Thursday, August 28, 2014

"How did the Beatles do it?," asks Hunter Davies

Author of the only authorized Beatles biography, Hunter Davies, has a piece in the New Statesman dwelling on the band's lasting influence which asks how four boys from Liverpool managed the transition from scruffy club band to artistic force.

The article is worth a read, and whets the appetite for Davies' upcoming Beatles book, which will feature reproductions of the original hand-written lyrics for many of the group's songs.
One of the strange things about the Beatles phenomenon is that the further we get from them, the bigger and more influential they become.
The scruffiest scrap of paper signed by them is worth a fortune. Universities all around the world are studying their work. The 50th-anniversary celebrations this year of their arrival in New York seemed to receive just as much coverage in the United States as the band did back in 1964. Quite recently, there have been two academic books suggesting the Beatles helped bring about the fall of communism. Even I wouldn’t go that far.
But why have they lasted? And where did it all come from? How did they create their songs when they had no musical training and could not read or write music? Since 1964 about 2,000 books, many of them highly academic, have tried to analyse and explain the secret of the Beatles.
Even more mysterious is the question of how, having got started, they suddenly metamorphosed, discarding childish, hackneyed, borrowed forms to blossom into the most admired, most studied, most gifted songwriters of our age. All good artists develop, but in the case of the Beatles the transformation was dramatic. Who would have thought that the minds responsible for the banal lyrics of “Love Me Do” would go on to produce “Eleanor Rigby”?

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