The Beatles FAQ

Fun stuff about the Fab Four. Linked to The Beatles Teaching Pack



Sunday, 15 October 2017

Which classical composers influenced The Beatles?

None of The Beatles had a background in classical music. Paul McCartney says that his (jazz musician) father would turn the radio off if a classical record came on.

They grew up listening to skiffle, rock and roll and British comedy records. Ringo also enjoyed country music while Paul and John shared a secret love of the American songbook. Liking classical music was something associated with being upper-class - fine for someone like Brian Epstein but impossibly grand for themselves.

It was George Martin who first identified how classical techniques could enhance Paul's compositions. McCartney was initially suspicious ("no vibrato, George! We don't want to sound like Mantovani"). But the musically adventurous McCartney was impressed with the impact of strings on "Yesterday" and later "Eleanor Rigby

More recently, McCartney has suggested that this lack of knowledge had a positive creative impact.

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