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Are The Beatles The Greatest Rock Band Ever?...Or Were They?

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  • Are The Beatles The Greatest Rock Band Ever?...Or Were They?

    Hello All.
    On April 17, 2013 I hosted an event at the Gibson Showroom in Beverley Hills the week Public Enemy was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. One event was a panel discussion with four accomplished friends of mine. (https://www.facebook.com/TheHardgroo...rience?fref=ts)

    Dug Pinnick
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doug_Pinnick
    Eddie Kramer
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Kramer
    Chuck D
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_D
    Jack Douglas
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_D...rd_producer%29

    I convened this panel to talk about the origins of “Rock & Roll” and how it has come to be defined.

    In the weeks leading up to the induction ceremony, many in the press and public aired very harsh and consistently uninformed opinions about what Rock & Roll is and who should be inducted into the Hall of Fame. It was often cited that The Beatles are the greatest rock band of all time. There are many people that would dispute that if it weren’t so politically incorrect to do so. Thoughts?

    Here are three variations of the word ‘great’

    Great
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/great

    Greater
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/greater

    Greatest
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/greatest

    Event Press Release
    http://archive.gibson.com/absolutenm...=1367&zoneid=6

  • #2
    Ask 10 people and you'll get 10 opinions as to who is the greatest. It's too subjective. You'll get a flame war going with this thread.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hello Chordptrn.

      Given framing of the question plus the links provided,
      I’d expect a reasoned serious of comments and questions. Flame wars are easily extinguished. Do you have an opinion? I’d like to hear it.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'd like to add my list :

        Ozzy's First two albums
        Black Sabbath
        Emerson, Lake and Palmer
        Metallica
        Pantera
        Blue Cheer
        UFO
        Paul McCartney and Wings
        Jim Croce
        George Harrison
        Older U2
        The Police


        How many guitarists does it take to screw in a lightbulb ? Five , one to screw it in , hit the switch and four to sit around bragging how much better they could have done it !!!! 😱👹😲

        Comment


        • #5
          To me "Rock and Roll" and "Rock" are not really the same thing. The terms are used interchangeably by lots of folks and I get why. Things evolve over time. The best way I know to explain it is the same reason why I wouldn't argue against the Beatles being the greatest Rock band (unless I just felt like getting into it with somebody ). They started out as Rock and Roll, but as things got more complex musically and albums took on more importance, they transformed into a Rock band in the public eye.
          ...

          Comment


          • #6
            Rock has become a rather generic term in some ways.

            On one hand, you can argue that early Beatles songs were definitely "rock and roll", and some of their later material was probably "rock", but they worked in many other genres besides "rock" or "rock and roll", so that kind of muddies the waters a bit as far as whether they were a "rock" band. Still, I think it's cool that they were able to do so, because it opened "rock music" to all sorts of outside influences and stylistic diversity that really wasn't that prevalent prior to their success. IMO, without the Beatles, we never would have had someone like say, The Police, who combined Rock and Reggae.

            **********

            "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

            - George Carlin

            "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

            - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

            "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

            - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

            Comment


            • #7
              I find this fascinating and very informative. More definitions are in order and I'll look to you guys for them.
              Define the "rock" aspect of rock & roll.
              Define the "roll" aspect of rock & roll.

              Comment


              • #8
                The Beatles were very very good at what they did. They also had a level of support from the big money record machine that the rest of us can only dream of.

                Personally, when I perform I don't care if I am better than anyone else. I only want to be the best that I can be at any given moment in whatever situation I am in.

                Let's just be grateful The Beatles were able to reach such a high level in their music but what does it matter if they were the best or the next best or even number nine on somebody's list?





                Last edited by onelife; 08-31-2015, 05:23 PM.
                As a human being, you come with the whole range of inner possibilities
                from the deepest hell to the highest states.

                It is up to you which one you choose to explore
                .

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would argue that The Beatles simply occupy a singular genre you could only label as "The Beatles". Sometimes they Rocked, sometimes They Rolled, sometimes they Rocked and Rolled. But in the end, they were "The Beatles".
                  I do not believe they could be truthfully pigeon-holed in to any specfic genre.
                  I cannot be convinced otherwise.

                  http://thebasement.createaforum.com/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe View Post
                    IMO, without the Beatles, we never would have had someone like say, The Police, who combined Rock and Reggae.


                    not sure if it's true, and it's post-Beatles, but I read once that Paul McCartney & Wings' "C Moon" (1972) was the first instance of a rock band doing reggae.



                    ______________

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rhino55 View Post
                      To me "Rock and Roll" and "Rock" are not really the same thing. The terms are used interchangeably by lots of folks and I get why. Things evolve over time. The best way I know to explain it is the same reason why I wouldn't argue against the Beatles being the greatest Rock band (unless I just felt like getting into it with somebody ). They started out as Rock and Roll, but as things got more complex musically and albums took on more importance, they transformed into a Rock band in the public eye.
                      The way they evolved from being a "Boy Band" for the teeny boppers to becoming serious composers and pushing the listeners mind into new sonic possibilities , is awe inspiring.
                      If you listen to " Helter Skelter ", the guitar is very early Hard Rock / Heavy Metal and the vocals almost punk like. The White album pointed our ears towards the future, as did Hendrix, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Yes, E.L.P. and others later. "Yer Blues", has to be one of the raunchiest Blues tunes ever. That album took you through different forms of music and you liked it.
                      From Rubber Soul to Abbey Road, they evolved and changed into a totally different band.
                      Today, the industry won't let a band of today, reinvent themselves or experiment or maybe the listeners of today are not as opened minded as before.
                      To me , the Beatles can easily be called the Greatest Rock band ever !!!!
                      How many guitarists does it take to screw in a lightbulb ? Five , one to screw it in , hit the switch and four to sit around bragging how much better they could have done it !!!! 😱👹😲

                      Comment


                      • Mr. Hardgroove
                        Mr. Hardgroove commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Could it be said that The Beatles are the greatest "Boy Band" ever?

                    • #12
                      I think you have to take it in context of what was happening at that time.

                      You only real way you could do that is by having lived during those years. Younger people probably wont understand the impact the band had on the entire industry because they live in the aftermath and view those changes as a norm.

                      Prior to the Beatles bands normally had one leading star. Elvis and his no name band. Sinatra with his hired help, etc. You had one guy who was seen as a star and the rest backed him. There were some 50's bands that were more group like but they were mostly dance bands.

                      Buddy Holly had a trio and the other players were sort of equals in the beginning, but even there, Buddy migrated to a full orchestra of no names. Not that this was a bad thing for the artists wallet, but people weren't crushed by that breakup like they were when the Beatles broke up.

                      The Beatles are properly recognized as a band that changed the whole landscape of pop music. It was no longer a master/slave thing it was a multiple entity, a team of musicians that were billed as 4 stars, not one. You'd always hear them listed as John, Paul, George, and Ringo. People Knew all four names.

                      Even with the popularity of someone like Elvis, Could you list the other artists in the band? I know I cant. Many times they aren't even listed on albums, but a Beatles album had all 4. People, especially young girls had their favorites. I grew up with sisters and I lived through the whole young girl crush thing they had on pop stars. Its funny because you get a group of girls together and one would pick Paul, another John, etc. The least experienced chick in the group got stuck with Ringo.

                      This was all new back then. There was the Sinatra and Elvis craze before it which were singular idols. Having a band where all the artists had their own fan clubs was a huge thing for the record companies. After that, it became a role model for ever other rock/pop band to follow.

                      Sure you had bands in the 40's consisting of the best jazz players, Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, etc getting together and making albums, but its not the same. That was a different music industry that was run from the top down. You had conductors/producers/money men at the tops of those bands. It was more factory production and the artists spend much of their life as hired help. All that evolved during the 50's because WWII was over and clubs hired much smaller bands for much lower wages.

                      The other part was the Beatles gave the reporters a thrill up their legs. The band was at the center of the musical universe where all other bands revolved around them for a good period of time. These guys were what you'd call veterans by the time they became popular. They knew the hard core realities from working clubs in Germany, Drugs and Prostitutes and though they dressed up like young virgins they where in reality very street wise and you can hear that by the witty remarks they'd reply back to. They were on the inside and the press were like old fogies in comparison. They weren't rude however. Even older people liked them because they could appreciate the good talent.

                      The press loved them and so did the kids. Their original music isn't bad either. Again, If you look at the charts and see what their competition was back then its obvious to anyone why they held the top chart slots for so long. The Sargent Peppers album knocked the socks off of every producer back then. Many of the bands like the Beach Boys or the Mama's and Papas, Kijnks, Stones were still playing catch up and that album was like a bomb going off in pop music.

                      Add to that many of the bands had good musicians but they didn't have the photogenics or the hit singles to compete. The Beatles did have great voices and harmonies too which is the whole key to their success. Heck it was sacrilege for other bands to even play cover tunes of their music because they all knew the people would compare and reject them. A few people could pull it off like Joe Cocker doing Little Help From My Friends, but that version was so different it could be seen as a different song.

                      All of these things combined made them a the huge "super group" before that term was even coined.

                      When you compare the press coverage to a band like the Rolling Stones, the only real spokesman you had in that band was Mick. The rest pretty much mumbled. The band surely has a huge repertoire of music but they pretty much followed the Elvis role model in the beginning. Have you ever heard the drummer speak? I think I heard him talk once in Gimmie Shelter and he wasn't very coherent. Compared to Ringo who had roles in movies? I know Mick played catch up and had some good roles later but the early stuff just wasn't very photogenic.

                      When Brian Jones split, the band did get very paranoid too because Brian was as if not more popular then Jaggar back then. If he had stayed in the band it may have been a very different thing as far as shared group identity, but as is that wasn't to be.

                      They're just different acts and its just not possible to measure them with the same ruler.
                      Last edited by WRGKMC; 09-01-2015, 03:41 PM.

                      Comment


                      • Mr. Hardgroove
                        Mr. Hardgroove commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Thanks WRGKMC. This is a very powerful argument for the status of "the greatest".
                        Thank you for such a thoughtful contribution to this post.

                    • #13
                      Originally posted by Mr. Hardgroove View Post
                      I find this fascinating and very informative. More definitions are in order and I'll look to you guys for them.
                      Define the "rock" aspect of rock & roll.
                      Define the "roll" aspect of rock & roll.
                      I'm not sure if I can...

                      To me, when someone says "Rock & Roll", I tend to think of the 50s - Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran, Sun Session-era Elvis, Little Richard - that sort of stuff.

                      Rock is a more generic term. When someone says "Rock", it tends to make me think of slightly heavier music from a later era, although there's a less focused character to it - it covers a lot more stylistic diversity, at least in my mind.
                      **********

                      "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

                      - George Carlin

                      "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

                      - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                      "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

                      - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                      Comment


                      • #14

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe View Post

                          I'm not sure if I can...

                          To me, when someone says "Rock & Roll", I tend to think of the 50s - Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran, Sun Session-era Elvis, Little Richard - that sort of stuff.

                          Rock is a more generic term. When someone says "Rock", it tends to make me think of slightly heavier music from a later era, although there's a less focused character to it - it covers a lot more stylistic diversity, at least in my mind.
                          Pow! Phil has hit the nail on the head.
                          This has been the underlying problem with the whole perceived premise of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
                          See the following description on their website under “The Story of Rock”.
                          http://rockhall.com/story-of-rock/

                          “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum exists to collect, preserve and interpret the impact rock has made on our world. The evolving story of rock can be found on the Rock Hall's blog and feature pages, in addition to videos and galleries that capture the moments that matter in rock and roll. Here you'll find rock and roll news, artist interviews, performance notes, the latest event and exhibit happenings, and more. Consider this your backstage pass.”

                          Assuming Phil’s interpretation is reasonable (which I personally think most knowledgeable popular music fans would agree with), the Rock Hall itself intentionally makes the terms “rock” and “rock and roll” interchangeable. Why would they do this? Well, the answer isn’t hard to find once you put yourself in their place. Rock and Roll is universally acknowledged as a uniquely American invention, with it’s roots and contributors coming from multiple segments of American society. By the time the Rock Hall held it’s first induction ceremony in 1986, the argument was already raging as to what is rock and what isn’t. The basis of the disagreement was largely (though not exclusively) draw along racial lines. The Rock Hall knew that the limited, racially based and frankly incorrect description of Rock & Roll would leave them with very little to celebrate. So they wisely inducted Sam Cooke and Ray Charles in the very first year. Looking at this first set of inductions (rightly or wrongly) opens the door for the Hall to justify practically any artist they wanted or needed to moving forward.
                          http://rockhall.com/inductees/ceremonies/1986/

                          Now, there’s a boatload to cover and that will come in time.
                          But the overarching point that I’d like to make is this; the early days of
                          “Race music”, represented a serious threat to many of the social norms of the day once it started to influence mainstream music. It was a tide that was impossible to stem, even with the most fervent calls from the pulpits of America to resist the “devil’s music”. When non-black performers began
                          making product embodying the sounds and passions of “race music”,
                          it certainly had to be referred to as something else. Hence the term that we discuss endlessly today.

                          Simply put, “Rock and Roll” as a phrase (although innocently hidden behind the guise of music) represented an affront to the societal norms of the day. With all the issues I could point out about the Rock Hall (having dealt with it directly with Public Enemy), they do understand the point I just made, even if those that decry PE’s induction don’t.

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