By: Opher Segal
When the Beatles, John, Paul, George and Ringo, emerged as Rock and Roll's top musical group in the world during the early 60's, they were indeed four very talented young men. Each brought to the table their own special personality, humor, wisdom, as well as their tremendous raw unharnessed talents. During that time frame, the Beatles stayed consistently at the top of the musical pop charts worldwide, producing more number one hits then any other group in the history of music.
The world was eager for a change, a cultural revolution if you will. The Beatles were able to accomplish this through their music. We embraced them with open minds and most of all our open hearts.
These extremely talented four young men from Liverpool indeed captured most of us by our emotions, coupled with their unique hair cuts, clothing, humor, creative art, social statements, and most of all their music. They were a breed apart from anything the world had seen at that time.
There were other Rock and Roll groups who were also very talented, however, their versatility was on a limited scale and scope compared to the Fab Four.
In 1962, a twist of fate took place when Sir George Martin, a classical musician came aboard as their producer. By 1964, the press as well as the public termed Martin the "Fifth Beatle" because they understood what he meant to them. From the time Martin joined the group the evolution of their music took a turn for the better and evolved at lighting speed. In summation, this process changed the direction of the music industry.
By 1963, the Beatles had established themselves as the world's number one rock and roll band with numerous songs and many number one hits on the national and international charts.
In retrospect, one would have expected the Beatles to reject the older man, Sir George Martin, by would be statements such as "Hey man, we are the number one band in the world, so who are you?" ,and or, "We are the ones with the millions and you are a pauper, therefore, what have you got to offer us?" As history unveiled, this was not the case.
From Martin's perspective he saw in the Beatles something that was extremely unusual. They were four young men who were extremely talented individually, but as a group extraordinary. However, they were limited to the rock and roll genre. Martin's dream was to take this unusual phenom to a level no other rock and roll group had ever achieved. He did just that!
Because The Beatles decided to embrace Martin and make him an integral part of their exclusive group, they were able to begin a journey that would change all of their lives. In my view, that was the turning point of this wondrous band. Most importantly the Beatles were wise enough to recognize their limitations and listen to a man with a vision. The rest is history.
With Martin at their side in November of 1965, the album Rubber Soul came out.
I feel that was the break away point of the Beatles from the rest of the rock and roll musical field at the time. The songs that were on this album emitted new incredibly complex versatile sounds never heard before in this medium during the 60’s.
The rock and roll fans across the world became connected and fell in love with their music. In addition, the Beatles began to attract a more sophisticated mass of listeners. The fans of the Fab Four anxiously awaited their next creation. The union between the Beatles and Sir George Martin was a match made in heaven, perhaps a once in a lifetime occurrence.
Following Rubber Soul, the Beatles increased the ante with each progressive album. From Revolver, to Sergeant Pepper, the White Album, Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road, and Let it be, the musical world was rocked to it's core with new ingenious innovations, orchestrations, lyrics, a wide array of incredible musical sounds never heard before, and the sound kept on improving as time progressed.
Many musical experts of all persuasions across the world recognized the Beatle's music as a work of genius. Comparable and perhaps even improving on the traditional classical masters such as Johan Sebastian Bach, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Motzart, Franz Schubert, Maurice Ravel, George Bizet, Fredric Chopin ,Arnold Schoenberg, Pyotr Llyich Tchaikovsky, Johannes Brahms, as well as other classical musical prodigies.
I would like to address a critical issue regarding pop radio at that time. The limit for all songs performed was a three to four minute performance format. Despite all the rules, the Beatles marched to their own tune. Several of their songs exceeded the time constraints imposed by the industry. The world applauded their boldness and continues to be grateful for those wonderful tunes such as “Hey Jude”. The DJ's could not harness the unruly immensely talented group, simply based on the quality of their music and the public demand to hear longer compositions.
In addition to the social commentaries embedded in their songs, above all the Beatles preached the need for universal love and peace, and their abhorrence of violence. This was a time of much turmoil in the world, and their music brought hope to many.
Their music like the great masters is timeless. They invented instruments of many sorts and incorporated orchestras into their compositions. Because of this and so much more, they continue to stand out as the greatest musicians of all time.
One should keep an open mind, as well as an open heart. By listening to those wonderful lyrics, one will find messages embedded in each and every song. Some of those songs and lyrics appeal to our eternal inner child making our connection to their music very moving and emotional.
In summation, yes, at the onset, they were noisy, boisterous Teddy Boys, that were uncompromising. Sticking to their own music despite enormous pressure to play music composed by others, the Beatles did not buckle under the heat. They refused vehemently and at the end of the day they were right.
We know the rest of the story. The Beatles brought us a revolution of music as well as promoting the most precious of human emotions....LOVE and PEACE. As I mature, I listen to a greater variety of music on a multitude of levels. Thus I acquire greater appreciation and admiration for the versatility of their amazing music.
I am not a religious man, however, if God exists and has a voice, it would be the sound emitted from the Beatles.
From rags to riches, this was an amazing success story on all levels. Humanity will reap the rewards forever more.