I was a boy when The Beatles exploded onto the scene in the U.S. My brother Alex and I wrote them off as a "girls band," embracing The Rolling Stones and others of the day. By the time we saw Help!
, by chance on a double bill with Fantastic Voyage
, we were finished. The music and the amazing charisma of the band was irresistible. We went back to A Hard Day's Night
and were blown away. Then Revolver
came out. The ultimate mind-blow was watching the film (they weren't called videos yet) for "Strawberry Fields Forever" on The Ed Sullivan Show
. They had, by then, dragged us all into a world of imagination, sophistication, and infectiousness beyond anything else, beyond any genre. Few of any persuasion can claim to be immune to this magic. I know I am not.
It never ceases to amaze me how kids, usually just preteen, seem to go through a Beatles phase. I have heard about this and witnessed it in my friends' families to some degree very often. It brings up the startling and timeless universality of The Beatles' music, from all phases of their amazingly/relatively short career together. And of course one then hears the music over and over, and almost invariably this leads to an even deeper awe and appreciation for the infectiousness and craft of even their "lightest" songs. It is so inspiring. somewhat daunting, and a bit mysterious, no?
The music of The Beatles' has been a source of inspiration for me from song writing to arrangingto live performance and studio recording. I especially felt a connection to George's music after discovering that we shared the same passion for the ukulele. His song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" will always be my favorite song to play on the tiny four string.
The Beatles were the first popular music I remember hearing as a child in the early 60's, starting with the song "Help." We got Sgt. Peppers
the week it came out in 1967 and it was the first record that I really played over and over at age 6.
I didn't realize it until mixing my CD Narrow Margin
40 years later that this record had more influence on the way that I hear music in general than anything else, and is in all likelihood the reason I gravitated to the guitar. The great songwriting, density of textures and the amount of activity on many tracks, and the sheer number of different colors in the orchestration became the blueprint for what music is to me. Of course I had no way of knowing at the time that Sgt. Peppers
was exceptional in this way vis-à-vis other records.
The Beatles' musical influence on American culture was all-pervasive. Not only the music, but also their "mop-topped" look transformed the way America dressed and cut their hair! Hair
, the musical, is a perfect example of that influence. As usual for the rock and soul bands of that time, their own influence was Black American music, so it was interesting to see how, through their own prism, something truly unique was born.
The songs and lyrics were simple, yet each and every one had a phrase, a word, a chord change that was just brilliant and, with the addition of George Martin as producer, they forever set the bar for the pop music of the '60s and thereafter.
Growing up in that same era, I couldn't help but be influenced by their records you would hear them all day on the radio and couldn't get them out of your head... they were some of the first pop records that I took seriously. Besides the great songs and production, they played and sang so well togetherit was really a group with a symbiotic affinity much like Coltrane's classic quartetthere were no weak links.
In 1966 I took my first trip to Europe and Asia with the Indiana University Big Band. We landed at Heathrow for a day of sightseeing and lo and behold, from a second floor balcony at the airport, we looked down and there they were (!) just milling around the airport togetherwe couldn't believe our luck in seeing themthey were dressed super mod and each had a walking stick... just too cool. On that same trip, some of us spent a day at the beach in Beirut after taking LSD (my one and only "trip!"). I went back to the hotel room and eventually listened to "You Won't See Me" from Rubber Soul
over and over and over...
Later on in 1974, Mike and I toured Japan with the Plastic Ono Super-Band featuring Yoko Ono, a tour "sponsored" by John during the time he was having the affair with his secretary May Pang (who later worked for the Brecker Bros office), and that was as close as we got to playing with The Beatles, but that tour was a lot of fun.
Also, Steve Gadd
, Rick Marotta, Don Grolnick
and Steve Khan were in the band. Mike and I both did some recording with John right before he was shot, and played on a Paul McCartney session. Also when I was doing some ghostwriting for Arif Mardin in the '70s, Arif handed me a bunch of tracks on tape with lead sheets that needed horns. I asked him who might be singing on the tracks because that might help me in the writing of the charts. He said rather brusquely "Oh, I don't know, maybe Aretha, maybe Carly or Bette, or maybe Ringo (!), we'll figure that out later!... "I said "thanks for narrowing it down!" :) ...so maybe there's a Ringo track out there with some Brecker Bros. horns on it!
As a child I fell in love with the later compositions of the Beatles, especially "Eleanor Rigby" and "Yesterday," both written by Paul McCartney. But of course the "bassist" would be the most melodic one in the band. ;-)
The music of The Beatles has had an impact on my writing and my appreciation of their music. I must admit that for many years I never considered myself a fan of The Beatles and I actually became more interested in exploring and studying their music as I heard jazz musicians record and perform some of their compositions like "Eleanor Rigby," "Can't Buy Me Love" and "Blackbird." The Beatles have written many songs with simple melodies and pretty harmonic movements and I enjoy the simplicity of their music. Throughout the history of music, the songs with longevity are quite often the ones with simple melodies and this is why I like the music of The Beatles.
As a huge fan of The Beatles, sometimes it's hard to quantify how they have impacted my own music, because I think their influence runs pretty deep on me. While I'm not sure my ability to win a trivia contest about Revolver
-era recording techniques has much influence on my jazz piano playing, I think I've learned two very important musical lessons from them that I can apply to my own music. The first is a reminder of just how vital and important a truly great, memorable melody is (especially when it allows me to cover the song and screw up all the harmonies!). And the second lesson is that it's always worth it to truly be what you want to be musically, to not get constrained by genre or other people's expectations; to have the courage to go ahead and record "Tomorrow Never Knows" or "Strawberry Fields Forever" or what not, even when it departs from the formula that initially brought you success.
Sometime during my 8th year of life, I discovered that my parents had a collection of Beatles albums. They were Rubber Soul, Magical Mystery Tour, Sgt. Pepper's, Abbey Road
, and the two collections with the cover of the band looking down over the railing ("Red Album" 1962-66
, and "Blue Album" 1967-1970
). I remember every detail of these records, the condition of the jackets, which songs had scratches, which song marked the point of flipping the album over, etc. During that year, I learned every song on them, and in so doing, learned a lot about the guitar and music in general. I generally think about this as the point in my life of discovering real music. But there was a missing link in the collection, a mysterious recording I had heard about called "The White Album." The unattainability of this record (remember, this is pre-internet, and also in small-town Pacific Northwest) made it even more desirable, and the idea that there were more Beatles songs out there to hear was driving me crazy. Throughout that year, I dropped hints, then asked for, then begged my parents for a copy of this record. On my birthday, it finally arrived, mysterious as I expected with its blank cover and title "The Beatles" at a slightly skewed angle. I immediately went to the record player and listened through the first three sides, in total amazement, with the feeling of hearing a great storynot wanting it to end, but at the same time wanting to know the final outcome. Then, at the end of the fourth side, a strange voice began chanting "number nine, number nine, number nine..." panning left and right, followed by the strangest and most beautiful collection of sounds I had ever heard. It was my ninth birthday, and the appearance of this chanting voice was confirmation to me that The Beatles were not only the greatest thing in the entire world, but also that they were speaking to me personally, that there was some convergence of the fates that led me to hear that song on that particular day.
I've always been a creative musician. Even as a teen I could always conjure up some pretty interesting music even though my experience was narrow and my chops limited.
For awhile I studied with a great composition teacher who surprised me with a question when I was mired down in the middle of a piece. "What are you trying to say?" he asked. I was sort of dumbstruck. I guess I was just trying to solve musical problems... you know, establish an intro, get a tempo going, state a main idea, and then...? Well I didn't have an answer for him and it took awhile to even figure out the question.
Finally, in a few years, I began to understand that solving composing issues, one measure at a time was OK, but after awhile all the pieces can start to sound the same! It really helps to have a scene, an imaginary movie or a personal feeling to act as a springboard. With those in mind, you can actually write many different pieces, not just one piece many times!
During those years of musical soul searching, the Beatles came along and I was awed that so much of their music not only portrayed vivid emotional landscapes but that the breadth and scope and variety seemed limitless. They were just kids! It was almost like people were mailing them weird little movies and they would just set them to music. In just a few years they created a little universe of scenes that one could never visit in real life. To this day, so much of what they created was so personal that I don't think many singers can touch it. I speak of course about "Lucy in the Sky" or "Strawberry Fields" or "She's Leaving Home." That stuff is the musical equivalent of Salvador Dali or Rene Magritte!
Even the great songwriters like Gershwin, Kern and Porter merely wrote an awful lot of love songs... they fell into the categories of "me," "you" or "us." But the Beatles tapped into the first generation where youth split away into their own pot filled, rebellious "baby boom" universe, turned culture on its head and were there with a correspondingly original soundtrack.
All these years, the Fab Four have been acting as a silent tribunal, inspiring me and making me aware of the importance of breaking rules, being bizarre, taking chances and leaving no doubt about what I'm setting out to "say." Nobody was ever better at that-not Duke Ellington, nor John Williams or even Stevie Wonder.
I fell in love with The Beatles when I was a very young kid and they became a bit of an obsession for me as I got older and their popularity grew. I was along for the ride from the beginning when they had their first major hits on the charts in the early 1960s, "Love Me Do," "P.S. I Love You" and "I Wanna Hold Your Hand." (This was before I was five years old!) In '68 when the White Album was out I had learned all of the lyrics to the songs and was intrigued by the 'Paul is dead' rumors, trying to identify the clues that were supposedly etched into that album cover and in the lyrics of "Revolution Number 9" when played backwards.
As a songwriting team, the duo of Lennon and McCartney were unsurpassed in the second half of the 20th Century. And like the great teams before them, their songs have had lasting value not only in American society but worldwide. There are blues tunes like "Come Together" and "Can't Buy Me Love," standards like "The Long and Winding Road," "Hey Jude" and "Michelle" and so many others in between.
Because The Beatles' music is not only classic, but was like a soundtrack for so much of my early life, it's no wonder that I would be compelled to play songs from their rich catalogue. The depth of their songwriting, harmonically and melodically, has enticed me to want to play and record them on many occasions.
Even before I knew what music was, I knew The Beatles. The first music video I ever saw was George Harrison's "I Got My Mind Set On You." I don't know if it changed my life or not, but I remember it was pretty awesome. Wrapping my head around all of the things that they accomplished in less than 10 years is like trying to wrap my head around the size of the universe. When I was in high school, there was an exchange student from Russia who loved The Beatles. We played in a band together. His accent went away when he'd singit was my first realization that music knows absolutely no political, or geographical boundaries. I wish I had been in The Beatles.
"My mom had an original serial numbered version of "The White Album," and when I was a kid that was the first record that I fell in love with, and played endlessly. It really changed the way I think about everything. I still listen to it today, and each time I hear new things in the recording."
The music of the Beales had a major impact for me being as they appeared on the scene as I was in the process of making the the first Gary Burton Quartet, so we included a lot of different musical influences, not just types of jazz.
I have been and am seriously influenced by the Beatles in so many ways. They personify some many interesting qualities. The Beatles were so creative on so many levels.
Whether it was the music, the production values and the inventiveness of both. The image they created, even from project to project how they changed their focus artistically, their musical vision and how they matured, progressively challenging the audience yet drawing the audience right into what they were doing at that moment. Sure they had some awesome help from visionary producer George Martin. No matter, they were open to experimenting and creating new music at every turn. Something I feel has been lost in music of today on some level.
I remember being totally blown away in succession, by two of their recordings; Rubber Soul
is the sixth album by The Beatles, Released 3 December 1965, which seemed to appear in the record racks at the Sam Goodies record shop in my hometown over night with no fanfare. I remember taking the album home to listen with bated breath and after listening through, I couldn't believe how prolific they were and what amazing texture the recording had. Revolver
was the seventh album by The Beatles, released on 5 August 1966. I think these recordings eventually changed the way I listened music and this music on these recordings introduced me to a greater sense of what music should be, especially learning from the experimental aspects and techniques in the recordings themselves. Willing to take risk in composition and in the sound of different instruments. I still enjoy listening to these recording some forty years later. There's something to be said about that.
As a producer, musician and composer, I have excelled by mere fact that I intently listened and studied this music and feel that it was a true master class in sound design, recording technique, performance and music composition.
For me, The Beatles were the beginning of everything. I think they triggered my life long obsession with music. Aged 7, I used to get my parents to put on the record Sgt. Pepper's
and I was in a magical world till it ended. I always particularly loved the 1967-70 Blue album compilation. It is simply the soundtrack to my life. I love the songs, the voices, the incredible arrangements, the imagination, the musical ambition, the power and heaviness, the melody and lightness, the sheer beauty and way the songs touch the soul. In addition, most of my favourite rock bands cite The Beatles as a major influence and the later Beatles music is clearly the birth of progressive rock too.
As a musician and composer, I have been inspired by all the above elements of Beatles music and sometimes it is almost weird when I realise that a compositional idea is directly derived from a Beatles track.... again! Shame there were no more saxophone solos other than "Lady Madonna" though (Ronnie Scott R.I.P.). Across the Universe
and In My Life
, and in the end... the Beatles rule!
The Beatles were a HUGE part of my formative musical years. I was, I will admit, a "Beatlemaniac."
When I first saw the Beatles on TV, I was amazed at all those silly girls screaming. Well, I guess it was contagious, because I became one of them. I had every single Beatles record. From Meet The Beatles
to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
, I knew by heart, and still know, pretty much every single song they ever wrote. How's that for being a fan? Their harmonies and melodies became a big influence on my young musical ears.
They were amazing as a band of musicians because they did not stay stagnant. They evolved with the cultural changes that were happening all over the world. And in some ways they even led the way. This was their strength, I feel, both musically and culturally. Their music was magical (like a mystery tour!) I think it was the dynamic between the combined polar opposite genius of John and Paul's writing. Paul being accessible and sweet in his lovely lyrics and boyish charm and John being a bit of a rebel with a bohemian poet's edge and naughty-boy mystique. Their styles were so vastly different, that when they wrote together it was like a chemical brew that burst into an explosive energy that seemed to ignite something in the hearts of everyone. Even my parents loved them.
George and Ringo rounded out that dynamic with George's spiritual sensitivity and Ringo's light-hearted playfullness and obvious joie de vivre. I had a huge crush on Ringo. When he played drums and shook his hair back and forth I just went wild! It still gives me a big smile to think how much I was in love with them and their music!
I saw them Live at The Cow Palace in San Francisco. It was crazy to be in that wild audience of prepubescent girls all standing on their chairs screaming so loud you couldn't even hear the music. My God, what a cultural experience! But I grew with them and I changed with them as the times changed. From the innocence of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" to the sly coded lyrics of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" (only those who were really hip, we thought, knew what that really meant!). Life is funny. They say it all goes round and round. So in the end I have to tell you a story: I was singing at Ronnie Scott's Club in London.
Paul McCartney's MPL offices are 2 blocks away from Ronnie's at #1 Soho Square. Occasionally he would drop into the club to check out who was playing there. One night when I was performing there, my visiting friends who were in the audience; pianist extraordinaire, Amina Figarova
and bassist, Ruth Davies
, whispered to me," Paul McCartney is here!" I said, "Help! I wish you hadn't told me that!" As you can imagine, I was a bit intimidated!
The club's audience is dark from the stage... but, when I got onstage I looked out and there sitting against the back wall under the only light was Paul. Yes, I could see him very clearly. In fact he was the only person in the audience that I could see! But there he was, digging my music and clapping along! I had such fun singing to him. Remembering how I had once sat in the audience and listened to him and the Beatles, I just had to shake my head! On the way home I dropped off my CD at his office as thank you gift for staying for my show, and congratulations to him, his wife and newborn baby (born that very day). Do you want to know a secret? Life may indeed be a long and winding road, but sometimes it all just comes back full circle. It certainly can be a fun ride if you're patient!
As far as the Beatles impacting my music itself, I don't believe I had any interest when they first exploded in the United States. I was with Don Patterson
, and Billy James at the time, ("burnin'"). The entrance of The Beatles into America took place at a time when my personal focus was completely absorbed by the culture that surrounded me. At that time I was very active in Harlem at places like Small's Paradise, Count Basies, etc., as well as performing throughout the States in what was known as the "Chitlin Circuit" with leaders like Willis Jackson, Jimmy Smith
, Jack McDuff
, etc., etc. What was effecting me more than anything was the nature of different cultures. Although I was completely dedicated to jazz alone, I was there to study the people more than the music, it seemed that the playing in context was always second nature to me, as it is to this day.
By 1968, I began to notice for the first time the interest that George Harrison, as well as John Lennon held on eastern spiritualism. Once I began to turn my attention on listening to what they had to say, a broader view on music as a tool, (not a craft) began to amplify my intentions. It started to become more obvious how successfully they used the message in their lyrics. Although quite different, what they achieved was similar, (in a broader social context) to what John Coltrane
achieved with A Love Supreme.
I was discovering The Beatles in college around the time I first heard Miles Davis
, John Coltrane
, and many "jazz" artists for the first time. I was amazed at how they could use influences of ragtime on something like "When I'm 64," world music influences from India on "Within You, Without You," then do something totally avant-garde like "No. 9," and have it all work. The Beatles taught me that being a great artist, jazz or otherwise, has more to do with concept than technique.
When I was a little kid (aged 5 to 8 or so) I would spend hours listening to the same classical records all over again, trying to remember every single note I heard and singing imaginary lyrics to instrumental tunes. I would never get tired of a Karayan recording of Beethoven's Eroica symphony the old pick-up played repeatedly all day long.
A year or two later, I discovered the Beatles and began collecting their records. I was blown away by their psychedelic pyrotechnics on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
. Like other major artists of the 20th century (Satie, the Italian Futurists, Joyce, Chaplin...) they understood the music hall's potential for disjunctive, collage-like techniques and did a lot to undermine distinctions between the high and the low or, rather, render them irrelevant. The festive avant-gardism of some pieces I wrote for the Wrong Object and other recent bands still owe a lot to that approach.
"Revolution 9" urged me to explore new sonic territories and it was my first introduction to musical concretism. Without The Beatles' "White Album," Zappa and a few other pop mavericks, I would probably not have had the patience to listen to Pierre Henry or Edgar Varese, who has exerted as much influence on my solos as any jazz or rock guitarist. At the time, McCartney and Lennon were increasingly drawn to experimental art and launched the short- lived Apple subsidiary Zapple label, which intended to release electronic music alongside spoken word performances by Beat poets, Lord Buckley and Lenny Bruce.
Perhaps more than anything, the Abbey Road
Medley encouraged me to explore the significance of modular and narrative approaches in musical compositions that were poised between closed and open forms. Many years later, I realized that I was spending more time working out the transitions than the compositional units themselves.
The Beatles were one of the most musically diverse bands that ever existed. Their albums, especially the "White Album," comprised or introduced a variety of genres including rock, heavy metal, blues, folk, psychedelic, cabaret and even country. I too compose using many textures, instruments and by mixing genres. Listening to The Beatles inspired me to meld different sounds and styles together.
The Beatles are one of few groups in music history that made several songs that will live on forever. What I like about The Beatles are that their songs have such melodic and harmonic qualities. It means that they can be re- arranged and played in any style of music and as a result, many jazz musicians have done great renditions of songs from The Beatles repertoire.
My introduction to the Beatles came much later than the '60s, more the '80s, for me. I was a young girl when they first exploded on the scene, and my two sisters and I had a vocal group singing three part harmony to the Andrew Sisters and Maguire Sisters songs. So I missed that period. But when it hit me, I totally fell in love, musically and lyrically. They definitely inspired me to take chances, to be different and honest with myself as an artist. To this day I still perform their songs, and recorded "Drive my Car" on a previous CD. What a gift they have been no matter what your musical orientation is. They individually and collectively changed the landscape... long live the Beatles!
I've always admired the Beatles as a group, as musicians, as writers. I grew up listening to all kinds of music, especially classical, which involved a lot of harmony and intricate chords. I guess you could say that's what drew me to the Beatles... their awesome harmonys, and the chord progressions. They had a freedom in their music that I think every artist can relate to. If they impacted me and my music in any way, it was and still is the sheer fact to continue to be myself, and to keep going in the music that I truly love.
I've genuinely enjoyed listening to the Beatles recordings for years (still do!) as well as introducing my children to them along the way. Of course, The Beatles impact on legions of pop musicians/songwriters is simply undeniable. However, I have to admit if they have influenced my writing in any way its certainly minimal and I'm completely unconscious of itunlike, say, the influence of late '60s/'70s R&B/Funk artists (Stevie Wonder/Sly) or even some of the folk artists of the time (James Taylor/Paul Simon). Now that's not to say the Beatles didn't have an impact on my career in any way. I remember hearing Sgt. Pepper's
for the first time in 8th grade just as I joined my first rock band (...my one and only "gig" as a drummer!!). I wore that album outthoroughly enchanted by the variety of colors and completely unique sound achieved through the combination of the group with orchestral instruments and creative recording techniques. I wasn't writing at that point yet; but my fascination with that recording and those aspects may well have stimulated my move in that direction not too long thereafter.
To ask how the Beatles impacted my musical expression is like asking how water impacts a fishes way of swimming. I was raised from age 5 on a steady diet of Beatles, I sang along with every tune. As a teenager, I picked out guitar parts and harmonized their songs with friends at parties, at the beach. We smoked pot and wore our copies of Rubber Soul, Revolver, The White Album, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club
thin. Although perhaps the influence of Paul Simon or Joni Mitchel or even Harold Arlen may be more noticeable in my style at times, upon reflection, perhaps I should trace my sense of arrangement, my taste for eclecticism and my sense of what a good song is, my need for tension, emotion and theatricality in arrangements back to the Beatles. A song like "A Day in the Life" ...it's pop, it's classical, it's theater, it's even jazz in many ways. I love story songs and they were kings at that. I love a cacophony that resolves. They were into that.
For me, in great music, melody and rhythm rule together, and are driven by an urgent spiritual or emotional need, expression or intention. From the teeny-bopper love anthem "I love You Yeah Yeah Yeah" to the soul searching "Within You Without You" the Beatles fearlessly revealed their evolution and affected my evolution without my even knowing it. Lennon's emotional honesty and courage as a songwriter mentored me invisibly. Back then, I never even noticed his courage. I think, because I was too young to connect to him as a person. I just connected to his songs. McCartney's too. "Blackbird" is a beautiful prayer I've played for thirty years and never tired of. Recently I revisited the song "Within You Without You." I stripped it down to just African hand drums and voice. It really works that way. The words have a lot of power.
...I'd never noticed before how deep those lyrics were cause the original got layered behind so much production. For sure my taste for Indian music and for mixing genres and creating soundscapes can be traced at least in part to their adventurous approach to arrangements. ( I think my exposure to Bernstien's West Side Story also takes some credit here). Sure, lots of their songs, of course, are just simple pop tunes, but so many of are also classics that bear the test of time, and like all good poems, they change meaning each year if I revisit them. Not sure if I've answered the question really. I don't listen to them that all much any more, but one thing is clear, I simply cannot imagine my musical life without the Beatles. They were just always there.
Of all pop/rock bands in history, the Beatles created the greatest collection of outstanding melodies and innovative chord progressions. Compared to the three or four chord songs of their contemporaries, this music revolutionized pop music. Because of the sophistication of their songs, jazz and classical musicians have been able to reinterpret their material through a staggering array of arrangements and orchestrations. Few songs in pop history have stood up to the test of being successfully performed and recorded as instrumentals.
[Free MP3: Download Chuck Anderson's "Eleanor Rigby / Norweigian Wood Medley
Advisory Board Member of The Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts
John and Paul could just write a good tune. Tight, economical, tuneful, bluesy undertones.
Here's a video
of my sextet Liquid Jazz reinterpreting the lyrical Norwegian Wood
Long live the Fab 4 (maestro Martin)!
The Beatles were music's perfect storm. While we all watched in amazement, they defined a generation of pop music and culture. The Fab Four influenced virtually every other musician on the planet with their distinct combination of songwriting, performing, wit and charisma. Each member brought something special to the band as a whole, and George Martin was just the right individual to seize the chemistry and wrap it up in such an appealing package. Simple, yet sophisticated. Edgy, yet accessible. British, yet universal. Yes, the Beatles were music's perfect storm, and their legend continues to captivate and amaze us.
I was lucky enough to play on sessions with both Paul McCartney and George Harrison. George ended up inviting me to play piano his 52nd Birthday Party at his house. He was a real gentleman, a great songwriter and it was really inspiring to meet someone so famous, and yet so "NORMAL!!!"
Too much melody for any one person! Each member of the band brought their own element (all of which were tremendous by themselves) and the whole was more than the sum of the parts. Paul's sweetness, John's edge, George's wisdom, Ringo's humor. We should all be so lucky to contribute any part of the equation.
"Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns, it calls me on and on across the universe." The Beatles unfolded a torrent of creativity in pop music which reverberates until today, beyond borders. Miles Davis also did something very similar in jazz, breaking down barriers. We are all richer with possibilities because of them.
They were geniuses as far as I'm concerned. You can take almost any of their songs, on any album, play just the melody on any tonal instrument and you'd recognise it as a great tune. How many other people can say that?
In my opinion there's not been any other group before or since that can match their genius in pure, original, melodic line, and few as prolific. But better still, so much of their music had such strong and visual atmospheres. They often entered a world somewhere just beyond the real, sometimes way beyond, yet somehow very much relating to people's lives and daily reality.
They were so innovative in the studio pushing the boundaries of technology and multi tracking at the time. But unlike so much that has come since, the artistic and musical results outweighed the sum of the technology by a long way.
They influenced me hugely melodically as well as with the atmospheres they created in so many of their songs, that links in very much for me in what I do.