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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Artists of the 1950's
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:21 am 
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ClashWho wrote:
Bruce wrote:
I'm with Brett and Brian here. The Beatles are CLEARLY the top artist of all time. Their musical influence over the years is far greater than Presley's influence, and they now beat him in commercial impact as they are the top selling artist of all time now.

Their impact on the record industry is much bigger than Presely's over the years too. Although I don't like what they started, making albums more important than singles, that did happen.

Many more people have become musicians because of the Beatles than because of Elvis. That may not have been true in 1967, but it certainly is now. The Beatles were even huge in Russia mainly on the strength of bootleg albums that found their way there.

Elvis fans are dying off every day, while the Beatles are gaining new fans all of the time, as evidenced by their CD sales over the past few years.

I don't even see this as particularly close at this point in history.


As long as the criteria is one quarter musical influence, one quarter cultural impact, one quarter commercial impact and one quarter musical impact, I don't see how the Beatles can top Elvis all-time. The cultural shift that Elvis Presley represents dwarfs that of the Beatles. It's such a huge margin, that even if the Beatles take the other three criteria, I can't see it being by enough to make up for that huge cultural impact gap. Elvis' commercial impact remains massive, and he was probably even more dominant in his era commercially than the Beatles were in their own era. Even at the peak of the Beatles' popularity, they were being outsold 2-1 by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. At Elvis' peak, there was no one in his rearview mirror, let alone outselling him 2-1. As for musical influence, yeah, maybe the Beatles take that, but Elvis Presley is the King of Rock 'n' Roll. He made Rock 'n' Roll the music of the masses more than any other artist. He also inspired virtually everyone who followed in his wake. John Lennon himself said, "Before Elvis, there was nothing." And for musical impact, they're both at the top of the heap. There just isn't enough wiggle room in the other three criteria for the Beatles to make up the enormous advantage that Elvis has in cultural impact. That's the way I see it.


I see it quite differently. I see much more worldwide cultural impact from the Beatles than from Presley. The whole sixties and early 70s scene including how people dressed, hair styles, drug experimentation, and kids starting guitar playing bands can all be traced to the Beatles.

The difference between the Beatles musical influence as opposed to Elvis musical influence through 2010 is immense. Every artist since the 60s has attempted tom make albums with some sort of overall theme to them, which the Beatles started and popularized. There are almost no artists who started after the Beatles hit America who were influenced musically by Elvis. Once the Beatles hit, there were no younger people who cared anymore about Elvis. His musical influence virtually died forever in 1964. Unless the artist was already around before that, by and large, he was not influenced musically by Elvis.

You'll find a few scattered younger Elvis fans, but nowhere nwear like the Beatles. No way they'd be making a big deal about it now if Elvis's music was finally available on I-Tunes like they just did with the Beatles.

You have to remember that despite the fact that Elvis started before the Beatles, it's really not trhat much before if you express it in terms of how long it's been for each of them. Elvis started recording 56 years ago, the Beatles started recording 48 years ago.

Over the course of the last 56 years the Beatles have been much more influential musically for about 45 of those 56 years.

I don't see this as very close at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Artists of the 1950's
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:22 am 
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Bruce wrote:
I'm with Brett and Brian here. The Beatles are CLEARLY the top artist of all time. Their musical influence over the years is far greater than Presley's influence, and they now beat him in commercial impact as they are the top selling artist of all time now.


I've stated repeatedly the Beatles beat Presley in musical influence, but Commercial Impact still depends on how you quantify it. Presley has more hits, the most of the rock era by far, over 150, about twice the Beatles. The argument for them is his career was longer, though both have about the same amount of post-career chart hits ironically. In Billboard singles rankings he almost doubles their point total. Higher in albums too. Lastly, and this is the risk of using strict sales figures as tabulated by the RIAA, the Beatles basically don't license their recordings to multi-artist compilations, whereas Presley's have always been. For example, Presley's songs made up the bulk of the massively successful Lilo & Stitch soundtrack (#11 on the Charts and the top Soundtrack album of the year in 2002), yet Presley didn't get a single RIAA credit for albums or the individual songs which is what people BOUGHT and WHY they bought it. There are literally hundreds of compilation albums, both well made (Loud, Fast & Out Of Control box) and bad, that you can buy Presley's music on for which he gets no official credit. This has long been the fatal flaw in the RIAA as well as trying to use strict sales figures to determine popularity. When everything is factored in, Presley wins commercial impact.

Bruce wrote:
Elvis fans are dying off every day, while the Beatles are gaining new fans all of the time, as evidenced by their CD sales over the past few years.


All of the Lilo & Stitch listeners were probably under ten when it came out a few years back. Time will tell if this was a good marketing move to bring younger fans to the table.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Artists of the 1950's
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:41 am 
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Bruce wrote:
Their impact on the record industry is much bigger than Presely's over the years too. Although I don't like what they started, making albums more important than singles, that did happen.

Many more people have become musicians because of the Beatles than because of Elvis. That may not have been true in 1967, but it certainly is now. The Beatles were even huge in Russia mainly on the strength of bootleg albums that found their way there.


Most of the huge stars of the 60's and even 70's have stated Presley was the reason they became musicians, Dylan, Springsteen, Lennon, members of Led Zeppelin, etc. I think this is a generational thing, the biggest attraction of each era is what propels younger people into that field and the Beatles were unquestionably that in the post-Presley landscape, but Elvis was the reason that so many of their era got into it (or in many cases, Orbison, Holly, etc., switched fields to rock 'n' roll if they were already gearing up for a career in country or some other style). Just depends on when the artist came of age really.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Artists of the 1950's
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:02 pm 
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Bruce wrote:
I see it quite differently. I see much more worldwide cultural impact from the Beatles than from Presley. The whole sixties and early 70s scene including how people dressed, hair styles, drug experimentation, and kids starting guitar playing bands can all be traced to the Beatles.


But the 60's scene, which incorporated sex, racial integration and a massive shift to younger people controlling the commercial fields and thus having a bigger say in all things stemmed from Elvis Presley's cultural upheaval.

Bruce wrote:
The difference between the Beatles musical influence as opposed to Elvis musical influence through 2010 is immense. Every artist since the 60s has attempted tom make albums with some sort of overall theme to them, which the Beatles started and popularized.


Early concept albums like Flamingo Serenade. The Ventures, who after initial popularity with singles, totally shifted their focus to concept albums with unified themes and were among the Top five rock album artists of the entire decade of the 60's, surely something that was not because of their status as singles artists. The Beach Boys were releasing huge albums with total creative control before the Beatles came along. James Brown's Live At The Apollo was the first huge example where a rock artist saw a full length album propel his star far higher than singles ever had (he had no huge hits on the Pop Singles Charts prior to its release and famously Syd Nathan thought a live album had no chance to sell). Ray Charles Modern Sounds In Country & Western Music did the very thing the Beatles are given credit for doing, years before they ever did it. Massive success in a format that was seen as secondary to singles, conceptually advanced and fully connected thematically, with huge influence across multiple fields of music.

The Beatles didn't pioneer any of this, clearly, it was already being done and done with increasing frequency and popularity before they came along. Their albums didn't reach the level of "art" (as determined by the status makers) until Rubber Soul, which was viewed differently than their previous output, but by then the album had pretty much taken hold. They definitely continued to advance its possibilities, both in sales and approach, but you can't credit them fully for this when others already were doing the same prior to them and concurrently with them. Just because they are the most widely pointed to by most sideline critics, doesn't make it so.

But anyway, I don't oversee the Greatest Rock Artist list, and The Beatles are #1 there as it is. It's a very interesting and ongoing debate for another page.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Artists of the 1950's
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:18 pm 
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Sampson wrote:
[But anyway, I don't oversee the Greatest Rock Artist list,


Thankfully.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Artists of the 1950's
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:22 pm 
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What's your beef with Sampson, Bruce?


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Artists of the 1950's
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:23 pm 
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Sampson wrote:
But the 60's scene, which incorporated sex, racial integration and a massive shift to younger people controlling the commercial fields and thus having a bigger say in all things stemmed from Elvis Presley's cultural upheaval.



Sorry, I'm not buying what you're selling here.

There's a much bigger difference in how young people lived in America before the Beatles and after the Beatles than there was before Elvis and after Elvis.
Looking at teenagers in 1958 you would not see a big difference from what you would have seen with teenagers in 1953.....but looking at teenagers in 1968 and there's a monumental difference in what you would have seen with teenagers in 1963.

The cultural effects of the Beatles far surpass the cultural effects of Presley.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Artists of the 1950's
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:33 pm 
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Georgi wrote:
What's your beef with Sampson, Bruce?


I don't buy many of his opinions and like others on this forum I don't like his condescending manner. He was born in the 1970s but thinks that he knows what things were like throughout the entire history of rock and roll because he's read a lot of liner notes on albums.

Many of his lists have really crazy rankings, such as Gene Allison being ranked above the Five satins, Heartbeats and Lee Andrews and the Hearts, among others, on his 1950s artist list.

Screamin Jay hawkins being ranked above people like Bobby Darin and Larry Williams and Dion and the Belmonts is also insane. Sampson falls for the hype of seeing Hawkins depicted in some movie. Hawkins was a nobody in the 50s who never even had a chart hit. He had exactly one song that ever meant anything.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Artists of the 1950's
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:39 pm 
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Sampson wrote:
Early concept albums like Flamingo Serenade. The Ventures, who after initial popularity with singles, totally shifted their focus to concept albums with unified themes


The Flamingos albums had no unified theme. The style that they used to sing the songs was the same on each track, but the songs themselves had no lyrical theme. They just took a bunch of old 1930s and 1940s love songs and played them all in the same lush style. That's not a "concept" album. Same thing with the Ventures.

Besides, the idea of doing an album as a cohesive group of songs did not became an industry atandard until the Beatles popularized it. Every rock artist after the will tell you that. That groups that came along in the late 60s and the early 70s were not trying to emulate the Flamingos, and likely never even heard any of their albums.

I personally despise the whole "album" thing, but it did happen.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Artists of the 1950's
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:51 pm 
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Bruce wrote:
Sampson wrote:
But the 60's scene, which incorporated sex, racial integration and a massive shift to younger people controlling the commercial fields and thus having a bigger say in all things stemmed from Elvis Presley's cultural upheaval.



Sorry, I'm not buying what you're selling here.

There's a much bigger difference in how young people lived in America before the Beatles and after the Beatles than there was before Elvis and after Elvis.
Looking at teenagers in 1958 you would not see a big difference from what you would have seen with teenagers in 1953.....but looking at teenagers in 1968 and there's a monumental difference in what you would have seen with teenagers in 1963.

The cultural effects of the Beatles far surpass the cultural effects of Presley.


Hardly. :lol:
How popular was the 'cool rebel' look in 1953? What about guys with longer hair? How popular were these things before Presley hit the scene? Come on...He made it commonplace.
The thing is, there were other bands like the Beatles who helped contribute to the social scene of the 60's, but there was hardly ANYONE like Presley to compare him to at the time. Bands like The Stones and The Byrds played a pretty big role in the 'long hair/drug experimentation' thing as well, but Presley was virtually in a league of his own.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Artists of the 1950's
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:09 pm 
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Bruce wrote:
"Sampson"][quote="Early concept albums like Flamingo Serenade. The Ventures, who after initial popularity with singles, totally shifted their focus to concept albums with unified themes


The Flamingos albums had no unified theme. The style that they used to sing the songs was the same on each track, but the songs themselves had no lyrical theme. They just took a bunch of old 1930s and 1940s love songs and played them all in the same lush style. That's not a "concept" album. Same thing with the Ventures.

Besides, the idea of doing an album as a cohesive group of songs did not became an industry atandard until the Beatles popularized it. Every rock artist after the will tell you that. That groups that came along in the late 60s and the early 70s were not trying to emulate the Flamingos, and likely never even heard any of their albums.

I personally despise the whole "album" thing, but it did happen.[/quote]

I personally despite a lot of the so-called concept albums, but unlike you I can't ignore them and say they weren't "conceptual". The point of Flamingo Serenade was to adapt pop standards to a doo wop setting. That is a "concept", however pale it seems in comparison to something like Sgt. Pepper's, whose initial concept actually disappeared after the third track, as McCartney has stated. The Beach Boys Little Duece Coupe album was lyrically and musically cohesive and certainly would qualify as a concept album more so than anything the Beatles did. It may not have been a greater album, but in terms of assigning influence of concept albums it is. The Ventures albums may have seemed conceptually amateur to you or me, but they too were clearly CONCEPT ALBUMS, as were Johnny Cash's or Ray Charles's albums (and his DID have lyrical themes - The Genius Hits The Road, Sweet & Sour Tears, etc.) There was a far greater thematic concept to them, as hokey as they might be, than the Beatles mid-60's albums. As far as "cohesive", that's fairly subjective, but I don't see any cohesiveness between "Eleanor Rigby", "Yellow Submarine" and "Tomorrow Never Knows", three very different songs off Revolver, using vastly different instrumentation, vocal techniques, songwriting and production.

Again, we're dealing with PERCEPTION here. The Beatles are perceived to have done something radically different when in fact it was their overall status, along with their obvious skill in releasing far better songs in greater quantities that allowed them to fill entire albums with quality material, which is getting them credit for something they did not do. They were one of many in a long line of rock artists who pushed the album more to the forefront of rock, but they were not first at anything in that progression.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Artists of the 1950's
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:46 pm 
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Victim Of Changes wrote:
Bruce wrote:
Sampson wrote:
But the 60's scene, which incorporated sex, racial integration and a massive shift to younger people controlling the commercial fields and thus having a bigger say in all things stemmed from Elvis Presley's cultural upheaval.



Sorry, I'm not buying what you're selling here.

There's a much bigger difference in how young people lived in America before the Beatles and after the Beatles than there was before Elvis and after Elvis.
Looking at teenagers in 1958 you would not see a big difference from what you would have seen with teenagers in 1953.....but looking at teenagers in 1968 and there's a monumental difference in what you would have seen with teenagers in 1963.

The cultural effects of the Beatles far surpass the cultural effects of Presley.


Hardly. :lol:
How popular was the 'cool rebel' look in 1953?


The cool rebel look was much more due to james dean than to elvis.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Artists of the 1950's
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:23 pm 
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Because we have posting right now what are probably DDD's 2 leading authorities on '50s rock, Sampson and Bruce, and the all-time list came up, I'd be interested in hearing their thoughts on a couple '50s artists, the Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly. The Everlys are higher on this list and Holly is higher on the all-time list, but if the Everlys are the greater '50s artist, they have to be the greater all-time artist, because there's no question that the Everlys are the greater '60s artist.

The way I saw the matchup for the all-time list was that they're about equal in cultural impact, the Everlys win popularity, and Buddy Holly wins musical impact and influence, with none of the margins huge, and musical impact close. So it looked to me like a narrow win for Holly. Sampson and Bruce, what are your thoughts on this comparison?


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Artists of the 1950's
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:14 pm 
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Brian wrote:
Because we have posting right now what are probably DDD's 2 leading authorities on '50s rock, Sampson and Bruce, and the all-time list came up, I'd be interested in hearing their thoughts on a couple '50s artists, the Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly. The Everlys are higher on this list and Holly is higher on the all-time list, but if the Everlys are the greater '50s artist, they have to be the greater all-time artist, because there's no question that the Everlys are the greater '60s artist.

The way I saw the matchup for the all-time list was that they're about equal in cultural impact, the Everlys win popularity, and Buddy Holly wins musical impact and influence, with none of the margins huge, and musical impact close. So it looked to me like a narrow win for Holly. Sampson and Bruce, what are your thoughts on this comparison?


A - I don't buy the whole "four equal parts" theory. Even if I did buy the four parts of the criteria (popularity, cultural impact, influence, musical impact), why would they all coveniently be of equal importance?

I think you have some things wrong though. I would say that Holly wins cultural impact by a ton, with all the songs that have been written about him in the past 50 years, the movie about him, the Holly look with the glasses, etc...but I think the Everlys would beat him in "musical impact" at the time. Their sound was far more imitated than Holly's sound in the 50s. As you may or may not know, two of Holly's most well known songs (Rave On, Oh Boy) were done first by another artist, Sonny West. Lots of Holly's other songs that became well known later on were actually stiffs in the 50s. "Words Of Love" did not even make the charts, and neither did "I'm Gonna Love You Too.: and although it's from 1960, "True Love Ways" was also a stiff at the time. "

I have no idea how Sampson does this, but here's how I would score each category (0 to 10) for both artists for the 1950s:

ARTIST......COMM SUCCESS......CULTURAL.....INFLUENCE......MUS IMPACT
Holly....................4.....................7...................9...................5
Everlys.................9.....................1...................7...................8

If you buy that each category is equal than this would end in a 25-25 tie, but since I believe that commercial success is much more important than cultural impact, I would give this one to the Everlys. In my estimation commercial success would be like 40% with cultural impact no more than 10%.

My girlfriend Diane was born in 1948. When Holly died she was about to turn 11 years old in a few days. She had no idea who Holly was, but knew who Valens was because "Donna" was a huge hit at the time. Holly was just not that well known in the 50s, as three of his four really big hits up to his death were by the Crickets. Only "Peggy Sue" was a big hit by Buddy Holly. Some other kids told Diane that Holly was the guy who did that song "Peggy Sue" a couple of years ago and she then remembered him, but most people at that time did not even realize that Holly was part of the Crickets. She also realized who the Big Bopper was after being reminded that "Chantilly Lace" was a huge hit just a couple of months before the plane crash, and I think may have even still been on the Billboard top 100 that week at the end of its chart run.

The point is that the name "Buddy Holly" did not mean all that much in the 1950s until he died. He did not release a single in 1958 that made the top ten and none of his solo singles even made the top 30 after "Peggy Sue" until "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" did so after his death. Good chance that one would have bombed if he had not died.

The Everlys were monstrous in 1958.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Artists of the 1950's
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:48 pm 
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Sampson wrote:
I personally despite a lot of the so-called concept albums, but unlike you I can't ignore them and say they weren't "conceptual". The point of Flamingo Serenade was to adapt pop standards to a doo wop setting. That is a "concept", however pale it seems in comparison to something like Sgt. Pepper's, whose initial concept actually disappeared after the third track, as McCartney has stated. The Beach Boys Little Duece Coupe album was lyrically and musically cohesive and certainly would qualify as a concept album more so than anything the Beatles did. It may not have been a greater album, but in terms of assigning influence of concept albums it is. The Ventures albums may have seemed conceptually amateur to you or me, but they too were clearly CONCEPT ALBUMS, as were Johnny Cash's or Ray Charles's albums (and his DID have lyrical themes - The Genius Hits The Road, Sweet & Sour Tears, etc.) There was a far greater thematic concept to them, as hokey as they might be, than the Beatles mid-60's albums. As far as "cohesive", that's fairly subjective, but I don't see any cohesiveness between "Eleanor Rigby", "Yellow Submarine" and "Tomorrow Never Knows", three very different songs off Revolver, using vastly different instrumentation, vocal techniques, songwriting and production.

Again, we're dealing with PERCEPTION here. The Beatles are perceived to have done something radically different when in fact it was their overall status, along with their obvious skill in releasing far better songs in greater quantities that allowed them to fill entire albums with quality material, which is getting them credit for something they did not do. They were one of many in a long line of rock artists who pushed the album more to the forefront of rock, but they were not first at anything in that progression.


Perception is reality. Especially when it comes to impact and influence.

Sure, there were "albums with a concept" before the Beatles--heck, Sinatra and Nat King Cole used to do that all the time. And to the extent that that type of album is important, the Beatles get no credit for that. But that's not "the concept album", which, like a lot of things in the arts, is something of a misnomer. It was the change in the perception of the album that was so important. The idea that the album could be viewed as a unified statement which was greater than the sum of its parts. That was primarily due to the Beatles. Dylan, the Beach Boys, and the Who contributed to it, but it was a definite marked change from what happened before the Beatles.

You may be right that there's nothing specific that they did first, but I think you tie influence too closely to innovation. As I said elsewhere, there's very little that's actually completely unprecedented, and I think if we applied that idea strictly the Most Influential list would be filled with artists whom we've never heard of or don't know much about, simply because they did something specific first that one of the greats turned into an important and influential idea.


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