Thinking about the Beatles
A reader responded to the post on Paul McCartney with bracing comments on the musicianship of the Beatles and their impact -
There are a number of interesting attributes about the Beatles; musicianship, ability, mastery and profundity are not among them. It is important to note that John, Paul, George and Ringo would never have been hired by Duke Ellington as their musicianship was decidedly limited. John Lennon said, at least for me, two things worth remembering. One was that he could never figure out what the big deal was as they were just a rock and roll band. Secondly, he wished he could play guitar like B.B. King. An economic, political and technological argument for the popularity of the Beatles is as likely as any other. Firstly, the ascending global power spoke the same language and had many intertwining connections with the receding global power. Secondly, the rise of disposable income among teens, especially in America, and the emergence of the youth culture/market. Finally, the penetration of the phonograph, T.V. into American and other households as well as the rise in market segment programming.
Having said all that, I can enjoy a Beatles tune as well as the next, albeit knowing what they are and more importantly what they’re not. As a bass player, Sir Paul can be admired for his flawless craftsmanship. He never played something that would leave wonder exclaiming I never heard that before or puzzled as to how he thought that up or executed it. I rarely heard a note out of place or a voice leading that was not logical. Not small feat in it own right. In closing I should add that a friend from the old days worked for the company that transported rock stars and he said McCartney was always like a guy from the neighborhood, at ease, unpretentious, decent. -Brad