The Beatles timeline 1967-1969


Mar 12 2009, 4:41

The Beatles 1967-1969

The Beatles timeline 1967-1969


January 5, 1967- “Carnival of Light" is an unreleased avant-garde experimental piece by The Beatles. It was recorded on January 5, 1967; musically it "resembles "The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet" from Frank Zappa’s Freak Out! Album, except there is no rhythm and the music ... is more fragmented, abstract and serious according to Barry Miles. Length 13:48 (approximately

January 19, 20, 1967- “A Day in the Life" recording starts Paul Grushkin in his book Rockin' Down the Highway: The Cars and People That Made Rock Roll, called the song "one of the most ambitious, influential, and groundbreaking works in pop music history". A five minute song composed of two suites - one by Lennon, one by Paul McCartney - that are totally different in sound and texture, yet complement each other perfectly. The song features two cacophonous crescendos from an orchestra, the final one climaxing in a single E major piano chord that lasts 42 seconds The song has been described as an important song in the Progressive Rock movement.

March 11 - The band is awarded three Grammy awards for "Michelle", "Eleanor Rigby", and the LP Revolver

pril 2 - the LP Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is completed

June - The Beatles release Sgt Pepper. A landmark of successful and influential experimentation: spawns innumerable (largely unsuccessful) concept albums and a great deal of experimentation with electronic and tape collage effects.

The album concept is about an imaginary band. The imaginary band could write imaginary songs about imaginary people and situations. Only three songs stay with this concept: the title track, the next track that is segued in, and the Reprise song.

Avant-garde techniques—particularly in the aleatoric (chance) orchestral section of the last song. A tape looped ending of voices on Sgt Pepper Inner Groove.

""Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite"- Includes randomly spliced sections of tapes of organ sounds.

"Good Morning, Good Morning"- Lennon's lyrics typically dark, and biting. It’s also
known for its fluctuations in meter and rhythmic patterns. Superficial" use of taped animal sounds.

""Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"- Was one of the first rock songs ever to employ an audio phase shifter or phasing. The sound was originally known as "flanging" because of the way it was first implemented, i.e. by laying your finger against the flange of a tape reel. It came about accidentally when engineer Geoff Emerick, while using the automatic double-tracking system (an electronic looping of one track over to another. The chorus section is more typical shouted rock style and changing time signatures of 3/4 and 4/4 in sections. The complicated underlying arrangement which features a tamboura, played by George Harrison and a Lowrey organ played by Paul McCartney being taped with a special organ stop to give it a sound like a celeste.

"Within You Without You"- The song, originally written as a 30-minute piece and trimmed down into a mini-version for the album, is in Mixolydian mode. The laughter at the end was Harrison's idea to lighten the mood and follow the theme of the album. It is the second of Harrison's songs to be explicitly influenced by Indian classical music, after "Love You To", and Harrison's only composition on Sgt. Pepper. "Within You Without You" was written on a harmonium and many of the lyrics are influenced by Hindu ideas.

"She's Leaving Home"- McCartney wrote and sang the verse and Lennon the chorus. This was one of a handful of songs of the Beatles in which the members did not play any instruments. Others include "Eleanor Rigby," "Good Night" and "The Inner Light". The song is about a young girl who'd left home and not been found. The song the string arrangement was done by Mike Leander.

"A Day in the Life"- A trippy John Lennon song and a peppy Paul McCartney song and linked together with 90 seconds of cacophonous sonic netting. Perhaps the first industrial bridge in a song.

“All You Need Is Love"- It was first performed by The Beatles on Our World, the first live global television link. Broadcast to 26 countries and watched by 400 million, “All You Need Is Love" remains one of only two songs (along with Pink Floyd's "Money" from 1973) written in 7/4 time to reach the top 20 in the United States.

“I Am the Walrus”- Lennon composed the avant-garde song by combining three songs he had been working. The songs lyrics were about people who analyzed Beatles' lyrics, he added a verse of nonsense words. The song featured a choir, an orchestra, highly distorted vocals, and the fadeout features sampling of a few lines of Shakespeare's King Lear (Act IV, Scene VI), which were added to the song direct from an AM radio receiving the broadcast of the play on the BBC Home Service.

"Blue Jay Way"- A song based on Indian raga's with some of the techniques used on previous Psychedelic Records. The use of organ drones, vocals through leslie speakers, diminished 7th chords, backward vocals, raga mode, and phasing create an exotic Indian sound without the use of Indian instruments or guitars.

"Hello Goodbye"- Maybe one of most Bubblegum of all the Beatles songs does have it's interesting is noted in which the song ends in a cold ending followed by an unrelated coda with an Maori influenced fade-out.

Magical Mystery Tour is released November 27, 1967 (EP)
December 8, 1967 (LP)


March 15 - the UK single "Lady Madonna" is released (March 18 in the US), hitting #1 in both countries.

March 9 - the LP Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band wins four Grammy Awards including Album of the Year which was the first time a rock band won that award.

April - Apple Corps Ltd. begin operations in London along with Apple Publicity.

May 30 - demos of the songs written in India are recorded at George's home in Esher.

May - sessions begin for The Beatles

May - "Revolution 9”- The track was built on the unused portion of "Revolution #1” in which they added on top of that to create "Revolution #9". They added spoken words, and music sound clips, tape loops, reverse sound/music and sound effects. The song is followed by the unaccredited "Can You Take Me Back."). The track Revolution 9" are recordings of other music (from bits of Sibelius, Schumann's "Carnaval" and Beethoven, to a backward snippet of a tuning orchestra, culled from the session tapes for A Day in the Life), the piece can be seen as an early example of sampling.

July- The single version of "Revolution” is recorded. The song has very political overtones? (Album and single versions differ). The distorted guitar sound was produced by putting the guitars through the recording console and overloading the channel to create a fuzz sound.

"Hey Jude"- Features a long vocal jam fade-out by Paul, and a 36-piece orchestra for the song's long refrain. The song has two entirely different sections basically a two for one song in the same song. "Hey Jude" remained the longest number one hit for nearly a quarter of a century, until it was surpassed in 1993 by Meat Loaf's "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)", which ran seven minutes fifty-eight seconds as a single.

November 1968- The White Album (The Beatles; 1968) .Beatles as individuals rather than members of a group. Stylistically, extremely eclectic: a variety of styles and influences evident. The album contained no singles and became the first double album to hit number one in Britain.

"Cry Baby Cry"- In an interesting way to assemble a song they added a totally unrelated fragment or outtake of another song "Can you take me back?" which is not listed on the White Album to the end of "Cry Baby Cry"

"Mother Nature's Son"- McCartney utilized bass drums halfway down a corridor to achieve a staccato sound in “Mother Nature’s Son

"Yer Blues”- A parody of British Progressive Blues style with some Beatlesque elements of using a bridge and using odd meters.

"Blackbird”- Folk-like but more "artistic" in its deviations from earlier pop-folk style. The lyrics deal with oppression and civil rights.

"Helter Skelter"- A song that helped shaped early Heavy Metal. The rock-inflected, ominous melody and words of the song were imposing enough on their own, but it was the unique textures the Beatles devised via their studio arrangement that truly made it into an extraordinary, even apocalyptic song.

"Happiness Is a Warm Gun"- The track is actually a combination of no less than five different sections, and various musical styles in a track that is less than 3 minutes. The track is noted for its use of odd meters and at one point using a polyrhythm which at the time was unusual for rock music.


January, 26 1969 recording “The Long and Winding Road”. It became The Beatles' last #1 song in the United States on 23 May 1970[1], and was their last real single. "The Long and Winding Road" was listed with "For You Blue" as a double-sided hit when the single hit number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1970.

January 30 - The band and organ player Billy Preston perform four songs from the roof of the Apple business offices. Because it is in a business district, the police are called to end the mini-concert. The event is recorded for the "Let It Be" film

February 1969- “I Want You (She's So Heavy) recording starts. The song has limited number of words, two different sections one very bluesy and very angst type vocals from Lennon. The other section is a instrumental built on proto metal type of guitar sound with repeated guitar figures, jazzy and Latin drum influence, avant white noise from a synthesizer, and abrupt cut-off ending.

February 1969- "Something" written by George Harrison is the Beatles second most covered song. Frank Sinatra called Something "the greatest love song ever written," he sang it hundreds of times at various concerts.

April 11 - The single "Get Back/Don't Let Me Down" is released and hits #1 in the US and UK.

May - "The Ballad of John and Yoko/Old Brown Shoe" is released, reaching #1 in the UK, but stalling at #8 in the US because of objection to the use of "Christ" in the chorus

June - John and Yoko hold another "bed-in" at a Montreal hotel, where they record "Give Peace a Chance" (credited to Lennon/McCartney). The song is released by The Plastic Ono Band in July and hits US #14 and UK #2. It features Timothy Leary and Tommy Smothers, among others, clapping in the background.

August 1- the Beatles start recording the classically influenced Art- Rock song “Because”. It features a 3-part harmony vocal performance between Lennon, McCartney and George Harrison, overdubbed three times to make nine voices in all. The song is actually influenced by "Moonlight Sonata" by Ludwig van Beethoven but the song structure is not "Moonlight Sonata" backwards as some have said. It includes an analog synthesizer arrangement by George Harrison

August 8 - The cover photo for the LP Abbey Road is taken at 11:35 AM.

August 20 - The last recording session in which all four Beatles are present

September - LP Abbey Road is released and hits UK and US #1, going on to become the best-selling Beatles album of all time. It was the Beatles last album to be recorded although Let It Be is last to be released.

The Abbey Road Medleys- McCartney & Martin agree to try to link the last 8 songs on side two into a larger integrated formal unit. Uses song fragments from both McCartney and Lennon; repeats some melodies at strategic points. Starting with "You Never Give Me Your Money" "McCartney was playing with loops again and assembled a collection of Moog and other sounds for use on the album. “Paul took a plastic bag containing a dozen loose strands of mono tape into Abbey Road,” The effects—sounding like bells, birds, bubbles and crickets chirping allowed for a perfect cross fade in the medley from "Sun King" into "You Never Give Me Your Money". The melodies are repeated it flows, and it’s progressive rock like

October 14 - University of Michigan graduate Fred LaBour writes a very lengthy and detailed article in The Michigan Daily about the hidden clues on the band's LPs and songs that Paul is dead, inspired by the infamous discovery of backmasking in several songs by Detroit DJ Russ Gibb.

October 24 - Following John's request that the Beatles call it quits, Paul states in an Life magazine interview that the band has broken up. He states that the "Beatles thing is over", but it is debated whether he was talking about the band as a whole or the 'Paul is Dead' rumors.

November 7 - Publication of Paul's interview with Life magazine, in which he goes into the hinted breakup of the band more in depth.

December - the Beatles donate a new song, "Across the Universe", to the World Wildlife Fund for inclusion on the benefit album No One's Gonna Change Our World.

The Beatles influence on Modern Music

Beatles' ability to marry studio experimentation with a strong pop song structure is such a profound influence that it's taken for granted. I'd say it's their most important contribution. It's the very foundation of how music is still made, so I'd say their influence is very much evident today, even if not everybody knows it. I still say to this day the most prophetic record of the Sixties wasn't "Yesterday" or "Satisfaction" but "Tomorrow Never Knows," which sums up most of where music has gone. Minus the vocals, it's virtually an early hip-hop record that's as much Public Enemy as it is Philip Glass. Today's music is mostly about sound texture and the group that got us thinking about it the most is the Beatles. Some love to dismiss "Sgt. Peppers," and especially "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite," if all that random splicing up of tape and punching it into a song for sound effects can't be found in Kanye West or many hip-hop crews of the last 25 years or so.

Whether we're talking Radiohead, Coldplay, U2, L.A. Reid or Raphel Saadiq, to mention a few, they still mention or show the Beatles' influence. The Smithereens recently covered the entire "Meet the Beatles" album. Phish has performed all of the "White Album" in concert.

The influence they had on some of their peers.

- Mick Jagger

"Keith liked the Beatles because he was quite interested in their chord sequences. He also liked their harmonies, which were always a slight problem to the Rolling Stones. Keith always tried to get the harmonies off the ground but they always seemed messy. What we never really got together were Keith and Brian singing backup vocals. It didn't work, because Keith was a better singer and had to keep going, oooh, ooh ooh (laughs). Brian liked all those oohs, which Keith had to put up with. Keith was always capable of much stronger vocals than ooh ooh ooh".

Keith Richards,

"The Beatles) were perfect for opening doors... When they went to America they made it wide open for us. We could never have gone there without them. They're so fucking good at what they did. If they'd kept it together and realized what they were doing, instead of now doing Power to the People and disintegrating like that in such a tatty way. It's a shame. The Stones seem to have done much better in just handling success".

Roger McGuinn

"When the Beatles had come out, the folk boom had already peaked," McGuinn notes. "The people who had been into it were getting kind of burned out. It just wasn't very gratifying, and it had become so commercial that it had lost its meaning for a lot of people. So the Beatles kind of re-energized it for me. I thought it was natural to put the Beatles' beat and the energy of the Beatles into folk music. And in fact, I heard folk chord changes in the Beatles' music when I listened to their early stuff like 'She Loves You' and 'I Want To Hold Your Hand.' I could hear the passing chords that we always use in folk music: the G-Em-Am-B kind of stuff. So I really think the Beatles invented folk-rock".

Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead

"The Beatles were why we turned from a jug band into a rock 'n' roll band," said Bob Weir. "What we saw them doing was impossibly attractive. I couldn't think of anything else more worth doing"

Bob Dylan

"They were doing things nobody was doing. Their chords were outrageous, just outrageous, and their harmonies made it all valid. They were pointing the direction music had to go.

What sparked that original creative spark that
became prog rock?

Bill Buford:

The Beatles. They broke down every barrier that ever existed. Suddenly you could do anything after The Beatles. You could write your own music, make it ninety yards long, put it in 7/4, whatever you wanted.

Karl Bartos of Kraftwerk

"Sampling has been around since the Beatles they did it all. There is no difference between using tapes and digital machinery." Yawn again

Robert Fripp on hearing the Beatles Sgt Pepper

Robert Fripp- "When I was 20, I worked at a hotel in a dance orchestra, playing weddings, bar-mitzvahs, dancing, cabaret. I drove home and I was also at college at the time. Then I put on the radio (Radio Luxemburg) and I heard this music. It was terrifying. I had no idea what it was. Then it kept going. Then there was this enormous whine note of strings. Then there was this colossal piano chord. I discovered later that I'd come in half-way through Sgt. Pepper, played continuously. My life was never the same again".

Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys

"Upon first hearing Rubber Soul in December of 1965, Brian Wilson said, “I really wasn’t quite ready for the unity. It felt like it all belonged together. Rubber Soul was a collection of songs…that somehow went together like no album ever made before".

Pete Townshend of the Who

"In a 1967 interview Pete Townshend of the Who commented "I think "Eleanor Rigby" was a very important musical move forward. It certainly inspired me to write and listen to things in that vein"


What were the key motivations behind your switch from the commercial folk you were doing with the New Christy Minstrels to folk-rock?

"But times changed, and I changed, and I didn't feel that way anymore. The Beatles were happening. I think that was probably the main thing. The Beatles just changed the whole world of music".
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  • DjPDP

    What about Lennon and McCartney singing backing vocals for The Rolling Stones song We Love You in summer 1967? Not at all news-worthy ??

    Mar 13 2009, 1:55
  • psychedali

    nice summary :). the impact of the beatles is as clear as possible..

    Feb 19 2010, 19:06
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