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Friday, November 15, 2013

The Beatles were brilliant because they had no patience

At an event at Abbey Road last night for On Air - Live At The BBC Vol 2 it struck me again how many great Beatles records don't have intros - they just start.

It's particularly the case on "With The Beatles", their first great album. "It Won't Be Long", "All My Loving" and "Hold Me Tight" don't so much start as explode.  Even on "All I've Got To Do", "Don't Bother Me", "Not A Second Time" and "Little Child" there are no more than a few bars before the vocal.

The ones that take the longest to get to the point are the cover versions - "You Really Got A Hold On Me", "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Money". Though "Please Mr Postman" starts with enough urgency to be one of their own. This was a group which was close enough to the audience to know how easily it got bored. They had no patience. It was another facet of their genius.

One of the most reliable marks of the fraud in music is The Long Intro. It came in with the head music of the late 60s and was taken up by indie a decade later. It's done for two reasons: because it takes that long for the group to establish any kind of groove and in the hope that by the time the song arrives you'll like it out of sheer relief.

10 comments:

  1. WAIT! Oh yeah, wait a minute Mr. Hepworth. This comment also has no long intro. I also have no patience.

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  2. On hey Jude he even starts singing before the band come in!

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  3. Worst offender? Beethoven. That bloody 9th Symphony seems to go on for ages before the vocals come in!

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  4. And indeed on All My Loving, Nick. Live versions have Macca giving it the quick off-mic "ONE! TWO!" before leaning in for the "Close your eyes..."

    As an aside, I've had All My Loving lodged firmly in my bonce since noting DH's tweet about this morning. Catchy tune, they could go far...

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  5. You are right of course. And yet, there are truly spine-tingling, long intros such as The Only Ones' 'Another girl. another planet'

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  6. Fats Waller Ain't Misbehavin' disproves at least two of your contentions

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  7. I always liked the version of 'Sweet Jane' from Rock'n'roll Animal. The long intro went on and on but built up the tension until the riff finally arrives. Lovely

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  8. Whereas the Who have some great songs that are all about the intros, Baba O'Relley, Won't Get Fooled Again and Pinball Wizard are examples.

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  9. and We Can Work It Out and Penny Lane, leave no room for the DJ to step on the songs!!! 1,2 Close your eyes, (all my luggage)said JL

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  10. agree. though I have just listened to the remastered version of Space Oddity. About 40s before you can hear anything at all!

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