Some Factoids

February 28, 2008 at 6:21 pm (Uncategorized)

So I thought I’d do a slightly shorter post this time, as the last few have been kind of long. So I’ve done some digging, and here are some of my favorite Beatles factoids.

Courtesy of Streaming Oldies:

John Lennon’s middle name (before he later changed it to Ono) was Winston. His family chose this name because Lennon was born during a German air raid and they wanted his middle name to be after Winston Churchill. (How very British of them!)

John Lennon’s harmonica used in “Love Me Do” was one that he shoplifted while in Holland.

After Beatlemania began, fans went a little crazy. Some allegedly devoured the grass that Paul McCartney had walked on in California. So when McCartney had his tonsils removed, there was a public announcement that they would be incinerated.  (Today, I bet someone would try to sell them on ebay.)

The Beatles and the Rolling Stones had an agreement not to release their singles/albums too closely to each other so that both bands had a better shot at being #1 in the charts.

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Arctic Monkeys vs Beatles

February 22, 2008 at 1:07 pm (Uncategorized)

The Arctic MonkeysThe Beatles

For this blog post, I wanted to do a little more of the bridging I talked about in my first post. So today, I’m going to talk about the Arctic Monkeys, a band that has recently received worldwide attention for their similarity to the success of the Beatles. The band is also a good tie-in with online ethics, because the band got its start largely through myspace.com.

The band formed in 2002 in Sheffield, England. They initially performed locally, distributing free, home-made CDs they’d burned of their music at concerts. Their fans ripped the music onto their computers, shared it, and created a myspace.com site for the band. Although the band was originally opposed to signing a record deal, Domino eventually caught their eye in 2005. Since signing, the group has released their first full-length album “Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I’m Not.” The album became the fastest-selling in the history of England. This caused many to followers to compare the band to The Beatles, and some even went so far as to say this new band would outshine them.

The Arctic Monkeys have a similar, British pop/rock sound as the Beatles in the Revolver/Sgt.Peppers Era. The Arctic Monkeys consist of four fresh-faced Brits (at least one of which seems to always sport the Beatles’ signature shaggy hairstyle). Even the lyrics and lead singer Alex Turner’s inflection tend to have a Beatles-esque swagger to them. The Arctic Monkeys, to me at least, sound somewhat like a sped-up, updated Beatles, (with a pinch of Franz Ferdinand sound) and an indie twist.

Take a listen.

When the Sun Goes Down (Scumbag)

Elanor Rigby

I like the Arctic Monkeys’ sound, but in my mind, no band can ever rival my precious Beatles. It’s impossible not to see the similarities, though, showing that the band may indeed be a sort of Beatles 2.0. (Or at least some people would like to think so.)

This sort of revamping of previous cultural icons is very goes along with the copyright issues we discussed in class. Some might say that copying is the sincerest form of flattery, which, in this case, I believe is true. While they are original, their sort of throwback vibe gives them a familiarity that people can relate to.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about them, though, is their myspace-induced popularity. They are generally accepted as the first major band to gain status in that way. Although their music was distributed freely, the band didn’t see it as a loss of profit, like many American artists do. They felt rather that giving away their music for free allowed more people to know their music and go to concerts able to sing along.

In my opinion, this can be a sticky situation, because giving away your art for free doesn’t necessarily sit well with me. However, the band made a name for themselves through the uncontainable spread of their musical talent, rather than record-label promotions. In this way, I feel they let their talent speak for itself, something that more bands should do today.

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A Hard Day’s Night

February 15, 2008 at 5:05 pm (Uncategorized)

So for this blog, I decided to go a little more in-depth exploring “A Hard Day’s Night,” the Beatles-themed hotel that opened February first in Liverpool. Because the hotel is so new, there is not very much information available about it yet. However, some of the amenities include: 110 rooms, Paul McCartney and John Lennon-themed rooms, a bar, a restaurant, and even a wedding chapel. However, I think the most interesting aspect is the gallery and series of Beatles paintings the hotel features, which pay graphic homage to the group.

In a way, this hotel is reminiscent of Elvis’s Graceland, thus placing the Beatles on a similarly high pedestal. I love their music, but one can’t help but wonder if such celebrity-worship is unhealthy.  Right? Here’s the thing though – the difference between tabloid-obsession and expensive themed hotels (although they are both centered on celebrities) is that The Beatles (and Elvis etc) have reached a new level of celebritydom.  They have permanently infiltrated pop culture, they have become icons for generations and their music has influenced the work of many contemporary artists. Beatlemania has had a permanent impact on America and the world, and because of that, I fully support a hotel to honor the musicians.

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Blackbird

February 7, 2008 at 5:39 pm (Uncategorized)

Hi.

My name is Rachel. I’m a freshman at Colorado State University, and this blog is part of my Online Writing class. Some things to know about me: my favorite things in the world are the smell of laundry, writing letters, making people laugh, playing my music too loud, learning something new, being the only car on the highway, painting, dancing, cute socks, fresh fruit, and being still in nature.

My focus in this blog is on the Beatles and how their music affected (and continues to permeate) American pop culture. Even though it has been 44 years since their fateful debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, the group and their music is still incredibly widespread. Don’t believe me? Check this out. For just one day, I kept track of anything I encountered that had something to do with the Beatles. And in that one day, I heard:

  1. That a new hotel is opening in Liverpool, called A Hard Day’s Night (based on the Beatles song).
  2. The soundtrack of Across The Universe, a movie-musical replete with new covers of Beatles songs, released last year.
  3. The opening scene of the children’s movie Happy Feet, which features a cover of “The End” (off of the Beatles’ Abbey Road).
  4. The Gray Album, a compilation of Jay-Z’s The Black Album and The Beatles’ White Album, remixed by Danger Mouse.

Reminder: This is in just one day!

I think the Beatles represent an important blending and connecting of people across ethnic, socio-economic, educational, linguistic, racial, age, and time boundaries. Their music was inspired by the combination of African-American beats, Elvis-style rock and roll, and Brit rock. Thus, their music had a widespread appeal and evolved throughout the 60’s and 70’s as not only a commentary on society, but a reflection of it. And to me, it is incredibly interesting to see my generation embrace Beatles music the same way that our parents did. I believe it is an indication facing similar societal issues, and being able to relate to the songs. Which is definitely something that can allow us to come together…right now…over me. (Sorry – I couldn’t resist).

Now. I chose ‘Blackbird’ as the main motif of this post as well as of the blog in general because the song has a special significance to me. It became something to help me get through the harder times I faced in high school, and became a personal symbol of perseverance. Blackbirds started showing up in my paintings, and my friends and family would give me gifts that in some way featured a blackbird. And now it seems, it has become inexorably tied into my identity as it was the first thing that came to mind when deciding on a name for this blog.

However, I am not the only one who was profoundly affected. I’ll end this post with some youtube videos of people who similarly love this song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liOuzXqF1PY (the original, combined with an artist’s sketch)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7MywK24HdQ (Sarah McLachlan’s version)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCT9xnlhldM (Talented kid!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fGh1aTyoOM (A band)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkaToqoVj7k (A choir group)

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