Harmonica Band

How did the Beatles music change as they went on?

For example, what influenced their music to change.

Pre-1962: Still looking for their own chemistry. they emulated and covered many artists of the day, ranging from 50's rockers Larry Williams and Arthur Alexander (among Lennon's favorites), to showtunes and Little Richard (McCartney's favorites). Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, Motown artists, and many others were part of their initial sound.

1962: They set the terms for how their career would go when they refused to cover the song George Martin brought them, the insipid "How Do You Do It?". Eventually, they lost the argument and Martin marched them into the recording studio for their session. They purposely recorded the song badly, and Martin gave up. The reason was because they wanted to write their own songs (a rarity in those days), and had just written "Please Please Me", which would become their first #1.

1963, for their fourth single ("She Loves You") the band made a conscious decision to drop the harmonica that was featured on their first 3 singles, because they didn't want to be stereotyped as "that harmonica band"

1964-1965: Bob Dylan introduced the band to marijuana toward the end of 1964, as Beatlemania was beginning to ease a little. Both Dylan and marijuana would influence much of their 1965 output, which saw a new folk music influence on many of their songs.

1966: A decision to stop touring turned them into a studio band, and they began experimenting with tape loops, backwards vocals, sitar, backwards guitar, multi-tracking, sound effects... The fact that they had begun experimenting with LSD this year helped inspire some of the zanier experiments.

1967: The first half of the year was spent in the Studio, producing Sgt. Pepper, which was a conscious effort to shed their moptop image. They all grew mustaches and impersonated a different band for that album. The invention of the mellotron made Strawberry Fields possible. At the end of the year, the death of Brian Epstien, their manager, had a profound effect on the band's subsequent life. McCartney made an effort to fill a perceived "leadership" void, which rankled Lennon. McCartney's first move was the Magical Mystery Tour film, which was the Beatles' first large-scale failure, when it was ridiculed by the TV critics.

1968: Lennon began to be attracted by the avant-garde (having been introduced to it via Yoko), resulting in "Revolution 9". Harrison began a friendship with Eric Clapton that influenced both of them. McCartney skipped from genre to genre, putting his own spin on ska ("Ob La Di, Ob La Da"), nostalgia ("Honey Pie") hard rock ("Helter Skelter") and others, developing a "try to please everyone" approach that persisted throughout his solo career. The band began to fracture; both Harrison and Ringo walked out at different times. They collaborated less and less; in many ways the White Album is a preview of the directions their solo careers would take.

1969: The year began with an idea to "get back to the roots" by dropping all the overdubs, and playing simple, live music. The result was the aborted "Get Back" sessions, which were very acrimonious. The whole project was shelved due to the poor performances. The band reconvened one last time for "Abbey Road", which was a mix of newer songs, and spruced-up "Get Back" era songs.

1970: The Beatles did not actually record in 1970, but Phil Spector was hired to clean up the "Get Back" tapes and release it as "Let It Be"

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