Please Please Me: Change and Sixties British Pop

By Gordon Thompson | Go to book overview

4
Mediating Change
Setting Musical Directions

Even the most musically adept producers relied upon a group of music professionals to help prepare arrangements, coach musicians, and conduct ensembles. The music directors,1 arrangers, and conductors who acted as interpreters for producers had often prepared for their roles as musicians in sessions or as music copyists, playing, reading, and learning from others. The quickly changing tastes of pop music audiences in the early sixties challenged many producers whose musical predilections frequently resided in the big bands of the forties. Producers needed musicians who understood the new musical styles, who could translate the producers’ ideas, and who could communicate effectively with other musicians. A good music director needed the abilities (a) to think through the formal structure of a performance, (b) to recommend possible instrumentations, (c) to write for those instruments, and (d) to lead the musicians in convincing performances. A successful music director exhibited all of these characteristics and creatively combined the musical material (the melody and harmony) with grooves that perhaps the songwriter had not imagined.

1 Also known as “musical directors.”

-131-

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Please Please Me: Change and Sixties British Pop
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Credits xi
  • 1- Introduction - Approaches and Material 3
  • 2- The Velvet Glove - The Art of Production 47
  • 3- A Question of Balance - Engineering Art 105
  • 4- Mediating Change - Setting Musical Directions 131
  • 5- The Write Stuff - Songwriting and the Articulation of Change 167
  • 6- Red-Light Fever - The Musician’s Life 233
  • 7- Please Please Me 269
  • Sixties London Recording Studios 279
  • Selected Discography 281
  • Bibliography 307
  • Song Index 315
  • General Index 319
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