In Reply to: why are the beatles untouchable? posted by TA on July 16, 2002 at 21:37:22:
I agree with most all of the reasoning below. Just add this: The Beatles were the first to do so many things, but they were, until recently maybe, the last of the supergroups who were about music instead of showbiz. Yeah, they had their little signature quirks--the hair, the funny costumes on Sgt. Pepper...
But they weren't about laser shows. Smashing guitars into amps. Biting the heads off of chickens. Bizzare makeup. Leaping around tearing their clothes off...
When their celebrity got in the way of the music (Shea Stadium and thousands of screaming fans) they quit the road and went into the studio where they could just make music.
Brian Epstein didn't force them to change their stage attire for nothing. Let's be fair here. They played painfully short sets, which sounds like leaving the audience wanting more to me.
And let's take into account the fact that they came along at a time when no rock acts had ever played the sorts of venues they were playing in. The technology had not advanced to the point of putting on a credible rock'n'roll show. No monitors, no guitar amps through the PA, nothing miked, everything drowned out by screaming anyway...yet they somehow managed to stay on-key most of the time. In spite of dealing with appalling & ridiculous conditions. Have you ever seen the show they did in Washington on that first tour? They kept having to turn themselves around so that each side of the arena got a turn at seeing them, as they were in a boxing arena & the stage was where the ring would've been, and one side of the arena was not closed off. Nobody had thought of that. Unbelievable.
But while the quality of their music suggests that they were indeed all about the music, they did plenty of showbizzy things that other people (like the Rolling Stones, for instance) might not have done or at least thought were weak. The Beatles themselves considered playing before royalty a sellout; they did all those silly skits on the British TV shows (some of which can be seen on the video Anthology); and they did do the movie thing to some extent. If I wanted to play devil's advocate I'd say that a band that's 'all about the music' doesn't spend time making movies. It's easy to say that they never would've stooped to Alice Cooper-esque stage distractions, but I do wonder what they might have incorporated if there had been a need to incorporate something--if, perhaps, they had more competition than they actually did. Which was really no competition at all, or very little, at least.
All the more credit to The Fab Four then- for having the insight to realize that performing to endless crowds of screaming teenyboppers is a waste of time, and instead, concentrate on making REAL music in the recording studio where they rely strictly on themselves to come up with the great songs. And there is no denying that the songs they wrote and sang were truly Great as they have stood the test of time- they are heard every day on the radio, 33 years later.
Didn't the beatles also pioneer videos to promote their songs because they weren't touring anymore? Not to mention their movies, including the scrapped Let It Be film project.
I think you mean to say that the Beatles gave the music 100% in spite of any of the "other" stuff they did.
Not only will the Anthology and AHDN DVD's be out in the fall, apparently the original Get Back (Let It Be) album - the Glyn Johns version as opposed to the Spector job - will also be getting it's first release. I heard the original Get Back a few months before Let It Be was released - there were actually copies pressed at one point, and a friend way back got ahold of a bootleg. Sounded like a Beatles record, which the Spector did not.
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