AKS – Kids today may find it hard to believe, but there was once a time when guitar-based music was the most in-demand genre amongst teenagers and younger folk within popular culture. Arguably one of the most popular acts of the baby boomer generation was none other than The Beatles, who over a span of only seven years, pumped out one of the most commercially successful and profitable recording catalogs in the history of pop music. While the famous British rock group only toured for a few years before the wave of Beatlemania became too much, bands like 1964 The Tribute have done their best in keeping the sounds and spirit of those early Beatles performances alive with their own spin on the fab four’s concert repertoire.
As per the bio on their website, 1964 “focuses on the quintessential moment in history, when The Beatles actually played before a LIVE audience.” While they may be four guys not named John, Paul, George and Ringo, they’ve still earned the respect of media outlets like Rolling Stone, who call them the “Best Beatles Tribute on Earth.”
Here are five things that you probably didn’t know about the band.
1. They’re just like the actual Beatles, and even have the instruments to prove it
In addition to rocking out with the look, style and sound of the early Beatles, the members of 1964 also carry a high-level authentication in their hands with every show – through the instruments. Dedicated Beatles fans will be quick to point out which member used which specific instrument while playing various songs, and 1964 have collected dozens of vintage guitars, amps, drums, keyboards, microphones and miscellaneous pieces of equipment which would’ve been used by the actual band in their early years. Don’t believe us? Just check out their fully loaded arsenal of live equipment.
2. They’ve shared the stage with a few famous names
The members of 1964 never got the chance to share the stage with the actual Beatles, but have certainly had the chance to make up for it over their own 30-year career. Some of the more well-known names whom the members of 1964 have gotten to share the stage with include Rod Stewart, Ted Nugent, Smokey Robinson, Chuck Berry, America, AC/DC, Latoya Jackson and James Taylor, just to name a few.
3. Their nightly setlists expand past 1964
Don’t let the name mislead you, as the 1964’s live catalog expands much further beyond, well, 1964. Setlists from past shows include some of The Beatles’ middle era hits, as they draw their songs from the band’s first seven album releases up to and including Revolver. Fans could hear “Paperback Writer” (1966), “Ticket to Ride” (1965), “Day Tripper” (1965), “Drive My Car” (1965) and “Taxman” (1966), but shouldn’t expect to hear Abbey Road in its entirety just yet.
4. They’ve channeled their inner George Martin with classical instrumentation at past shows
One of the big elements that made the original Beatles so unique was the diversity in instrumentation heard in their recordings. Their longtime producer, Sir George Martin, had a wide working knowledge of classical music and instruments, which is exactly what 1964 have also used during their shows on occasion.
“We work with a 16-piece orchestra. We still stay within the early time period,” the band’s guitarist Mark Benson said in an interview earlier this year. “The timing and just melding the two sort of classical and rock ‘n’ roll styles together. Sometimes you have to work at that, but it’s always fun.”
5. The band never intended to make their project a full-time career
Unlike most bands, 1964 never really had any serious plans about taking their tribute to The Beatles on the road. According to a 2012 interview with Mark Benson explained how the days of playing current pop (at the time) eventually turned into nothing but Beatles when they formed back in 1984.
“We thought, ‘This would be a blast to do, once a month or so. Or every two months.’ Just so we wouldn’t lose touch with performing,” Benson explained in a past interview. “But we assumed incorrectly – that it was going to be a baby boomer thing, and nothing more. We’d play some parties, class reunions, a nightclub or two. And in the second year, we hit huge in the college market. And that just took off in Canada and America, coast to coast.”
Written by By: Tom Shackleford / AKS