MUS321H1 Lecture Notes - Class Consciousness, Instrumentalism, Want To
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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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- Cultivated female teenage following
- Musical/textual formulas (“me-you”, “Oooo”) – subtly suggestive
- The time was right
- British teenagers had been fed a sugary diet of innocent love
- 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.
- 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
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
- 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.
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
- 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
Lecture 4: 1964 america and a hard day"s night. Memorable tunes /danceable beats upbeat numbers, designed to be dance" : initially like the everly brothers, before moving on and rising. Varied song structures (song that began with a chorus she loves. New instrumentalism and arrangements their music did not sound like anyone else"s. A rich blend of stylistic influences rock and roll, do-wap, motown, : 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. 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)