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Passage 18 The Beatles

Even if the word “pop” disappears from the English vocabulary, the influence of pop will remain. Pop has become part of British — and American — history. There has always been a close cultural link, or tie, between Britain and English peaking America, not only in literature but also in the popular arts, especially music. Before the Second World War the American exported jazz and the blues. During the 1950s they exported rock and roll, and star singers like Elvis Presley were idolized by young Britons and Americans alike.

The people responsible for the pop revolution were four Liverpool boys who joined together in a group and called themselves the Beatles. Unlike the famous solo stars who had their songs written for them,

They played in small clubs in the back streets of the city. the Beatles wrote their own words and music.

They had a close personal relationship with their audience, and they expected them to join in and dance to the “beat” of the music. Audience participation is an essential characteristic of pop culture. Some pop groups, in particular the Rolling Stones, did more than just entertainment.

They wrote words which were deliberately intended to shock. They represented the anger and bitterness of youth struggling for freedom against authority, and for this reason they were regarded by some people

as the personification of the “permissive society”. The Beatles, on the other hand, finally won the affection — and admiration —of people of all ages and social backgrounds. As they developed, their songs became more serious. They wrote not only of love, but of death and old age and poverty and daily life. They were respected by many intellectuals and by some serious musicians. Largely thanks to the Beatles, pop music has grown into an immense and profitable occupation.