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Old 03-07-2013, 08:05 PM   #611 (permalink)
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FWIW, I'm not here to argue that either band is "better" than the other. That is a matter of personal opinion. My point here is, even if you're not a BB fan for whatever reason, once you become familiar with and study their corpus in some amount of depth, you do discover they were just as creative as the Beatles ever were. Even their early surf-and-sun pieces, plus their ballads of the time, more than hold up to the Beatles early stuff, on a creative level. The music is quite different, but that doesn't mean it's any less artistic.

--------------------------------------------

The next 3 feature comparisons of early ballads. It's a bit arbitrary which ones to pair against which, so if you want to group the 3 Beach Boy ballads as a group against the 3 Beatle ballads as a group, then do so.

Disclaimer: I'm not sure Surfer Girl, This Boy and If I Fell technically fit the proper definition of "ballad," but they're close enough. Basically any soft, "slow" song.

Contest #3A: Battle of the Early Ballads #1 (with heavy harmonies) - "Surfer Girl" vs "This Boy"

"Surfer Girl" - recorded May-July 1963

If you don't really "get" the appeal of Surfer Girl, there is a version of Paul Simon performing it at a Brian Wilson tribute concert in 2001, on Youtube. Sometimes you need to peel back the layers of a song to appreciate its beauty. Simon does a great job of doing that.

"This Boy" - recorded October 1963


My verdict: Surfer Girl by a mile.

-------------------------------------------------

Contest #3B: Battle of the Early Ballads #2 - "Your Summer Dream" vs "If I Fell"

This might not be a fair comparison because the BB song is 100% solo while the Beatles song is very heavy on the harmonies, but as I said above, these pairings are somewhat arbitrary.

"Your Summer Dream" - recorded approx. July, 1963. If you've never heard this song before, be sure to turn the volume up, it's got more impact that way.


"If I Fell" - recorded February 1964


My verdict: Really tough one. Your Summer Dream is a very beautiful song that really grabs you and forces you to listen to it. But the harmonies on If I Fell are classic. I call it a draw.

------------------------------------------------

I've saved the best ballads for last ...

Contest #3C: Battle of the Early Ballads #3 - "Warmth of the Sun" vs "And I Love Her"

"Warmth of the Sun" - recorded January 1964


"And I Love Her" - recorded February 1964

EDIT: After considerable thought, I've decided I like the slower-lower version from the movie instead of the speeded-up version with Paul's voice double-tracked on the record. So I'm replacing that version with the movie version in the video above.

My verdict: - This is like asking which is better, Monet or Renoir? But I'm voting for Warmth of the Sun, which is a genuine masterpiece.

More later ...
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:15 PM   #612 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DriveYourCarDownToTheSea View Post
FWIW, I'm not here to argue that either band is "better" than the other. That is a matter of personal opinion. My point here is, even if you're not a BB fan for whatever reason, once you become familiar with and study their copus in some amount of depth, you do discover they were just as creative as the Beatles ever were. Even their early surf-and-sun pieces, plus their ballads of the time, more than hold up to the Beatles early stuff, on a creative level. The music is quite different, but that doesn't mean it's any less artistic.
Oh, Im sorry if I gave the impression that I was arguing or suggesting that one band was better than the other, I was just expressing my own personal preference also. Sorry for the misunderstanding my friend.
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:12 PM   #613 (permalink)
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Due to the large number of fast-song megahits both bands were creating in 1963 and '64, I'm going to add a previously unscheduled contest. These are late '63-early '64 recordings.

Contest #4: Battle of the Late 1963-Early 1964 Teeny-Bopper Fast-Song Megahits, Vol. 2

"Fun, Fun, "Fun" - recorded January 1964


"I Want To Hold Your Hand" - recorded October 1963


My verdict: Unlike the previous fast-song megahit comparison, I like the Beach Boys song better.

Be sure to cast your own votes!
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Old 03-08-2013, 02:57 PM   #614 (permalink)
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Sorry, didn't mean to refer to the Fabs as cows. I grew up with the Beatles, first heard 'From Me to You' when I was going on 8 in the hospital -- loved it. They were my favourite band until 1968 when the whole second half of 'Hey Jude' consisted of 'nah' chanted 175 times. This didn't seem like an act of genius, or even imagination -- still liked 'Revolution' very much though. Don't believe in genius-by-committee as the Beatles worked in the studio anyway. I'm not posing George Martin as an undiscovered genius -- but he was essential to their product for six years. But he was so humble he refused to take a small part of Northern Songs as a conflict of interest unlike all the others on the Beatle bandwagon. Even if he was a genius it would have been suppressed for the sake of Beatle hype and the Lennon-McCartney inviolable brand. Listening to what the Beatles said about themselves would give people better insight -- John Lennon admitting 'Help!' was only the second or third genuinely heartfelt he ever wrote; George harrison saying the White Album could/should have been cut to 14 tracks instead of a double album; Paul McCartney wondering out loud to Phil Spector on their first flight to New York why Americans would want the Beatles when they already had the originals? Let's face it, after five years of going nowhere the Beatles were so grateful to be snapped up by an upper-crust manager that they gave him 20%, in all estimated to have earned what Lennon & McCartney did together while he was alive; just so grateful to get a record deal that they settled for one farthing royalty per side; so grateful to be chosen as EMI head Sir Joseph Lockwood's pet export project and placed on high around the world they gave up all thoughts of rebellion or even writing meaningful songs until John Lennon was 25 and they were in an unassailable position of popularity.
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Old 03-08-2013, 03:10 PM   #615 (permalink)
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You mentiond Hey Jude, one of my favorite by the Beatles. Love Me Do is another one.
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Old 03-08-2013, 03:28 PM   #616 (permalink)
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I love both bands but I love The Beatles more, I think The Beatles made better albums in general. I love Pet Sounds and Wild Honey and Smiley Smile is also a very enjoyable listen, but in the same time period The Beatles made Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour. Its pretty difficult to build a case against The Beatles in this instance isn't it, if you're a neutral. Its a close one but I give it to The Beatles, by a nose, Ringo's nose.

I don't think I can post youtube videos yet, but if i could I'd post The Beach Boys - Here Comes the Night and The Beatles - Baby You're a Rich Man.

I don't care about the hype or who was more influential and all that stuff, I only care about what comes out of the speakers.
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:00 PM   #617 (permalink)
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I had a friend say to me awhile back that he thought Ringo Starr was really underrated. Any thoughts on the subject ? I do believe that George Harrison might be a little underrated.
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:15 PM   #618 (permalink)
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I wouldn't say Ringo is underrated, I think he's been the butt of a few jokes over the years like - he wasn't even the best drummer in The Beatles and that kind of thing. He does have a trademark sound though doesn't he, and id say that qualifies him as a good drummer. I'd agree with you about George Harrison, I think he's an underrated songwriter and All Things Must Pass is definitely one of the best solo Beatle albums.
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:12 PM   #619 (permalink)
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Before I leave 1964 and address the musical changes both bands underwent in 1965, I'm going to show concert scenes for each of my previous two songs, with some commentary.

"Fun, Fun, Fun" in concert - Concert in March 1964.


"I Want to Hold Your Hand" - first US (non-Ed Sullivan) concert in February 1964.


Lots of screaming kids in both. Though, other Beatles concert footage I've seen shows the screaming at Beatles concerts was at a whole other level than just about anyone else.

Anyway, some commentary on both bands' early eras (pre-1965) ...

1) Both bands had their own "uniforms" for their concerts - the Beatles dressed in suits and ties, the Beach Boys in their famous Pendelton striped shirts. Not sure what, if anything, that could signify. It's tempting to say the BB uniforms reflected a casual California style with a dash of preppiness, while the buttoned-down Beatles represented a more staid and formal European sensibility. But we all know the Beatles' use of suits and ties was really at Brian Epstein's insistence and they probably wouldn't have done that if not for him, so as tempting as it might be to try to read something into their concert wardrobes, it probably doesn't really mean anything.

2) The Beach Boys came from an established American tradition (not very old at this point in time, but it was there) of rock-n-roll being Chuck Berrry R&B, Elvis Rockabilly, etc. Britain didn't have a strong rock/pop musical tradition at this time, so this gave the Beatles an opportunity to invent one ...

... As a result, with the Beach Boys we got an easily identifiable style of their early songs either being, A) an R&B, pure rock-n-roll style song, or, B) a ballad. There were some gray areas (there are always gray areas), but that was the general pattern ...

... The Beatles, coming from somewhere with little rock tradition, got to invent one. As we all know, their stuff emerged from Skiffle, which in the UK was a folkish-sounding, fast-beat style which might sound like something coming out of the Appalachian foothills. It's also interesting to note that the Beatles used acoustic guitars extensively even in their early years, whereas the Beach Boys used them only rarely. Not sure how much, if at all, the Skiffle origins had any effect on the Beatles use of instruments, but being familiar with both groups' catalog, I think it's fair to say the Beatles frequent use of acoustic guitar had an effect on their sound and musical style. Acoustic guitars don't really lend themselves well to Chuck Berry-style hard rock tunes. On the other hand, if your musical inspiration/roots was a folk-style kind of music, acoustic guitars would be perfectly acceptable.

So the frequent accusation that the Beatles weren't really a "rock" band but were more of a "pop" band is somewhat correct, but that's in large part because they came from somewhere that didn't have much of a rock tradition or style yet. That said, I would argue that that, in itself, was a type of innovation; probably more than any other band, the Beatles blurred the distinction between pop and rock, while professing to be a rock band (though I suppose you could even say that of Elvis, so I admit my argument isn't so clear-cut). A lack of tradition can be liberating.

Anyway, I'll start on some 1965 comparisons later. This is when both bands really started to blur musical distinctions.
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:36 PM   #620 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nurse Duckett View Post
I love both bands but I love The Beatles more, I think The Beatles made better albums in general.
Though it's true this is very subjective, I'm not entirely sure I would agree. You really have to give some BB albums a good listen, and they will grow on you. Surfer Girl, for instance, has only a few tracks I regularly skip - I find it easily as good as With The Beatles, for example. Half the songs on All Summer Long and Shut Down Volume 2 are good songs I regularly listen to (usually in my car). There are only maybe 2 or 3 songs on Today! I regularly skip, and Summer Days has only 2 song I'm not fond of (heck, I even find "I'm Bugged At My Old Man" to be a funny interlude ).

Summer Days track listing:
Side one:
"The Girl from New York City" - great rock song
"Amusement Parks U.S.A." - you have to get by the adolescent lyrics, but once you get there it's actually a pretty good song
"Then I Kissed Her" - Phil Spector cover, I often skip this
"Salt Lake City" - like Amusement Parks, you have to get by the corny lyrics, but once you do, it's a pretty good song
"Girl Don't Tell Me" - ripoff of "Ticket To Ride," but at least it's a pretty good ripoff
"Help Me, Rhonda" - No comment needed

Side two:
"California Girls" - No comment needed
"Let Him Run Wild" - Fantastic song, my new favorite. Will discuss later
"You're So Good to Me" - I find this to be an awkward song, often skip it
"Summer Means New Love" - very nice instrumental
"I'm Bugged at My Ol' Man" - funny, in a dorky way
"And Your Dream Comes True" - great harmonies

So, despite not having a reputation as a notable album, it's really pretty darn good. Easily on a par with "Help!" in my opinion.
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