The Beatles – Three Year Cycles

Kurt over at Cultural Offering is doing a bang up job of presenting his Rocktober list, a collection of the greatest rock songs one per day for the month of October . Today he wrote about The Beatles and mentioned their amazing output of #1 hits in their brief recording career.

The time context is just one of the many examples of their legacy but one of the most powerful, and really one of my favorite things to talk about.

With many artists now taking years between recordings, I try to think of The Beatles working in that mode. Imagine them on a 3 year release cycle which would move them from Please Please Me in 63 to Revolver in 66 to Abbey Road in 69.

When you pull out the recordings in between you see the real magic that happened there. The transformation of a band that evolved so incredibly quickly, riding a wave of creativity that is truly unmatched.

Listen to just those three in order and it’s startling.

Is that really the same band?

Add the others back in and the pieces fit more logically, but think about how necessary those other recordings were in that evolution. If they hadn’t done things exactly as they did, well, it wouldn’t have happened the same way.

And they did a lot. In addition to the full album releases, there were countless other singles, a couple tours in those early years, television appearances, promotional videos and oh yeah – they made a couple of movies as well. All at a staggering level of quality and innovation.

If they had really taken 3 years in between, would we have ended up at the same place? What they did in their brief recording years is nothing short of miraculous.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *