- Don We Now
- Apr 18, 2005
Is the popular band, the Death Grapes, the spiritual successor to a pop culture legacy that stretches back to The Beatles and also involves the Beach Boys?
Let's have a look at the facts:
The greatest band in history, they have been described as "the Kings of Pop" and "The Fabulous Four."
From their humble beginnings playing the cellars of Hamburg, to the Ed Sullivan Show, to sold out shows at stadiums around the world, the Beatles truly embodied the spirit of "Beatlemania."
John Paul: commander and the leader
George Harrison: he is the joy and the laughter
Ringo Starr: he is the toughest fighter
McCartney: saves the day
The Beatles exploded onto the music scene in 1962 with their first big hit "Love Me Do." which rescued them from the relative obscurity of the Hamburg club scene. In only a few short months, they were the most popular band in Britain, which qualified them to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1963, which is when they really became popular because they finally caught on in America.
The Beatles went on to release hit after hit, and these albums shaped musical history as we know it:
A hard Day's Night (1964)
Rubber Soul (1965)
Then things started to get weird, The Beatles started experimenting with counter-cultural themes and also drugs, leading to albums such as:
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
The White Album (1968)
Yellow Submarine (1969)
The last of these was made into a trippy animated film.
Even these weird albums, each one worst than the last, went on to become major cultural touchstones. Especially the song "Yellow Submarine" which is a popular sing along at elementary schools even today.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and in 1969, John Lennon married Yoko Ono, who ruined the band on purpose, causing everyone to go their separate ways and indirectly leading to Lennon's eventual murder at the hands of Mark David Chapman.
The Beatles's popularity opened the door for a whole new genre of music and spawned many, many many imitators. Foremost among these imitators were:
Initially formed in 1961 as a Beatles cover band. In their early years, the band copied many things about the Beatles, including stupid hair and wearing cheap suits, but the group soon grew out of the Liverpool Band's shadow when they released their first album "Surfing Safari" in 1962. Surfing, a sport that still has yet to catch on in the UK, was the one song topic the Beatles had not yet conquered. The Beach Boys had found their niche.
Marketed as a morally acceptable, American alternative to the Beatles, their fame skyrocketed, and they quickly became one of the second most popular and influential bands of all time.
Brian Wilson: taught them to be ninja teens
Mike Love: leads
Al Jardine: does machines
David Marks: is cool, but crude
Bruce Johnston: is a party dude
Like I said earlier, the Beach Boys started in 1961 as a Beatles Cover Band, but then they stumbled on the bright idea to write songs about surfing, a new sport that was making big waves in California at the time. This period (1962-1965) became known as "The Surfer Years"
Surfin' Safari (1962)
Surfin' USA (1962)
Surfin' Girl (1963)
Surfin' Coupe (1963)
Surf Down the Volume (1963)
All Surfin' Long (1964)
The Beach Boys' Surfin' Christmas (1964)
The Beach Boys Surf Today (1964)
Surfin' Days (and Surfin' Nights!) (1965)
The Beach Boys' Surf Party (1965)
By the end of 1965, surfing had become passe, and people got sick of every single song on the radio being about surfing. The Beach Boys needed a new angle, and they found it:
Pet Sounds (1965). Widely regarded as one of the best rock albums of all time, it signaled the beginning of a new era of the Beach Boys, where they released several other albums, including:
Wild Honey (1967)
The Beach Boys made a brief attempt to recapture the magic of their early years with
Surf's Up (1971)
But, though well received, it was clear the band was only a shadow of its former self, and their other albums are a parade of disappointment.
M.I.U. Album (1978)
Holy poo poo It's the 90's and we're Still Releasing Albums (1992)
Why Won't God Let Us Die With Dignity? (2012)
The band is still together, and none of them were murdered, so I guess they got the last laugh on The Beatles.
Anyway, that brings us to:
The Death Grips
Like the Beach Boys, the Death Grips formed in California and were hugely influenced by The Beatles. They recorded an album (Exmilitary) and released it on the internet. While they were waiting for their youtube hits to climb, they played a number of small clubs before finally making it big (just like the Beatles).
MC Ride: taller than a tree
Zach Hill: not a bumblebee
While the band's musical style is, superficially, very different from that of The Beatles and the Beach Boys, it is thematically very much in the countercultural spirit of the Beatles' later work, and the psychedelic sitar sounds playing in the background of much of their music is a direct callback to the Beatles' experimental music.
Just as The Beatles and The Beach Boys were propelled to the national stage through the relatively new medium of Television, the Death Grips are also taking advantage of a recent technological innovation: The Internet.
All of their albums have been released online, and, over the past five years, they have become extremely popular in some corners of the internet, where avid fans discuss the merits of their music through message boards.
With the tremendous success of albums like
Government PLates (2013)
Butt Sex Offender (2013)
The Powers that B (2015)
Can there be any doubt that "Death Grips Mania" can be far behind?
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