The Beatles' Journey: Essay on the Most Important Rock Group of All Time

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“War is over! If you want it.”

The dark, dreary streets of London were just crawling out of the hole left by World War II. With a new decade, there was a bright future ahead: the Swinging Sixties. It was a chance for freedom and to make a difference for the rising generation. It was the decade of the ‘British Invasion’.

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The Beatles is a name that is instantly recognized by the vast majority. It’s hard to find someone that dislikes the iconic British group. But that’s just it. They were more than just a band. The Beatles had a vast history, their music went through many phases, as did they, and they left an everlasting mark on the world. That is why the Beatles, perhaps, are the most revolutionary and important musicians of all time.

In 1957, a high school aged John Lennon started a skiffle band, which was just a mix of guitar, washboard, and other random things that made sound. Soon after, Paul McCartney joined with rhythm guitar. George Harrison, Paul’s friend, was then asked to join as lead guitarist. Bass player Stuart Sutcliffe left for art school, pushing Paul to bass. As for the drums, many players cycled through.

The Beatles performed as a group many times at the Cavern Club in Hamburg, Germany. Believing they had a future, they auditioned for a record label. They were rejected and seen as just another guitar group. However, Brian Epstein, saw them perform and, although he was not a manager, signed the band. He has been referred to many times as the 5th Beatle. Epstein gave the band a new brand by replacing their smoking, drinking, and foul language with matching suits and mop tops. By doing this, he was able to get the group a record label with George Martin and gigs back home in England.

It was 1962 when the Beatles were recording with George Martin for the first time. The drummer they had had for a while, Pete Best, just wasn’t cutting it. There was also rumor that the other three were jealous of Best getting all the attention from the girls. Nevertheless, he was replaced by the already locally famous Richard Starkey, known as Ringo Starr. And so, the Beatles became the Beatles we know today.

It only took one session to record their first album ‘Please Please Me’. London loved the Beatles whose album grabbed the number one spot almost immediately on every chart. Beatlemania had begun. While still only doing gigs in Europe, they had risen to popularity in the US too.

The Beatles were on fire. Just months after their first studio album, ‘With the Beatles’ was released in the UK on November 22, 1963. Yes, the same day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. This album was said to have helped heal the loss of JFK. On side two, George Harrison covers ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ by Chuck Berry, whom the Beatles admired greatly.

JFK airport welcomed the Beatles on February 7, 1964. Thousands of fans were screaming and bombarding the security, like nothing the airport had ever seen. All throughout their trip, fans followed and screamed for them. They appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, where about half the country watched them play five songs, most notably ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ and ‘All My Loving’ and… okay I should probably stop. The Beatles had invaded and stolen the hearts of everyone in America. They had started the British Invasion, giving opportunity for bands such as the Rolling Stones and the Kinks to entertain America.

That same year, 1964, brought ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, the band’s first album with no covers. They also created a movie holding the same name and songs that represent ‘a day in the life’ of the Beatles. If their past successes were incredible, what was to come would be even greater.

After that album, their next LPs followed with much popularity. However, it wasn’t until ‘Rubber Soul’ that the Beatles began to make new sounds. One of the most progressive songs on it was ‘Norwegian Wood’, which could be attributed to the beginning of psychedelic rock. George Harrison, known for his interest in Indian music, decided to add sitar to the song. It created musical dimensions unknown to the western world until that point. ‘Pet Sounds’ by the Beach Boys, ‘Aftermath’ by the Rolling Stones, and many more bands took heavy inspiration from the sounds.

If ‘Rubber Soul’ wasn’t enough, ‘Revolver’ completely revolutionized rock. This album was the most experimental of its time. Using artificial double tracking on the song ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, one track was slightly moved to give an echo-like sound. The Beatles were moving far away from the mainstream sound, play tracks backwards and warping the audio. Their songs became darker and trippier. It was also during this album that they began taking LSD, heavily inspiring their experiments with sound. Their songs mirrored actual experiences, unlike the pop music of the time.

Usually regarded as one of, if not the best albums of all time, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, was released in 1966. The band had just quit touring and wanted to focus on what they could do in the studio. ‘Within You Without You’ was George’s complete immersion into the sounds of India, a risky choice to take at such a high point in their career. Some critics despised the album, but the people mostly seemed to love it. The album starts out as what seems to be a concept album: a band pretending to be another. Perhaps this was their way of opening a door to take even more risks. ‘A Day in the Life’ tells the dark stories of death found in a newspaper mixed with funny ones about “4,000 potholes in Blackburn, Lancashire”.

‘The White Album’ was brought in right off of two trips. One to India and one on drugs. Manager Brian Epstein had just died and the members were each having their own experiences. John had met Yoko Ono and started to become more avant-garde. Everyone was individual but inspired at this point. Glass Onion contributed the conspiracy theory that Paul was dead. ‘Blackbird’ was made in support of the civil rights movement. ‘Helter Skelter’ was adopted by Charles Manson. Every song on the LP meant something. Then, there was ‘Revolution 9’: sounds being looped, played backwards, random sounds, babies crying, the repeated ‘number nine’. Many people attribute the strangeness of this song to Yoko Ono’s influence.

The Beatles collaborated in the studio for the last time on Abbey Road. By the time it was released, John had already left for the Plastic Ono band. ‘Side B’ was medley of their incomplete songs transitioning perfectly into the next. Paul worked with classical musicians on a few of the songs and George brought forward ‘Here Comes the Sun’. Although the album was a masterpiece, the band was coming to an end.

The Beatles performed for the last time together with the famous rooftop performance at Abbey Road studios. They ended with ‘Get Back’, although they never got back. John concluded the small performance with “I’d like to say thank of behalf of the group and myself, I hoped we’ve passed the audition”.

Paul continued on with Wings, coming out with a song called ‘Silly Love Songs’. John had always called his work by that name. George came out with ‘All Things Must Pass’, a breakthrough showcasing his writing abilities. Ringo formed his All-Starr Band and appeared on the other Beatle’s albums every once in a while. John Lennon became politically involved, releasing one of the most influential songs ‘Imagine’.

The Beatles healed the world after the war. They soared to the tops of every chart. They changed rock ‘n roll forever. The music of the Fab Four continues to inspire generations on generations. In the words of Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and many more, “From one generation to the next, the Beatles will remain the most important rock band of all time”.

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The Beatles’ Journey: Essay on the Most Important Rock Group of All Time. (2023, January 31). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-beatles-journey-essay-on-the-most-important-rock-group-of-all-time/
“The Beatles’ Journey: Essay on the Most Important Rock Group of All Time.” Edubirdie, 31 Jan. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/the-beatles-journey-essay-on-the-most-important-rock-group-of-all-time/
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The Beatles’ Journey: Essay on the Most Important Rock Group of All Time [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Jan 31 [cited 2024 Jun 21]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-beatles-journey-essay-on-the-most-important-rock-group-of-all-time/
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