Often referred to as the greatest band of all time, The Beatles created an incredible and diverse range of music in the years they were releasing records. Having sold gazillions of albums and recognised as underpinning much of modern pop music there sure is plenty every new artist can learn from them. Such as:
1. Rehearse loads
John, Paul and George met in their mid-teens and performed in various incarnations including as The Quarrymen and Johnny and the Moondogs before finally settling on The Beatles. In 1960, before any of them had even reached 20 years old, they managed to get a residency performing in Hamburg and would go on to perform over 1,200 times there. Being away from home with only rehearsing, gigging and maybe a little partying to fill their time they became one of the tightest live acts in the world. Their time in Hamburg is cited by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers as a prime example of the need to amass over 10,000 hours of experience in order to achieve excellence. The Beatles certainly did that.
2. Build a fanbase by gigging
You can tweet, hashtag, come up with all the fan pages that you like but you can’t beat good old fashioned gigging. Playing your music in front of real people is still by far the best way to grow your fan base. Performing regularly at the Cavern Club in Liverpool and travelling extensively, such as their trips to the aforementioned Germany, brought The Beatles’ music to tonnes of new people. People don’t forget a great gig in a hurry, and if it is great they won’t shut up about it any time soon either. So make sure it’s YOUR great gig people are going on about.
3. Think about your image
It can feel slightly seedy thinking about what you look like on stage. The purists will tell you it doesn’t matter and ‘It’s all about the music, man’. Of course the music comes first, but just because Nirvana wore second hand clothes that didn’t fit properly didn’t mean it wasn’t a specific image. The Beatles adhered to the importance of this quite early on after their manager Brian Epstein told them ‘No more jeans, smoking or eating on stage.’ He wanted them to look professional. So, he cleaned them up, got them suits and gave them an identity as a band. There are no rights and wrongs here, just think about how you look and what works best with your music.
4. Keep going
The Beatles were rejected by Decca records in 1962 and told that guitar music was on the way out and that was by no means the first set back they experienced. But The Beatles stuck at what they believed in and what they enjoyed, through every failure and every setback, whether a bad review, rejection or even the tragic death of former member Stuart Sutcliffe. They kept going. It’s simple maths, the more time you give yourself to succeed, the more likely you are to do so.
5. Embrace your Influences
Few artists were more open about their influences than The Beatles. They covered their heroes in their early recordings, regularly spoke fondly of them in interviews and frequently emulated their writing styles. Even the name The Beatles was considered a play on Buddy Holly’s band ‘The Crickets’. Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, Chuck Berry and Little Richard and many more were huge influences in colouring the way John, Paul, George and Ringo saw music and songwriting. If they can learn from the best they knew, so should you, and we can all do a lot lot worse than the Fab Four!
So gigging as a route to being the best band of all time? Go on then, Gigging And Touring – Decoded.