At the start of February, the movie trailer for the film, ‘Yesterday’ was released. Directed by Danny Boyle and written by Richard Curtis, the film explores the protagonist Jack’s struggle of being the only person to remember The Beatles and their music. Subsequently, the film explores the moral controversy, would you release the songs as your own and make millions or keep quiet? With cameos from Ed Sheeran and potentially some more familiar faces, it’s a romcom for any music fan. The trailer certainly packs a punch, I was in awe when I was watching it and ran round the house to show every member of my family. But, it did get me thinking, what would the world have been like without The Beatles? In this article, we explore the reasons why the band is so important.
It’s an obvious point, but The Beatles really did pave the way for a more creative, conceptual style of album production. Along with George Martin, their producer at Abbey Road, The Beatles were able to create some of the first concept albums. They were able to fabricate worlds and characters, like in Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Music became truly transformative, songs weren’t released in mono anymore, they were styled and edited to create an effect for the listener. Perhaps, without The Beatles, character albums or virtual bands like Gorillaz may not have existed.
Furthermore, how often is it, that when musicians are asked who influenced them when creating their music, that the response is The Beatles. Even today, they are quoted as being many peoples chosen favourites. The Beatles are captivating.
It may be unknown to some people, but The Beatles actually have five films, all to varying to degrees of fantasy. From the documentary movie, Let It Be, to the mockumentary, A Hard Day’s Night, to the downright crazy animation, Yellow Submarine. The Beatles movies followed in style to the music. But why is this important? Actually, the film A Hard Day’s Night is considered to be the very first ‘music video’. Now, I know what you are thinking, impossible. I’ve seen videos of Elvis wiggling his hips and I have seen footage of Frank Sinatra crooning into the camera. Yes. This is music on film. However, A Hard Day’s Night changed the way that music was portrayed in the film. Richard Lester, the producer behind this film, explored the effect of camera angles and tried to implement a story into a short three-minute video to correspond with a song. In 1984, Lester was given an award for his work and was labelled ‘the father of the music video’.
The Beatles could be considered the earliest form of influencer. If Instagram was around in the 1960’s I would be intrigued to see how many #ad posts would be on the members’ pages! From the suits and boots of the early 1960s, to the relaxed shirts and jeans of the near seventies, The Beatles always had a finger in fashion as well as music. Even today, everyone still strives for a Beatle-esque look, monochromatic colours are always in trend, black skinny jeans show no sign of hiding and Chelsea boots are commonly nicknamed ‘Beatle Boots’.
We are all familiar with the term Beatlemania, it is used to describe the frenzy that was created by The Beatles during the 1960s. The fact that a word needed to be invented to describe the phenomenon shows just how impactful the band was. However, it isn’t just superficial reasons that made The Beatles so important. Yes, stylistically they were and are very important to history, however, many people don’t know that the band refused to play to segregated audiences in America during the 1960s. The Beatles often tried to take stands on civil rights matters however, were often silenced by record companies. It was written into contracts that The Beatles would not play to segregated audiences. The issue of segregation was also the subject of Paul McCartney’s hit, ‘Blackbird’.
Now, I am not saying that The Beatles are the most squeaky-clean band of all time. Perhaps, the record companies wanted to silence the band because they couldn’t trust the outspoken nature of its members (just google John Lennon and The Beatles are bigger than Jesus to see what I am talking about!).
Whatever your opinions on The Beatles, it cannot be disproved that they had a huge impact on music. There were a lot of other massive bands at the time, creating their own social waves, but no-one did it in quite a captivating and creative way as The Beatles. I think that’s why they are still referenced by modern musicians.
Longevity has to be taken into consideration and I can’t see The Beatles going anywhere soon. Although, if they did, I think I would try and make money off their music like Jack in the movie Yesterday too!
Leave your thoughts on the Yesterday movie trailer below!
Text: Emily Jordan
Images: Movieweb, Variety, Magnoliabox.Com