RichTAkes! on the Beatles, 50 Years Ago Today

Fifty years ago today, I was 7 1/2 years old, I didn’t give the Beatles invasion much thought. I wasn’t really into music much at all, but I remember liking the Tokens cover of  The Lion Sleeps Tonight, and Neal Sedaka’s Breaking Up Is Hard to Dobeatles-apple

This was cutting edge rock and roll at the time. Gramps had fun making fun of the Beatle’s haircuts, and the lyrical stylings of “yeah, yeah, yeah”   

I didn’t pay much attention to all of the Beatle-mania surrounding us until years letter when I heard “Paperback Writer” and didn’t know who did it.

It was fifty years ago today

Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play

They’ve been going in and out of style

But they’re guaranteed to raise a smile

So may I introduce to you

The act you’ve known for all these years

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Fifty years ago today, the Beatles landed in New York and launched the British Invasion.

We needed invading. A little background:

 Elvis was drafted for service in the armed forces in 1958. In 1959, rock&roll died.

In 1964, rock and roll was nearly dead. The pop scene featured some doo-wop and girl-groups, but mostly a lot of “folk”, since the music industry decided that’s what the kids liked, and they pushed tunes like “Puff, the Magic Dragon” images of the Opium Wars be damned. 

The Beatles held five out of the top five spots in Billboard’s Hot 100.

The Billboard Hot 100, April 4, 1964

Position, Title
No. 1, “Can’t Buy Me Love”
No. 2, “Twist and Shout”
No. 3, “She Loves You”
No. 4, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
No. 5, “Please Please Me” 

Over the next six years, popular music would change forever.

The Beatles would advance from basic pop-rock hits like “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You” to spear-heading “psychedelic” rock, concept albums, and by 1966 were doing studio recordings only, since the technology did not exist at the time to perform their works live.

 While the publishing industry constantly speculated on the Beatles versus the Rolling Stones, there was a real rivalry between the Beatles and the Beach Boys. “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was recorded on a four-track tape machine.  In 1967.

 The Brits that quickly followed the Beatles were more or less divided into two camps, the “mods” pop-rock bands like the Who, and the American blues types, which included the Yardbirds, the Cream, the Small Faces, early Fleetwood Mac, and the Rolling Stones. The pop-rock bands might include the BeeGees and Herman’s Hermits, along with various solo acts.

In 1969, former members of the Yardbirds and Small Faces became Led Zeppelin. In 1970 they defined “hard rock” with their number one hit “Whole Lotta Love” 

Willie Dixon wrote the song at Chess Records, and Muddy Waters recorded it in 1963.

1970 was also the year that the Beatles called it a day.

The last album that the Beatles recorded was Abbey Road, “Let It Be” was recorded first, but the release was held up in order to coordinate with the movie of the same name.

 The Beatles may have been lucky, in the right place at the right time, yet it’s due to their “invasion” and conquest of the US that the music world changed forever. 



(I took some liberties with the Sgt Pepper lyrics, which are twenty years ago, not fifty) 

Sgt Pepper with the Reprise spliced in at the end. This is not an official album cut.

At the time, this was the number one selling single in history. Yesterday finally got knocked off by Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

The Beatles also played a role in the social upheaval of the 60s. Revolution was a sort of open letter to the self-styled revolutionaries of the day.

One of the few Beatles blues efforts

One of my all-time favorites

Thanks for looking!

2 Replies to “RichTAkes! on the Beatles, 50 Years Ago Today”

  1. Danke, Schatzie.
    I posted a photo of “Meet The Beatles”, their first album in the USA, on Instagram, yesterday.
    My family watched the Ed Sullivan Show, 50 years past last evening. The Beatles were all my friends and I could talk about the next day at school. They set the tone for so many times in our lives.
    They are woven in to our lives, as a girl, teen, so many memories tied to their music.
    You did a wonderful job with this retrospective. Even if you didn’t recognize their impact on music world wide till a few years later, so good you caught up…{;-)
    I remember “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, on our B/W TV that Sunday night. Loving their last harmony, thinking Ringo would fall off his riser, how snappy I thought their bow was at the end, not to mention their match stick pants, pointy boots. I bought “Meet The Beatles”, the next day, almost wore it out!
    May have seemed cheesy to my jazz playing brothers, who were too cool for school. Even Rex Bonebrake our high school music teacher, who love big band music, who had us play “Classic Gas” a fabulous instrumental at the time, loved “Eleanor Rigby,” “Here,There and Everywhere”, “Piggy’s”.
    It took them a bit to get started, “Till There Was You”…really?
    George Martin, their perfect constant nymph, one of the reasons for so many outstanding Beatles songs, Brian Epstein too.
    Yes, they are in the fabric of my life, and so many others.
    Such wonderful times, memories.
    May God Bless them.

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