The Beatles, more than a band

The Beatles, more than a band

 

Everyone knows who are the Beatles, and if there is someone who does not, he or she should know it. Besides being one of the most successful bands in the music industry, they not only became famous for their music, but also for taking part of the social and political transformation placed in England during the Sixties. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison were the voice of millions of youngest who wanted a change in England. These four guys started an English rock band in Liverpool in 1960. Through their new rhythms of rock and roll, their ‘’revolutionary’’ lyrics and the singers’ peaceful position influenced on Britons young lives.

  

Figure 1: George Harrison, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and Paul McCartney. BBC. Retrieved from

 

The recovering from the Second World War marked the scenario in Britain during the Sixties. These 10 years were full of changes in different fields characterized by liberal thinking. For instance, from an educational reform, which improved access to higher studies to the invention of the first birth control pills. Moreover, the parents of the Sixties teenage generation had spent their youth fighting for their lives in the Second World War and wanted their own children to enjoy their youth and be able to have more opportunities and freedom.

   

Figure 2: The cover of their last album, “Abbey Road” by The Beatles. Apple Records. Retrieved from

 

The counterculture of the 1960s was an anti-establishment cultural phenomenon that developed throughout much of the Western world between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s. This phenomenon coincided with the expansion of the US government’s extensive military intervention in Vietnam, and due to that, several movements grew up within the counterculture in order to defend civil rights and put on the table new topics to discuss. The most known group of members of this cultural phenomenon was the hippies. The hippies’ mission was towards free sex and peace, expressed through psychedelic music and LSD: the drug, which supposedly causes inspirational hallucinations for its users. The Beatles’ song Rain was written specifically for the effects of LSD and it is also the first song by the Beatles, which mentions the difference between the two generations; the conventional and the revolutionary.

The Beatles – Rain

 

This phenomenon encouraged the Beatles to give more messages of peace and awaken people to fight for a social and political change. As The Beatles acknowledged the effect they were having on people who championed liberal values, they continued to produce more songs that encouraged this cultural change.

 

The Beatles – While my guitar gently weeps

 

While My Guitar Gently Weeps is one of the songs, which reflects the band’s stance in the political world. Moreover, the four members were known by their activism in front of wars and conflicts, especially John Lennon, the one who was known by his efforts in raise awareness about positive values and unity among people. In 1968 they released the song calls Revolution. Lennon decided to write a song about the recent wave of social upheaval while the Beatles were in Rishikesh, India, studying Meditation. He recalled: ‘’I thought it was about time we spoke about it, the same as I thought it was about time we stopped not answering about the Vietnamese war… It had been thinking about it up in the hills in India.’’

 

The Beatles – Revolution

 

But the maximum exponent about Lennon’s concern was illustrated in the famous song Imagine, the biggest post-Beatles hit. Its lyrics encourage the listener to imagine a world at peace without the barriers of borders or the divisions of religion and nationality and to consider the possibility that the whole of humanity would live unattached to material possessions. Shortly before his death, Lennon said that much of the song’s lyrics and content came from his wife Yoko Ono, the one that we can see in the original video and who marked also a very important influence in the separation of the Beatles.

 

Figure 3: John Lennon and Yoko Ono kick-off a bed in for peace in 1969.

 

The 8th of December of 1980 in New York City, Mark Chapman shot five times against the ex-Beatle John Lennon, who died minutes later on the way to the hospital. Nowadays, 39 years after his death, the motivations of the murderer are still debatable and bring conspiracy theories. The question is still on the streets: Was Chapman crazed fanatic or just an intelligence tool from EE.UU? Despite other hypotheses circulating years ago on the Internet, the famous theory doubts that Chapman was the real shooter and actually he acted under orders from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in order to stop John Lennon of his activism and his discrediting towards EE.UU.

 

 

 Figure 4: The Beatles’ last photo session in August 1969.

 

But if we have to be sure about one thing, is that the Beatles was a group who points out an age. Their spirit brought a new wave either for the music or either for encouraging millions of youth to make decisions. With his short path as a band, -only around 10 years-, they were capable of being known worldwide. Besides it, they achieved something that only a few artists can do it, and this is to have people singing your songs and spreading your message since more than 50 years ago.

 

Carla Sala


Sources:

Frendo, D. (2018). ‘’The Beatles and the Counterculture of the Sixties’’. Spinditty. Retrieved from

Merino, L. (2013). ‘’Los Beatles: Historias y razones que avalan un éxito de 50 años’’. El País. Retrieved from

Watson, K. (2016). ‘’The 1960s, the Decade that Shook Britain’’. Historic UK. Retrieved from

 

                                                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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