Exposing Irrefutable Proof that the “Fab Four” were the Most Overrated Musicians of All-Time
|It was the '60s. Nobody knew everything they liked sucked.|
Is it possible to discriminate against people and simultaneously enforce a status quo opinion via pop cultural tastes?
It sounds really stupid and unlikely, but I think I’ve uncovered a key example of such homogenized group ideal enforcement in modern music with something I like to call “The Exclusionary Beatles Principle.”
“The Exclusionary Beatles Principle” is this: no matter who you are or where you live, you MUST admit that the Beatles were either among the greatest musicians of all time OR they were the absolute most important ever. You must also admit that they were indelibly influential artists, extremely important social philosophizing poets and without question men of incredible ethics and values.
The social code I’ve observed in the western world is this: if you break away from “The Exclusionary Beatles Principle,” you are WRONG. The Beatles, for whatever reason, are a band that you MUST not only like, but give an incredible amount of reverence to. While it’s OK to crap on Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson (up until 2009, anyway) and Justin Bieber, not only is Beatles criticism frowned upon, it’s seen as a perversion of cultural thinking. If you don’t have a great deal of respect for the group, then you are considered guilty of non-group thought, which in turn, allows those within the same thought-group to fallaciously discredit and disbar you in just about every other domain, as well.
Well, old Jimbo here has never been one to refuse to barbecue a sacred cow, and I’m just going to come out and say it:
The Beatles sucked. I mean, hard.
Blasphemy, you say? Unfounded conjecture, you protest? Not so fast, amigo, because I’ve outline five SCIENTIFICALLY AND HISTORICALLY INDISPUTABLE reasons as to why not only are The Beatles EXTREMELY OVERRATED, but a downright crappy band of musicians AND human beings.
You say you want a revolution, man? Well, here’s a paradigm shift for you:
FIVE IRREFUTABLE REASONS WHY THE BEATLES SUCKED
|"..imagine no possessions..."|
REASON NUMBER ONE: THEY WERE MEDIA CREATIONS
When people refer to Brian Epstein as the “fifth Beatle,” they’re WAY more accurate than they probably think. Not only did Epstein serve as the band’s original manager, he’s pretty much the Svengali that transformed the four mop-headed racket-makers from Nazi-dive playing scoundrels into the N*Sync of their day.
As part of Epstein’s “marketing strategy” for the band, he advised the group to make a few changes to their act - namely, everything. Not only did he force the kids to change their appearance (that’s where the suits and haircuts came in), he also advised/threatened them to play more “radio-friendly” tunes, which resulted in all of those Lou Pearlman-esque bubblegum songs making their way across the pond.
“Beatlemania,” in reality, was a heavily produced marketing ploy by Epstein and the bigwigs at Vee-Jay Records, who were willing to dump tons of payola to score themselves a Motown like sensation for the label, so that they could use The Beatles as a bargaining chip for a highly lucrative Capitol Records deal in the States.
In short, the term “Fab Four” actually is pretty fitting regarding the group - although if we wanted to steer closer to reality, that “fab” connotes not “fabulous,” but “fabricated.”
REASON NUMBER TWO: THEY WERE RIP-OFFS
Quick question: what exactly did The Beatles do differently as musicians?
The short answer? Absolutely nothing.
The Beatles early recordings might as well be admitted plagiarizations of countless American artists, from Carl Perkins to the Supremes to Roy Orbison to especially Buddy Holly. . .in fact, the name of the group is a direct nod to the name of Holly’s band, The Crickets. And that’s not even counting the groups’ countrymen, including the Dave Clark Five, whom the Beatles “borrowed” tons of inspiration from for their post-“Rubber Soul” albums.
As far as their much revered later work goes, just remember this: The Beatles didn’t exactly pioneer the art, or crunching guitar overlap, Bengali interludes or orchestrated feedback in popular music, either.
Think “Helter Skelter” was the first heavy metal song ever recorded? Too bad Arthur Brown, Budgie and Blue Cheer were already established acts by the time the song was released, and completely ignore the fact that the first Jimi Hendrix album came out a full year before the “The White Album.”
The Beatles were FAR from being the first pop act to interject sitars into their sound, either. (Ravi Shankar, your table is waiting.)
Think “Revolution 9” was the first instance of a musical group getting all “industrial” on our asses? Well, it would be, if not for the fact that tons of bands like Cromagnon, The Monks, The Fugs and The Godz had already begun exploring fuzz and distortion years earlier.
Even The New York Times called the group out on their lifting of other bands’ sounds, which prompted John Lennon to write a nasty reply in 1971 in which he said that the Beatles’ music wasn’t a rip-off, but a love-in.
And in case you were wondering, the Beatles were successfully sued for those love-ins on THREE separate occasions, as Chuck Berry, Joe Garlandand the Chiffons all filed – and won –suits against the band for ripping off their music.
REASON NUMBER THREE: THEIR ALBUMS WERE RIDICULOUSLY OVERPRODUCED
Odds are, you hear Beatles songs a lot. You hear them on the oldies station and you hear them on a perpetual loop at Starbucks. You’ve probably heard their number one singles a million billion times, but answer me this - just how many times have you heard a live recording of The Beatles performing?
Outside of the Ed Sullivan tapings, most people have never HEARD a live Beatles song, and that’s for a good reason: The Beatles were a TERRIBLE live act, that’s why.
Earlier, I said that the Beatles didn’t pioneer anything new in music. Well, the closest they got to being innovators for pop music was the fact that they were the first band that necessitated overproduction in their recordings. Listening to “The White Album” or “Sgt. Pepper’s” is basically the equivalent of listening to the work of a hundred people, because there’s so much post work and audio tweaking on the tracks that there’s hardly anything organic about the compositions at all.
Here’s just a few criticisms about The Beatles overproduced albums that I’ve stumbled across on the Web:
“John Lennon and Paul McCartney are not writing together, haven't been for two years, and you can see the whole thing falling apart in Let It Be …there are only two songs which get anywhere and we have heard these so much they have lost their lustre…the rest of the album is hackneyed, originally supposed to signify the Beatles attempt to get back to rock and roll, to where they once performed live. This album is a sad attempt to recreate the days when they played before actual people and not George Martin and millions of dollars of sound equipment. There is a photograph of the group buried in their equipment, performing before cameras. The result was nothing live at all but a group of very famous people, heroes of our time simulating live performance…. Let It Be is a disparate album, going all sorts of different places at once, never unified… it reflects not the many sides of the Beatles in the act of creation, but the dissonance that precedes the fall.
“Flawed, botched, and overproduced by Phil Spector…”
“Let It Be is a grim reminder that there is nothing so depressing as the sound of breaking up. A salvage effort by Spector renders the LP's few worthy tunes unlistenable with lush strings and choirs.”
Heck, even the people that like The Beatles admit that they went overboard with the post-production. Just listen to this fanboy talk about the faults and foibles of “Sgt. Pepper”:
“There is something wrong with Sgt Pepper, and it is by far the most overrated album in the Beatles catalog, and possibly the most overrated album of all time. Here are the arguments…the stereo effects are way too exaggerated, with vocals or other sounds panned all the way to the left or right, indicating a wild overuse of the Beatles newfound opportunity to mix a record in multitrack stereo. Albums since then, even Beatles albums subsequently produced, do not make use of such gimmicky stereo panning unless the effect is designed to be extreme. In the case of some of the tunes on Sgt Pepper, the extreme panning serves as a distraction instead of an enhancement.”
REASON NUMBER FOUR: THEY WEREN’T GREAT MUSICIANS BY ANY STRECH
|Pic courtesy of some awesome guy named |
George Harrison was probably the most talented of the Beatles, but let’s face the facts: would anybody feel comfortable in naming him one of the greatest guitar players of all time? Was anything he did on par with the work of Hendrix, or Van Halen, or Stevie Ray Vaughn, or even a Scott Ian? In all reality, that dude from Limp Bizkit was more impressive as a guitarist than he was.
The Beatles may have been adequate singers and writers of mildly above average poetry, but that’s about it as far as their musical dexterity goes.
REASON NUMBER FIVE: THEY WERE ALL HYPOCRITES
For whatever reason, people seem to equate John Lennon and the music of the Beatles as symbolic of the peace and human rights movement of the 1960s.
The only problem? John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison were all a bunch of duplicitous, insincere a-holes.
McCartney and Harrison both went on and on about the ills of consumption and commercialization, but what do you know? Both guys spent the rest of their lives living in luxurious mansions, collecting gargantuan royalty checks that they spent on such humanitarian efforts as themselves. Ever one to note the value of the musical art form, McCartney celebrated the medium by doing what any connoisseur of art would - he bought up thelicensing rights to more songs than anybody on the planet, so that he couldmake a profit every time other people’s work was used for commercial purposes.
|Julian and Cynthia Lennon, seen |
here paying respects to
the man that gave peace
a chance/ ruined their lives.
"I have to say that, from my point of view, I felt he was a hypocrite…[he]could talk about peace and love out loud to the world but he could never show it to the people who supposedly meant the most to him…how can you talk about peace and love and have a family in bits and pieces - no communication, adultery, divorce? You can't do it, not if you're being true and honest with yourself."
At first, that sounds like your run of the mill case of the sour grapes, until you realize this: the above words were written by John Lennon’s own son.
And that, in a nutshell, summarizes the innate hypocrisy behind those oh-so virtuous Beatles. You claim to promote all of these ideals that wins you a legion of fans, and what do you know? You do the exact opposite as soon as you’re off stage or out of the plain view of a camera.
I mean, what could possibly be more hypocritical than a guy that sang “imagine no possessions” dying with about $150 million in his bank account?
So what have we learned here today? Well, a lot, hopefully, key among them the fact that opinion is opinion and anybody that wants to enforce such as a cultural dictate is a grade-A despotic bung hole.
I’ve brought up the “Great Man” myth several times before, but it deserves another mention here. Throughout history, certain people are showered with praise for their “achievements,” even if they a.) really didn’t do what everyone claims they did or b.) they were absolute pricks in real-life that did horrible, horrible things that, for some reason, gets filtered out of the mainstream pool of cultural knowledge, despite tons of records existing on the matter.
A lot of the accolades thrown towards the Beatles are undeserved, the same way just about EVERYONE and EVERYTHING that has been or ever will be popular has. The important thing here is that you go beyond the fan boy and girl-ism of your cohorts and decide FOR YOURSELF what’s individually great or meaningful. . .
. . .because the moment you give up that inquisitive mindset, and especially if you just buy into the herd mentality without a smidge of skepticism, you’re pretty much setting yourself up for a lifetime of aimless following.