Quincy Jones on the Beatles

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  • NeillNeill Frets: 367
    Fretwired said:
    I'm not a Beatles fan but I suspect they have sold more records than Quincy .. not bad for 'incompetent musicians' .. they were good at what they did which was writing and recording their own songs. They could always turn to a mate like Clapton if they wanted a flashy guitar solo or some brass.

    Quincy also slagged off Michael Jackson which wasn't the brightest thing to do - accused him of pinching other people's songs. The Beatles and Jackson have millions of followers on social media who are currently giving Quincy hell.


    Also, I guess QJ didn't know that Putin is a huge Beatles fan...
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1484
    Bezzer said:
    How can I be “wrong” for expressing an opinion? I did prefix with “I don’t think” but hey ho ... it’s proved the point I WAS trying to make. It’s seems very free and easy on here to slag off absolutely everyone but heaven forbid it’s the Beatles ...

    If you like ‘em, great. I don’t. I don’t get it at all. But that’s just me.

    It's fine to not like the Beatles, or anyone else, for that matter. That's your opinion. I'm no huge fan myself.

    But you're wrong to think they weren't competent musicians. That's not really an opinion, it's a matter of fact - albeit with a degree of subjectivity.

    R.
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  • SidNewtonSidNewton Frets: 291
    ICBM said:
    Some very technically competent musicians seem to have a problem understanding why technical competence is not the most important characteristic of great music.

    He’s also completely wrong.
    Reminds of a comment Danny Gatton made about not being impressed by any of the British Invasion bands as they didn't play their instruments very well and in the process he completely missed the point.
    Most people don't want to listen to endless fretboard wanking regardless of how proficient it is. They want good songs and in that respect The Beatles pissed over everyone.
    As for McCartney not being a good bass player....total bollocks.
    Ringo is a great drummer because like all great drummers he plays what is right for the song. 

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  • BezzerBezzer Frets: 176

    @robinbowes yeah, I can't argue with that ... I should emphasise though, I did say performers (by which I meant technical performance) not musicians.  I won't take away from their musicianship, it's just not my cuppa.

    @english_bob ha ha ... yeah yeah, OK.  Maybe my knowledge of "what was possible" isn't as good as it could be, but I was thinking about people like Les Paul and his ilk and what they were doing.  I'd be interested to see how many takes were required, how many overdubs etc.  Not that it's unusual for anyone to do so ... you know what I mean.

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  • not_the_djnot_the_dj Frets: 5266
    edited February 8
    Good info here on recording their debut...10 songs in a day!

    https://www.beatlesbible.com/1963/02/11/recording-please-please-me-lp/
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  • scrumhalfscrumhalf Frets: 4216
    I think people "in the business" making disparaging remarks about The Beatles should know better.

    1) The Beatles changed things. Certainly as far as the States was concerned, where mainstream music was Lawrence Welk and the Kingston Trio. You don't have as huge an impact as they did without being any good. I would imagine that the majority of forumites were born after The Beatles split and possibly don't get quite how amazing some of their stuff was compared to what was the prevailing norm at that time.

    2) Two of them aren't around any more. I bet QJ wouldn't have said that to Lennon's face.

    3) Good music doesn't necessarily come from playing an instrument in a way that other people think is "proper". It comes from the music being good. I dare say that driving a Marshall with a Les Paul wasn't using either in the way that the manufacturer would have considered "proper" but fuck, together they sounded good.




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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 3160
    edited February 8
    Fretwired said:
    I'm not a Beatles fan but I suspect they have sold more records than Quincy .. not bad for 'incompetent musicians' .. they were good at what they did which was writing and recording their own songs. They could always turn to a mate like Clapton if they wanted a flashy guitar solo or some brass.
    Eric in secretly played trombone on Sgt Pepper shocker !
    Quincy also slagged off Michael Jackson which wasn't the brightest thing to do - accused him of pinching other people's songs.

    That's downright rude and ridiculous given how much money he made from being MJ's producer !!!!!

    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 16840
    edited February 8
    I wonder if there has ever been a more naturally gifted musician than Paul McCartney? Certainly ‘competent’ on guitar, bass, keys and drums - and a gift for melody that anyone would envy. 

    To rate the Beatles in terms of instrumental virtuosity is a bit like viewing Chuck Berry as a failure for not being able to shred....
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 2209
    edited February 9
    Reality check. QJ is a jazz musician and arranger. Put on some Wayne Shorter or Miles and then some Beatles right after. 

    I don't generally expect virtuosos to be impressed by the limited musical knowledge and technical abilities of self taught pop bands. 

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  • TeetonetalTeetonetal Frets: 5324
    I wonder if there has ever been a more naturally gifted musician than Paul McCartney? Certainly ‘competent’ on guitar, bass, keys and drums - and a gift for melody that anyone would envy. 

    To rate the Beatles in terms of instrumental virtuosity is a bit like viewing Chuck Berry as a failure for not being able to shred....
    Are you serious? I wonder if there has ever been a more naturally gifted musician than Paul McCartney? 
    I do not question he has an ear for a tune. But come on. Hyperbole gone mad.

    I think you guys forget how good "real" musicians are. The ability to write and play catchy tunes does not make you a great musician - it makes you a commercial success.

    I reckon if you could ask any of the Beatles if they considered themselves to be wonderful musicians they would all say no. My point is that QJ is right, no question. but it doesn't matter, they sold a truckload.

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  • proggyproggy Frets: 1189
    If jazz musicians are so good, why do they sound so bad?
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  • english_bobenglish_bob Frets: 2112
    proggy said:
    If jazz musicians are so good, why do they sound so bad?
    Because they want to. That's how good they are.

    Don't talk politics and don't throw stones. Your royal highnesses.

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  • english_bobenglish_bob Frets: 2112
    Bezzer said:

    @english_bob ha ha ... yeah yeah, OK.  Maybe my knowledge of "what was possible" isn't as good as it could be, but I was thinking about people like Les Paul and his ilk and what they were doing.  I'd be interested to see how many takes were required, how many overdubs etc.  Not that it's unusual for anyone to do so ... you know what I mean.

    Les Paul was very much an anomaly.

    The good thing about the Beatles in this respect is that because they were *so* big, and there's *so* much interest, much of this sort of thing is documented. Not that you'd want to read it if you don't like the Beatles, but Ian McDonald's Revolution In The Head documents every studio recording the Beatles ever made in that sort of detail.

    The short version is that:

    1.  For most of their career they didn't have the luxury of very many takes, because recording wasn't the experimental, trial-and-error process they helped it become. Paul or John would play through the song they'd written, they'd run through it a few times to nail down parts and arrangement, then they'd record. In the later years there were exceptions, but it was as likely to be because they were trying to create music that had never been created before and nobody really knew how, rather than because they couldn't sing in tune or play the part. It's acknowledged that Ringo was pretty much fucking flawless- nailed the tempo every time and didn't make noticeable mistakes. 

    2. For most of their career, they had one or two four-track recorders to work with. They'd record a master take of the whole band playing, mix it and "bounce" it on to a single track, then there'd be room for three tracks of overdubs- vocals, backing vocals, guitar solos. That was generally about it. "Comping" the good bits from multiple crap takes to make one good one wasn't really a thing then. Again, it got more complicated in later years- there are a lot of overdubs on something like "Strawberry Fields Forever", but they're cellos, brass, harpsichord and mellotron, not "drop ins" to fix mistakes. 

    3. No Pro-Tools, no Autotune. Just compression, EQ and reverb. Analogue tape degrades with use, so you couldn't do your part over and over again for hours to get it right because by the time you did the tape would be fucked. 



    I sort of understand what Quincy Jones is talking about- none of the Beatles were as good as most of the people he chose to work with in terms of technique, but they were all perfect for their band, wrote more memorable music than most musicians could dream of, and will be remembered long after Quincy Jones is forgotten.

    Don't talk politics and don't throw stones. Your royal highnesses.

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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 2209
    proggy said:
    If jazz musicians are so good, why do they sound so bad?
    Because they want to. That's how good they are.
    Hahaha! double wizz lol quality this
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  • munckeemunckee Frets: 463
    proggy said:

    Why do Americans precede the word fucker with mother?

    Are they insinuating that the person has sex with their mum? I've never understood that. To be honest though, I don't really understand Americans anyway.

    I thought they meant it as in "big" f#cker as in motherload etc. but I haven't studied them up close, perhaps Attenborough will do them next now he has finished his documentary on plastic.
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 13105
    Reality check. QJ is a jazz musician and arranger. Put on some Wayne Shorter or Miles and then some Beatles right after. 

    I don't generally expect virtuosos to be impressed by the limited musical knowledge and technical abilities of self taught pop bands. 

    He was much more than that - he played the trumpet and worked with some jazz musicians in 1950s, but there was no money in jazz. He made his name writing film scores - he wrote the music for the Italian Job (UK version),  and then moved into popular music as writer, producer and arranger for the leading pop artists of the day. He hated rock and blues music.

    A piece of trivia. Jones released an album under his own name called The Dude with a hit single Ai No Corrida which was written by the Blockheads guitarist Chaz Jankel.

    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • DefaultMDefaultM Frets: 1534
    Writing songs that millions of people love is nothing to do with being a musician.

    Can John Lennon play 6 string sweeps? No because he's dead, but I can.
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  • NeillNeill Frets: 367
    I remember Joe Jackson - an example of a pop artist who has a lot of technical gravitas - relating a story about when he was studying at the Royal Academy of Music but earning money playing piano pubs and clubs.  In the middle of some tune a guy comes up to him and says can't you play anything fast so Joe trots out some fancy classical piece to which the guy just "tuts" and walks off.  It was moments like this that led JJ to the conclusion that being a good musician is only about 20% technical ability, the rest is the indefinable quality that we might call "soul".  

    We can all think of great technicians who don't move us at all, OTOH consider someone like Joni Mitchell who must be regarded as one of the greatest musicians of all time, yet her technical ability is quite limited.  Occasionally you get someone like Jimi Hendrix who has both the feel and the skill.  

    I think QJ was probably quoted out of context, perhaps, but to somehow use a lack of technical ability as a put down - under any circumstances - is ignorant of the true meaning of music, in fact of art in general.
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  • scrumhalfscrumhalf Frets: 4216
    By the by:

    The Beatles recorded almost their entire first album “Please Please Me” on this day, 11th February 1963, in three sessions, between 10am & 10.45pm at Abbey Road.
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 6409
    Old Jazz Wanker slags off most successful musicians of all time for not being very good.

    Fair enough. Each to their own opinion.

    But its better than being a wanker.


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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 2209
    impmann said:
    Old Jazz Wanker slags off most successful musicians of all time for not being very good.

    Fair enough. Each to their own opinion.

    But its better than being a wanker.


    Is success the benchmark? It's arguable that Disco was quite successful.

    As a producer and cranky old man let him have his opinions, they're also a bit of an intentional windup.

    You ever heard Buddy Rich talking about popular music? Youtube and enjoy :)
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 6409
    impmann said:
    Old Jazz Wanker slags off most successful musicians of all time for not being very good.

    Fair enough. Each to their own opinion.

    But its better than being a wanker.


    Is success the benchmark? It's arguable that Disco was quite successful.

    As a producer and cranky old man let him have his opinions, they're also a bit of an intentional windup.

    You ever heard Buddy Rich talking about popular music? Youtube and enjoy :)
    I don't doubt... however, its probably arguable that the Beatles connected with more people and changed the face of popular music far more than disco did (and also changed popular culture - and political agendas, such as Russia).




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  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 1105
    The Beatles were amazing...

    Quincy is just doing this...

    https://s26.postimg.org/r22a2l43t/297.jpg
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 28345
    impmann said:

    I don't doubt... however, its probably arguable that the Beatles connected with more people and changed the face of popular music far more than disco did (and also changed popular culture - and political agendas, such as Russia).
    Exactly.

    Most of even the most influential musicians only really change music. The Beatles changed the world.

    Not single-handedly, it's true - but they had a direct and huge impact that went far beyond being just a very popular music group. It has nothing to do with whether they were technically 'good' musicians or not, or whether you even like them or not... they are the most important musicians of the second half of the 20th Century, even more so than the early rock'n'rollers who opened the door for them.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  •  but as individuals they are not particularly competent musicians. 
    I'd define musical competence as the ability to communicate thoughts, feelings or emotions. They had it in spades. 
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  • english_bobenglish_bob Frets: 2112
    Is success the benchmark? It's arguable that Disco was quite successful.


    It's *a* benchmark.

    If you look at a list of the best selling albums, a good proportion of what's on it is credible, if not very cool stuff, so it's not completely useless as a measure of a particular kind of quality.

    And some disco is bloody brilliant. 

    Don't talk politics and don't throw stones. Your royal highnesses.

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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 6409
    Is success the benchmark? It's arguable that Disco was quite successful.


    It's *a* benchmark.

    If you look at a list of the best selling albums, a good proportion of what's on it is credible, if not very cool stuff, so it's not completely useless as a measure of a particular kind of quality.

    And some disco is bloody brilliant. 
    Yikes theres some awfulness in that list... shows that popularity is no arbiter of taste.
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  • english_bobenglish_bob Frets: 2112
    edited February 13
    impmann said:
    Yikes theres some awfulness in that list... shows that popularity is no arbiter of taste.

    But there's also some really good stuff. Shows that popularity is no arbiter of bad taste either.

    I'm definitely saying there aren't other measures of quality for art, and better ones, but I do think popularity is worth considering.

    By sheer number of albums sold, Quincy Jones is right up there with the Beatles, although whether QJ can take direct credit for Thriller or Bad in the same way Paul McCartney can for Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a whole other discussion.

    Don't talk politics and don't throw stones. Your royal highnesses.

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  • stickersticker Frets: 391

    I just don't believe him .

    or Bernard Purdie .

    If Ringo hadn't played all of those grooves/fills there would be recordings and bootlegs of those sessions and there aren't .


    QJ is a tool



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  • TeetonetalTeetonetal Frets: 5324
    edited February 14
    impmann said:
    Yikes theres some awfulness in that list... shows that popularity is no arbiter of taste.

    But there's also some really good stuff. Shows that popularity is no arbiter of bad taste either.

    I'm definitely saying there aren't other measures of quality for art, and better ones, but I do think popularity is worth considering.

    By sheer number of albums sold, Quincy Jones is right up there with the Beatles, although whether QJ can take direct credit for Thriller or Bad in the same way Paul McCartney can for Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a whole other discussion.
    Record sales simply show that lots of people bought the record. It does not define what is good or bad. Probably just defines what was well marketed and/or catchy. 

    It's extremely possible to be a virtuoso musician and never write or sell your own music in any great number, there must be countless session guys who have played on hit after hit after hit or songwriters who wrote hit after hit (Desmond Child springs to mind) and yet most people would barely know their name.. People bind up popularity and visibility with greatness , especially in regard to popular music and I think it's a real shame.

    That's not to begrudge people's success either. Write a hit, make lots of money, nothing wrong with that. But I wish people would be more objective when deciding who is a great musician or not.
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