The Beatles Are Going Full Stream Ahead…
It has been more than 45 years since The Beatles stopped working together as a unit. The four Rock & Roll musicians from Liverpool, England came from an era when streams were not thought of as a technology, and nor were clouds, periscopes, or likes.
With Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr still alive (John Lennon died 35 years ago this month, and George Harrison in 2001), The Beatles have announced that they will bring their catalog to streaming platforms tomorrow (December 24). Beginning at midnight EST, the famed Apple Records superstars will share their catalog online. According to The New York Times, this means the band’s 13 studio albums (and four compilations) will be widely available. Neither Starr nor McCartney released a statement surrounding the announcement.
The “Fab 4” as they were known as in the early 1960s, bridged Pop with Soul and Rock & Roll—traditionally made by Black musicians such as Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Berry Gordy, and Little Richard, among others. In many cases, especially on early recordings, the quartet covered these iconic artists with their own takes, which were devoured by mainstream radio. Additionally, the band applied the soulful melodies and catchy writing styles, prompting a global phenomenon. This wave of talent opened the floodgates for the definitive 1960s British Invasion, which lasted through The Beatles’ disbanding at the end of the decade. The Beatles’ writing would later be covered by a new wave of Black artists (especially in the South) in the ’60s and ’70s, including Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Wilson Pickett and Booker T. & The M.G.’s, who covered Abbey Road with their own Memphis, Tennessee inspired Macklemore Avenue.
With the four members (and now two respective estates) controlling the interests of the group, The Beatles’ music has long been guarded. The outfit famously sued Apple for its iTunes move into music, regarding a trademark settlement established between The Beatles and the computer-maker decades before. Notably, Apple Music will be one of the new stream carriers for the band.
The music of The Beatles has been highly influential in Hip-Hop. From prompting a brief cover rendition of “Michelle” by Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick on “The Show,” to Boogie Down Productions’ own ode to “Hey Jude” amidst “The Bridge Is Over.” The Beastie Boys also sampled multiple Beatles recordings on their Paul’s Boutique album cut, “The Sounds Of Science.” In recent years, Paul McCartney has worked extensively with Kanye West.
Do you think the modern accessibility will raise The Beatles’ profile and influence to new heights?