Comment from: William [Visitor]
I too was an avid Beatles fan and though I was familiar with many of their songs and performances the insights and research shared here are intriguing and eye-opening. This certainly was an exceptional band on all counts. Thanks for the history and details of their accomplishments, -interesting and well written.
Comment from: Tory [Visitor]
This is definitely a well researched topic!! Kudos for for finding all of these interesting and true facts. The only correction I offer is that John did not say “I buried Paul” at the end of “Strawberry Fields". He actually says “Cranberry Sauce".
Check it out. Of course, his intonation, timing and, of course, the true meaning of his phrase is open to interpretation.
Rock on Beatles fans!!!!!
Comment from: Richard [Visitor]
Good article although even as a big Beatles fan I think some of the things you list aren’t significant (Ringo being on a riser for example, true but not really important in terms of the history of music!) One correction, at the end of Strawberry Fields John actually says “Cranberry sauce, cranberry sauce, my mother makes it for me.”
On the released version you can just about hear the first “cranberry sauce", on some bootleg versions which fade out later you can hear it quite clearly. It’s fairly clear on this version:
This really is a great way to completely nullify those claims that the Beatles were over-rated, Great work. I also have one correction though. The first use of Indian instruments (sitar) was on “Norwegian Wood” from Rubber Soul, not “It’s Only Love” which was on Help! and did not contain a sitar track.
Comment from: Brian [Visitor]
Have been searching for some time for a comprehensive list of Beatles “firsts". My wife downplays the group and I needed ammunition for my argument. However, I do feel like one correction is necessary. “Hey Jude” was not the first record to break the mold of a standard three minute pop song. “Like A Rolling Stone” by Dylan clocked in well over six minutes and was released over three years in advance of “Hey Jude,” eventually topping out at #2 on the U.S. charts.
Comment from: Jim [Visitor]
All I have to ask is were The Beatles
the first to play musical instruments?
Comment from: Songjockey [Visitor]
Other firsts: They invented audio delay and duplicate lead vocal tracks – both which are normal practices in music today.
I can never understand why Beatles fanatics feel the need to justify their god like fixation for ” The Fab Four", to the point of fabricating their achievements.
I myself, am not a Beatles naysayer. I do respect and admire what they achieved along with other musicians and artists of the time. They were part of a movement, and to disregard the input from other great artists of the time only belittles them. With that sort of attitude it’s no wonder there’s so many Beatles critics about these days.
Were the Beatles overrated? If you believe everything in this article then certainly yes. Whether Sgt. Peppers or Revolver are the greatest albums of all time is down to personal opinion. The Beatles repertoire ranges from the superb to the downright awful. A bit like any other band I’d say.
However, if you’re so keen on making it a competition, let’s see how you score! I’ll give you 1 point for every correct ‘Beatles First", and 0 for every incorrect one.
1. Yes the Beatles were the first band to play a stadium = 1
2. The Beatles did not invent the music video. One example would be Elvis Presley’s promo for “Jailhouse Rock". Also, the Animals did a colour studio promo for “House Of The Rising Sun” in 1964 = 0
3. Yes the “Our World” broadcast was the first live satellite transmission around the world. Several countries were involved as were several international artists such as Maria Callas and Pablo Picasso. The Beatles were contributors to this. It wasn’t “their” show, so this can hardly be counted as a first for them = 0
4. Yes the Beatles were probably the first to use feedback on a recording = 1
5. The Beatles were not the first to use headphones for monitoring in studio. It’s well documented that Phil Spector used headphones regularly in studio on much earlier recordings = 0
6. The Beatles were not the first musicians to use electronic keyboards. Graham Bond used a Mellotron on “Baby Can It Be True” in 1965. The Moody Blues were also early users = 0
7. As for the use of samples in recording, ever heard of “Leader Of The Pack” by the Shangri-Las. Is that a motorcycle I hear? = 0
8. The Beatles probably were the first to use backward recording for singing in recordings. Not sure of the significance = 1
9. The Beatles were not the first to use orchestration in popular music. Have a listen to “Pet Sounds” by the Beach Boys = 0
10. The Beatles were the first to release a pop record with sitar, however they were not the first to use one. The Yardbirds recorded unreleased tracks with sitar before them. It was on “Norwegian Wood” not “It’s Only Love".For that I’ll give you half = .5
11. The Beatles were not the first band where you heard more than one singer. The Beach Boys were well known for this = 0
12. They were not the first to record a hit song over the normal 2-3 minutes. “Like A Rolling Stone” ring a bell? = 0
13. First to have the drummer sit higher on the riser? I’ll give you that. Hardly significant though = 1
14. First to simultaneously take a bow? So what? = 1
15. First to have a one song run into the other? There’s no way of knowing that, and I actually doubt it anyway. Won’t include this.
16. First concept album? Not a chance. There are several examples, most notably Frank Zappa’s “Freak Out” from 1966 = 0
17. First to say informal things like “Yeah"? How about “Ain’t That A Shame"? = 0
18. The White Album? Would’ve preferred a little more, however = 1
19. Subliminal messages. “I Buried Paul". Pleeaasse! = 0
20. Yes they were on Ed Sullivan. There’s absolutely no way I believe the crime thing though. There’s no way to substantiate this = 1
21. Chart records. I won’t refute this = 1
22 . The Beatles were the first British pop band to break America = 1
23. “A Hard Days Night” was top of the charts both sides of the Atlantic = 1
24. Topping album and singles charts on both sides of the Atlantic = 1
25. First to debut in the top 10 with “Hey Jude"? Not sure what you’re saying here so I’ll leave it out.
26. “Can’t Buy Me Love” first to sell 1 million copies = 1
27 . First to start with a chorus? “Hound Dog” for instance = 0
28. Science and music don’t mix. Left out.
29. Double A side singles? Like “Surfer Girl” / “Little Deuce Coupe"? = 0
30. The first to make an album interesting enough for people to want it all? Ever heard of an album called “Freestylin With Bob Dylan” or “Songs For Swinging Lovers". C’mon! = 0
31. There are many obscure Beatles songs. Just ask how many people know Dr. Robert = 0
So there. You score 12.5 out of 31. Back to the books Billy Boy!!
Further to my last comment, I’ve since discovered that one of your “Beatles Firsts” that I disagreed with may in fact be true. It relates to the Beatles and their use of subliminal messages, and in particular, the “I buried Paul” statement by John Lennon at the end of “Strawberry Fields”. Many people claim that he said “cranberry sauce”, but I can hardly believe a man of his literary talents would say something so prosaic!!
Therefore, in the fairness of honesty, I’ve decided to revise your score up by half a point to 13 out of 31, or 13.31. I’m sure you’ve noticed the significance of the reversible numbers, or that when added together they make 44……….however, I digress!!
I’m hoping that in light of my honesty, and my generosity in increasing your score, that you’ll help me with a small favour, which will be beneficial to both of us as researchers of musical history, and explorers of the truth.
I’ve recently discovered some interesting new information regarding the “Paul is dead conspiracy”. To fully understand these new clues, we have to hark back to an earlier time, and to a fact based biographical film (can’t remember the name) about the adolescent Judy Garland and her dog, and their life on a Kansas farm. These were merry times for Judy and the dog, and much has been written about how Judy’s life was later mired in tragedy until her untimely death in 1969.
Our concern here however, is with the dog. I’ve heard he resurfaced in San Francisco some time later, and hooked up with some able, but not very adventurous session musicians. I understand they released some albums under the dog’s name (can’t remember what it is), and they were quite successful, receiving a substantial amount of airplay on top 40 radio stations around the globe. This newfound prosperity was not to last though, as the dog soon became disillusioned with his band mates and their slick, but somewhat boring sound. This drove a wedge between the band, with the dog desperate to create more original music, and fulfill his burning desire to ‘rock-a-little’. Eventually the dog could no longer ‘Hold The Line’, and parted ways with the session musicians, calling them a bunch of talentless w@&kers!! The band continue to use his name to this day.
The last I heard (although this cannot be confirmed), the dog relocated to ‘Africa’ with his new owner ‘Rosanna’, and became a shaman, tirelessly conjuring up spells to battle droughts that are common ‘down’ in that part of the world.
There have been some unconfirmed sightings of the dog. One in a city pound in Florida, which I believe to be bogus, and another more significant sighting at a K9 convention in Las Vegas, where a dog matching his description was seen peeling an apple with a pocket knife. This is very odd, as we all know dogs don’t eat apples!!
Now for the ‘piece de resistance’, a dog was recently entered in the Crufts Dog Show, and was registered by an owner with the initials RM!!
By now Bill, I’m sure your inquisitive mind has put two and two together, and we’re now working from the same page, so I’ll share with you my conclusion………………………………………………………………………………..
I think the dog is Paul.
Perhaps Crufts is his way back onto the world stage!!
It would certainly explain a lot, like why Paul’s songwriting with the Beatles was so poor in the latter stages of the bands career. Think about it, would a songwriter of Paul’s obvious talents have written such trivial ditties as “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road”, or “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”, or “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”? I think not!! And it certainly explains his post-Beatles quest to fill the world with ‘Silly Love Songs’.
For the Beatles to find a replacement that looked exactly like Paul, and played bass guitar left handed, was a miracle, but alas, finding a man with his songwriting talents proved a bridge too far!!
Now, armed with his overwhelming new evidence, I’m hoping you’ll grasp the nettle and dig deep to unearth the truth about this most tawdry of cover-ups!!
A discovery like this is exactly what’s needed to silence those Beatles naysayers for good!!
Good luck and godspeed!!
PS. I sincerely hope you share with us your progress in this exciting journey of discovery.
Comment from: [Member]
Woah Dave, you gotta chill out a bit there :)
All in good humour:)
Comment from: CB [Visitor]
Ob-La-Di is not a “trivial ditty!” It is the first British ska song. It is also a political song. Racial tension in 1968 England was reaching a boiling point in regard to immigrants from the former colonies of the British Empire …immigrants like Desmond & Molly Jones in Paul’s song. Paul had many musician friends from the immigrant community.In fact, this is where he learned the West Indies slang phrase, Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da (Life goes on).
Comment from: Joe [Visitor]
I have to comment on David response.
As for the use of samples in recording, ever heard of “Leader Of The Pack” by the Shangri-Las. Is that a motorcycle I hear? =
That is called a sound effect not a music sample.
“The Beatles were the first to release a pop record with sitar, however they were not the first to use one. The Yardbirds recorded unreleased tracks with sitar before them. It was on “Norwegian Wood” not “It’s Only Love".For that I’ll give you half = .5
Well since the Yardbirds didn’t release the song with the sitar and the Beatles did counts. Plus George is the rock gutiarist to play one a rock record.
The Beatles did not invent the music video. One example would be Elvis Presley’s promo for “Jailhouse Rock". Also, the Animals did a colour studio promo for “House Of The Rising Sun” in 1964 =
Elvis was not a promo but a scene from a movie. The Beatles made full promo films seperate from a musical or live performances.
I actually don’t care to correct Bill on the other things but some of the points on the article is wrong but really not that many.
Comment from: Bill [Visitor]
Elsa Popping and Her Pixieland Band - Delirium In Hi-Fi
Comment from: Charles [Visitor]
How about Hugh Le Caine sampling a drop of of of water and creating Dripsody (1955).
Jim Fasset - Symphony of the Birds and
Strange to your Ears have more effects
than the complete Beatles catalog.
Comment from: Tim [Visitor]
Doubting David…my son, why do you have no faith in Beatles firsts? Just a few thoughts:
1. Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock” video was taken from the movie and used as a trailer in movie theatres to promote the film. The Beatles were first to shoot music videos to promote songs.
2. The significance of “Hey Jude” making it’s debut in the Top 10?
Before a single record went on sale to the public, orders by record dealers made it a Top-10 seller before the records even went on sale! Additionally, “Can’t Buy Me Love” sold a million copies to record dealers before a single record was sold to the public.
3. Subliminal messages: Dog whistles inaudible to humans (McCartney) and slowed down messages done on purpose (Lennon). Yes, subliminal.
Additionally, the Beatles were:
* The first group to use Automatic Double Tracking Sound recording;
* The first pop song to begin with a fade-in ws “Eight Days a Week";
* The first artist to release an album with all lyrics of all songs printed on the album sleeve (Sgt. Peppers);
* The first rock-n-roll performers to be immortalized in London’s Madame Tussaud’s waxwork museum;
* First pop band to use classical touch of strings and keyboard instruments.
Last but not least, to use the term “obscure Beatles songs” is like saying “semi-boneless ham". There is no such thing.
Every song on every album, every single and many of their outtakes fromthe studio used in “Anthology” including Lennon inventing “Strawberry Fields” on his couch at home on an acoustic guitar, have been played millions of times. If you know the Beatles, you know “Dr. Robert". If it’s obscure to you, “you weren’t there".
Comment from: tom keefet [Visitor]
Great Job Bill, I too Loved them. That’s when I knew I wanted to learn to play guitar,still do all these years later. I actually got to meet them and shake their hands except for Ringo, thanks to my father who had a suite down the hall from them in the Rockerfeller Plaza. they just got back from a meeting with JFK in Washington. Great memory.
Comment from: Michael K [Visitor]
Well done to David on debunking some of these over-hyped firsts.
The Beatles had enough ACTUAL firsts without zealots inventing them.
A couple more debunks.
The first sitar on record IS by The Yardbirds on ‘Heart Full of Soul’
The Beatles NEVER used a full orchestra because George Martin was all too aware of the expense (and knew EMI would grill him on it) and there were no records they made which warranted a full 100 players.
In fact, George was adept at hiring sections and then double-recording them.
The biggest orchestral presence is the 40 players on ‘A Day In The Life’.
David is also right about the first purpose-made ‘video’ having been made for The Animals in 1965 and it was this which inspired Brian Epstein to commission what are known as the Intertel promos in the same year.
Form is loading...