The Instigator
Moorogan
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
phantom
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points

The Beatles are one of the greatest rock artists of all time

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
phantom
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/23/2014 Category: Music
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 926 times Debate No: 46532
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)

 

Moorogan

Con

I will be arguing that The Beatles are not one of the greatest rock bands
phantom

Pro

I accept.

Since there is no indication that the Pro should present first, and so as to have the same amount of debate rounds, I will let Con begin.
Debate Round No. 1
Moorogan

Con

The fact that so many books still name the Beatles "the greatest or most significant or most influential" rock band ever only tells you how far rock music still is from becoming a serious art. Jazz critics have long recognized that the greatest jazz musicians of all times are Duke Ellington and John Coltrane, who were not the most famous or richest or best sellers of their times, let alone of all times. Classical critics rank the highly controversial Beethoven over classical musicians who were highly popular in courts around Europe. Rock critics are still blinded by commercial success: the Beatles sold more than anyone else (not true, by the way), therefore they must have been the greatest. Jazz critics grow up listening to a lot of jazz music of the past, classical critics grow up listening to a lot of classical music of the past. Rock critics are often totally ignorant of the rock music of the past, they barely know the best sellers. No wonder they will think that the Beatles did anything worth of being saved.
phantom

Pro

Introduction and Framework

I would like to remind the viewers that this debate is about whether the Beatles are ONE of the greatest rock bands, not that they are the greatest. Therefore, plenty of other bands could be greater than the Beatles. I just need to show the Beatles are near the top.

I also do not need to defend the level of popularity of the Beatles. While I believe they were one of the greatest rock bands, there are many other great rock bands that people should listen to. Too much focus is put on the Beatles, but that is precisely because they were so great. I wish more people knew about the Moody Blues and the Velvet Underground but the unpopularity of those bands does not reflect on the greatness of the Beatles. People get obsessed with the best.

Rock as an Art

My opponent unfortunately comes across as a bit of a musical snob. He states that rock music has not even become a serious art. This is one of the most absurd things he could have said and shows his clear distaste and ignorance of rock music. Moreover, even if rock music is not a serious art, like my opponent says, the Beatles can still be one of the greatest in that genre. I sincerely hope Con was trying to say something else, but I won't even attempt to try to show that rock is a serious art. It should be obvious to most sane persons that it is, but whether it is or not, does not change the Beatles' status of being one of the greatest in that genre.

Con is even more puzzling when he says "Rock critics are often totally ignorant of the rock music of the past". What's this supposed to mean? The Beatles were a 60's band; their last album was 44 years ago. If he's stating the Beatles are the only band they know, it's simply an assertion that seems quite unlikely. Moreover, while the Beatles were not the the start of rock music, they were the start of rock as we know it. They changed the course of rock drastically into what it became through the 70's and onward.

The Beatles Drastically Influenced the Evolution of Music

We cannot judge the Beatles as one of the greatest rock bands simply by the inherent quality of music. Rather, we look at the quality of their music and the time it was written, and also the influence it had on the genre.

Before the Beatles, only jazz musicians consistently evolved their music. The Beatles experimented and changed constantly. "Every record was a shock when it came out". Moreover, "Virtually every rock experiment has some precedent on Beatles records." In 1964 they were the first group to employ feedback. Srgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band popularized concept albums and influenced progressive rock and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. I Want You and Helter Skelter "are considered two of the first heavy metal songs".

The Beatles turned rock' n' roll into an international phenomenon. They revolutionized recording and an abundance of popular rock bands sprouted from their music. "Tthe Kinks, the Who, the Yardbirds, the Hollies, the Animals, etc. All of those bands wouldn't have had an audience outside of England without the Beatles to lead the charge."


http://starling.rinet.ru...

Accomplishments and Popularity

The Beatles made 12 studio albums, from 1963 to 1970 as well as allot of singles. It was not some fluke, or the bad taste of humanity, that enabled the Beatles to gain success paralleled by no other. The Beatles were one of the most popular local Liverpool bands before their first album came out. In April 1964, the year after their first album, they held all of the first 5 slots on the Billboard Singles. They sold more than a billion records,16 of 100 most successful tracks of all time, and seven of the 100 most successful albums. The Rolling Stone names 4 of their albums in the top ten of all time. They were, in other words, the greatest band ever in creating music that people liked.

http://beatles.wikia.com...

http://www.hooksandharmony.com...


Pro cannot compare rock to jazz, nor does it matter that the best jazz musicians are not the most famous. Actually it makes perfect sense that in the genre of jazz, the best would not be the most famous. Jazz is not an accessible type of music, meaning it's complex and most of the population do not really like it (that's not a criticism of jazz). Since jazz music is one of the most difficult to listen to, it's not at all strange that the most famous are not the best. The most famous merely have the most accessible music; the music that appeals most to people. Jazz does not appeal widely to listeners but some of the music is much more accessible.

Rock, or pop, on the other hand is the most popular genre of music. And that's why Con cannot compare it to jazz. Rock appeals to people and it makes sense that the greatest rock music would have some of the greatest appeal. Nor does Con's argument prove anything at all. Would the Beatles be one of the best if their music was relatively unknown?

Moreover, Con sights the opinion of jazz musicians as evidence for Duke Ellington and John Coltrane yet admits to the wide opinion that the Beatles were the greatest of the rock genre. The Beatles were and are extremely popular among laymen but they are also considered by many rock musicians to be the greatest rock band, let alone one of the greatest. The Beatles are easily the most popular choice for "best band" and this debate is merely about if there are one of the best. It's far more plausible to believe this consensus reflect the fact that they were one of the greatest rather than that they're overrated.
Debate Round No. 2
Moorogan

Con

Moorogan forfeited this round.
phantom

Pro

phantom forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Moorogan

Con

The Beatles most certainly belong to the history of the 60s, but their musical merits are at best dubious.

The Beatles came to be at the height of the reaction against rock and roll, when the innocuous "teen idols", rigorously white, were replacing the wild black rockers who had shocked the radio stations and the conscience of half of America. Their arrival represented a lifesaver for a white middle class terrorized by the idea that within rock and roll lay a true revolution of customs. The Beatles tranquilized that vast section of people and conquered the hearts of all those (first and foremost the females) who wanted to rebel without violating the societal status quo. The contorted and lascivious faces of the black rock and rollers were substituted by the innocent smiles of the Beatles; the unleashed rhythms of the first were substituted by the catchy tunes of the latter. Rock and roll could finally be included in the pop charts. The Beatles represented the quintessential reaction to a musical revolution in the making, and for a few years they managed to run its enthusiasm into the ground.

Furthermore, the Beatles represented the reaction against a social and political revolution. They arrived at the time of the student protests, of Bob Dylan, of the Hippies, and they replaced the image of angry kids with their fists in the air, with their cordial faces and their amiable declarations. They came to replace the accusatory words of militant musicians with overindulgent nursery rhymes. In this fashion as well the Beatles served as middle-class tranquilizers, as if to prove the new generation was not made up exclusively of rebels, misfits and sexual maniacs.

For most of their career the Beatles were four mediocre musicians who sang melodic three-minute tunes at a time when rock music was trying to push itself beyond that format (a format originally confined by the technical limitations of 78 rpm record). They were the quintessence of "mainstream", assimilating the innovations proposed by rock music, within the format of the melodic song.

The Beatles belonged, like the Beach Boys (whom they emulated for most of their career), to the era of the vocal band. In such a band the technique of the instrument was not as important as the chorus. Undoubtedly skilled at composing choruses, they availed themselves of producer George Martin (head of the Parlophone since 1956), to embellish those choruses with arrangements more and more eccentric.

Thanks to a careful publicity campaign they became the most celebrated entertainers of the era, and are still the darlings of magazines and tabloids, much like Princess Grace of Monaco and Lady Di.

The convergence between Western polyphony (melody, several parts of vocal harmony and instrumental arrangements) and African percussion - the leitmotif of American music from its inception - was legitimized in Europe by the huge success of the Merseybeat, in particular by its best sellers, Gerry and the Pacemakers and the Beatles, both produced by George Martin and managed by Brian Epstein. To the bands of the Merseybeat goes the credit of having validated rock music for a vast audience, a virtually endless audience. They were able to interpret the spirit and the technique of rock and roll, while separating it from its social circumstances, thus defusing potential explosions. In such fashion, they rendered it accessible not only to the young rebels, but to all. Mediocre musicians and even more mediocre intellectuals, bands like the Beatles had the intuition of the circus performer who knows how to amuse the peasants after a hard day's work, an intuition applied to the era of mass distribution of consumer goods.

Every one of their songs and every one of their albums followed much more striking songs and albums by others, but instead of simply imitating those songs, the Beatles adapted them to a bourgeois, conformist and orthodox dimension. The same process was applied to the philosophy of the time, from the protest on college campuses to Dylan's pacifism, from drugs to the Orient. Their vehicle was melody, a universal code of sorts, that declared their music innocuous. Naturally others performed the same operation, and many (from the Kinks to the Hollies, from the Beach Boys to the Mamas and Papas) produced melodies even more memorable, yet the Beatles arrived at the right moment and theirs would remain the trademark of the melodic song of the second half of the twentieth century.

Their ascent was branded as "Beatlemania", a phenomenon of mass hysteria launched in 1963 that marked the height of the "teen idol" mode, a extension of the myths of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. From that moment on, no matter what they put together, the Beatles remained the center of the media's attention.

Musically, for what it's worth, the Beatles were the product of an era that had been prepared by vocal groups such as the Everly Brothers and by rockers such as Buddy Holly; an era that also expressed itself through the girl-groups, the Tamla bands and surf music. What the Beatles have in common with them, aside from almost identical melodies, is a general concept of song: an exuberant, optimistic and cadenced melody.

The Beatles were the quintessence of instrumental mediocrity. George Harrison was a pathetic guitarist, compared with the London guitarists of those days (Townshend of the Who, Richards of the Rolling Stones, Davies of the Kinks, Clapton and Beck and Page of the Yardbirds, and many others who were less famous but no less original). The Beatles had completely missed the revolution of rock music (founded on a prominent use of the guitar) and were still trapped in the stereotypes of the easy-listening orchestras. Paul McCartney was a singer from the 1950s, who could not have possibly sounded more conventional. As a bassist, he was not worth the last of the rhythm and blues bassists (even though within the world of Merseybeat his style was indeed revolutionary). Ringo Starr played drums the way any kid of that time played it in his garage (even though he may ultimately be the only one of the four who had a bit of technical competence). Overall, the technique of the "fab four" was the same of many other easy-listening groups: sub-standard.

While the Velvet Underground, Frank Zappa, the Doors, Pink Floyd and many others were composing long and daring suites worthy of avant garde music, thus elevating rock music to art, the Beatles continued to yield three minute songs built around a chorus. Beatlemania and its myth notwithstanding, Beatles fans went crazy for twenty seconds of trumpet, while the Velvet Underground were composing suites of chaos twenty minutes long. Actually, between noise and a trumpet, between twenty seconds and twenty minutes, there was an artistic difference of several degrees of magnitude. They were, musically, sociologically, politically, artistically, and ideologically, on different planets.

Beatlemania created a comical temporal distortion. Many Beatles fans were convinced that rock and roll was born around the early 60s, that psychedelic rock and the hippies were a 1967 phenomenon, that student protests began in 1969, that peace marches erupted at the end of the 60s, and so on. Beatles fans believed that the Beatles were first in everything, while in reality they were last in almost everything. The case of the Beatles is a textbook example of how myths can distort history.
phantom

Pro

Con plagiarized all his arguments
Unfortunately Con was too lazy to make up his own arguments and plagiarized his entire case from here http://www.scaruffi.com...

Even his first round was plagiarized though it was only until this round that I noticed. Every single word posted by Con is from the article and thus Con hasn't posted one authentic sentence besides the acceptance round.

It would be absurd if I were obligated to refute the arguments since they cannot be counted anyway and that would force me to spend lengthy time researching and refuting a scholar when Con just copy and pasted. Therefore, I'll make known Con's blatant transgression of debate ethics and leave it to the voters to vote for the only reasonable choice here.

Con dropped all my points

Even if Con had not plagiarized, he hasn't responded once to anything I've said. All my arguments remain untouched; he's just talked past me. The plagiarism deserves an automatic forfeiture but I thought I would mention this too as a second reason to vote Pro.



Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by phantom 3 years ago
phantom
Oh, lol. Even your second round was plagiarized. Wow.
Posted by phantom 3 years ago
phantom
For a moment I was wondering how a musical snob who only puts in one paragraph could then respond with lengthy fairly eloquent and knowledgeable arguments...and then it was just so obvious. Plagiarism is pathetic jackass. Thanks, now I have to waste my time with your lazy copy & paste but you're pretty much guaranteed to lose.
Posted by sanjna_sudhir 3 years ago
sanjna_sudhir
Beatles are always the best. They also propogated sipritualism through songs . George Harrison was one of the devotees in Krishna consciousness.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by GaryBacon 3 years ago
GaryBacon
MooroganphantomTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Nice catch by Pro that the arguments were plagiarized. He gets arguments, since his were original. He also gets conduct for not plagiarizing. I considered giving Pro the full 7 as a result of Con's plagiarism. However, this sometimes hurts more than it helps, as others would simply look at the votes, and vote 7 for Con with the lame reason of "Counter Vote Bomb." So I decided 4 is good enough.
Vote Placed by Krazzy_Player 3 years ago
Krazzy_Player
MooroganphantomTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: As pointed out, Con plagiarized all of his arguments in R4. Therefore conduct and arguments directly goes to Pro.