Why The Beatles were the Best Band in the World – Pt 1

The Beatles were, and still are, the best band that has ever been. Though there have been numerous brilliant contenders nobody has quite surpassed them – and there are good reasons for this.

 

It all started right back at the beginning and is clearly audible on that first and second album (particularly the first). These two albums really represent the Beatles early stage act. It was dynamic and rocked liked no other.

 

Coming from Liverpool the Beatles had access to the R&B and Rock ‘N’ Roll from the States. The merchant seamen brought it in and the Mersey Bands lapped it up. The band played the little Mersey clubs and had a long stint in Hamburg. They had to compete. The post-war kids wanted excitement. They wanted it loud and they wanted it fast. They wanted to dance and let their hair down. The Beatles did it as good as any and were almost the best live act in Liverpool (the most exciting being The Big Three). What the Beatles did was take the Black R&B and Rock ‘n’ Roll and give it a driving beat. They rocked it up. Few people had heard anything like it.

 

Back in England we did not have much in the way of radio. There were no commercial stations. We just had the Beeb and they censored the life out of everything. We never got to hear any of this stuff. It was dire. So when the Beatles did all that fabulous Black R&B it was all fresh to us. We hadn’t heard it first time around. Even the White American had’nt heard a lot of it. The establishment had cleaned up the radio and TV. Rock and R&B were considered a bad influence.

 

By the time that first album came out they had honed their craft and had an act that stomped, harmonies to die for and a unique sound. You can feel the energy bursting off that first album. It was basically recorded live in the studio and still retains the force of those live performances. They arrived ready-formed.

 

But the Beatles were clever. They varied the pace. They put in ballads and the odd one or two of their own songs – which stood up well against the rest of the repertoire. They not only had the power but also the craftsmanship so that the harmonies and musical interaction was spot on.

 

Those first two albums exploded. That was partly because the scene was pretty dead with diluted Rock and partly because of the energy and raw power that the Beatles injected into them.

 

The other thing of note was that they wrote all their singles – and those singles were great, different and of a high quality. They set them apart from the other bands. It was another string to their bow.

 

At the age of fourteen I was already a seasoned Rock aficionado. I liked my vintage Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Gene Vincent, Elvis Presley, Everly Brothers as well as the Shadows and whatever Pop stuff was around. I liked rockin’ music but on first hearing the Beatles hit me like a rock. I was blown away. It was instant. They were that visceral.

 

It is hard to explain to people who weren’t there. When you have already heard Hendrix, The Doors, Zappa and the Stones Rockin’ in the Seventies, Nirvana and the Ramones and all the other Rock Music that followed, the impact of those first albums could not be understood. But there had been nothing quite like them. They were pioneers. They blasted the doors open and Rock Music lived again.

16 thoughts on “Why The Beatles were the Best Band in the World – Pt 1

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this post, Opher. You did a fine job capturing the soul of the early Beatles’ sound. Interesting about the BBC – I didn’t realize you guys were on such a strict radio diet in the 60s.

    1. We used to have to tune into Radio Luxembourg in the evening on our little trannies. It was really faint and kept fading in and out but it was the only way we got to hear anything. Pretty dire. I used to get down under my bed covers and listen in.

  2. Agree but credit should go also to the pirate radio stations in the North Sea which forced the BBC to have a re-think about their radio content. Can’t understand why you think the Beatles were better than the Bay City Rollers.

    1. That’s true Bede. But they came a little bit later. They forced the BBC to change – but not enough.
      Well they played some of the same notes – not necessarily in the same order.

  3. Radio Caroline started in early 1964 shortly after Beatlemania commenced. The BBC is essentially a conservative organisation infused with political correctness and self-serving financially for the “chosen ones”. I resent paying a licence for it. That was acceptable in the old days when there was only BBC but not now. They used to ban records so it made me laugh the first time Frankie Goes to Hollywood played their first single on Top of the Pops. The boffins at the BBC were so conservative they didn’t understand the lyrics. Pesky Gee were a great band.

    1. That was a whole year later Bede – an eternity back when we were young. The only really decent thing on the Beeb was John Peel.
      They were incredibly naïve – all manner of things slipped through.
      You’ve sold Pesky Gee – you don’t have to big it up anymore.

  4. Peel surely wasn’t on the BBC until after 1967 when Radio 1 started. Never been a fan of Radio 1. Bob Harris had a good program on terrestrial tv. Lux and the pirates are what brought American R & B into my life and made me go out to buy the records. Pesky Gee sold for about £35 – a good return on an album which cost me the equivalent of about 25p in the early 70s. Told you when I bought it in a bargain bin it would become a cult album.

    1. Tt’s true – Peel had his Perfumed Garden and played all manner of good stuff from the 60s Underground. The only thing worth listening too.
      I remember you buying that pesky Pesky Gee – never heard the last of it. It has grown out of all proportion. I hope you made a copy of it?

  5. No I didn’t . Most of the tracks were covers. I copied all the Harper & Stones albums I sold.

      1. You can listen to the originals. I think they covered a Laura Nyro track , “Save the Country” or you can add the Pesky Gee album to your collection. It’s probably on cd now. Peel’s program didn’t start until the 2nd half of the 60s and it was late at night so listened to mostly by students etc. of which I as one. I was never a fan of John Peel (maybe because of his accent) but he did champion some bands which otherwise would not have seen the light of day. I liked the Undertones and he championed them.

      2. I loved his understated voice – a big change to the crappy DJs OTT performances. He played great tracks and made a lot of sense. He was the only one who played long album tracks and championed unheard music. Many bands got to be popular because of him.

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