Prof. Michael Budds, Music
"Why The Beatles Matter"
More than 50 years ago, American popular music in the form of rock and roll was ironically given a fresh boost of energy in the second decade of its existence by foreigners: four lads from Liverpool! In a remarkably short span of time, the Beatles made an indelible impression on American youth and music history. Nonetheless, their rather brief career unfolded in a way unexpected for popular musicians: their music, thanks to the songwriting team of Lennon and McCartney and the talent of producer George Martin, evolved from innocent teenaged love songs to powerful anthems with social and political implications—making the emotional journey from holding hands to revolution. In the process, their musical materials grew from electric guitars and drums to the classical tradition of India, the orchestral instruments of the fine-art realm, and studio effects. In fact, their example greatly expanded the expressive possibilities of rock and roll.
For a few stolen moments, accompany Budds on “a magical mystery tour” and remember the tempestuous 1960s by sampling the evergreen songs of the Beatles. Their claim on history, it will be argued, is based on their roles as innovators, refiners, and popularizers. Roll over, Beethoven! Do you want to know a secret?
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