Howard Goodall’s Twentieth Century Greats The Beatles

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Michael Gerber

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is Blogmom of Hey Dullblog. His novels and parodies have sold 1.25 million copies in 25 languages. He lives in Santa Monica, CA, and runs The American Bystander all-star print humor magazine.
Michael Gerber
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Commenter Buck Turgidson pointed me to this documentary, “Howard Goodall’s Twentieth Century Greats The Beatles,” deconstructing the Beatles’ music, and placing them within the musical trends of the 20th Century.

I found it fascinating — what do you think?

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12 Comments

  1. Chris Dingman Chris Dingman wrote:

    Wonderful!
    Thanks, Michael.

  2. I’ve been a Beatles fanatic all my life and had assumed anything I didn’t know about them amounted to the “John Lennon ate a ham sandwich on October 4th” variety. Watching this was like discovering the Beatles again almost for the first time. Didn’t think that was possible.

    • Exactly how I felt, @Mythical. Many thanks to @Buck T — and everybody, please send in this kind of thing when you see it. We like the “ham sandwich” stuff, too, but anything substantial is prime Dullbloggery.

  3. Avatar linda a wrote:

    Watching this was like discovering the Beatles again almost for the first time. Didn’t think that was possible.

    Well said @mythical monkey, my thoughts exactly. I will definitely be watching this again because it’s a lot to take in. The comment about McCartney not having been exposed to 14th century church and folk music in the Dorian mode, and the conclusion drawn that it was simply inside him, freaked me out.

  4. Avatar linda a wrote:

    Watched it again and realized that I heard wrong. It wasn’t ‘inside him’ that he said but, ‘hymns’. And it was cadences he was speaking of. Either way it doesn’t matter that I originally heard wrong. It still freaks me out that those cadences in Yesterday, Eleanor Rigby, She’s Leaving Home, and And I Love Her sound like the cadences used in hymns in the 14th century. Where could this influence have come from? Can it even be called an influence? It’s strange, eerie, and wonderful.

  5. Avatar jim wrote:

    the most fascinating part to me was child of nature/jealous guy on the indian instruments!
    who knew?

  6. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    Howard Goodall is a 21st century Deems Taylor.

  7. Avatar Paul Saxton wrote:

    I saw this when it was first broadcast and have watched it many times since. It’s very insightful and very moving. I always fill up at the end, particularly when he places The Beatles alongside Beethoven and Wagner: something that he manages to make wonderfully plausible. Marvellous stuff.

  8. Avatar R. Slowan wrote:

    A nifty analysis of the music, but songs have lyrics too. In that department The Beatles were spotty. McCartney often fell back on conventional sentiments (listen to I Will from the White Album — self-parody, perhaps?); Lennon was best when he wandered into the realm of the freely associative (I Am the Walrus, Come Together, et al.) but could be thuddingly banal at times (A Hard Day;s Night, I Feel Fine, Eight Days a Week).

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