A few months ago all over the world remembered the fiftieth anniversary of the first single of the Beatles. On October 5, 1962, in fact, was released by Parlophone “Love Me Do”, a song gaunt which opened the way for the biggest musical revolution of the twentieth century.
A couple of days ago on all media was held instead of the seventy-first birthday of Paul McCartney, the most pop musician in the world, which at the time of “Love Me Do” was just twenty.
I take this opportunity of these two anniversaries to reflect briefly on two elements that have characterized the hectic production of the Beatles. On the one hand the construction of a modern musical, pop and revolutionary at the same time, within which incorporated the contradictory suggestions of a historical period of extraordinary cultural ferment. On the other hand, the invention of a story-telling that draws inspiration from the post-war British industrial suburbs.
Legend has it that Dick Rowe, the talent scout for Decca rejected the Beatles and signed a contract with Brian Poole and the Tremeloes. It seems that the reason is that, according to Rowe, the groups based on guitars had already run their course. It was Emi, through George Martin (who will join the Beatles throughout their dish), to produce that milestone. An unusual piece in general construction, title and unusual in the arrangements: an imperceptible delay in the snare drum beat in sync with a tambourine, a harmonica played by Lennon that at the end of sentences echoing atmosphere distorts blues, a refrain sung in departure and stubbornly repeated in a chorus of voices that reveals harmonies and melodic lines sweeter than the traditional blues and rock’n’roll.
A closer look, gaunt and unusual is the framework within which they develop the themes of reference and the very genesis of the Beatles. From the name, which is a set of evocations more or less random (who knows) but that combine the key elements of irrationality Beatles, that is nonsense, randomness, originality and genius: it would mean “cockroaches” he had two “and” consecutive instead of “and”, thus forming the word “beat”, which refers to the same time to Merseybeat, named after the river Mersey crossing Liverpool, and assonance “Beatless”, ie without beat.
Inside “Love Me Do” was the germ pop that was then squeezed to capacity and developed by the Beatles throughout their career, and that was combined with all trajectories that western pop music has come in the last fifty ‘years: overdubs, psychedelic, rumorismo, etc.. There was a new mixture of Skiffle, a genre borderline and at the same time transnational par excellence (born in America and spread to England, played with broomsticks, the so-called tea-chest bass, and axes to be washed and scrubbed with metal thimbles used as percussion), that the Beatles have learned about going back to the roots of the group’s history and the discovery of the circumstances, more or less fortuitous that have occurred up to that fateful and disarming “Love me do”. There was that Merseybeat, crucial point of contact between the rigors of rock and roll and the Beatles harmonic evolution, to which John Lennon has gradually led the growth of his old band, the Querrymen, which in 1958 already included two of the most influential musicians in the history of contemporary music, the sixteen year old Paul McCartney and George Harrison fifteen. There was, in short, the germ of a new rock’n’roll developed rough on the signs of Elvis Presley, Chuck Burry and Little Richards, introduced in provincial England in the second half of the fifties through the sailors in Liverpool, and which impressed indelibly Lennon teenager.
In this sense, Liverpool is not only the place of origin, but it is the socio-cultural context that generates the joints decisive. It is a city whose great industrial port is a channel open especially to America of the pioneers. It is here that they meet the four, because they live here, buy, barter, holding in their hands, tearing discs revolutionaries arriving from overseas. Here they share their proletarian origins. Sources who have never hidden but rather ostentatious, producing probably the first among their radical innovations translate into music that is – as suggested by Castaldo and Assante in “The Beatles Revolution” – the “sophisticated awareness of pop art as an expression of redemption of less well-off. ” The next step is the transfiguration, memory processing of frenetic years of training, through which Liverpool became the “microcosm” that hinges together and develops endlessly the narratives of the Beatles, from “In My Life”, where Lennon traces the streets of his district, “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever”, real places that localize the story and at the same time trigger the development of a roaring plot that has captured the imaginations of generations.
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