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Psychedelic Rock: The Beatles and The Rolling Stones

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Psychedelic rock: The Beatles and The Rolling Stones

The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were truly sensational bands. Perhaps the only bands that managed to present music in its natural form. Due to the attention the bands received, it often seemed like they were alike in the music they composed. However, the two bands consisted of members born in different parts of the world, and as such, they had their differences. This paper will focus on these two great bands under the music genre – Psychedelic rock. This will entail defining this unique genre of music and afterward look into the similarities and differences between these two bands.

Psychedelic rock rose in the period of 1960s when the drug LSD [1] had been enveloped in the society. The subculture of people who used the drug termed themselves as Psychedelia. This was where the music borrowed its unique name. Along with LSD, the subculture used other drugs, which had the same effect as LSD. They altered states of consciousness. This type of rock music employed various characteristics, which includes the following:

  • Exotic instrumentation
  • Disjunctive song structures
  • Inspired lyrics
  • Extended instrumental segments
  • Strong keyboard present
  • Reverb and phaser effects (O'Brien para 1).

The two bands presented to the separate public albums in this genre of music. The two bands related to each other in many ways, they shared the number one spot in the US top charts. Also, they were all drug users and in the 60's their use of LSD paid in their music genres. Moreover, apart from their almost equal success, the two bands shared a lot of ideal characteristics in their music of the genre – Psychedelic rock. Perhaps these characteristics were based on the period that the genre arose, but this paper will look at this as a similarity because other bands of the same era did not compose music under this genre.

This paper will mainly focus on one album for each of the band and also one song from the album. For the Rolling Stones, the album that will be used in the paper is Their Satanic Majesties Request while the album Revolver will be used for the Beatles. The two albums were created in different years and by different producers. However, they are alike in many ways.

Revolver consists of one most remarkable song entitled “Eleanor Rigby.” The band applies almost all of the above characteristics in this song. Surrealism is the strongest quality used in the song. The band imagines scenarios of a young woman collecting some wedding rice, a father by the name Father McKenzie, preparing a sermon, and the same woman, who dies and yet no one shows up for her burial. The continuous question in this song is where do all the lonely people come from and where do they belong? It is a sad song, and yet the tempo of the song is very fast. The quality of surrealism is evident in the line of the song, “Wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door” (YouTube uploaded by Thebeatlesvevo).

 The same case applies to The Rolling Stones, their album above consisted one remarkable song titled, "She's a Rainbow" with lyrics involving the aspect of surrealism. For example, in one line, the singer says “Have you seen her all in gold?” (YouTube uploaded by Fausto Ramos), showing that the singers could view a woman dressed in gold.

Both of these bands used exotic instrumentation in these albums. The instruments that the Beatles used were the cello and the violin while The Rolling Stones used guitars and a piano. It was usual for bands playing this genre of music to accompany their songs with the instrument Sitar. The two bands made use of one lead singer who sung all the verses of the songs and the other members were the backing vocals.

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