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Essay Beatles Influence


What influence did The Beatles have on British life in the 1960’s?

 

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were the four young men who made up one of the biggest British bands of the 1960’s, The Beatles. For more than a decade The Beatles influenced British life in ways that were originally considered rebellious. Influences on parts of life such as hair, clothing, lyrics and the introduction to the Hippie movement were some of the main ways The Beatles changed Britain in the 1960’s for better or worse. Not only influencing Britain but also foreign countries, The Beatles were an iconic band to be remembered for their contributions towards Britain taking the next step in not only the music industry but British life. It was The Beatles who take the most credit for introducing Britain to a new way of living which countries such as America had already adapted into their everyday life. However, it can be argued as to whether or not the changes made by The Beatles were positive or negative on British life in the 1960’s.

 

The Beatles influenced British society during the 1960’s with their sense of music that had not been heard in Britain before. The Beatles were one of the first bands to introduce the musical style of rock n roll to Britain in the early 1960’s. During the wartime years of 1939 to 1945, music that captured patriotism and the longing to be reunited with soldiers on the frontline was popular. Vera Lynn was a well-known singer of the war times in Britain who was made famous by her songs ‘We’ll Meet Again’ and ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’ because she sang for a determined yet fearful nation. The 1940’s and 1950’s became known as Britain’s pre rock and roll era, in which solo singers such as Dickie Valentine and Frankie Vaughan dominated the music industry with musical theatre tunes left over from the Big Band era. In term of modernization it must be said that the pre-Beatle era in Britain began at the completion of the First World War and carried on through to the closing years of 1950’s. This era was a fairly sterile time for popular music in Britain. After the war, the years that followed revealed a fairly barren musical landscape in Britain. Across the Atlantic early R&B music was beginning to take over from the ‘Big Band’ sound. However Britain was lacking in cultural diversity and had a moribund pop scene still dominated by dance music and cabaret singers. The radio was the era’s main gateway from the music industry to the homes of British families as the television was still beginning to take off. It wasn’t too long before America’s popular music could be detected in Britain’s music industry. After these very limited changes in music within Britain, the new sound of The Beatles began as quite a shock for British people who gave the band a rocky start to fame, having to win over the people with their rebellious looks and romance filled songs.[1]

 

Another way The Beatles influence British society during the 1960’s was by their rebellious hairdo’s that was not seen in in Britain before. During the 1960’s, something as unpretentious as a person’s haircut can distinguish them in society as to which class they were in. The Beatles began their rise to fame during the era when men’s hair was to be short, off their ears and tidy. All four members of The Beatles sported the same type of rebellious hair style that grew to be known as the “Beatle cut” in Britain by the mid-1960s. Before The Beatles, men having hair unkempt was considered unusual, rebellious and against the rules at private schools. However once The Beatles made shoulder length hair, dread locks and the bowl cut style a must have hairdo, men of all ages were going against the status quo and allowing their hair to grow out wild and unclean. During this era known as “Beatlemania” newspapers were filled with reports of teenage boys being sent home from their private schools due to breaching their schools rules on hair. However the Beatle cut soon swept the female population as well and women were sporting crown shaped hairdo’s such as the beehive and bouffant. By the 1970’s the Beatle Cut was considered stylish and the norm for men and women of all ages in England, making it socially acceptable. One of The Beatle’s hair styles was known as the gender neutral ‘Mop Top’, which appeared exactly as it sounds. The Mop Top style was considered rebellious and led to the ‘hippy era’ which The Beatles popularity began in England. Although majority of the hairstyles were gender-neutral, haircuts such as the bouffant and the beehive were sported by a lot of women of all ages and became the norm in the 1970’s and were considered very classy and fancy. Appearing just how they sound, both of these hairstyles consisted of the women bundling their hair up on top of their heads to make it appear very high. One of the ways The Beatles influenced British society was with their rebellious hairstyles for the era. Instead of conforming to the ‘short back and sides’ look that majority of men sported, The Beatles used their own looks to captivate their audiences and influence men and women of all ages to do their own style with hair and stand out.[2]

 

The Beatles influenced 1960’s British society in their original songs as well as hairstyles. It began in 1962 with their first single ‘Love me do’ which portrayed John, Paul, George and Ringo as screaming guys with distinctive hairdo’s, a comedic view on life and wild clothing. They began in their teen years (excluding Ringo who started in 1962 and was 21) and out of 100 songs from 1962-1965 only 14 were not about love, showing that The Beatles were still young men, wanting wives and someone to love. For majority of their careers, ‘love’ was the main topic for their songs, which captivated women everywhere. With their songs, The Beatles also brought down to earth and authentic language to British society which had not been heard of in Britain before. An extract from their song ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ from their first album ’Pls Pls Me’ is a prime example of their talent at connecting with their teenage fans. ‘Well my heart went boom when I crossed that room and I held her hand in mine’. It is evident in this extract that The Beatles wrote not as professional singers but as young men, which gave other young people something to relate to.[3]

 

The Beatles were all from Liverpool and came from poor backgrounds, however, throughout their time in the spotlight they never wrote about hating or despising the rich in any way. The only song they wrote which criticized the government was their song ‘Taxman’. In 1965 the band members noticed the spiritual affect that their music was having on people and saw music as a powerful weapon. Because of this realization the men decided to add more depth to their songs. With all four men being born in the 40’s their target audience was six or so years younger than themselves and they therefore had to relate to the issues they went through years before. The Beatles influenced British life during their era by being the first band to voice their drug use. Their song ‘Lucy in the sky with diamonds’ was written while all four members of their band were heavily under the influence of drugs.[4]

 

The Beatles influenced British society during the 1960’s by introducing the Hippie movement and allowing various cultures to be introduced and accepted in Britain.  From Beatlemania came the hippie movement in Britain which at first was not considered socially acceptable and The Beatles were frowned upon for introducing such a culture. A hippy was a person who didn’t care for the rules and regulations society had in place, had artistic or intellectual tendencies. Because it was The Beatles who introduced the hippie movement to Britain, it would have been a struggle to find a British hippy that didn’t love and worship The Beatles for their music, looks and power over society. With the introduction of the hippie movement came the clothing that changed from grey, black and white dull looking suits to outrageous colors and patterns that made people stare, which is what the hippies enjoyed.  With the wild clothing, ‘hippy slang’ and outrageous hair came the drugs and alcohol that hippies would thrive off of. It was uncommon in the 1960’s to see a hippie that wasn’t ‘high’ off of illegal drugs or a drunken mess from alcohol at all times of the day. Although at first The Beatles were blamed for British society going into a downward spiral with the introduction of the hippy movement, British people soon began to see that the hippy movement was not such a bad thing and that cultural diversity within their country should be welcomed.[5]

The Beatles influenced Britain in various ways during the 1960’s which had positive and negative consequences for Britain as a whole. On the positive side, Britain began to accept change in areas such as clothing, hair styles and what was considered to be normal. The country as a whole began to accept that people wanted to be Hippies, that school boys wanted long hair and that girls would go weak at the knees at the sight of a male guitarist, lead singer or drummer. On the negative side of The Beatles influence on Britain, new cultures were introduced into what was considered to be a stable country, and the introduction of changes such as the hippy movement and rebellious teenage boys meant that British society struggled to maintain order for some time during The Beatles reign. It wasn’t until people finally accepted that the four screaming men from Liverpool now had the power to dictate how British people would live that Britain became a stable country once again.[6]

 

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr influenced British life during their rise to fame in the 1960’s with their wild clothing, rebellious hairstyles, romantic lyrics and the introduction of the hippy movement which led to Britain becoming a well-rounded, diverse country with a lot of the credit going to The Beatles. Whether or not these changes were a positive or negative on British life, it can be said that The Beatles influenced Britain during their reign which shaped Britain into the country it is today.

Word Count; 1776

 

[1] http://www.shrout.co.uk/pre-Beatles.html

[2] http://is.muni.cz/th/108918/ff_b/The_Beatles_and_Their_Influence_on_Culture.pdf

[3] http://is.muni.cz/th/108918/ff_b/The_Beatles_and_Their_Influence_on_Culture.pdf

[4] http://is.muni.cz/th/108918/ff_b/The_Beatles_and_Their_Influence_on_Culture.pdf

[5] http://www.orbcity.com/polishhippy/beatles.htm

[6] http://www.orbcity.com/polishhippy/beatles.htm


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The Beatles' Influence In Pop Culture

The Beatles' Influence in Pop Culture

The Beatles were one of the most influential music groups of the rock era. They were able to conquer and influence pop culture with their music. Initially they affected the post-war baby boom generation of Britain and the W.S. during the 1960s, and later the request of the world. Certainly they were the most successful group, with global sales exceeding 1.3 billion albums. During the sixties, The Beatles using revolutionary ideas in their music inspired a generation of young adults across the globe to look at life from their perspective.

While they were originally famous for the light-weight pop music, their later works achieved a combination of popular and critical acclaim perhaps unequaled in the 20th century. Eventually, they became more than recording artists, branching out into film and particularly in the case of John Lennon political activism. They achieved an iconic status beyond mere celebrity, with far reaching effects difficult to exaggerate (Mack 41). The members of the group were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.

In the Boston Globe, Geoffrey Stokes brings up the idea that The Beatles were unlike their contemporaries, the Rolling Stones. The Beatles were seldom directly influenced by blues. Though they drew inspiration from an eclectic variety of sources, their sound was closer to pop music. Their distinctive vocal harmonies were perhaps most influenced by early Motown artists and Chuck Berry (Stokes).

When the music of the Beatles was first released in the United States, it did not catch on at first. In fact, they did not become popular until their second American released single came out, which was "I Wanna Hold Your Hand." With this song they landed a spot on the Ed Sullivan Show, which triggered the onset of "American Beatlemania" in 1964 (Cockrell 321). Beatlemania was all the rage trend of buying Beatle's merchandise and products. After the exposure of the Beatles' TV appearance, the group's popularity rose enormously everywhere in the world (Stokes). They brought the love of British rock and roll to the American public, and soon after them, many other British groups became famous in the United States. It is sometimes called "The British Invasion" at a hard time. The Beatles became famous during the time of the Vietnam War, and they used their lyrics to express their political, social, and spiritual beliefs to an audience that was against the war (Romanowski 59).

According to "The Beatles-A Biography", their biggest year was 1964 when they conquered the biggest record market in the world - America (1). The group became symbols. America was mourning the death of President John F. Kennedy and the Beatles appeared on the scene to bring them fun and excitement, ending their mourning ("The Beatles-A Biography" 1).

The Beatles toured America for the first time and starred in their first motion picture "A Hard Day's Night". In 1965, The Beatles'...

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