The Beatles were the first band to intentionally use the sound of electric feedback on a record. It can be heard on the first note of "I Feel Fine," created by plucking the A-note on McCartney's bass.
The Bass Guitar
Lennon was unhappy with the way the bass sounded on record, so engineer Geoff Emerick invented an entirely new way of recording the instrument for the song "Paperback Writer." By rewiring a large bass amp, essentially converting it into a giant microphone, he enabled them to fully capture those large sound waves coming from McCartney's bass.
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Created an Entirely New Kind of Song
The song,"A Day in the Life," was, according to music historian Michael Campbell, "a new category of song — more sophisticated than pop ... and uniquely innovative. There literally had never before been a song — classical or vernacular — that had blended so many disparate elements so imaginatively."
Before The Beatles, the concept of an album full of songs was secondary to releasing singles, or 45s. They were the first band to truly focus on the idea that a full-length record could be a complete work of art.
Created the Music Video
Long before MTV started playing music videos (and even longer before they stopped playing them), The Beatles were the first group to create a short, stand-alone film featuring a single song. The first video was for "Paperback Writer," but they would do many others, as it was a much easier way to promote a new song than making personal appearances.
Printed Lyrics On The Album
Yet another commonplace practice today — printing lyrics on the album cover pages — was unheard of when The Beatles did it on the back of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."
Before The Beatles played Shea Stadium in New York on August 15, 1965, the world had never seen a concert performed in a stadium before.
First Satellite Broadcast
In 1968, the first live satellite broadcast of anything worldwide took place, and guess who was on? It was The Beatles performing their latest single, "All You Need Is Love." The two-hour program was broadcast to 26 countries to over 400 million people.
Advanced Recording Techniques
Producer George Martin and The Beatles tossed out the 4-track recording techniques of the time in order to add layers and layers of sound and instrumentation to their music that the world had never heard before. Before, songs were basically just live recordings of musicians playing. The Beatles changed all that.
Redefined the Hit Single
The single "Hey Jude," at 7 minutes and 11 seconds, was the longest song ever released as a single. The success of the tune (originally entitled "Hey Jules" after John's son, Julian), created an opportunity for other, longer songs, to succeed as well. Imagine a world where "American Pie" or "Layla" never became hits.
Changed Songwriting Forever
From the first-ever use of a fade-in on "Eight Days a Week" (as opposed to the common fade-out), to the almost unheard of practice of starting a song with the chorus (on "She Loves You"), The Beatles taught a generation of musicians that just because there may be certain rules in place, doesn't mean you can't break them.
Created Their Own Record Label
Many artists today have their own record labels (Oasis, Prince, the White Stripes), but the Beatles' Apple Records started the trend. Named after George Harrison's proclivity to name every song he was working on after a type of apple, the company faced many early financial struggles.
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