Kraftwerk More Influential Than the Beatles

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by jamo spingal, Jun 16, 2017.

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  1. Jim B.

    Jim B. Forum Resident

    What's baloney? Most Beatles fans on this board listen to no modern music or very little, you can't seriously deny that can you?

    Good for you for knowing them but just because you do doesn't mean most Beatles fans do, obviously.

    Oh, and BTW, I love the Beatles.
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  2. jimod99

    jimod99 Daddy or chips?

    Ottawa, Ontario
    Coldplay ripped off Kraftwerk so much on "Talk" from X & Y they had to give them a co-credit!

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  3. The_Windmill

    The_Windmill Forum Resident


    ... mkey.
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  4. Standoffish

    Standoffish Don't you dare call me an ostrich!

    :biglaugh:at the idea Bruno Mars was influenced by the Beatles or Zep.

    Artists like to name drop influences, it's just a thing. Bruno may be a fan of those groups, but nothing of them shows in his music.
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  5. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Kent, UK
    I get what you are saying, but he did say that quite a few years ago, before he was as big as he is now, so I don't see why he would lie. If he called them a direct influence, I won't just dismiss that.

    I agree that you can't really hear the influence (at least on the two or three Mars songs I have heard), but that is a bit like saying 'I can't hear the influence of Buddy Holly on Tomorrow Never Knows'. The influence may have come through in ways affecting lyrics, studio production methods or compositional form.
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  6. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Kent, UK
    Yes, I was just thinking that. If Coldplay are an example of what happens when a groups borrows from both the Beatles and Kraftwerk, then both acts should be ashamed! :D:laugh:
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  7. Ninja Bomber

    Ninja Bomber Forum Resident

    I suppose that in a strict sense, you could argue that Mars would be more correct to say he was inspired by them rather than influenced by them.

    I'd argue that in this context the two terms are interchangeable.
  8. jon9091

    jon9091 Master Of Reality

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  9. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Kent, UK
    Good point. :righton:

    Bruno has mentioned them when speaking of his influences, and how he developed as a songwriter, including this:

    “I learned that you had to show up to a record playboy and say, ‘This is my music, take it or leave it’. No one can create a Michael Jackson, no one can make a Led Zeppelin or The Beatles, it can’t be done, it has to be something there, and you have to give me that, you have to be the one to say, ‘This is me. Either you are in or you are out’.”
  10. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Kent, UK
    I came across this comment, and thought that it was an eloquent, if simplistic reminder of the Beatles influence on pop music:

    One thing about the Beatles that isn't immediately clear to people in 2016 is just how popular and important to youth culture pop music was in the 1960s, and how much of a fuss youth culture caused in the 1960s. Remember that, in 1964, when 'Beatlemania' exploded in America, there was no internet (I mean, Al Gore was only sixteen!). That means no internet memes or widely shared YouTube videos. Television networks largely thought in terms of broad appeal to all demographics at once, rather than the more niche programming you get today, so it was unsatisfying as a source of identity to youth in comparison to today. There were no home computers, let alone home computers with the processing power needed for No Man's Sky or whatever. Home videotaping wasn't a thing, and, in fact, television stations were only beginning to see their productions as being something beyond cleverly produced live theatre.

    In contrast, the 7" vinyl single was reasonably cheap and easy to obtain, and a young person could collect them in a way that said something about who they were, and could play them over and over again in a way they couldn't for most other sources of pop culture, if their local radio stations weren't that interested in playing it. This meant that music was fairly close to the common cultural currency for the average teenager (and there were lots of average teenagers around in 1964, thanks to the rise in the average birth rate after World War II that led to the phrase 'Baby Boomer' - youth culture had never been such a big part of culture in general before this era).

    And so in this 1960s music industry, where music is an important source of cultural identity for youth, the Beatles were the most popular musicians. And because the particular set of strengths the Beatles (and their producer George Martin) had were so popular and thus so widely imitated, they became influential long-term. As others have said, this sheer popularity led to some unlikely paths of influence for the Beatles - even if indirectly, they likely helped EMI fund the development of the CT Scanner, as /u/AbpStigand points out.

    Musically, you could probably find some influence stemming from every single Beatles song - even 'Cry Baby Cry', one of the more forgotten tracks on their 1968 self-titled double album, is pretty clearly an influence on Jet's 'Look What You've Done' and Radiohead's 'Karma Police'. But I'd argue that there's four main ways in which the Beatles were particularly influential in putting together things we take for granted in music today and don't even think about.

    Firstly, take our modern idea of 'the band' - a group of musicians with some sort of vaguely abstract name who may or may not have more than one singer, and who probably have a line up of one or two guitars, drums, and bass). There were examples of the band before the Beatles - the Crickets being the most obvious - but The Beatles absolutely popularised that idea (as I discuss elsewhere, including on the AskHistorians podcast and this comment thread here).

    Secondly, before the Beatles, pop music structurally didn't really have choruses. The Beatles, musically, put together two sets of influences: a) rock'n'roll, in which there was a verse which varied and a chorus that stayed the same, where both verse and chorus were usually founded on the same chords - probably a 12-bar-blues form - and if there was variation from this it was an instrumental solo over the same chords (see 'Tutti Frutti' by Little Richard or 'Roll Over Beethoven' by Chuck Berry or 'Hound Dog' by Elvis); and b) Brill Building pop, in which the structure of the song was often based around AABA form, a la the Tin Pan Alley pop that's nowadays called the Great American Songbook and sung by Rod Stewart and Michael Buble. AABA form didn't have big stonking choruses (e.g., "She loves you, yeah yeah yeah" etc) but instead usually had a refrain, a single line sung at the end of every verse (e.g., the title line in Goffin/King's "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" or Cole Porter's "Anything Goes" is a refrain). Because the Beatles (and, reasonably simultaneously, the Beach Boys) basically took the more complicated structure of AABA form, and added the choruses they loved from rock'n'roll, they solidified the modern pop song structure that is still used today with variations by the likes of Katy Perry or Taylor Swift or Bruno Mars.

    Thirdly, the Beatles were at the vanguard of a profound change in popular music where a recording ceased to be seen as simply a record of a performance, but instead became an object of art in of itself. Frank Sinatra's 1950s records were often recorded on two microphones, with Sinatra simply singing close up to the microphones, with an orchestra behind him, recorded by the same microphones. These recordings are simply records of a (fantastic) performance. In contrast, The Beatles' 1966 'Tomorrow Never Knows' is a studio creation - they built the song up using the recording studio itself as an instrument, feeding sounds through the machinery so that they were backwards or half-speed, or creating loops of tape that would repeat. Thinking of the recording as an object of art in itself, today, goes without saying - nobody thinks that Katy Perry and a band playing behind her performed that song in one take, with no alterations. Everybody fundamentally assumes that 'California Gurls' or 'Roar' are studio creations, that it's carefully put together to create a confection that could never be recreated absolutely faithfully by musicians playing it live. These days, it's entirely possible that most of the people responsible for creating a hit have never actually met each other, and that it's all done through sending ProTools files over the internet.

    Finally, The Beatles did a lot to popularise and create the myth of authenticity in rock and roll. Before the Beatles, it was unusual that a group of musicians sang their own songs - instead, a group of musicians put in a studio would be given songs written by professionals by a artist and repertoire man working for the record company who would try to find the right song. So, in some of the first studio sessions for the Beatles, they were asked by George Martin to record the song 'How Do You Do It?', which was later a hit for Gerry and the Pacemakers. The Beatles were vocal in the studio about their disdain for the song, convinced that they had written better songs themselves. George Martin as a producer had a hunch that while the Beatles might not yet know how to write great songs, they definitely knew the source of their appeal and what attitudes and feelings would work with their new 'guitar group' sound. So instead of making them release their version of 'How Do You Do It?', he worked with the Beatles to refine their songwriting and let them be themselves. Because of the popularity of the Beatles, some 'authenticity' began to be attached to bands that wrote their own songs - their music was seen as somehow more real, more convincing. After the Beatles became massively popular, the professional songwriting industry experienced a big decline - Carole King who co-wrote 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?', for example, began to find it hard to get popular bands to sing her songs, because they were singing their own songs, and so she decided to record music herself. This trend of bands and musicians writing their own material has receded in straight pop music now, but this idea of authenticity is still all-important in hip-hop (see the recent 'beef' between Drake and Meek Mill over Drake not writing his own lyrics) and indie music, genres of music where musicians are expected to write their own material (to some extent).
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  11. Willowman

    Willowman Forum Resident

    London, UK
    35 years and counting...seems to be doing ok so far.
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  12. Rojo

    Rojo Forum Resident

    I Kraftwerk said "pioneers" not "first" -- I never claimed Kraftwerk were the first or last at anything.

    And yes there are bands, artists -- not necessarily just one -- that try some things earlier than others and are thus considered to have pioneered some style of music.

    But if don't think that Kraftwerk were pioneers of electronic music, that's fine.

    Please don't write like you were a teacher lecturing pupils.
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  13. I don't think that "Trans" approaches Kraftwerk's but it was a nice try.
  14. I would argue both. One was much more stylized in his approach and did achieve some popularity while one, although not as groundbreaking, did break through and influence an entire generation of people that are interested in fantasy. Either way, both inspired people but in very different ways and, while Rowling didn't create her own writing "language", she did create an entire universe of characters situations, etc. that is, in its own way, as rich as Joyce's in her way. Joyce's universe was more insular and appealed to a slightly different audience.

    It's an example of popular literature where the goal was more about telling a strong narrative vs. more insular critical literature designed to tell a narrative in as enigmatic way possible.
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  15. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    NYC Man
    But not greater than the Beatles. There haven't been near as many musicians who have owned Kraftwerk albums or heard their music from other sources (radio, etc.)
  16. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    NYC Man
    Those sorts of comments are why people are tempted to make such hyperbolic, reactionary comments to downplay the Beatles.
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  17. Danby Delight

    Danby Delight Forum Resident

    No, they were from Dusseldorf, hundreds of miles away on the other side of the country.
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  18. Actually their album has some influence lately of T. Rex to me but, yeah, I hear Lennon.
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  19. vince

    vince Stan Ricker's son-in-law


    "My name is David,
    and I enjoy eating fake bacon, while listening to Kraftwerk!"
    -David Wills (of Negativland)!
  20. Standoffish

    Standoffish Don't you dare call me an ostrich!

    Re: Bruno Mars...

    A good point was made upthread about the difference between being influenced by versus inspired by another artist.

    Also, that quote by Bruno sounds like he was influenced by Zep in a business sense, rather than artistically.
  21. owlshead

    owlshead Forum Resident

    Philly burbs
    more like 60% of tv sets
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  22. HfxBob

    HfxBob Forum Resident

    I seriously doubt this is true. But I suppose we could find out by starting a thread about it.
  23. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Kent, UK
    Yeah, that part of the article wasn't great, but I did try and clarify that it was just a simplistic comment which does a fairly good job of describing the Beatles impact, and I didn't want to edit someone else's work.

    It is still no excuse for reactionary comments that only exist to downplay the Beatles. Thankfully, most of this thread has been very cordial so far.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  24. andrewskyDE

    andrewskyDE Island Owner

    Zack Island
    Pink Floyd :D
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  25. andrewskyDE

    andrewskyDE Island Owner

    Zack Island
    Still any hope we can get their early albums remastered sometime finally? Stinks to wait so long here.^^
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