The Beatles Timeline 1962-1966
1962- The Beatles were the first Liverpool band to get a major record deal
The Beatles release "Love Me Do" rose to #17 on the UK charts during the autumn on 1962 and is Merseybeat first chart hit.
The Beatles early sound unlike typical rock and roll, Merseybeat was more likely to incorporate secondary harmony, especially in the middle eight. Example "Love Me Do" suggests folk or skiffle more than rock ‘n’ roll
Prior to the Beatles' success, northern groups had had no success breaking into the British record business
The Beatles record "Please Please Me" Right from its very first bars, the song burst with a dynamism that was not just unheard of in British rock & roll, but had rarely been heard in rock music of any sort. Already showing quirky chord changes Critic Roy Carr went as far as to proclaim that "Please Please Me" "was the prototype for the next five years of British music.
The Beatles record the album Please Please Me. An album that broke the Merseybeat sound around Britain and it's first number one album. An
surprising harmonies, melodic progressions, hard-driving rock & roll, Twist and Shout," the most famous single take in rock history. The album remains number one until it is replaced by their own With The Beatles.
"Twist and Shout"- With it's clanging guitar sound and pounding drums was the hardest track recorded in Britain at that point. Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn calls it "arguably the most stunning rock and roll vocal performance of all time; two-and-a-half minutes of Lennon shredding his vocal chords to bits."
"There's a Place"- Uncommon song topic The subject matter anticipates the Beach Boys' "In My Room," which was recorded five months later, though there is no reason to think that its authors, Brian Wilson and Gary Usher, got a chance to hear "There's a Place" before writing it.
"From Me to You"- In one of many examples of the pair's flair for alternating major and minor chords and keys in captivating ways. That's especially apparent at the beginning of the bridge, in which the song leaps to a totally unexpected and thrillingly different key;
"I Want to Hold Your Hand"- The song that basically started the British Invasion. The first self penned song to top the American charts by a British Rock Act. The guitar organ like sounds on John Lennon rhythm was achieved by extreme compression. They would experiment more on organ like guitar sounds in years to follow.
The Beatles release "With the Beatles". An album highly influenced by Motown, sophisticated series of chords, melodies, and harmonies.
"Not a Second Time"- The unusual chord changes are almost jazz in their nature (though the rhythm and backing are pure rock. One of the first serious appreciative musical criticism in rock William Mann of The Times in London."
"It Won't Be Long"- A song with chords and harmonies that reaches far beyond standard rock and soul progressions of the time.
The Beatles, Meet the Beatles (1964, Capitol).
The one record that more than any other awakened young American folk musicians to the possibilities of electric rock music.
The British Invasion Starts, The Beatles' success, had begun to open the U.S. market for fellow Brits like the Rolling Stones, the Animals, and the Kinks, and inspired young American groups like the Beau Brummels, Lovin' Spoonful, and others to mount a challenge of their own with self-penned material that owed a great debt to Lennon-McCartney.
The Beatles release CAN'T BUY ME LOVE and this becomes the first major pop hit Rickenbacker electric 12-String Guitar that would influence countless guitarists.
BILLBOARD CHARTS - Places Beatles songs in top five slots:
1) CAN'T BUY ME LOVE
2) TWIST AND SHOUT
3) SHE LOVES YOU
4) I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND
5) PLEASE PLEASE ME
The Beatles release the song “A Hard Day’s Night,” features an opening chord so revolutionary that people are still trying to figure out. "A Hard Day's Night" Starts with 12-string guitar chord that opens "A Hard Day's Night or the George Harrison chord. The song has the unison imaginative keyboards by producer George Martin and 12 string guitar solo, and the fade closed on a series of an eerie unaccompanied circular 12-string guitar notes by Harrison that would be similar in the future style of Roger McGuinn.
The Beatles release the album "A Hard Day's Night" The Beatles first all original album of songs with it's jangly guitars influenced such future genres power pop, jangle pop, electric 12 string rock, and folk rock. George Harrison's resonant 12-string electric guitar leads were hugely influential; the movie helped persuade the Byrds, then folksingers, to plunge all out into rock & roll.
"Things We Said Today"- Introduced by and speckled with rapidly strummed triplets of acoustic guitar chords, it is also one of their folkier early outings, and if only in hindsight waved somewhat in the direction of folk-rock. Minor-keyed sad melodies set the tone in the verses, brightened briefly by a couple of lines which move up to sunnier climes, and then dip down again into melancholy territory. The group's genius for contrasting moods in their verses and bridges blooms especially strongly in "Things We Said Today," as the main body of the song segues into a bridge with a far brighter and more uplifting melody. All Music Guide Review
"I Call Your Name"- An early rock attempt to introduce ska The song's midsection is the Beatles' first attempt to introduce ska (which was then known as "bluebeat" and later "Reggae") to European and American audiences. The change of signature and a middle 8 guitar melody not related, derivative or variation of the main melody is one of many progressive aspects in this early 1964 song.
"I Feel Fine"- Rock music first major hit with intentional guitar feedback and it's first song that uses it as recording effect or intentional to be part of a composition on record. Feedback was so common on stage unintentionally that someone had to start using it creatively The song starts with feedback distortion on an acoustic guitar, followed by a riff-driven guitar song.
Typical of the Beatles "Pop-R&B" synthesis Verse follows blues progressions, uses blues flats etc., but chorus/refrain shifts gears: new chords introduced, level of rhythmic activity changes
"She's a Woman"- Some consider "She's A Woman" an important early Ska song, due to its heavy accented back-beat, or a rare Beatles stab at "garage rock," due to its rough nature
and three-chord structure.
The Beatles release Beatles For Sale considered by many the Beatles worst album. It resembles “A Hard Day’s Night” in it's acoustic based rhythm guitars with jangly guitars. However it’s important as it brings rock music closer to folk rock in songs like “I’m A Loser” and country rock “I Don’t Want to Spoil The Party. The opening three songs, along with "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party," are implicitly confessional and all quite bleak
"I'm A Loser" Musically, "I'm a Loser" is strongly influenced by folk music thus nudging folk and rock a little closer together toward the folk-rock explosion of the following year.
"I Don't Want To Spoil Party" a song overtly influenced by Country music.
"Every Little Thing”- This song is one of the first precursors of the group's famed "middle period," featuring all of that period's stylistic hallmarks: folk-rock guitars, a fadeout instead of an ending, and unusual instrumentation -- in this case tympani drums, which Ringo added to take 8 to make the finished take 9.
"What You're Doing"- A huge influence on the folk-rock movement, coming a full six months before the Byrds recorded "Mr. Tambourine Man." There were other stylistic innovations in this recording, including a very heavy (for the time) bass sound and a piano track by George Martin that produced strange chordal effects when laid against the lead guitar. The home key and chord changes would also show up prominently in Paul's songs of the "middle period," particularly "Drive My Car
"Ticket To Ride"- Noted for it's massive chiming and droning bass guitar sound. The raga-rock drum pattern would be followed the next year on "Tomorrow Never Knows". The track uses varispeeding and its use of unrelated coda in the form of a tempo change.
"Yes It Is"- The unusual dissonance in vocal harmonies. The guitar sounds are created with the use of volume swells with guitar harmonics on two guitar parts.
The Beatles release the album Help. The Beatles start to show eclecticism that started to reach beyond the bounds of what had previously been considered rock music. Styles like chamber pop, Bluegrass, folk rock, country, and baroque influence start to surface.
"You Like Me Too Much"- Though a minor George Harrison song it is one of the earliest examples of this technique, the Beatles run the Steinway through a Hammond B-3's rotating Leslie speaker, a trick they would come back to over and over again. When the intro ends, you can actually hear the Leslie being switched off"!
"Yesterday"- Is the Beatles most covered song is a Chamber Pop instrumental backing consists entirely of acoustic guitar and a string quartet (two violins, viola, and cello), with the two elements mixed 100% apart from each other onto separate stereo channels and the vocal split down the middle.
"You've Got To Hide Your Love Away"- A very folksy song two-bridge pop song that is in 3/4 time signature in Mixolydian Mode. The fade out with flutes has a baroque styled ending.
"I've Just Seen a Face"- An acoustic arrangement which integrates R&B, pop-rock, and folk in a bluegrass pace.
The Shea Stadium concert on August 15. It was the first concert to be held at a major outdoor stadium of over 55,000 people and it starts Arena Rock.
"We Can Work It Out"- The harmonium swell-pedal crescendos on thee verses are the, textural washes added in the studio, the first of their kind on a Beatles record and signposts to the enriched sound-palette of Revolver. Rock music first major hit using harmonium.
"Day Tripper"- Riff/ starts the ostinato riff and then with just double-tracked guitar, second with bass guitar added, third with rhythm guitar and. Modified blues progression with harmonic surprises
Unusual melody: only vaguely blues-related with distinctive use of "dissonant" notes
Instrumental solo section more complex than usual with multiple layers of activity, increasing tension before breaking back into original ostinato.
The Beatles (Rubber Soul) 1965 Brian Wilson sited it as an inspiration for "Pet Sounds." This was where rock became a true art form? They incorporated different time signatures, new instruments, European influences, and other musical styles. This album also uses the studio as an instrument before Pet Sounds. "Think for Yourself" and "If I Needed Someone" has guitar tones and vocal harmonies closer to what would be the standard in the psychedelic movement.
October,(1965) The BEATLES record "Norwegian Wood", which contains elements close to psychedelia. At least two of the band members had taken LSD at this point. The track appears on "Rubber Soul", released in December.The Beatles - Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) [Take 2] sounds very Psychedelic.
"Norwegian Wood"- George Harrison becomes the first rock guitarist to play the sitar in a pop recording. The Beatles use non-blues modality ‘; in this song the verse is written in E Mixolydian while the bridge is written in E Dorian. They experimented with non-blues modality even further on Revolver.
"The Word"- This John Lennon song is known for its pre "All You Need Is Love" hippie anthem by almost two years. The funky bass playing by Paul, odd rhythm by Ringo on what might be the first organ solo (technically harmonium) in a psychedelic rock context, on the Beatles’
"Think For Yourself"- Is a tour de force in altered scales with lyrics that is political in nature. The song is well known for its use of a double bass style one lead fuzz bass through a fuzz box and the other regular tone.
Rubber Soul might be the first great rock album and other highlights include the mature "In My Life" and "Michelle"
January, (1966) John Lennon writes "Tomorrow Never Knows" The lyrics refer to the same source as Leary's The Psychedelic Experience
March, (1966) John Lennon records demos for what was to become "She Said, She Said", a clearly LSD-influenced song.
PAPERBACK WRITER / RAIN (single) is released (Capitol Records)
"Rain"- With its hazy, droning guitars and backwards vocals on the fade. The heavy sonic texture was achieved by recording the music fast then playing the tape normally, "the music had a radically different tonal quality. The bass boosted sound was by using a loudspeaker as a microphone. The guitar sound is hazy drone sound with Paul bass and Ringo drums playing basically lead off each other.
"Paperback Writer"- Partly influenced by the Who. Paperback Writer is known for its boosted bass sound, soaring vocal harmonies, and fat heavy distorted guitar sound.
"Ed Sullivan Show" - Beatles "Paperback Writer" & "Rain" Promo Videos aired for television
Revolver (1966) The Beatles (Revolver) 1966 Revolutionary in early preoccupation with "psychedelic" effects as a studio instrument, including electronic/tape effects, sound distortion, influence of Indian music, and avant-garde. New recording technique inclued Automatic Double Tracking, layered tape looped effects, many kinds of reserve tape effects, and vocals through leslie amps.
"Love You To"- In "Love You To", we find a genuinely Indian-styled usage of mode, melody, rhythm and instrumentation. Even the form, which otherwise maintains a "neo-classical" boxy rock form preserves the Indian convention of an out-of-tempo improvised slow intro". Also considered the first pop song to emulate a non western form in instrumentation and form.
"Tomorrow Never Knows"- The Beatles, particularly McCartney, became heavily influenced by experimental German composer, Karlheinz Stockhausen. Beginning with Tomorrow Never Knows they began experimenting with tape loops, musique-concrète, backward music, repetition drum & bass sound, and effects which were crucial to the development of modern electronica.
"Eleanor Rigby"- The song unusual arrangement of a double octet and vocal harmonies marked a departure for pop music. "Eleanor Rigby’ also experiments with mode, though more of an English folk-like approach to modality than an eastern approach.
"Taxman"- George Harrison song "Taxman". It features a distorted sounding funk riff featuring the dominant 7th/ sharp 9 chord (often called "The Jimi Hendrix Chord") ironically the Beatles used this chord many times before Hendrix THOUGH NEVER OF THEM OF COURSE INVENTED THE CHORD. The song features Indian melody incorporating some ingenious key changes and some unison riffing in the last verse. Of course all underpinned by McCartney funky bass playing. "The Word" from Rubber Soul a year earlier has sort of similar funk groove. I think it's interesting the Beatles compared to their British blues-rock brothers were experimenting with early funk influences and no one really talks about that in their music.
Revolver has many great songs including the dual guitar harmonies of "And Your Bird Can Sing" and the backward guitar riffs of "I'm Only Sleeping". Along , imbued with churning, distorted guitars, references to drug trips.
November 24 "Strawberry Fields Forever" recording starts.
"Strawberry Fields Forever"- A psychedelic classic complete with electronic music and tape- reversed effects, in a maze of odd time signatures. Two different takes were recorded and spliced together using variable tape speed techniques that uses different tempos, in different keys, different instrumental backing. Then the song ends, and then fades back in backwards then in it fades out again. George Harrison plays an exotic Indian instrument swarmandal. Some of the other interesting aspects are reversed cymbals and the fade-out/ false ending/fade-in/ extended jam was a new wrinkle in song form in pop music.
"Penny Lane"- Uses classical string interludes along with brass instruments for a big production psychedelic pop-rock song. The piano and harmonium were both played through Vox guitar amps and miked to create reverb, feedback that crops up from time to time It's has a wonderful melody, rich chord sequences, and brilliant key changes.
The Beatles influence on Modern Music
Beatles' ability to marry studio experimentation with a strong pop song structure is such a profound influence that it's taken for granted. I'd say it's their most important contribution. It's the very foundation of how music is still made, so I'd say their influence is very much evident today, even if not everybody knows it. I still say to this day the most prophetic record of the Sixties wasn't "Yesterday" or "Satisfaction" but "Tomorrow Never Knows," which sums up most of where music has gone. Minus the vocals, it's virtually an early hip-hop record that's as much Public Enemy as it is Philip Glass. Today's music is mostly about sound texture and the group that got us thinking about it the most is the Beatles. Some love to dismiss "Sgt. Peppers," and especially "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite," if all that random splicing up of tape and punching it into a song for sound effects can't be found in Kanye West or many hip-hop crews of the last 25 years or so.
Whether we're talking Radiohead, Coldplay, U2, L.A. Reid or Raphel Saadiq, to mention a few, they still mention or show the Beatles' influence. The Smithereens recently covered the entire "Meet the Beatles" album. Phish has performed all of the "White Album" in concert.
The influence they had on some of their peers.
"Keith liked the Beatles because he was quite interested in their chord sequences. He also liked their harmonies, which were always a slight problem to the Rolling Stones. Keith always tried to get the harmonies off the ground but they always seemed messy. What we never really got together were Keith and Brian singing backup vocals. It didn't work, because Keith was a better singer and had to keep going, oooh, ooh ooh (laughs). Brian liked all those oohs, which Keith had to put up with. Keith was always capable of much stronger vocals than ooh ooh ooh".
"The Beatles) were perfect for opening doors... When they went to America they made it wide open for us. We could never have gone there without them. They're so fucking good at what they did. If they'd kept it together and realized what they were doing, instead of now doing Power to the People and disintegrating like that in such a tatty way. It's a shame. The Stones seem to have done much better in just handling success".
"When the Beatles had come out, the folk boom had already peaked," McGuinn notes. "The people who had been into it were getting kind of burned out. It just wasn't very gratifying, and it had become so commercial that it had lost its meaning for a lot of people. So the Beatles kind of re-energized it for me. I thought it was natural to put the Beatles' beat and the energy of the Beatles into folk music. And in fact, I heard folk chord changes in the Beatles' music when I listened to their early stuff like 'She Loves You' and 'I Want To Hold Your Hand.' I could hear the passing chords that we always use in folk music: the G-Em-Am-B kind of stuff. So I really think the Beatles invented folk-rock".
Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead
"The Beatles were why we turned from a jug band into a rock 'n' roll band," said Bob Weir. "What we saw them doing was impossibly attractive. I couldn't think of anything else more worth doing"
"They were doing things nobody was doing. Their chords were outrageous, just outrageous, and their harmonies made it all valid. They were pointing the direction music had to go.
What sparked that original creative spark that
became prog rock?
The Beatles. They broke down every barrier that ever existed. Suddenly you could do anything after The Beatles. You could write your own music, make it ninety yards long, put it in 7/4, whatever you wanted.
Karl Bartos of Kraftwerk
"Sampling has been around since the Beatles they did it all. There is no difference between using tapes and digital machinery." Yawn again
Robert Fripp on hearing the Beatles Sgt Pepper
Robert Fripp- "When I was 20, I worked at a hotel in a dance orchestra, playing weddings, bar-mitzvahs, dancing, cabaret. I drove home and I was also at college at the time. Then I put on the radio (Radio Luxemburg) and I heard this music. It was terrifying. I had no idea what it was. Then it kept going. Then there was this enormous whine note of strings. Then there was this colossal piano chord. I discovered later that I'd come in half-way through Sgt. Pepper, played continuously. My life was never the same again".
Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys
"Upon first hearing Rubber Soul in December of 1965, Brian Wilson said, “I really wasn’t quite ready for the unity. It felt like it all belonged together. Rubber Soul was a collection of songs…that somehow went together like no album ever made before".
Pete Townshend of the Who
"In a 1967 interview Pete Townshend of the Who commented "I think "Eleanor Rigby" was a very important musical move forward. It certainly inspired me to write and listen to things in that vein"
What were the key motivations behind your switch from the commercial folk you were doing with the New Christy Minstrels to folk-rock?
"But times changed, and I changed, and I didn't feel that way anymore. The Beatles were happening. I think that was probably the main thing. The Beatles just changed the whole world of music".