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The Beatles Were ‘the Worst Musicians in the World,’ Quincy Jones Says


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True. Which is also maybe why they inspired generations of guitar playing rock musicians. Everybody figured, "jeez, if these guy can do it, I certainly could too." ;D

 

My father was a musician so I started early. I had been playing at the guitar for several years when The Beatles came on the scene. I was impressed and that, along with their continued sucess and growth, had me placing them on some sort of pedestal.

 

I thought of them as musical deities - until I saw the Let It Be movie. I was in high school at the time and had my own band. Let It Be showed me that they were just four people in a band - like my band - the difference being that they were very good.

 

Prior to Let It Be, music was just a hobby for me but seeing The Beatles in that setting inspired me enough to make it a carreer - I went so far as to build a parts Telecaster and stain the wood to make it look like it's made out of rosewood.

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The Beatles Were ‘the Worst Musicians in the World' date='’ Quincy Jones Says[/b']

 

Is QJ just getting old and senile? Now I know the Beatles were not the caliber of musicians that the high end jazz players Quincy worked with but that's what made it all work. Players in QJ's world would have never got the sound of the Beatles. No way. I think the guy may have missed a course of meds.

 

 

 

 

 

Technically, Quincy Jones may have been right. However, ''technically proficient'' and enjoyable music aren't always the same thing. Sometimes, the simple things -- like most of The Beatles' output before about 1967 -- are the best. I've heard "technically excellent'' music I would pay to not hear again.

Edited by The Badger
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Hehe' date=' I'm going through a '70s/'80s tv show theme song phase right now. Starsky & Hutch, Wonder Woman, Barnaby Jones. Great jams![/quote']

 

Barnaby Jones...awesomeness! Loved that show and the theme song is awesome.

 

I've been listening to the Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat soundtrack lately. Andrew Lloyd Webber managed to inject a half dozen musical genre/styles into a Bible fairy tale. Clever and entertaining.

 

 

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Hehe, I'm going through a '70s/'80s tv show theme song phase right now. Starsky & Hutch, Wonder Woman, Barnaby Jones. Great jams!

 

A long time ago in a different life we had a three fingered bass player. No, this isn't a story about him but he was a phenomenal player but he also had an affinity for old television show themes. He came up with an idea that we do a short medley of a few of those song as part of one of our sets. You'd be surprised how people got off on that, especially if we waited to the last set when most of them are inebriated by the vice of their choice. We only did it for a couple of years until we got a new bass player and one night we asked ourselves what we were doing this for. But it was kind of fun after playing 60s rock all night, week after week, year after...well, some of you know what I mean.

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A long time ago in a different life we had a three fingered bass player. No, this isn't a story about him but he was a phenomenal player but he also had an affinity for old television show themes. He came up with an idea that we do a short medley of a few of those song as part of one of our sets. You'd be surprised how people got off on that, especially if we waited to the last set when most of them are inebriated by the vice of their choice. We only did it for a couple of years until we got a new bass player and one night we asked ourselves what we were doing this for. But it was kind of fun after playing 60s rock all night, week after week, year after...well, some of you know what I mean.

 

Nice! I'm trying to sell my band on a similar medley idea right now. :lol: Plus it would be nice to have the Star Trek fight theme in our back pocket in case a bar fight ever breaks out.

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A long time ago in a different life we had a three fingered bass player. No, this isn't a story about him but he was a phenomenal player but he also had an affinity for old television show themes. He came up with an idea that we do a short medley of a few of those song as part of one of our sets. You'd be surprised how people got off on that, especially if we waited to the last set when most of them are inebriated by the vice of their choice. We only did it for a couple of years until we got a new bass player and one night we asked ourselves what we were doing this for. But it was kind of fun after playing 60s rock all night, week after week, year after...well, some of you know what I mean.

 

Nostalgia is a huge sell. Always has been. Everyone loves what they grew up with which is why 20 year old songs always go over well with bar-going audiences while 5-10 year old songs? Not so much. But wait a few more years, and those will come back as "classics" as well.

 

So that's why we see the Spice Girls reuniting. And all these 90s TV shows getting revivals. I'm guessing the theme from "Friends" probably kills in the bars these days? Every 30-something chick who's had a bit too much to drink wants to get up and sing along to it?

 

The cycle has been on rinse and repeat for as long as I can remember going back at least since "Happy Days" and Sha Na Na were huge in the 70s.

 

 

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Barnaby Jones...awesomeness! Loved that show and the theme song is awesome.

 

I've been listening to the Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat soundtrack lately. Andrew Lloyd Webber managed to inject a half dozen musical genre/styles into a Bible fairy tale. Clever and entertaining.

 

 

All true - but they're no Good Times!

 

[video=youtube;s6gNo4-1r6k]

 

 

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Does QJ play an instrument at a highly skilled level?

 

He attended Berklee on a scholarship and was a trumpeter for Lionel Hampton and Dizzy Gillespie before embarking on a career as an arranger, composer and bandleader.

 

I don't know what recordings exist of him playing, but I suspect he was pretty well skilled.

 

There aren't too many musicians' wiki pages that read like this one. Even if he sucks at the trumpet, I imagine he's experienced enough to judge other player's abilities:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quincy_Jones

Edited by Vito Corleone
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He attended Berklee on a scholarship and was a trumpeter for Lionel Hampton and Dizzy Gillespie before embarking on a career as an arranger and bandleader.

 

I don't know what recordings exist of him playing, but I suspect he was pretty well skilled.

 

I've assumed this for years, but I'm starting to question it. Great musicians tend to like being heard. The fact that we never see that side of QJ leads me to believe he never really developed great skills as a musician. Don't get me wrong; he's tremendously talented, but he's probably an average musician himself, which makes the quote more noise from a crotchety old dude. Keith Richards is the same way. I will be too.

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Giving Jones the absolute extreme benefit of the doubt, he may be referring to the fact that the Beatles stopped performing live in 1966 for the most part. They were always talented at playing live, though, so I'm not sure what he is talking about.

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I've assumed this for years, but I'm starting to question it. Great musicians tend to like being heard. The fact that we never see that side of QJ leads me to believe he never really developed great skills as a musician. Don't get me wrong; he's tremendously talented, but he's probably an average musician himself, which makes the quote more noise from a crotchety old dude. Keith Richards is the same way. I will be too.

 

I gotta call BS on that one. The idea that only one "more skilled" at a particular endeavor can judge the ability of others doesn't make any sense. Can a movie director not know the difference between great actors and merely good actors? What good would any record producer be if he wasn't able to distinguish skill levels of musicians?

 

If Jones wasn't the greatest trumpeter, then it probably says even more for his ear and abilities as a producer to recognize that and leave the actual playing to those who could do it better.

 

 

 

Edited by Vito Corleone
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Giving Jones the absolute extreme benefit of the doubt, he may be referring to the fact that the Beatles stopped performing live in 1966 for the most part. They were always talented at playing live, though, so I'm not sure what he is talking about.

 

I recall one of the band members (think it was John) saying they stopped playing live because it was too difficult to successfully play the type of music they wanted to create.

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Giving Jones the absolute extreme benefit of the doubt, he may be referring to the fact that the Beatles stopped performing live in 1966 for the most part. They were always talented at playing live, though, so I'm not sure what he is talking about.

 

Probably that, as talented as they may have been at playing live, they were never at the skill level of the musicians he generally worked with.

 

[video=youtube;T0gEkdOhnDc]

 

Edited by Vito Corleone
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I gotta call BS on that one. The idea that only one "more skilled" at a particular endeavor can judge the ability of others doesn't make any sense. Can a movie director not know the difference between great actors and merely good actors? What good would any record producer be if he wasn't able to distinguish skill levels of musicians?

 

If Jones wasn't the greatest trumpeter, then it probably says even more for his ear and abilities as a producer to recognize that and leave the actual playing to those who could do it better.

 

 

 

Don't get me wrong, I have little doubt that Ringo struggled with Love is a Many Splendored Thing, but to put the Beatles in the worst musicians category based on this is a bit extreme. The Beatles were average musicians, as I'm guessing QJ is too. Their genius was elsewhere.

 

 

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Probably that, as talented as they may have been at playing live, they were never at the skill level of the musicians he generally worked with.

 

[video=youtube;T0gEkdOhnDc]

 

Man, that guy kinda makes me wish I learned how to play piano!

 

To a certain extent it's apples and oranges. Guys like that are expected to be able to play everything well. Artists like the Beatles just do their own thing, so it's addition by subtraction. Even with the magnificent talent of players like those on the stage, it's hard to have the same intimacy with their material as an artist does with the style he creates as an extension not just of their ability, but of his self.

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Don't get me wrong, I have little doubt that Ringo struggled with Love is a Many Splendored Thing, but to put the Beatles in the worst musicians category based on this is a bit extreme. The Beatles were average musicians, as I'm guessing QJ is too. Their genius was elsewhere.

 

 

 

So he exaggerated. Obviously they aren't "the worst". (Although it's very possible to imagine he was pretty appalled that THAT was what people were all excited about in 1964....) But I'm gonna guess he was better than average musician to get a scholarship to Berklee and touring gigs with cats like Gillespie and Hampton. And as much as I love The Beatles, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that none of them would ever have been able to pass an audition for any band he ever put together. And you don't write the songs he's written and come up with the arrangements he's come up with if you don't know your way around a few different instruments pretty well.

 

Yes, there obviously much more to making music and hit records than technical skills and trained abilities. But if that's the criteria on which one wishes to judge musicianship, I would hope even John, Paul, George and Ringo all know they were never all that.

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Man, that guy kinda makes me wish I learned how to play piano!

 

To a certain extent it's apples and oranges. Guys like that are expected to be able to play everything well. Artists like the Beatles just do their own thing, so it's addition by subtraction. Even with the magnificent talent of players like those on the stage, it's hard to have the same intimacy with their material as an artist does with the style he creates as an extension not just of their ability, but of his self.

 

Definitely apples and oranges.

 

And let's also remember that he worked with Paul on "The Girl Is Mine" and Michael recorded "Girlfriend" before that. And reportedly Jones was the one who suggested "Girlfriend" for Jackson to record. So I don't think it's like he absolutely despised the Beatles or anything.

 

But yeah...definitely from a whole different corner of the musical universe then where he came from and generally worked.

 

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