Reader Tim sent me this video because he knows I love the Beatles—the best rock group of all time. Apparently Leonard Bernstein is at least in partial agreement with me, as in this seven-minute lecture he points out the originality and quality of a few Beatles songs as standing out from what he sees as the musical dross of rock and roll. He is a bit of a snob about rock, but not so snobbish that he ignores it all (he likes “5% of the whole output”, with the rest “mostly trash”).
The songs he mention include “Good Day Sunshine,” “She Said,” “Got to Get You Into My Life,” “She Loves You,” “Eleanor Rigby”, “Penny Lane,” “Love to You”, and “I Saw Her Standing There.” The video appears to cut out then, and there may be more; if you find the rest, let me know.
He concentrates on changes in key and tempo, which irks me a bit, as it ignores the lyrical content of the songs and the beauty of the tunes, and concentrates on novelty of rhythm and key (as well as the use of instruments like sitars and string quartets, but that’s okay. He is, after all, a classical musician (but one who wrote the music for “West Side Story”). At least he singles out the Beatles as opposed to the many other rock groups manqué that have been suggested to me over the years for being “as good as the Beatles.” Of course, none of them are.