This week, I present to you the Beatles!
This rock band from 20th century England is in many ways much different from the musician featured last week: Mozart, an 18th century composer from Austria.
But, there may be more these musicians have in common than you might think.
To start, they are both from Europe and are both not only performers, but composers of a majority of the music they performed. And, they both composed an incredible number of popular songs.
While Mozart composed a lot more music overall — and much of his works were much longer and more technically complex — you could even argue that they composed roughly the same amount of music per decade.
Mozart wrote more than 600 works in 30 years. The Beatles wrote almost 200 songs in less than 10 years. For both, that is about 200 songs every 10 years.
I still give the prize to Mozart. But, for a rock band, that volume of musical compositions is almost unheard of.
No wonder Beatles fans then and today love them so much!
Screaming Fans Everywhere, a Beatles Story
Listen to this story being read by the author, Matthew Cline:
Apart from their music, one of the most distinctive things about the Beatles was the fact that everywhere they went they were mobbed by thousands of admirers on the street.
The Beatles generated more spontaneous crowds than any other celebrities in history! And, this was long before Twitter, Instagram, and geotagging were available to help followers locate their favorite idols.
This constant presence of Beatles fans was given the name “Beatlemania”.
Beatlemania led to thousands of teenagers rushing The Beatles’ plane at the airports. It inspired 73 million people (almost half of all Americans at the time) to tune in live to the first television appearance of the Beatles. And, it set the stage for the first rock concert to ever be held in a stadium.
No standard concert venue could hold the 50,000 screaming fans who packed Shea Stadium to watch the Beatles on August 15, 1965.
As if the live crowds weren’t enough, an animated TV show which began airing in October 1965 played into this Beatlemania hype. The program, simply called “The Beatles”, featured 3 seasons and 39 episodes of fans of all kinds chasing down, obsessing over, and often kidnapping at least one of the band members.
Additionally, Beatlemania led to a wave of British rock bands finding fame in the United States. Starting in 1964, bands from England such at the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Animals and many more suddenly replaced American’s love for much of the popular music of that time. This trend became known as the “British Invasion”.
But, for the Beatles, Beatlemania was not all fun and games. On tour, they could not leave their hotel room without being met by thousands of people wanting to touch their jackets or their hair. And, the screaming at their concerts was so loud that you often could not hear the music.
By 1965, they decided enough was enough and only played one concert on their rooftop in the last four years they were together as a group.
Song of the Day
As we explore the Beatles’ music, we are going to go in chronological order and explore music across three distinct stages in their music playing. Let’s start with one of their first chart topping hits…
“Love Me Do”
This song is from what I refer to as the Beatles’ “teen” phase.
The teen phase for the Beatles was their entrance into music world. It began in 1957 when they all were in fact teenagers and first started performing. It lasted into the first two years of their musical fame (from 1963-1965), when they were in their early 20s but still mostly appealed to teenage listeners.
The Beatles’ positive, carefree, and uninhibited behavior, as well as their passion for love and romance, defined the mood, lyrics, and the culture surrounding their music in this time period.
The concept of adolescence (being a “teenager”) was relatively new to society in this time and the Beatles embodied it from head to toe with their playful attitudes and upbeat rock tunes.
The song, “Love Me Do” is the first song to hit the number one spot on the US music charts. And, it is the reason the Beatles music came to the United States.
As the British would say, please go ahead and “have a listen”!
Want to hear more? Listen to this playlist of the top Beatles songs from their “teen” phase.