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Are The Beatles still relevant today?

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W_MM:
Hello!

For a course on popular culture, I'm writing a paper on today's social relevance of The Beatles. Although the band has split up over forty years ago, The Beatles still retain a large fan base all over the world. So, I'm wondering: why do people still like The Beatles? And what better place is there to start than an international Beatles forum!
So, I'd kindly like to request all you true Beatles fans out there to fill out this survey. It would really help me out a lot!


Questions:

1. How did you discover The Beatles?

2. What is your all-time favourite Beatles song? Why so?

3. Do you prefer The Beatles above today’s influential pop(ular) artists and bands (Muse, Lady Gaga, Florence + The Machine, Mumford & Son’s, etc…). Why (not)?

4. In their songs The Beatles have addressed many different themes (ranging from love to eastern esotericism). Which themes appeal most to you? Why so?

5. While other bands that were popular in the sixties have largely been forgotten, The Beatles have retained massive popularity. Why do you think that is?


Thanks in advance!

Regards.

Joost:
1. That's almost like asking "How did you discover sliced bread"? The music of The Beatles has always been pretty much everywhere, for as long as I can remember. It hard to not hear their music pop up somewhere every once in a while.

2. Either 'Let It Be' because of the atmosphere of the song, it almost sounds spiritual, or 'Here Comes the Sun', because few songs have captured the feeling of Spring better than that song.

3. Absolutely. I think that in the late 60s there was an explosion of good, adventurous new ideas and inspired songwriting. There's something exciting about almost all of the pop music that was made around that time. But by now, people have been creating pop music for about 60 years and almost everything has already been done. And if it hadn't been done yet, it's probably just because it's not a very good idea. The progression is pretty much gone and so is much of the excitement and inspiration. In many ways, music from the 1960s sounds fresher to me than today's music.

4. None in particular. I think that they just wrote lyrics that fitted the music. If you listen to 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' or 'She Loves You', those couldn't have been anything else than love songs. Songs like 'Strawberry Fields Forever' and 'I Am the Walrus' on the other hand wouldn't have sounded right without vague, psychedelic lyrics. It all fits.

5. There are a lot of bands from the sixties (or even fifties) that are far from "largely forgotten". Ever heard of The Doors, The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Elvis, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Elton John, Johnny Cash, Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra, Fleetwood Mac, Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan...? But the reason why The Beatles are the most popular band from the sixties now, is probably because they actually were the most popular band in the sixties.

Yeshelloitsmehereagain:
Questions:

1. How did you discover The Beatles?

I can only repeat what Joost has said here, that they have always been around. I was born in '88, my brother is 10 years older than me and when I was a child during the 90's we shared a room and had bunk beds. He had borrowed the 1962-66 Red Album from a friend (probably never gave it back) and would quietly play the music whilst smoking a cig late at night, I would often wake up to the strains of She Loves You, Norweigian Wood, You've Got To Hide Your Love Away, but the number I have the fondest memory of is And I Love Her. It had such an incredible warmth and simplicity to it and the wonderful riff... oh my, listening to that now takes me right back there. It just hit my half awake ears in a certain way.

2. What is your all-time favourite Beatles song? Why so?

Oooo. At the moment maybe it's Fool On The Hill. Just suits my mood. I am also a fool and I happen to live on a hill.

3. Do you prefer The Beatles above today’s influential pop(ular) artists and bands (Muse, Lady Gaga, Florence + The Machine, Mumford & Son’s, etc…). Why (not)?

Yes. I have heard a few good things from the artists you list. But to put it simply and eloquently, compared to The Beatles they are sh*t.

Why? The quality and quantity of the music produced during 7 years of recording was, is and always will be unparalleled. It's a spiritual thing.

4. In their songs The Beatles have addressed many different themes (ranging from love to eastern esotericism). Which themes appeal most to you? Why so?

All of them. They are a pure direct result of all the good things about the 60's counter culture movement ensconsed in song.

5. While other bands that were popular in the sixties have largely been forgotten, The Beatles have retained massive popularity. Why do you think that is?

13 number one albums and 30 number one singles in 7 years. They manage themselves and don't allow their recordings on compilation albums with other inferior artists. They never got old, they went out on top and didn't have a thousand line up changes and still go out as The Beatles. They never became 70 year old men embarrasingly slag/loving each other off in public over ridiculous misunderstandings/understandings. In short... The Beatles beat them all.

stevejrogers:
1. How did you discover The Beatles?
There really wasn't an OMG WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE moment with me.  The Beatles were always there since I was quite young (born in 1977) and I always seemed to know of their significance in pop culture history.

2. What is your all-time favourite Beatles song? Why so?
Hard question to ask, I could just rattle off a top 10 or so, but I can tell you my favorite era of the Beatles is probably their last as a strong collective unit with Pepper through the White Album (LOVE Let It Be and Abbey Road of course, but its clear that the end is near with both albums)

3. Do you prefer The Beatles above today’s influential pop(ular) artists and bands (Muse, Lady Gaga, Florence + The Machine, Mumford & Son’s, etc…). Why (not)?
Yes.  I tend not to listen to today's music really, no particular reason.

4. In their songs The Beatles have addressed many different themes (ranging from love to eastern esotericism). Which themes appeal most to you? Why so?
Haven't thought about it really.  Never been much to go deep into the themes of songs in terms of preferring one over the other.  If I like the song, I like the song, if I don't like the song, it's not the fault of the subject matter.

5. While other bands that were popular in the sixties have largely been forgotten, The Beatles have retained massive popularity. Why do you think that is?
I'd think a lot of the early mystique came from the "are they ever getting back together" craze in the 1970s.  Also I think a lot of it also has to do with all 4 having successful, hall of fame in fact for three of them, solo careers.  If the four never amounted to much I don't think there would have been the large nostalgic kick that started up back in the 1970s.  Remember, the Beatles were the first group to ever have fan festivals/conventions done in their honor, and the first to have a full on tribute band done for them.

Casbah:
1. How did you discover The Beatles?

Didn't really discover them, I remember hearing them on the radio since 1968, So they were in my toddler soundtrack. Really turned onto them in 7th grade, when I started learning to play guitar and a local Beatle cover band played a jr high dance..

2. What is your all-time favourite Beatles song? Why so?
Hah! Good luck with this one!  I'll just say She Loves You. Its a rocker. (You would be better asking a Beatles fan which is their least favorite)

3. Do you prefer The Beatles above today’s influential pop(ular) artists and bands (Muse, Lady Gaga, Florence + The Machine, Mumford & Son’s, etc…). Why (not)?

Yes! Todays music confuses me. I stayed with popular music until about 5 years ago. Now I have no idea whats going on. But the Beatles were always forefront in my listening choices.

4. In their songs The Beatles have addressed many different themes (ranging from love to eastern esotericism). Which themes appeal most to you? Why so?
Im a music first, lyrics 2nd kind of guy. They were called the BEAT-les for a reason and the driving sound of their songs is what I liked the most. I also liked how they would play with words and write some witty lines in their early years, but the lyrics didn't mean much to me. It was their sound. I am actually interested less in songs like "All You Need Is Love" etc. I prefer my Beatles aloof and pop-ish.

5. While other bands that were popular in the sixties have largely been forgotten, The Beatles have retained massive popularity. Why do you think that is?

The Beatles were 4 cute guys that wrote simple, fun songs who progressed and not only helped write a soundtrack to, but transcended and shaped one of the most colorful decades of our existence. They had an X factor no one could explain, including themselves. It was just inside them and they knew how to create it together. They knew what worked and left an incredible legacy.
I feel nowadays their presence and popularity is starting to slip. For the first time in my life I am hearing kids ask who Paul McCartney is and why is he on TV? It's a little sad but we all knew deep down it would happen eventually.  Only time will tell if people still want to remember the Beatles. I have a feeling they will always be around in some form or another.

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