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University of Toronto St. George
James Kippen

Lecture 4: 1964 America and a Hard Day’s Night. 1963 produced greater music: - Memorable tunes /danceable beats – upbeat numbers, designed to be ‘dance’ : Initially like the Everly Brothers, before moving on and rising. Three part harmony with Lennon. - Fascinating vocal harmonies - Varied song structures (song that began with a chorus – She Loves You) - New instrumentalism and arrangements – their music did not sound like anyone else’s - Skilled musicianship - Infectiously enthusiastic performances - A rich blend of stylistic influences rock and roll, do-wap, Motown, show tunes, ballads etc. : Vast repertoire of songs, with numerous effects within the songs. - Their work was concise, effects were never overstated variations appeared in repeated passages - They were well edited by George Michael – brought an aesthetic that tempered the experimentalism of the Beatles’ song(s). - George Harrison was becoming an iconic guitarist - McCartney was a thinker of melody – “All My Loving” – creating a counter melody through going down in the bass. Marketing - Cohesive group of 4 leaderless individuals. - Strong personalities – John (aggressive, sharp intellect, caustic wit); Paul (charm, tact, boy-next-door); George (quiet, lop-sided smile); Ringo (funny name, comedian, lovable, butt of the other’s jokes) - Shifted the spotlight from member to member. - Also had a certain look - the Beatles ‘moptop’ look. - A gentle friction between the generations who were present during their time – the older generation who disapproved, whereas the younger who didn’t. Conformity v Rebellion - A mildly anti-establishment stance - Uncompromisingly working class and provincial - Witty and cheeky humor. Example: Number 4: Royal Common Variety Performance Sex Symbols - Cultivated female teenage following - Musical/textual formulas (“me-you”, “Oooo”) – subtly suggestive lyrics. Zeitgeist - The time was right - British teenagers had been fed a sugary diet of innocent love songs - Harder edge and suggestiveness was new and interesting. (reminiscent of mid 50s rock and roll) - Baby boomer generation (Post WWII) in need of an ethos and an identity different from the previous generation, waiting for a symbol of the different – Beatlemania. “I Want To Hold Your Hand” - Recorded Oct 17. Released 29, 1963. - Fourth conservation No.1 - Biggest seller ever - Quite conventional – with the middle eight, which contrasts with the verses; no special effects. - Analysis: Kozinn – innocent declaration of the title contrasts with the music (particularly the octave leap) leading into the refrain displays undisguised sexual tension. The middle section emphasizes the forced restraint. - B-side: “This Boy – contrast, sumptuous vocal harmonies. Pandiametic clusters. America - Desperate to “make it” in USA - Home of their musical heroes (Chuck Perry, Elvis, Buddy Harry) - Biggest market - Symbol of opportunity and wealth - Strategy: to get #1 hit in USA, then capitalize on it - But early UK hits got little play in USA –Capitol Records (EMI in USA) Epstein in USA - Very few people were listening to the Beatles hits from the UK. - Epstein visited New York in Nov 1963 - Persuaded Capitol to reconsider - Negotiated with Ed Sullivan for top billing on 3 consecutive shows in Feb 1964, accepted reduced fee for their show. - He wanted to get the Beatles into the national consciousness. - December: Carroll James (disc-jockey in DC) generated enthusiasm by playing Beatles’ records (“I Want To Hold Your Hand”) - Swan & Vee Jay sued by Capitol – pushed up all their dates to capture the rising phenomena of the Beatles. Beatles in Paris - January 1964 - Recording German versions of #1 hits - Highly productive: new material - Played Olympia Theatre - Heard about US #1 First US Visit - Ed Sullivan Show, Sunday Feb 9 - 73 million TV viewers - Felicitation from Elvis Presley - Documentary: What’s Happening! The Beatles in the USA (1990: The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit - Telegram from Elvis Presley and the Colonel congratulating them on making it on the Ed Sullivan show. Effects of “Beatlemania” - Beatles at first enjoyed the attention - Went from being "a thrilling, laugh-filled adventure to a suffocating, sometimes dangerous exercise in banality, decadence, and potential creative atrophy" (Hertsgaard, p.87) - Physically trapped by their fame - Could not hear themselves - Played same live set of 10-12 pieces - Ensemble playing deteriorates – deterioration because of the inability to hear each other. - Stopped performing publicly in 1966. The screaming, pushing aura associated with their concert(s) became the norm for them. (Washington, Coliseum) Back to England - “Can’t Buy Me Love” – blues-based rocker by McCartney (original was more bluesy- Mowtowny) - New opening: no drums in the intro - Outro: tom-toms only - Blues harmonies for verses (I – IV – V) – basic 12 bar blues structure. - Harmonies change from blues for Bridge, which also serves as chorus (III – VI – II7 – V7) – modulation to relative minor - Bridge used as opening “hook” (GM) – minor tonality, but still has the sense of the refrain. Cf. “She Loves You” Battle for the A-side - Fifth #1 - Element of competition? - Who got the A-side? - Predominantly Lennon on the A-side – one side’s song usually marketed as the ‘main song’ - A competitive partnership between Lennon and McCartney. “You Can’t Do That” - B-side “You Can’t Do That” – by Lennon, a similarly bluesy number with harder edge - Bridge: modulation to relative minor - Use of cowbell to reinforce beat - Lennon sings angrily of his jealousy – some say his lead guitar playing demonstrates rage with its “constricted, sputtering sequence of bent notes and rapid-fire seventh chords” (Kozinn p.100) - Also taking part with Harrison in the guitar solo, very effective rhythm guitarist. The studio - In the face of Beatlemania, how did the Beatles continue to make great music? - The studio was a different kind of creative space - Experimentation – creative opportunity for them. - George Martin facilitated and encouraged an attention to detail and to new musical ideas - A growing gap between public performances and private/studio work A Hard Day’s Night - United Artists wanted to capitalize on Beatles’s fame and sales potential in late 1963 - Negotiated with Epstein for a low-budget film - (Cf. Elvis, Cliff Richard, etc.) - Dick Lester – director for a black & white film. - Alun Owen – script – picked up on the Beatles lifestyle and ideals along with class consciousness. - Idea: to portray the Beatles as “distinct but complementary individuals buoyed and trapped by their success” - Turned out to be tremendous on-screen personalities – ‘magnetic’ almost. Filming / recording - Filming Mar 2 – Apr 24 - Recording March – June - Soundtrack album to include songs used in the film a
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