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Friday

BEATLES SONGS HAVE ROOTS IN THE BLUES - Not Your Usual Holiday Cocktail Party Banter

The cocktail parties are starting already. It seems as though hostesses are in a hurry to "get it over with" rather than looking forward to holiday gatherings this year. If they think that their guests are not picking up on the sentiment, or lack of, they better think again.

At the party we attended last night the hors d'oeuvres lacked the creative display and enthusiasm of past years. I am one of those people that graze their way through festivities and most of the fun is sampling new recipes and to engage in stimulating conversation. I could hardly believe my eyes when last night one of the more innovative hostesses of the past had resorted to blocks of cream cheese covered with pepper jelly surrounded by plain old Ritz crackers. I'm not being critical I just couldn't help but notice the change in style.

And the conversation was pretty stimulating, but rather combative! Not unusual because there's always somebody breaking the rules of polite chitchat, but surprisingly the arguments were not based on politics or the war in Iraq, it was whether or not Beatles songs had roots in the blues. No joke, one of the more lively conversations that I witnessed was a discussion of early Beatles music and which artists were their inspirations.

Usually, I don't allow myself to be pulled into this kind of thing. However, my mom was a huge Beatles fan and I grew up spinning her old lps (I still can't believe how casual she was about my handling of her precious vinyl records) from the early 60s.
I had to throw in my two cents worth and voice my opinion that I really don't hear much blues influence in songs like "I Saw Her Standing There" or "Twist and Shout".
Although in their next album, they did include a Chuck Berry song, "Roll Over Beethoven", but I don't classify that song as blues. Money (That's What I Want) was on that album, too but that's not really blues either. My next question is how the conversation on whether Beatles songs are blues songs got started in the first place! Now, Eric Clapton songs? There's no argument that lots of his stuff is blues...but the Beatles? That's a stretch.

If you'd like to argue this point with me, give me a shout at Oooh Baby Baby.

4 comments:

Steve said...

Ever heard "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" or "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?". Those are blues songs, not just influenced by blues.

Claire said...

With all due respect, Steve, what I consider to be blues songs are the ones written and performed by Robert Johnson, Jimmy Reed, Sonny Boy Williamson, BB King, Little Walter, Fred McDowell, Skip James, Howling Wolfe, Elmore James and the list goes on and on. I just don't see "Why Don't We Do It In The Road" fitting into that genre.

The Beatles seemed to get inspiration from the early (and great) rock and roll artists like Little Richard and Chuck Berry. The Stones and Eric Clapton drew more from Howling Wolf's guitar player Hubert Sumlin and Buddy Guy. An example would be the Rolling Stones cover of Howling Wolfe's "Little Red Rooster" and as far as Clapton is concerned, there are too many to list.

Acoustic tabs said...

Well, but didn't all start with the blues? Everything has the roots in blues so why would be Beatles any different?

Anonymous said...

Little Richard and Chuck Berry have roots in the blues, but they are not considered blues artists and most true blues songs had a shuffle beat and the rock and roll tunes of Chuck Berry and Little Richard are straight ahead four four time with a heavy back beat.
Which to simplify makes their style eighth cousins three times removed from classic blues.