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Thread: The Beatles influence on Progressive Rock

  1. #1
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    The Beatles influence on Progressive Rock

    The Beatles I have to admit the Beatles for a mainstream band they were really progressive and even jazz music were not doing some of the things they were doing like backward guitar, drum looping to name a few. Some of their rhythms on "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" for example include a Balkan rhythm and a polyrhythm in different sections. Were they influenced by jazz?

    "A Day in the Life", "I am the Walrus", "Within You, Without You", Strawberry Fields"... not really blues tunes, They were able to draw from diverse sources, like Classical Indian "Within You" uses a raga-like form that contains both major and minor thirds in different octaves, kind of a combination of mixolydian and Dorian modalities. Lennon used forms similar to Tibetan chants. McCartney and Lennon were both versed in the same types of cadencies cycles that had evolved from Dixieland and Tin Pan Alley, the pop music of the previous era (and also a primary underpinning for jazz).

    "Tomorrow Never Knows" is a very early Art-Rock song that was recorded even before the Velvet Underground. The song is influenced by Avant music and its weird sounds are produced by tape loops/samples with looped effects. The song uses an upfront drum 'n' bass sound with the looped effects not unlike many forms of Modern Music.

    "Love You To" is a true use of Classical Indian Music in instrumentation, style and rhythm. There is nothing like it in rock music before this. Songs like "Eight Miles High", "Norwegian Wood and "See My Friends" are nothing like this.

    I considered "Strawberry Fields Forever" true progressive rock songs. With its use of mellotron, Indian scales and two separate versions of one song into one. Strawberry Fields Forever" uses diminished chords that are common with jazz music. Then are changes time signatures often 4/4, 6/8, 3/4, 2/4. Hardly simple stuff. It helped invent Progressive Rock.

    "Blue Jay Way" song based on some ancient Indian raga that uses the diminished 7th scale.

    I think the Beatles were one of the biggest influences in early progressive rock. They influenced nearly all early Progressive Rock Artists like King Crimson, Yes and ELP.
    Last edited by ModernJazz89; Nov-21-2008 at 23:04.

  2. #2
    Admiral Maestoso marval's Avatar
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    Hello ModernJazz89,

    Welcome to the forum, glad you could be here.

    I don't know much about the Beatles music, but I expect that to a certain extent they were an influence on some music.

    Do have a look round and join in.


    Margaret

  3. #3
    Rear Admiral Appassionata John Watt's Avatar
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    No, no, please, don't start that here. Even if you're typing Beatles. This is like saying Shakespeare or Bhudda, thinking those names represent all that was happening. The Beatles, please! They couldn't even make it in the same room together, using different drugs, and they got the Order of The British Empire for that, bragging about smoking illegals in the palace washroom. Don't try to be jazz about that. What about the B.B.C. Orchestra, using Peter Seller's comedy "asian" stereotypes and soundtrack as "Indian raga" on Beatles tracks. The fab four didn't even acknowledge the musicians who actually played on their albums. You should listen to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", one of the few actual band sounding tunes on that album, not Paul and John, but George and Eric. Do you remember the sad cries of addiction at the end? Most people don't. They bought into the everything white phase John Lennon went through. Imagine that, one of the biggest rock stars in the world, everything that means, a musical populist, everywhere he went, everything for free, people excited just to be there with him, and he lived for five years in the Dakota apartments without even going out, heroin. When he did venture forth, it was with Brian Wilson, someone way fatter than him and more wasted. That's not an elite I ever aspired to, and as Scottish Highland descent, that's too British. It wasn't talent that took the Beatles to world domination. It wasn't talent that generated their recordings. It wasn't talent that took pub tunes from Germany to England with drug lyrics to the top of the charts. It was the proliferation of technological domination, the first global release of tapes and video. Thousands of screaming fans waiting at the airport when they first came to America? Was that a listening audience, or taking advantage of the mania created by the confusion of Kennedys being killed in front of them, live on T.V.? We do all need somebody to love, and a reflection of that in all we own and see. Oops, sorry, I hear a ring tone. It is from someone more popular than Jesus. But it doesn't sound heavenly to me.
    There is no excuse for propogating pre-digital pre-computer hype here. Mr. Frederik Magle is a symphonic composer, and most here claim to be playing musicians. Please, have some respect for that.

    You know what rock music is? You buy your own equipment, or make it. You learn to get happy with your playing and singing. And when you are onstage your volume dominance, what you are paid for, propels the energy and emotions you are capable of expressing in public, no charts, no prompters. And if the band is good, it's just not your girlfriends getting up to start the dancing. That's a rock band. The Beatles were an international corporation. They did "come together" enough to wannabe their own musical corporation, taking a bite out of their own apple, but I can't think of one guitar riff guitar players use that they originated.
    I'm a Canadian. I'm 57. I never had the wealth to hire personal physicians to prescribe my way to functionality. I never had the wealth to transport the hottest party scene, stoned and narcotics carrying musicians into The States. I never had the wealth to hire other musicians when I couldn't play my own songs. I never had a British government behind me creating this fiction and promoting Carnaby lifestyle. But my life kept going. It is actually me typing here, and playing and singing you can't hear. If you want to shovel your dross into this online world, you should keep your life going and find some real people and real music to promote. My ancestor, Doctor James Watt, would be shocked to see how electricity is being wasted on fantasy and the delusions of others. Hey, you can act on a whim, spinning your spin with this nuclear generated subelectronic activity. Either that, or get some old liquid acid, pure L.S.D. and do some. After that long and winding road leads you back to your screen, get online and write about what you hear, and see, listening to The Beatles, The Fab Four, The Moptops, The Liverpool Lads, The Four Lads, The Mersey Beats, The Caverners, The Dave Clark Five, Jerry and the Pacemakers, Peter and Gordon, The Byrds and others. Listen to them, and see if you can hear the differences. Remember Nashville, Homer and Jethro's take on the Beatles, their huge hit everyone thought was the Beatles? Get into it, or stay away. Just don't dream those prerecorded hallucinations here.
    I don't wanna, uh, hafta hold your hand.
    And I type this with all the good grace God gave me, blessed with his music ability, and ears and eyes to hear and see, and this conversation of our life's blood, throughout this technology.
    Last edited by John Watt; Nov-22-2008 at 01:04.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by marval View Post
    Hello ModernJazz89,

    Welcome to the forum, glad you could be here.

    I don't know much about the Beatles music, but I expect that to a certain extent they were an influence on some music.

    Do have a look round and join in.


    Margaret
    Thank you, I just wanted to join in. I like jazz, some Rock Music and the Beatles. The Beatles were a huge influence on music not some. They have been much more influential than say Elvis who was about as innovative as Bon Jovi the last 50 years in rock music. The only one who is as influential was Chuck Berry but he is not that influential in Modern Rock.

  5. #5
    Rear Admiral Appassionata John Watt's Avatar
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    Hey modernjazz89! It looks you're backing down from your primary Beatles' enthusiasm. No matter what my or other opinions say, if their music occupies you go with it. When you talk influences in the rock world, you're being more populist than other genre. Everything social is part of the pop package. Let me see if I can help you with the top of the pops, new millennium style, with the artists you mention.

    Chuck Berry. I have to use him first. I probably played Johnny B. Goode more times than any Beatle or Elvis song, and they did it too. Jimi Hendrix did a version. It got to where I would play the beginning of the opening riff that occupies the first chord, usually in Amajor, but then hit the open A string and start a very fast convoluted riff ascending up the scale arriving at Dmajor when the rhythm got there. That got cheers and applause sometimes. You have to like a song that inspires that.

    The Beatles-Elvis: They met at Elvis' house. Apply each Beatle against Elvis, they lose. Elvis, with a remix long after he died, tied the Beatles for number one singles in England, without ever performing there. Imitators making an industry is more an Elvis thing. The Beatles wrote their own songs, most of them. Elvis only got songwriting credit for demanding it as part of the I'll record your song package. Elvis was the biggest entertainment package of his day, over Disney even. The Beatles were part of B.B.C. and became corporate Apple. Elvis had the first live satellite concert. The Beatles achieved fame playing for a while on a roof, those tapes sought after zealously. The Beatles recorded with many, many uncredited musicians. Elvis stuck with his band and toured with an orchestra, backup singers and a choir. They both were celebrated by their governments. The Beatles made four movies, fads at the time. Elvis made 27, some of them the biggest draws of the year with the soundtrack being hit albums. Elvis references are used more in films and television. The Beatles definitely had more happening on their more varied albums, while Elvis sang movie songs that became drivel. While The Beatles addicted themselves, unable to record together, becoming recluses, Elvis could lay in bed for weeks skin-popping, coming down to a waiting assemblage in his front room, sing what he could being recorded, and they would be hits. Elvis had a comeback, looking good and touring again. George Harrison can be credited with starting the modern rock charity global event with The Concert for Bangladesh. While Elvis was controversial with dance moves, The Beatles promoted meditiation, peace and love. Elvis and Graceland make more money than The Beatles.

    After that and more that could be said is all said and done, there's one Beatle's song with lines that come to me that I sing. "When the rain comes, they run and hide their heads, they might as well be dead, when the rain comes." I jam "while my guitar gently weeps" and teach that song a lot. When Elvis died, an agent said "John, you've got to check out this Elvis gig" a local Elvis imitator hitting it big, needing a "real" guitarist. Everywhere we went women were around the stage, wanting to touch anything Elvis. You gotta love that influence.

    John Lennon and George Harrison were really good rhythm guitarists, playing big barre chords in all kinds of keys, still tough for the average player. The Golden Beatles, songs in the original keys, is more of a music lesson than anything Elvis ever was.

    Almost everyone has done an Elvis imitation, at least saying "thankya, thankya very much". I can't think of a similar Beatles thing. But Paul McCartney is still going strong, playing to tens of thousands of people around the world all the time. You have to respect live music. Being real is where it's at. and yes... there will be crying in the chapel, after all your troubles seemed so far away.

  6. #6
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    well i am a very big Beatles fan and am a fan of some prog music, i think the Beatles influence was through the idea of going into the studio for several weeks or even months (ala Sgt Pepper) and creating 'a work of art' that would essentially survive the run of the mill here today, gone tomorrow chart single.

    The studio would be the 'palette' offering new ways of creating music, using unusual or new instrument, creating new sounds, effects etc etc. Also record companies seeing the commercial success of Pepper were doubtless more ameanable to letting their contracted groups go and work on 'big' albums that would hopefully sell millions!!!

    crochet for crochet i dont think the Beatles were a great influence on a purely musical basis, other than they were admired by various members of prog rock bands (such as Phil Collins) for their song writing quality

    Cheers Elpless

  7. #7
    Commodore con Forza
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    it is said that peter gabriel have said that sergent pepper was a big influence on genesis.

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