, fountain pens and.... records how many actually thought about the American black roots of the music--and that this part of the US was still segregated?

This isn't only on the Beatles but as the biggest cultural phenomenon the world has ever seen it is how their legacy should be judged (and we are taking a very Yankee point of view here--how about four lads from Liverpool really not saying much about the labor struggles in the UK in the 60's?) I like to think that rock and roll has been important in tearing down some socio/political/cultural walls--the Beatles were only inadvertently part of that.

Lastly, CAN ALL REFERENCES TO PAT BOONE BE REMOVED!

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Re: Interesting Take on the Beatles

Post by Dr. Medulla » 22 Jun 2008, 10:36pm

classof77 wrote:Really, of the millions worldwide buying Beatles lunchboxes, notebooks, posters, trading cards, wigs, boots, fountain pens and.... records how many actually thought about the American black roots of the music--and that this part of the US was still segregated?
I dunno, I guess I don't look to historical change as being quite so direct and obvious. I lean more to the kind of approach that Greil Marcus has taken with cultural transmission, that it moves like a ghost, in unexpected and often hidden ways, lying dormant then reemerging when and how we don't expect it. But I'd ask, how many Beatles fans had to have gone looking for original R & B artists to validate them in your eyes? How many to have caught the general spirit of change that the Beatles seemingly represented? Unless there's a study out there that made an effort to track the lives of, say, Beatles fan club members, it's all conjecture one way or another. However, there is no denying that rock music was deeply entwined with all kinds of counterculture and protest movements, including those related to civil rights, in the 60s and early 70s, and there's no reason to assume that prior exposure to the Beatles didn't play some kind of role based on anecdotal evidence (memoirs, documentary evidence, etc.).
This isn't only on the Beatles but as the biggest cultural phenomenon the world has ever seen it is how their legacy should be judged (and we are taking a very Yankee point of view here--how about four lads from Liverpool really not saying much about the labor struggles in the UK in the 60's?) I like to think that rock and roll has been important in tearing down some socio/political/cultural walls--the Beatles were only inadvertently part of that.
How many musicians were deliberately part of that, tho? Maybe some folkies were being obviously political (i.e., topical) but weren't all other musicians, black or white, regardless of genre, in it to get laid, to have fun, to follow some kind of personal calling? It's not till late in the decade that you get bands wearing their politics on their sleeves, so it's not fair to single any artist for not being more overt.
Lastly, CAN ALL REFERENCES TO PAT BOONE BE REMOVED!
Only Wolter and his minions engage in that kind of Orwellian historical manipulation. I'm with Goldstein.
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Re: Interesting Take on the Beatles

Post by mr. diem » 22 Jun 2008, 10:36pm

class of 77 here also.

67 was the year the guitar becomes a star, thanks to Jim Marshall, Tom Dowd, and others. Hendrix, Clapton...this lasts all the way to Van Halen. After, it's just not as :cool:

Beatles were from before.

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Re: Interesting Take on the Beatles

Post by classof77 » 22 Jun 2008, 10:53pm

Offhand, I'd say it's less "different" than a stage of development. Elvis and Chuck and Little Richard and Jerry Lee were huge in cracking the wall. But rock n roll actually went into decline around when Elvis went into the army, and all kinds of sugary vocal groups went into ascendency. The British Invasion was a kick starting of rock n roll again. The whole thing about the Beatles being safer, tho, seems an unnecessary blurring of things. Yes, they did gain a greater initial acceptance than, say, Elvis, in no small part because of how they were packaged and their personal charm, but the absolute hysteria of their audiences exceeded anything ever seen before, be it Elvis or Sinatra. That shit was unnerving. Maybe it was more unnerving in a sexual way than a racial, but it was about breaking free of the norms. And once you go down that road, all kinds of accepted norms are challenged. I don't want to seem like I'm overstating things, but I also don't want people to underestimate how dangerous all these artists were to the status quo. It may seem all halcyon in retrospect, but it was pretty damn contested.
Believe me--the Beatles were safe. I'm a little too young for Beatlemania but I was a record (at least the occasional 45) buying kid while they were still together. (For the record: I got Rubber Soul as a gift and bought the Let It Be single--ironically, I believe, their last--only Beatles I ever owned.) The hardcore Beatles fans I knew were mostly friends of my parents: white factory workers who also listened to the Ventures and Elvis (up until to the White Album that is). These were the kind of whites that were fine with blacks until they tried to move into the neighborhood--or run for shop steward.

I imagine I'm on the geezer end of the age spectrum here...We all tend to romanticize the eras before us because it seems so black and white (sorry)--things have been solved, documented, we've lived and learned and the world is a better place...There was a brief moment in the 60's--say 1968 when youths all over the world were going to the barricades for a variety of issues: human rights, workers rights, womens rights, students rights, anti-war...and it was over in a blink of the eye (over before I even got out of grade school). Yeah, rock and roll was the soundtrack but very, very few of the main artists bothered and even fewer stuck with it.

Ultimately, rock and roll didn't change much. Capitalism put it in it's place. There is still the possibility though...And that's why I'm here.

Fuck. I've had too many beers. Better go putter around the garden.

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Re: Interesting Take on the Beatles

Post by Dr. Medulla » 23 Jun 2008, 12:09am

classof77 wrote:We all tend to romanticize the eras before us because it seems so black and white (sorry)--things have been solved, documented, we've lived and learned and the world is a better place...
No, I'm certainly not arguing that we're living after some expulsion from eden. This arose because you argued that Motown was edgy and progressive and that the Beatles and other white bands were not. I'm saying that regardless of the packaging, it's a mistake to consider the Beatles some kind of neutered force in terms of what rock n roll could and did do. I'm certainly not arguing that the Beatles were gods on earth or anything like that, but they were part of the a subculture that went mainstream, fucking with mainstream attitudes towards race, sex, and drugs. They weren't capital P political—how many were?—but they were undeniably lowercase P political. That some at the time missed these implications isn't a strike against them, but rather how well they were able to appeal to a wide variety in an equally wide variety of ways.
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Re: Interesting Take on the Beatles

Post by classof77 » 23 Jun 2008, 1:50am

This arose because you argued that Motown was edgy
Bloody hell....I've been branded with the scarlet M! In context (and in a sweeping generalization) I said--as a kid--listening to Motown was more edgy than listening to the Beatles. Fuck, so was listening to Grand Funk Railroad (ok, that was a few years later but they at least sang about overpopulation and stopping the war) ! I suppose the Beatles were more edgy than Herman's Hermits or Gary and the Playboys but frankly I found Motown (and I probably should have said soul/r&b thus including all the Atlantic acts) more interesting. Ultimately, as a kid I (and a lot of my peers) associated the Beatles with teenyboppers. It was right there with "Yummy, yummy, yummy I've got Love in My Tummy". Doesn't mean we didn't like a lot of it; doesn't mean some of us didn't buy it. Soul music though--no mattered how manufactured (ok there was the Jackson Five who were about as interesting as the Osmond Brothers) was pretty exotic for a working class white kid.

The bigger argument here tho' (forest, trees...) is rock and roll (look out--big, massive sweeping generalization coming....)likes to wear the mantle of rebellion. But you're right---it's mostly sex and drugs. The Beatles had a once in a lifetime opportunity to make real social impact. They really wouldn't have had to do much--drop a few names of the black artists they were covering; refuse to play in the segregated southern US.

I guess the Beatles are the most influential pop/rock band of all time. Pretty much most bands have chosen their path of following the money.

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Re: Interesting Take on the Beatles

Post by mr. diem » 23 Jun 2008, 2:48am

Motowns edge was often topical...

Grand Funk's early stuff still holds up reasonably well.

okay, i've had several beers.

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Re: Interesting Take on the Beatles

Post by Dr. Medulla » 23 Jun 2008, 11:04am

classof77 wrote:
This arose because you argued that Motown was edgy
Bloody hell....I've been branded with the scarlet M!
Just so you know, there was no intent on my part of distort and pigeonhole your point of view. All sincerity on my part for the sake of the discussion.
The bigger argument here tho' (forest, trees...) is rock and roll (look out--big, massive sweeping generalization coming....)likes to wear the mantle of rebellion. But you're right---it's mostly sex and drugs. The Beatles had a once in a lifetime opportunity to make real social impact. They really wouldn't have had to do much--drop a few names of the black artists they were covering; refuse to play in the segregated southern US.
In retrospect, yeah, but I don't know if it's fair to hold them to a standard that no one else was adhering to. Did Elvis boycott any venue? Show business just wasn't that uppercase P political then, nor is it now. The abnormality was the heightened politicization of the late 60s and early 70s.
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