The British Pop Music Film: The Beatles and Beyond

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He produced almost all of The Beatles' records, which won him six Grammys. Until his death in March , he was considered one of Britain's greatest music producers.

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He played drums with The Beatles for two years before he was thrown out of the band, never to have contact with them again. After the initial shock, Pete Best built a quiet, normal life for himself.

What would the world have been like without the Beatles? | Music | The Guardian

In the early years, John Lennon's college friend played bass with The Beatles. In Hamburg, he fell in love with German artist Astrid Kirchherr, who photographed the band during their concerts. She was the one who convinced them to try their iconic bowl cuts. In , Sutcliffe stayed in Hamburg to be with Kirchherr, but he tragically died a year later due to a cerebral hemorrhage. In , the graphic designer and illustrator met The Beatles in Hamburg.

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Since then, he's been a longtime friend and partner of the band. He designed a number of their record covers, including their "Revolver" album, in which he can be seen on the right side of the collage. In , he won a Grammy for his design. In , he died at the age of just 32 of an overdose of pills and alcohol. His death marked the beginning of the end of The Beatles, who broke up three years later. He became a cult director with "Trainspotting," a film that explores music and drugs, and his "Slumdog Millionaire" won eight Oscars.


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He also created a surprisingly critical cinematic memorial to Apple inventor Steve Jobs. Boyle had actually been booked to direct the 25th James Bond film, but he had a falling out with the producers , and it's said that there were conflicting artistic ideas surrounding how to design the new "" adventure. So here comes another "little" film from Boyle about music and miracles, about English merits, provincial musicians and dreams of great success, along with a screenplay by Richard Curtis. The shooting of "Yesterday" was already complete when the cancellation of the new Bond movie came.

Yet, somehow, a movie like "Yesterday" seems to fit this English director better and he once again appears to be in his metier. The idea of reinventing the Beatles on the big screen is charming. The fact that this is successful is due above all to the performance of leading actor Himesh Patel, a young British actor with Indian and African roots, as well as that of Ed Sheeran. In "Yesterday," the musician is both personable and reserved, with the film allowing him to take a satirical look at his own career.

And of course the music contributes to the success of the romantic comedy film. Even though it's Patel singing the songs and not the four legendary "mop tops," some of the magic in this nostalgic pop music will likely come across to most of today's viewers. Following its global premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and other screenings at smaller festivals in the US, 'Yesterday' opens in cinemas around the world starting June Only through sheer coincidence did The Beatles made it onto the big screen.

After United Artists wanted to make a deal with the band, the production company that owned rights to the musicians felt forced to offer them a film contract. Thus, "A Hard Day's Night" by director Richard Lester was created, a wildly successful mixture of documentary and movie that featured the band in their daily life. In , Richard Lester shot his second Beatles film with the four members of the band. The Beatles completely took over production on their third film, which they also directed on their own.

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The film resembles a magical film experiment, rather than a conventional movie. Shortly before, The Beatles had released their legendary album "Sgt. Pepper," in line with the film. A far cry from Disney aesthetics, the animated "Yellow Submarine" turned into an exciting stylistic film adventure. Director George Dunning and the four musicians from Liverpool created an experimental, unconventional, fantastic, and modern film miracle. Released in , "Let It Be" was the very last Beatles film.

In contrast to its predecessors, the documentary showed the musicians working in their studio during the get-back-session in January The film, solely concentrating on authenticity, does so without commentary or categorization, letting viewers witness The Beatles' creative processes. Apart from the five famous original Beatles films, quite a few works were produced in which The Beatles played roles, or for which they composed the music even after the band's breakup. George Harrison wrote the soundtrack of "Wonderwall," produced in Although back then the movie was anything but a hit, it did attain cult status later on.

Three years after the breakup of the band, Paul McCartney wrote the theme song for the eighth James Bond film. Together with his band, "Wings," he turned the title song into a world success.

Beatles music also plays a big role in "I am Sam" by Jessie Nelson It tells the story of a mentally handicapped man named Sam who is raising his little daughter all by himself. The music of the Fab Four gives him a sense of orientation in a world in which he feels totally lost. However, the music of a cover band had to be used for legal reasons. The plot, set in the s, describes the youth culture of the era. A total of 33 Beatles songs come up over the course of the movie; far more than just background music, they form part of the plot.

That song earned McCartney a second Oscar nomination. Beatlemania spread across the world and even helped change attitudes about Western culture among the young in communist bloc countries during a Cold War era that was still reeling from the Cuban Missile Crisis. You had never seen anything like The Beatles. The appearance on American television triggered a clamour to see The Beatles live. There, 55, screaming fans, then a record for a popular music concert, greeted the band with a frenzy. That New York show was the first stop of an day, city tour. For promoters everywhere, the Shea Stadium concert was a major breakthrough.

It freed them from the constraints imposed by a gym or cinema, thus turning a pop performance into an event. The Beatles helped drive analogue recording technology into a new era. The production of Sgt Pepper was the result of new standards in expertise and innovation. The use of multi-tracking was also groundbreaking, as Martin helped blend Western music with Indian music, jazz with psychedelic rock and pop.

The Beatles sparked changes in the way teenagers walked, talked and dressed. The shaggy haircut, known as a mop-top, suddenly became popular in the early 60s and long hair became more socially acceptable. Later, in their more psychedelic phase, they inspired imitators to grow moustaches and beards, while making less formal clothes seem acceptable in everyday life.

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They were funny and they were smart and they were only in their early 20s when they came to America. They were much more sophisticated than the American version of a teenager or late teen. They were years ahead.


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The Cavern has been renovated and now attracts tens of thousands of tourists every year, as does the award-winning The Beatles Story museum. Tourists also flock to Abbey Road in London and the famous recording studio there. TeachRock also partners with Scholastic to host Beatles webcasts that reach up to a million students. In all, 1. In short, a world without The Beatles would be very different — and missing part of its musical soul. Looking for more?

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