The Null Device

The Drab Four

For today's dose of contrarianism, The Graun's Dave Simpson on why the Beatles weren't really all that good:
I never bought the myth - all that thumbs aloft, wacky Scousers, lovely boys, world peace stuff which we now know to be nonsense because they were in fact either taking heroin, fighting among themselves or dreaming up the Frog Chorus all that time. Even at my early age, something in McCartney's eye said: "Sshh, in 30 years I'll be asking my lawyers to get the credits reversed to McCartney-Lennon and presiding over a de-Spectorised version of Let It Be which will show how much we relied on top producers."
The Beatles are what they always were - the safe, money-spinning, housewives' choice. Their albums are easy listening (fine for 50-somethings, but the Beatles were cardigan-wearing duffers in their 20s). Sgt. Pepper, their much-trumpeted "psychedelic" album was as mindbending as an Asda mushroom pie. Give or take Helter Skelter, they never even rocked, really. Next to the Stones, the Who or the Troggs, the Beatles are the low alcohol lager of the 60s.

There are 8 comments on "The Drab Four":

Posted by: Tom Tue Nov 18 19:37:24 2003

Closest I ever came to being a Beatles fan was liking XTC.

That, and LOVING Laibach's treatment of "Let It Be".

Posted by: msg http:// Wed Nov 19 04:42:41 2003

The Pretty Things make The Who look like Gary Lewis and The Playboys. All that cooler/less cool by comparison stuff is shite. The tautology of dissing somebody because they have mass appeal when mass appeal is why they're a topic of conversation in the first place. Musicians as cultural phenomena are not musicians as musicians per se. Hound Dog Taylor, Otis Spann, they're not John Lee Hooker. John Lee Hooker wasn't even John Lee Hooker eventually. Neither were the Beatles or anybody else who got big enough the screams of the fans were louder than their guitars. None of those guys would be anything without electricity, anyway. Take away the juice and what do you have? Flat beer.

Posted by: mark Wed Nov 19 04:50:35 2003

There's a point. Where would [Great Band X] be without beer? I suppose that's why I prefer Australian rock bands to their American counterparts, eh? ;-)

I <em>like</em> the Beatles, but they're hardly what all the hype makes them out to be. Especially the simplistic pop songs the Graun writer seems to enjoy so much. (And how can he rag on "I Am the Walrus"? That was lyrical genius! Ahem...)

Posted by: steve http:// Thu Nov 20 08:54:00 2003

Lazy journalism... "How can I stir up the masses today?"

Posted by: john lennon http:// Thu Nov 20 21:54:41 2003

social comment, that's the true message of the beatles songs. you might not like em, mebbe they said too much, it's easy. All you need is love.

Posted by: Ben Fri Nov 21 00:14:42 2003

Nope, their message was all about drugs. That's it. And look what happened....

Posted by: Graham Fri Nov 21 00:27:45 2003

All you need is cash.

Posted by: geezer http:// Fri Nov 21 22:46:02 2003

You don't have the tools to discuss it if you didn't live thru the time BEFORE they came along. Compared with Pat Boone doing whitebread versions of Little Richard's just had to be there...

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