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During this time... PDF Print E-mail

During this time, the Beatles were already leaving their "native" Mersey Beat far behind. Psychedelic thinking was having a huge influence on them, as is clear both from the music and the imagery ("Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"; which came out with the single "Strawberry Fields Forever").

On the other hand, the Beatles themselves were influencing the emerging art rock, demonstrating a synthesis of very different styles (from Dixie to the "classics"), broadening significantly the potential of musical language and form of rock ("A Day In The Life" - consists of three parts with a contrasting central part and dynamic reprise), using individual instruments of an orchestra and an entire symphony orchestra, and employing unusual studio effects. As critics rightly believe, this album embodied the new youth culture. The historical significance of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" cannot be overestimated. The Beatles themselves became real gurus for a growing generation, preachers of the "summer of love".

A blow was waiting to strike the Beatles whilst they were at their creative peak - in August 1967 their manager Brian Epstein died (it has still not been established beyond doubt whether this was as a result of a drugs overdose or suicide). The tragic event was the first negative force which, together with other subsequent events, led to the sad break-up of the group a few years later. However, in 1967 no one could even imagine this happening. The group worked as directors on their next film project - Magical Mystery Tour (which, by the way, did not achieve the success of previous films, despite the magnificent music).

In 1968, the fascinating animated film "Yellow Submarine" (the symphony works of George Martin make up half of the music on this; but the song "All You Need Is Love", by the pair Lennon/McCartney was to become the real hymn of the generation). At the beginning of 1968, the group went on a pilgrimage to India. A double album in 1968, known as the "White Album", was a new triumph - a collection of 30 compositions, each of which is a small chef d'oeuvre (among them are "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da", "Julia", "Blackbird", "When My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Mother Nature's Son" and many others), revealed the group's unusual mastery in terms of composition and performance, underlined by innovative experiments with styles and genres, from Blues-rock to chansons (and in "Helter-Skelter" researchers have even found the beginnings of punk and heavy metal!).

Alongside all the great individual artistic thinking of each member of the group, signs of increased psychological tension within the group were becoming apparent. A host of reasons can be found for this, with the negative role of Lennon's wife, the Japanese avant-garde artist Yoko Ono, often cited as one of the main factors. Lennon and McCartney increasingly started to compose separately, although, "force of habit", meant they signed their works as co-writers (this is true of the "White Album" as well). The musicians started to work on solo material. The idea of recording the next Beatles album as a "live concert in a studio" failed, although initial sessions are documented on video (the celebrated concert on the roof of the "Apple" studio, which was stopped by the police, was to be the last time the group performed together).

A couple of the better tracks from the album "Let It Be" (the latest at the time of release - 1970 - but not recorded), "Get Back"/"Don't Let Me Down", came out in the form of a single in spring 1969. The release of the disc itself was postponed because it was proving impossible to make a video series (the influential American producer Phil Spector, who had been testing his "proprietary" invention - the so-called "wall of sound", was invited to "finish" and produce the musical material).

The last album to be recorded "Abbey Road" (which was released in 1969) is, despite the disagreements within the group, which were intensified by individual financial and material claims, a magnificent production whose contents are deeply philosophical: "Abbey Road" (the name of the street on which the eponymous recording studio is located and where the Beatles worked) represents the long road of life taken by everyone ... In spite of the fact that the writers (including Harrison, to whom two of the most popular songs of the album are attributed - "Something" and "Here Comes The Sun") show a completely different style here (Lennon is gravitating towards witty, sharp rock-and-roll, McCartney towards charming pop lyrics), "Abbey Road" is a complete work imbued with the group's unique charm.

In April 1970, McCartney, releasing his first solo venture ("Let It Be"), blamed by the press for the departure from the group of Lennon, who had started performing with the Plastic Ono Band, reached the same decision even earlier but postponed its announcement. The photograph on the album sleeve of "Let It Be" on which the faces of the artists are shown in separate frames, confirmed fans' suspicions that the group may be about to break up.

Each of the members set out on a solo career the most fruitful of which, in commercial terms, probably turned out to be that of Paul McCartney, although each of the ex-Beatles would go on to achieve great creative success. However, as researchers have noted, they did not achieve the same success separately as they did together and also failed to realise the perfect artistic product resulting from the harmonisation of their talents, the ironic, sharp pen of Lennon, the conspicuous lyrical and melodic genius of McCartney, psychedelic "cosmic innovations" of Harrison and Starr's good-natured reasonableness.

Hopes of the Beatles reuniting were dashed with the death of John Lennon, who was shot dead in 1980 outside his own home in New York. However, the popularity of the group has not lessened with time and the mystery of the Beatles phenomenon continues to excite the minds and hearts of all new generations. In 1995, what had seemed to be "the impossible" happened - the remaining Beatles joined up to record two songs.

Using demo recordings made by John Lennon (and recently released by Yoko Ono), they recorded "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love". The first single "Free As A Bird" came out together with the long-awaited "Anthology" - the history of the Beatles told by the Beatles themselves, which was shown over three nights in the United States on the ABC channel and other world channels. All in all, 148 million viewers watched it. The Beatles received three Grammy awards for the "Anthology". And the collection "One", released in 2000, again beat all records in terms of the quantity sold and speed of sale.

The LP album "Let It Be ... Naked" came out fairly recently.

Archives continue to be researched regularly, previously unpublished recordings are coming out and unknown songs are being discovered. The legacy of the group is yet to be studied. However, in the hearts of millions of listeners it has already found its important, invaluable place.

 
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