We’ve often discussed artists who are some of the best in the world, but it’s finally time to talk about the guys at the top. It’s no secret that The Beatles are the most influential band of all time.
It’s difficult to put into words the impact that those four boys - Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr – had on the music industry as a whole. Drawing inspiration from rock and roll, skiffle and beat, the band were not afraid to blur the boundaries of popular music, and would often incorporate elements of classical music, Indian music, psychedelia and other genres too.
Liverpool and Love Me Do
Their story began in 1960s Liverpool where the band would build their reputation by playing gigs all over the city, and in Hamburg too. Their first big hit was “Love Me Do” in 1962 and only two years later, they were an international sensation. Beatlemania was in full swing, and the band attracted fans in their thousands wherever they went! The Beatles are often praised for leading the charge in the “British Invasion” of the US, bringing on a resurgence of British culture across the pond.
They made their film debut in 1964 with A Hard Day’s Night, which, like anything The Beatles put their name to, was an enormous success and was nominated for two Academy Awards including Best Original Screenplay. The film follows the band over a period of 36 hours as they prepare for a performance on TV, with many a fun moment included like sneaking out to parties, ducking out of an interview through the fire escape and a mischievous grandfather McCartney!
The years that followed saw myriad albums and singles which were fantastic and complex, including Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Abbey Road, and the famous “White Album”. They also founded Apple Corps, the company that would, and still continue to, look after all things The Beatles from a business perspective.
In 1970 the group went their separate ways, and it’s hard to believe that they only spent 10 years together as a band. They are THE best-selling music act of ALL TIME. The sales of their records are estimated to be in excess of 600 million units worldwide. They also hold records for the most number one albums in the UK, number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100, and most singles sold in the UK. These are truly unbelievable achievements, and it’s hard to imagine that this could ever happen again in to another band in the music industry.
So, of course, we couldn’t leave a band as big as The Beatles out of the Rockschool syllabi. We’ve got not one or two, but three tunes throughout the grade books so allow us to give you a quick low down of each!
Now It's Your Turn!
First up is “Eleanor Rigby” in the Debut Acoustic Guitar syllabus, from their 1966 album, Revolver. The lyrics of this tune provide a story of loneliness, a topic which might have been considered brave for a popular band to take on. However, this topic seemed to resonate with so many people as it climbed its way to the top of the chart. The song has an iconic string section backing, which can be replicated perfectly on the acoustic guitar.
Next up, we’ve got “Blackbird” in the Grade 5 Acoustic Guitar syllabus. We’re not sure whether this was based on the call of a blackbird that the band heard whilst in India, or whether this was a response to race relations in the US at the time. Either way, it has become one of the most covered songs in history. This song was created during The Beatles studio days, a time in which their experimentation and creativity was off the charts, and continues to inspire musicians today.
Finally, we’ve put the legendary “Let It Be” in the Rockschool Piano Grade 1 books, and do we even need to explain why?! Not only is it an iconic tune for the piano, but this song was the last single ever released by The Beatles. The Rockschool arrangement is wonderful as it gives the Grade 1 pianist the change to play the melody and the accompaniment, so they can really give a full performance of this incredible song!
It’s safe to say that we’re big fans of The Beatles here, and we always will be.
If you enjoyed learning more about the band, then why not check out some other bands that we’ve featured on Artists in Focus? We’ve got legends like Queen, Snarky Puppy and Weather Report ready and waiting for you.