"Beatles for Dummies"Written by Sarah Anne Polsinelli
When someone says "The Beatles", what images come to mind? I see a black and white picture of four guys onstage, sporting mop-top haircuts and grey collarless suits. To many people, that's what The Beatles are - a black and white TV image of their performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. In spirit of unbiased journalism and avoiding clichés, I will not tell you that The Beatles were greatest and most influential rock band ever. Nor will I tell you that their talents have been unrivalled for 35 years, since their breakup in 1970. I prefer facts, so here's one: The Beatles are best-selling group of all time, with worldwide sales exceeding 1.3 billion records Here's another one: During record-breaking week of April 4, 1964, singles by The Beatles were in Billboard's top five positions in singles chart -"Can't Buy Me Love", "Twist and Shout", "She Loves You", "I Want to Hold Your Hand", and "Please Please Me". The following week, 14 of their songs were in Billboard Hot 100.
Beatlemania exploded in America in February, 1964, just months after President Kennedy's assassination, when John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr arrived at New York's JFK airport. They were greeted by thousands of screaming teen girls, and foursome had no idea that they were there for them. They appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show later that week to an audience of 73 million people, still one of highest-rated programs of all time.
Within first few months of Beatlemania in 1964, United Artists quickly produced A Hard Day's Night to capitalize on their infectious popularity. The comedy starred all four Beatles, and is an exaggerated version of 36 hours in life of The Beatles. It was a massive hit and was followed by Help! next year, which was produced in colour, but not nearly as "colourful" as first.
They toured for only a few years, recording their albums in interim. To escape throng of hysterical young girls that followed them around, they were forced to sneak out of bathroom windows and swiftly duck into limousines. Many of their concerts were even drowned out by high-pitched shrieks and squeals of girls.
In a March 1966 interview with The London Standard, John Lennon said, "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first? Rock ‘n' roll or Christianity".
Naturally, this upset a lot of people, despite fact that Lennon's tongue-in-cheek remark had been quoted out of context. Lennon was making a social commentary about an overall decline of Christian faith, but nonetheless radio stations in South and Midwestern US banned their music. The Vatican denounced Lennon's words and South Africa banned Beatles music from radio. The media circus surrounding event and stress from touring led to band's decision to quit performing live, and in August 1966 they put their final "official" live concert.
They spent rest of their career as a band, writing and recording music, taking best elements of rock, pop, folk and psychedelia and making it their own. On June 2, 1967, they released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, first popular concept album. This was album that raised their reputations as musical innovators and was a big catalyst, starting art rock movement while remaining incredibly popular.
But feelings of success from album quickly turned to sorrow when long-time manager Brian Epstein died on August 27, 1967. He was proverbial glue that held them together. There are many different rumours pertaining to breakup of band, but this was key event that eventually led to their demise.
Patriotic Music: Surprising Secrets About Those Flag-Waving SoundsWritten by Scott G (The G-Man)
Whether played by a marching band, an orchestra, or a rock group, there are patriotic tunes that everyone in America finds familiar, exciting and uplifting. But how much do you know about how these songs were created? And what do you know about people who wrote them?
There are some surprising facts behind all of this glorious music.
So, fire up barbecue grill, look up at fireworks, and strike up band as we reveal secrets behind most influential nationalistic musical moments of all time.
"Star Spangled Banner," Francis Scott Key, 1814. Schoolchildren in America all learn how Key watched British bombardment of Fort McHenry during War of 1812 and so admired courage of beleaguered American forces that he wrote four stanzas of "The Star Spangled Banner" (only first is usually performed). Key based melody on an English drinking song called "To Anacreon in Heaven." The song has only been national anthem since 1931, and there was a strong movement to replace it with one of other songs on this list.
"America (My Country 'Tis of Thee)," Samuel F. Smith, 1832. The music was composed in 1700s, sometimes attributed to Henry Cary. First popular in Great Britain as "God Save King (Queen)," song became bi-continental in 1832. Modern audiences have been greatly moved by R&B version by Ray Charles, a truly wonderful blending of emotion with what musicians call "the groove."
"Rally 'Round Flag," George F. Root, 1862. Written for Union army and its supporters during Civil War, song was hugely popular in North. This didn't prevent Confederate troops from writing their own lyrics and singing song throughout South.
"When Johnny Comes Marching Home," Louis Lambert, c. 1863. Lambert was a pseudonym for Union Army Bandmaster Patrick S. Gilmore. His lyrics, set to an old Irish folk song, were popular through whole Reconstruction Era (1865-1896). It appears in an extended instrumental version on soundtrack of Stanley Kubrick's film "Dr. Strangelove."
"Battle Hymn of Republic," Julia W. Howe, 1861. Howe is another lyricist who succeeded by utilizing a pre-existing piece of music, in this case a camp meeting tune of 19th century (which also became "John Brown's Body"). The profound power of words combined with compelling melody cannot be denied, and it was sung at funerals of Winston Churchill, Robert Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan.
"Overture: 1812," Petr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, 1880. Patriotic music doesn’t always revolve around July 4th celebration, or even refer to USA. Tchaikovsky got Russian hearts a-pounding with his "1812 Overture in E Flat Major Op. 49," written to celebrate 70th anniversary of his country's victory battle during Napoleonic Wars.
"Semper Fidelis," John Philip Sousa, 1889. Popular ever since it was first performed, effective and spirited tune takes its name from U.S. Marine Corps motto meaning "always faithful" and is dedicated to Marines.