The Beatles

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The fabulous mop-topped Scousers in New York in 1964.

The Beatles were a British rock-and-roll band that had a pretty good run during the bulk of the 1960s. The lineup consisted of John Lennon (1940-1980, a very talented but highly sarcastic asshole with views arty, left-wing, and "peacey" enough to get people to overlook the dickishness), Paul McCartney (born James Paul McCartney in 1942, a fantastic bassist, singer, and pretty-much-everything-ist with an obsession with corny love songs and a tendency to get into bad marriages), George Harrison (1943-2001, a good musician, lyricist, and singer who was actually pretty nice, even if he did have more of an India fetish than the rest and was a Hare Krishna), and Ringo Starr (born Richard Starkey in 1940, the drummer, sort of overlooked, depending on your opinion makes a living today either by acting like everybody's cool uncle or his inability to let people forget he was in the Beatles).

Stuff relevant to RationalWiki[edit]

"Paul is dead" rumor[edit]

In 1969 a group of idiots students put forth the possibility that Paul McCartney had died in a car accident in 1967 and the Beatles were covering it up, having replaced Paul with a look-alike. They cited hundreds of points of evidence, including alleged forward masking on Strawberry Fields Forever, in a clear-cut non-scientific case of finding evidence to fit a theory.

Despite his death, he went on to form the band Wings,[1] has a very successful solo career, smoked a lot of weed, recorded the theme to Live and Let Die, got married a few times, produced a few animated films, wrote a few children's books, became a vegetarian, and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997. His son, James Louis McCartney (b. 1977), is also a musician, apparently inheriting his father's talent for multi-instrumentalism.

Tax protest[edit]

The Beatles, being incredibly wealthy, were taxed 95% on their income from sales and performances. This inspired George to write the song "Taxman", which became the theme song of the tax protester. Somehow they still managed to scrape by despite only getting to keep 5% of their income.

Drugs[edit]

In the song "Get Back", Paul McCartney sings about Jojo leaving his home in Tucson, Arizona, to buy "some California grass".[2]

Fans of the psychedelic age have long suggested that the song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is about and was inspired by a rather crazy trip on LSD. While the implication is definitely in the title of the song, the inspiration actually came from a child's drawing.[3]

George Harrison's "Savoy Truffle" was written about Harrison's friend Eric Clapton's sweet tooth, but is possibly a metaphor for his cocaine addiction.

The song "Happiness is a Warm Gun" was inspired by a gun advertisement that Lennon saw with the title "Happiness is a Warm Gun", which refers to the heat that is produced after a gun is fired. Some critics claim that the song is about shooting heroin, one of the drugs that Lennon was addicted to.

Ringo singing "I'll get high with a little help from my friends" is pretty self-explanatory.

Helter Skelter[edit]

Charles Manson claimed that he heard a message from God which inspired him to build a family of murdering sociopaths while listening to the song "Helter Skelter". It couldn't possibly have been the voices in his head or the drugs he was taking.

Eastern philosophy[edit]

Halfway through their career together, and having discovered that they were more popular than Jesus, the Beatles proceeded to take inspiration from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and the temporary endorsement boosted his popularity. His influence inspired George Harrison to learn to play the sitar, and the influence is evident in several songs, including "Within You Without You". The song "Sexy Sadie" later served as John's denunciation of Mahesh Yogi after learning he'd sexually harassed women.

Harrison got heavily into Hare Krishna advocacy, as evidenced in "He's So Fine"[4] "My Sweet Lord".

While the Beatles were away learning woo, their manager Brian Epstein died of an accidental drug overdose.

Yoko Ono[edit]

Yoko Ono in 2007.

Yoko Ono (married name Yoko Ono Lennon) is a pretentious Japanese dilettante artist, musician, and the widow of the late John Lennon.

Yoko is a well-known political activist, promoting peace while denouncing sexism and racism. She was a part of the feminist culture that emerged in the UK and the US in the 1960s, challenging perceptions of women and their roles, and their need to fit into standards of appearance.

Yoko Ono has been accused in the popular press, and by Beatle fans (and Beatle haters) of "breaking up the Beatles." The truth is simple — the Beatles were already growing apart, growing up, and growing in different directions, and so schisms within the band that had existed since before their first hit singles were now gaping chasms. Yoko just happened to meet their "lead singer and rhythm guitarist" around the time the band was imploding.

But, because her chosen styles of art and music were difficult — almost impossible — for those used to suckling at the teat of 4/4 time and the I-IV-V chord progression (to say nothing of the tempered scale!), she became a handy scapegoat for Beatle-lovers to hate, and subsequently, for uninformed Beatle-haters to love (in a twisted sort of way).[5]

Other Beatles[edit]

When the band first began achieving popular notoriety when performing in Germany, they were a quintet. Stuart Sutcliffe was the band's original bassist, but left the band to pursue a career as a painter. He died unexpectedly in 1962 from a brain aneurysm at age 21.

The Beatles' original drummer was Pete Best (born Randolph Peter Scanland in 1941), but was dismissed from the band by manager Brian Epstein at the insistence of the other members and replaced with Ringo Starr. After working with a number of commercially unsuccessful groups, Best worked as a civil servant for 20 years, and then started the Pete Best Band, with which he still performs.

James George "Jimmie" Nichol (b. 1939) substituted for an ailing Ringo Starr on the band's 1964 tour. After Starr's recovery and return to the band, Nichol worked with a number of other bands, but left the entertainment industry in 1967 to become an entrepreneur. He has chosen to stay out of the spotlight and doesn't discuss his brief time with the Beatles, nor apparently try to profit from it.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. An old, tasteless joke: What looks like a dog, sounds like a banshee and has wings? Linda McCartney
  2. The estate in Tucson is called "Camelot" and it's only a model a pretty nice house.
  3. That child, Lucy Vodden, died in 2009.
  4. http://abbeyrd.best.vwh.net/mysweet.htm
  5. Or not so twisted. Ono has collaborated with well-established jazz musicians, and many jazzers have an axe to grind with the Beatles after they stole the public's attention from jazz and replaced it with rock.