By Hans Ebert
The question is, How did they do it, and, maybe even more importantly, what drove them to that space in time and particular place where it really didn’t matter what anyone else thought and whether it would be popular or accepted just as long as they produced what was in their hearts and minds? It really was that simple.
Call it evolution, colour it revolution, but to go from the rudiments of pop to turning what we know as music on its head when deciding that the recording studio was this wonderful musical land of Oz where lived a wise old Wizard who could see where they wanted to go and guide them down that yellow brick road that led to Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields and where Tomorrow Never Knows is something that’s been explored and theorised for over four decades, but there really are no answers.
Maybe there are no answers because they were creating music from the soul, and which one guesses would be categorised as “soul music” because people love compartmentalising everything so that everything fits neatly into different little shoeboxes when it’s really all about the sounds of music, Julie. Think about that for a while.
This has been looping around my head for ages with different voices flowing in and out but, most of the time, their words quickly discarded because of knowing that they really didn’t get it. They were pretending to get it and making the right sounds, but the words didn’t fit. They rang sleepy hollow like most conversations that go down the rabbit hole simply because everyone has to say something to show and tell that they’re here and want to play. Like when growing up, however, more and more, there are less and less one doesn’t let in because they haven’t shown they share that same direction of home.
With Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and John Lennon, they knew where they were going and George Martin always helped them get there with a little help from a very small group of friends who included the genius of Derek Taylor, officially their Publicist, but far more, their confidante. He might not have been a musician, but he knew what was good. He had the answers when they had none. He was a different kind of wizard, but no less important to the final mix.
People like Derek Taylor are much needed in that creative process where all the ingredients might be there, but one needs objectivity when it comes down to the distilling process and where clutter and Nowhere People must be removed.
Were the Beatles a band that produced records or four individuals always going their separate ways, but with all roads dovetailing into that one place? Does it matter?
At a time when the penny seems to have finally dropped with a thud and looking back at what’s come before. there’s the realisation that it might have been good for its time and all that jazz, but it really wasn’t much good because there really wasn’t that level of communication needed. It wasn’t also the right fit of sound makers- not heading this way, anyway, but each doing though not believing and being guided by the money trail and convenience. There was no Derek Taylor and there was no George Martin and no Abbey Road Studios which was the Beatles’ land of Oz.
Listening to those talking about music today there’s this overriding feeling that they’re actually talking without thinking about formulas, but not magic elixirs. There are precious few new stories from the heart to create that soul music. Not every soundscape has been painted. Not every love song has been written and music coming with a hashtag is the new old baggage. There’s nothing new. It’s not the Beatles. The Beatles are still new and over fifty years later, no one has still caught up with them.
They set the bar, but more and more, it’s been lowered to a point where today one accepts everything, but buys into nothing because there’s nothing out there that means something.
It’s a void that must be filled, but it’s gotta come from the right place for all the right reasons with the right small group of people who one trusts enough to share secrets as we journey together and try to return to the garden and the land of Oz with our own Merlin, our own Jedi Master or whatever one might wish to call them, but who will be recognisable the moment they enter your life. Allow them in.
#TheBeatles #PennyLane #StrawberryFields #RingoStarr #GeorgeHarrison #PaulMcCartney #JohnLennon #DerekTaylor