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10 Beatles Innovations that Changed Music

Tom Daniel . . . Comments

The Beatles certainly didn’t invent the music business, but like Beethoven, they had an undeniable steamroller effect that forced everyone to completely and permanently change nearly everything about the way the industry functioned. These items are not listed in any particular order of importance.


Music Video

Although early jazz artists created short music-film performances of their songs, and Elvis filmed unique settings of his songs that were parts of movies, the Beatles were the pioneers of marrying the two ideas into the concept we now know as the music video – a short, stand-alone film of a musical act presenting a current song that may or not be a live performance. The idea came to the Beatles as a way to ease their ridiculously tight schedule – instead of the band having to make tons of public appearances on TV shows around the world, they could send a video of themselves instead. The first dedicated music video was for the single “Paperback Writer/Rain” in 1966.


Concept Album

Prior to 1966, popular musical acts went into the recording studio in order to create a stack of singles. These singles were first released individually by the record company, and then again in a few months as part of a long-playing album. Typically, the band had no input as to which songs went on the album, which order they were presented, or what was used as the cover art – these were all decisions made independent of the band by the record company. However, with the invaluable guidance of their producer, George Martin, the Beatles released the industry’s first concept album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” The idea behind “Sgt. Pepper” was that the Beatles were playing the part of another band giving a concert in the park, and all of the songs on the album were part of that outdoor affair. None of the songs on that album were initially released as singles – the first time the public heard any part of “Sgt. Pepper” was when the entire album was released in June, 1967.


Stadium Concert Venues


Although the Beatles were highly successful in selling out their early concerts in 1963, 1964, and 1965, they were only playing shows booked in auditoriums, theaters, and amphitheaters that seated anywhere between 1000 and 10,000 ticket-holders. When manager Brian Epstein initially booked the Beatles to play a concert in New York’s Shea Stadium in August, 1965, the idea was considered almost too absurd to consider. However, the tickets sold out within hours (priced between $4.50 and $5.75), and over 55,000 berserk, screaming fans (mostly teenage girls) packed Shea Stadium for the first-ever stadium rock concert. The Beatles only played 30 minutes, the fans were not allowed onto the infield where the stage was located, and the stadium’s sound system was atrocious for a musical concert, but the night’s gross was over $300,000, which stood as an industry record for many years.


Self-Contained Record Label

Apple Jpg 500X1000 Q85

This was one of those magnificent ideas where everybody learned more from Beatle mistakes than Beatle successes. In 1966, the Beatles’ recording contract with EMI Records expired, and they re-entered into a 9-year contract with EMI in 1967. The next year, the Beatles decided to form their own record company, Apple Records, and discovered that EMI was not willing to release them. In a complicated series of confusing maneuvers, the Beatles remained with EMI, but signed a separate agreement between EMI’s American subsidiary, Capitol Records, and Apple. The result was that American releases contained the Apple label while British releases did not (at first). In addition to this mess, the Beatles legally hired two different business managers (American Allen Klein and Paul’s new father-in-law Lee Eastman) at Apple, and all contracts between Apple, EMI, and Capitol were revised. Hilarity and lawsuits soon followed, and the Beatles painfully set the standard for what NOT to do when forming your own record company.


Live Global Television Broadcast

Although the Beatles did not invent satellite television, they were the highlighted subject of the first ever live global satellite television broadcast in June, 1967. The TV program was called “Our World,” and it featured the contributions of artists and citizens of 19 different nations. Using four different orbiting satellites, the program was able to be broadcast live to anyone interested in receiving the signal anywhere in the world, and the Beatles performed an in-studio live version of “All You Need Is Love,” which was specially written by John for the broadcast, to close out the program.


Chart Success


Although many different musical acts hold variously scattered chart-topping marketing successes, no specific artist has ever come close to the nearly inexplicable global phenomenon the Beatles enjoyed in the Spring of 1964. On March 21, the Beatles held #1, #2, and #3 in Billboard’s Hot 100 (for a total of seven songs in that week’s poll). On March 28, they held #1, #2, #3, and #4 (ten songs in all) in that week’s Billboard Hot 100. On April 4, they staggeringly held #1, #2, #3, #4, AND #5 (for a total of twelve songs) in the Billboard Hot 100. On April 11, the Beatles added two more songs to the Billboard Hot 100 (fourteen in all). During this same time frame, they were also snagging most of the album and singles Top Ten lists in the UK, Canada, and Australia.


Studio Techniques

This item could almost be a separate list in and of itself. The Beatles (and their recording engineers) either pioneered or popularized Artificial Double Tracking (ADT), back masking, tuned feedback, spliced audio loops, distortion, equalization, stereo effects, multi-tracking (overdubbing), compression, phase shifting, and innovative “microphoning.” Although the Beatles are not credited with the invention of most of these studio tricks, they were responsible for directly inspiring countless musical acts that were desperate to copy their unique sounds.


Lyrics Printed On The Album


The first pop album to feature actual printed lyrics on the album was the Beatles’ 1967 epic release “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Soon, it would be considered non-standard to not do so.


No Touring


The typical music industry standard recording contract of the 1960s required a band to record and release enough singles for a company to release at least one album per year, and the Beatles went way above and beyond the call of duty (they released two albums per year in every year with EMI Records except 1966). Another aspect of the standard recording contract required a band to give a prescribed number of public concerts as a highly effective means to promote and sell the band’s singles and albums. However, in August, 1966, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, the Beatles played their last public concert after over six years of extended touring. The decision for the Beatles (or any band, for that matter) to end touring was a breathtakingly landmark decision, and theirs was based on multiple factors, such as exhaustion, inability to perform newest songs in a live format, inability to hear themselves onstage, wandering musical focus, safety concerns following death threats and boycotts, and boredom. The Beatles would only make one more public musical appearance, and it would come in January, 1969 in the form of an impromptu semi-private concert on the rooftop of their London studios.


American FM Radio

By 1968, the American radio dial preferred to have music on AM and talk radio on FM, and most AM stations played music in a three-minute single format. This meant that any singles significantly longer or shorter than three minutes were ignored by AM stations, because it would wreck their repetitive hourly format to play it. When the Beatles released “Hey Jude” as a single in August, 1968, it was nearly 7 1/2 minutes long, and AM stations simply chopped off the song at the 3:00 mark, which denied listeners the chance to hear their favorite part – “Na na na nanananaaa.” At KSAN-FM in San Francisco, radio pioneer Tom Donahue used the promise of a whole “Hey Jude” single coupled with other innovative ideas (commercial-free blocks of music, playing whole album sides at a time, etc.) as a means to lure listeners away from local AM stations to his uniquely programmed FM station, and the idea eventually snowballed across the country. Within ten years, American radio stations had almost completely switched places, and put music on FM and talk radio on AM.

  • Mitchell

    Great list – thanks!

    • ni99a

      Great because it is a ni993r repellent?

      Say what you want but literature, music and movie list sucks.

      • The Truth

        You are a human repellant.

        • Drew

          Agreed. This list was great and I say that as a "younger" observer of the Beatles who missed their heyday by decades.

      • J.J.

        Maybe I’m just tired of hearing about the Beatles, but for this list I agree!

      • Never encountered an Asian with a two digits IQ must be the worst human being ever

  • first….Oh wait nooooooooooooooo

  • Not Being Fresh

    Didn’t Les Paul invent a lot if the studio technics listed?

    I like the Beatles, too but let’s not go crazy giving them credit for popularizing things that were around before…

  • Is anyone else having problems with Gravatar today? I can’t see any user icons at all.

    • only see s(*ome mine and urs today) most days some dont work .

    • oldirtykoala

      Mine is the same, can only see a few, yours, bluesman87 and cqsteve atm, this has been happening for about a week and half to 2 weeks, I just presumed it was my browser.

    • Pippa

      J Frater: how can i get i get a Gravatar? I think i missed the opp when i joined Listverse?
      I think. I’m not too tech so maybe i’m asking a dumb q? I use my mobile. I’m poor. Give me one for free?
      Ah, LOL! But, seriously, yes?
      Your devoted Listverser, as above:-x

    • Masterpan

      Jfrater y u no move listverse to new host.

    • This may be a couple of days late but, yes, I can see only a very, very small number of Gravatars.

  • Freddie B. Meh

    Ok so Tom Donahue is duly credited with popularizing music on FM; so why is this appearing on this list. The Beatles contributed nothing to Tom Donahue’s innovative instincts.

    Didn’t know that the music video was first done by the Beatles.

    • uun

      “Didn’t know that the music video was first done by the Beatles.”

      Because it wasn’t.

      • Scott

        The Beatles popularized the modern music video.

    • peacefrog6

      Another wrong entry in this list is the first concept album. A lot of people mistakenly think Sgt. Pepper’s was the first concept album, when really it was Pet Sounds by the Beach Boy’s.

      Pet Sounds actually INSPIRED the Beatles to make Sgt. Peppers.

      People need to do research on these types of things if they are going to state them as fact! Very Bad list. Poorly researched.

      • Ian

        False, Pet Sounds actually inspired the Beatles to write Rubber Soul. The author is correct when he says that Sgt. Pepper was pretty much the first real concept album. If you check the source in the wikipedia article (not the article itself) Brian Wilson has stated on multiple occasions that Pet Sounds was not a concept album in that it doesn’t produce a narrative. Sgt. Pepper on the other hand portrays an evening concert (mainly as a way for the band to get out of touring)

        • Nicholas

          I highly doubt Pet Sounds inspired the Beatles to write Rubber Soul as Rubber Soul came out in 1965 & Pet Sounds came out in 1966. Rubber Soul inspired Pet Sounds as Brian Wilson never shuts up about how he went to the piano after hearing Rubber Soul & trying to write what would become Pet Sounds. Many people consider Pet Sounds to be a concept album. Gerard Way was always on a campaign to say that My Chemical Romance wasn’t emo. Does that make them not emo?

          • Maggot

            You’re right. Brian Wilson has been quoted as saying: “I really wasn’t quite ready for the unity. It felt like it all belonged together. Rubber Soul was a collection of songs … that somehow went together like no album ever made before, and I was very impressed.”…and it inspired him to produce an equally great album. Likewise, then Pet Sounds had a huge impact on the Beatles, who had already grown from Rubber Soul to Revolver, but took it to the next level still with Pepper. Which was so good that some would say caused Wilson to abandon his own follow-up concept Smile and furthering his spiral into depression.

        • Maggot

          Brian Wilson has stated on multiple occasions that Pet Sounds was not a concept album in that it doesn’t produce a narrative.

          Being a narrative isn’t the only criteria for what deems a “concept” album. As described in the entry, it is more about it being something conceptualized by the artist as a whole thematically contiguous piece of work, rather than an arbitrary collection of miscellaneous stand-alone songs that were submitted by the artist to the record company for compilation into album format, with no regard to the artists intent or master concept (if they even had one).

          • Vanowensbody

            yes. Exactly. The first true thematic rock concept album was Tommy

  • Heard they invented the phaser .

    • ed

      nawm that was joe phaserstien

  • uun

    Mostly half-truths and not-truths.

  • Even if the list isn’t entirely accurate –

  • Will Trame

    Interesting list; I do love the Beatles even if they have been overrated…their contribution to the music scene has been invaluable. Re: chart action of April 4, 1964: in addition to having a hammerlock on the top five, the #1 tune..”Can’t Buy Me Love”…was around #27 the prior week; hence, the largest leap to #1 from outside the top 20. The Beatles also in manner pioneered the marriage of rock and classical via such early songs as “Yesterday” and “Eleanor Rigby”. And, let’s not forget the Fab Four’s occasional debacles…”The Magical Mystery Tour” program didn’t go over too well. Perhaps they were trying to ape Ken Kesey’s Merry Parnksters?

    • ed

      Many lists like this fail to note that when The Beatles held the top five spots on the Billboard chart, the songs were on three record labels! Check it out, they were on Swan, Tollie, and Capitol!

    • Nicholas

      Just because a song has strings in it doesn’t make it classical.

      • Will Trame

        True, I figure it’s down to interpretation. I think the two songs I noted above had a strong classical texture. Reputedly, the classical ambience on “I Am The Walrus” strongly influenced ELO’s sound.

      • Maggot

        He didn’t exactly say those two songs were themselves classical compositions. They of course employed the use of string quartet accompaniment (well Rigby used an octet, essentially playing as two quartets), which is typically a classical ensemble and the sound definitely was not a staple in pop music. Hence, a “marriage of the two”.

  • jamie

    Was getting ready to slate the list, calling the beetles over rated and stuff but, the list was good. Didnt know alot of this stuff, good ol’ beetles.

  • bigd1ckman

    Oh great, another beetles list. They need to get over themselves. Average at best

  • Cumonu

    I heard they also invented the peanut, butter and jelly sandwich. Well, they didn’t invent it but consuming them in large quantities hugely contributed to their popularity.

    I love Def Leppard, so I think they invented drumming with one arm.

    • Will Trame

      Not to get off topic, but I love Def Leppard as well. Actually, to the best of my knowledge, the first one-armed drummer was Moulty, who played in a little known sixties band called the Barbarians.

    • Robaka

      Yeah… BAD drumming…

  • oldirtykoala

    that’s exactly what the girls are saying about your name.

    • oldirtykoala

      Dammit, this was originally a reply to bigd1ckman above. For some reason it unattached itself???? Damn you listverse making me look the fool, I can do that perfectly fine by myself.

      • Will Trame

        The same damn thing happened to me on yesterday’s list when I replied to one of Norman’s poems.

        • oldirtykoala

          Yeah I have noticed that, it is happening to a few of the commentators lately. Wonder if it has anything to do with gravators not showing up, as my previous comments to members with pics are staying.

        • ni99a

          Hi guys!

          • oldirtykoala

            And a big hello to you too, how they hangin’?

            hang on a second, that was too nice of a greeting to be ni99a, who is this, and what you do with our test troll?

      • Pippa

        It happened
        to me too
        many times, Goddammit!
        BTW, the first time i heard Beatles (I wanna hold your hand) i dropped my baby bottle.
        I thought the sound was so tinny or maybe my boyfriend’s gramofone wasn’t wound up to the hilt?
        But, ja, things improved after Beatles invented Dolby.
        John Lennon 4ever!

  • Reblogged this on 1×43's Blog and commented:
    The Beatles legacy never ceases to amaze

  • Conie Pat

    None of this about innovating music itself.
    “10 ways in which the Beatles invented hype!” would be a more appropriate title…

  • I’cia

    I really enjoyed this list!

  • flgh

    Then what’s not average at best? Bieber? Rebecca Black?

    • 5017th beatle


  • Headmire

    How can anyone say the Beatles were overrated ?
    Just a stupid thing to say there chart record and continued popularity so many decades later says all that needs to be said.

  • Cynic

    This list is written by a die-hard “fanatic” fan of the beatles…..thats why its filled with some truths and some nots….meaning… giving them more credits than the truth…

  • Sbtier

    I never understood why the Beatles were supposed to be so good. Maybe it’s because I was only alive during their later, crappy years, then they broke up.

  • They also pioneered breaking up because of Yoko Ono.

    • Will Trame

      Linda Eastman McCartney had a hand in the beak-up as well. Actually, the seeds were strongly planted when Brian Epstein died. As Lennon allegedly said, “We’re f**ked now”.

      • Will Trame

        Meant to say “break up”. Blasted sticky keyboard.

      • The Annoyed Elephant

        Yeah, but Yoko’s much more fun to make fun of.

  • I read the first to entries, they were wrong so I stopped.

    there have been concept albums since the times of ragtime and even in rock Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys along with at least one Kinks concept album and probably a Zappa concept album or two all predate Sgt peppers

    There were music videos long before the Beatles and if you want to include pop/rock music ricky nelson and the Animals came first with that.

    • Maggot

      with at least one Kinks concept album and probably a Zappa concept album or two all predate Sgt peppers

      It’s generally considered that Zappa’s conceptual Freak Out was a big influence on Pepper (I believe Macca has stated this in an interview). Zappa’s response: “they’re only in it for the money”, inspiring his 1968 satirical album of similar name.

    • Ann Rutledge

      It's not saying they were first, it means they made it popular. Seriously people…

  • Idiot

    I’m pretty sure I invented most of this stuff. Still I don’t mind if someone else takes some, or all of the credit. I also invented being ignored and not giving out my real name.

  • Ned Niedlander

    They were also the first band to play on the moon, first band to sell a single to every single human in existence and the also invented the question mark (despite Dr. Evils claim his father did).

  • psychosurfer

    I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to like the Beatles for 37 years now, I wont give up.

    • Ranga

      Haha me too.. But i gave up!

  • jaysbuffs

    This list is too American

  • Greg

    They didn’t have crappy years. Let It Be was just as good as their other albums.

    • Will Trame

      I wouldn’t say crappy, but the latter years were a bit subpar. Even George said that 1968 was the year the rot set in. “Let It Be” isn’t a bad album, but it doesn’t stack up to the Beatles’ prior releases; interestingly it was recorded before “Abbey Road” but then temporarily shelved.

  • Beatles


  • Ranga

    I’m not trying to be a troll here but I feel Beatles are the most overrated band ever! Anyone agrees?

    • Conie Pat

      I agree…

    • Not Being Fresh

      They’re not over-rated if you look at the amount of music they put out in a short time, how much it changed from beginning to end, how much it affected popular music afterwards and how easily the songs translated to other genres and artists.

      Those things set them apart from all others. Mind you, I’ve grown up with the Beatles but I don’t listen to them all that often. When I do, I’m always amazed at how brilliant they were.

    • fenderdude

      They were probably overhyped, yes. They were still a great band, though. They were a run-of-the-mill rock'n'roll band with jeans and leather jackets and an attitude, in the beginning. Their manager Brian Epstein made them wear suits and ties and sport that ridiculous (at the time) haircut. According to a rumour, Pete Best was fired because he refused to cut his hair in this silly way, not because he was a bad drummer. Later, of course, Lennon and McCartney actually wrote some classic songs.

  • Sammy

    #1 was revolutionary..

  • Nicholas

    Pet Sounds & Freak Out! are considered concept albums & were released in 1966. What a surprise that Pet Sounds is Paul McCartney’s favourite album & he once stated that Sgt. Pepper’s was the Beatles’ Freak Out! The concept album was not a Beatles innovation. Besides those albums before Sgt. Pepper’s there is also Smile, another concept album conceived in 1966 but not released until 2011.

    What a surprise that Frank Zappa, the chief writer of Freak Out! also started self contained label, Bizzare records, & released We’re Only In It for the Money on it several months before Apple released anything. Not to mention the creators of Pet Sounds & Smile, the Beach Boys, making Brother Records in 1966. The Beatles certainly did not have the first self contained music labels.

    The rest of these innovations are garbage. Music videos? So now people only give a shit about music if they see something they like as well? Not like the Beatles success was helped by the fact that all the teenage girls wanted to fuck them, right? Stadium concerts? That thing their manager came up with? Not that, that has anything to do with enhancing the actual music which also applies to global television broadcast, lyrics printed on album & American FM radio. Seems that the people who should credit for these innovations is the person who knows something about the technical aspects of broadcasting television & radio signals. Who gives a shit that they printed the lyrics? Does that make the music sound different? Their chart success is thanks to the fans. It’s good that they made songs that make so many people happy but it’s not like you can make a song that’s guaranteed to go higher on the charts. It just so happens that a whole world likes their love music.

    The only thing I think would affect the music & be a true innovation is the studio techniques & I highly doubt that four twenty something year olds from Liverpool knew about the technical aspects to create such things & with other falsely attributed innovations, like the concept album & the self contained record label, theses studio techniques were probably done before. There were five seconds of feedback in the beginning of “I Feel Fine” which is more of a novelty as many artists put experimental effects in the beginning & ending of a song, not having anything to do with the actual song. Try actually making a fucking song with feedback incorporated into the music like the Velvet Underground did.

    I think the lack of innovations the Beatles actually produced that have to do with music shows what little effect they actually had on the world & if they did it’s from taking things that already existed. Judging by this list, the only thing the Beatles did for music was making fans of it stupider.

    I like the Beatles, I own Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band & 1 I just don’t think they are as good or important as everyone says. I like the Strokes a lot but they got big off the fact that they sounded like a 70’s band & were therefore not innovative.

    • Ann Rutledge

      So angry

    • the myopic

      too much letters =/

    • Nicolas

      They didn’t start these things. They didn’t at all. They weren’t the best songwriters (Stewie Wonder is IMO) , neither the best lyricists (Dylan is IMO), neither the best instrumentalists (the only remarquable one is McCartney on Bass) or the most innovative/experimenting (Zappa, The Velvet, Cpt Beefheart are) band ever. But, in most of these categories, they are among the best. What makes me think they ARE as great as people think and music critics/other artists state, is that they had a bit of ALL. They leaned from everyone also . An old adage says ”the true wise man learns from everyone” and it is reflected by their lasting influence, legacy and the music they did- So diverse, so catchy, still a good balance of taste and sophistication.

  • oldirtykoala

    I use listverse on my pc, but for a phone if you go to you should be able to sign up to an account (as listverse uses wordpress). once you have an account, log in ( make sure to allow your phone to remember your account, password etc), and then press on the avatar on the top right of the home screen. Press on the help menu, once in a new screen go to manage my profile. From here tap the Gravatar hyperlink under the manage my profile header, tap the My Account menu near the top right and go to Manage My Gravatar, click the add a new image link (you may need to setup an email if you have not done so, not sure) select on of the 3 links which best suits you, then upload and you will be given the option to crop the image and make sure you rate it G so it can be seen on all sites. Once done select the image and confirm. You should now have a gravatar, just type in in the link bar and if you had it so your phone remembers your saved wordpress login settings it should keep you logged in every time you go to listverese. As I said I use a pc and did all this on an existing account (on my phone) but I uploaded my new gravatar this way, so good chance you will be able to do all this when you create an account. Make sure to edit your profile to make it your own. Hope this helps :-)

    • oldirtykoala

      Dammit it unattached again, @pippa this was in reply to your question to mr Frater above. And Jamie and admin. can we please do something about this, tis quite frustrating.

    • Pippa

      @dirtykoala : thanx mate:-) i am writing this from my tree house and if everything goes well i’ll soon have a Gravator but don’t nobody hold their breath coz i’m a blonde! Thanx again:-)

  • oldirtykoala

    I have a reply for you below, it unattached itself again.

    • oldirtykoala

      and again??????

  • honkster7

    Johnny Cash – Ride This Train , is a concept album , released in 1960 ,

    well before Sgt Pepper

  • Fred

    Aside from playing large arenas and the concept album (actually Mood Indigo by Duke Ellington should be considered the first) the Beatles were not the first to do anything on this list. I’m a hard-core Beatles fan by the way.

  • Concept albums?

    Try Frank Sinatra in the 50s with an album like In The Wee Small Hours

    • From Wikipedia:

      “In the Wee Small Hours is the ninth studio album by American vocalist Frank Sinatra. It was released in April 1955 on Capitol Records, produced by Voyle Gilmore with arrangements by Nelson Riddle. The songs on the album deal with themes such as loneliness, depression and night-life, and as a result, In the Wee Small Hours is generally regarded as one of the first concept albums.”

      “Sinatra would successfully continue the “concept” formula with later albums such as Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! and Only the Lonely. ”

  • Jack

    i didnt even read this list because it is so boring!, Really the Beatles?! Where are the Dinosaurs! or the top 10 Monkey’s who dance for kings!

    • fenderdude

      Exacatactly. Because in your mind Justin Bieber is better than Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Elvis, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Buddy Holly, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Carl Perkins, John Lee Hooker, Elmore James, John Brim, Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Eddie Cochran, Fats Domino, Young Jessie, Jerry Lee Lewis, Etta James, Big Joe Turner, Wynonie Harris, The Animals, The Kinks, Jimi Hendrix and Motorhead? Well, ok then. Way to go, Justin Bieber fan! :D

      • Conie Pat

        Thank you for including Motorhead along with all the greats! In my they deserve it…

  • lawn

    Good list, but surely you could have found a better clip for #9 (number nine. . . number nine. . . heh heh). That movie is one of the very worst ever.

  • The Beatles have now jumped the shark in the same way Elvis was everywhere in the 90s and then suddenly he jumped it and slowly but surely mentions of Elvis as the greatest ever human to have lived died down. No only the most hardcore of Elvis fans mention him. So now the beatles are having one last hurrah before their fans and the two left die. It will still take another generation before this over rated band is finally laid to rest.

  • skywatcher

    She was fun for a while. But then she broke up The Smiths and that was going too far…

    • skywatcher

      This was a reply to a comment about Yoko Ono. Which I’m told means, in Chinese, “bite the wax tadpole.”

  • skywatcher

    I’m really interested in this idea of concept albums. Have we done a list on best concept pop/rock albums?

    If someone decides to make such a list, they should consider “Carl Swoboda and His Dancing Zither.” The concept is: This is what music would sound like if people didn’t despise the zither.

    Seriously, I always felt the concept for Sgt. Pepper was pretty thin. When Ray Bradbury published a book of short stories called “The Illustrated Man” he basically added a few pages of narrative to give a source for a bunch of totally unrelated stories. In my view, that doesn’t make the book a novel. In the same way, the songs on Sgt. Pepper don’t seem to really deserve the “concept” album title.

    With regard to music videos, you really have to narrow it down to videos that were produced specifically for stand-alone showing. Otherwise, people will be dragging out clips of “Pass the Biscuits, Miranda” from 1934 or something. I don’t know if the Beatles were first, but they were certainly very early and they did popularize the form (as in thier “Lady Madonna” video which was created specifically for a TV variety show they chose not to attend in person).

    With so much of this stuff, asking who’s first is like asking who invented the light bulb. There’s a dozen different answers.

  • Jon

    “Ende performing due to not being able to play what they wrote”. What a garbage band, they’re so overrated and not worth a lick of it. Literally every other band outshines them in talent, they were poppy trash.

  • Sardondi

    #4, “Studio Techniques”, is indeed less the Beatles themselves than their recording engineers (whom you at least credit generally for assisting). But I would specifically list George Martin as an absolutely essential part of the Beatles sound. Without Martin the Beatles would not have been the same group, and I think would not have become the iconic band that they are.

    Martin innovated and broke new ground repeatedly with not only his recording ideas but his arranging and scoring, which were just as vital to the sound. While Lennon, McCartney and to a lesser degree Harrison wrote the music and lyrics, and all four Beatles performed the songs on record, it was George Martin who was responsible for the dense, multi-layered and complex fabric of sound which fans heard when they played the later Beatles records.

    George Martin was indispensable to the idea and ideal of the Beatles, and his genius made the transformation of the Beatles from band to myth possible. He should be recognized as an equal partner in the group.

  • In preparation for our move to a new system in the next week we have restored IntenseDebate comments. If you experience anything especially problematic please let me know.

    • Drew

      I dig the new comments format, Jamie. Gives a chance to vote down the trolls and hate spitters.

  • Missy

    Love the Beatles. Good list.

  • Ann Rutledge

    I just want to put this out there… The list is not a list of FIRSTS, it is a list of INNOVATIONS. The Beatles did not have the first music video, but they did popularize it. They may not have done the first concept album, but they popularized it. Stop telling us they weren't first, we know.

    • 154454th beatle

      So stop telling everybody that they invented it

  • 45868767546th beatle

    they invented Big Beat tpp

  • Just because the world is obsessed with something in particular doesn't mean it's the best.

  • cool and well

  • None of these are changes in music

  • Garrett

    The only way a boy-band, then or now, can make change music is to make it worse.

  • Annarosa

    #1 I agree with aspicco that if the term "concept album" means anything then Frank Sinatra was making them in the 1950s. And other people were too, like Les Baxter with his 1954 album The Passions, a concept album featuring music based on human passions: Love, Hate, Lust, Romance, and Terror.

    #2 No way did the Beatles make the first music videos. Do a google search for the word "Scopitone." Scopitones were short music videos shot on film that you could play on a jukebox. They were very popular in the early 1960s.

  • Conie Pat

    I’m really surprised that nobody has commented on this!

    So much for the concept of the world of what music is…

  • Max

    Beatles did not have the first concept album. That is completely bogus. Look up Freak Out! by the Mothers of Invention. It is clearly ahead of its time.

  • The Dude

    Number 9 is incorrect. The first concept album was Freak Out! by The Mothers of Invention in 1966.

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  • T.B.

    The first concept album was probably Sinatra’s “Songs for Young Lovers.”

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