As a break from stock market investing advice, I often use music as a stress buster. The other day, it struck me that despite their profound influence on modern popular music, the contribution of the Beatles now seems to have been forgotten. I decided therefore to revisit the group and remind myself of their accomplishments.
It has often been said that the history of jazz is the four words “Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker” because their influence was so profound. The Beatles are in a similar position when it comes to rock music. In the beginning, like many other musicians, they imbibed and absorbed the influence of musicians that had preceded them. As they matured musically, they created a new art form that combined isolated characteristics into a coherent whole. This was such a monumental accomplishment that it would be safe to say that no musician who followed them to the present day remained untouched by their influence.
They had many talents of which the most important arguably was the songwriting skills of Lennon and McCartney. Some musical experts consider them to be the greatest songwriters since Schumann a couple of centuries ago. They regarded their song lyrics as serious poetry which is why they are probably the most covered songwriters by other musicians in the history of music. It was once estimated that there are more than 2000 versions of their famous song “Yesterday”. Every song of theirs stands out as unique.
Lennon and McCartney had wonderful singing voices though all four of them could sing to an acceptable level. As a result, complex harmony and multilayered vocals became characteristic of their style. Despite this technical virtuosity, their songs had elements of simplicity that appealed to a much wider audience than rock had traditionally reached. Again, as with their song lyrics, they used their voices in a variety of ways and every song has different arrangements. Unlike other rock musicians who had a slapdash and carefree attitude to song recording, the Beatles had a structured and disciplined approach where no detail was too small.