Hope you had a nice Labor day weekend! Oh wait, that's when this darn bracket was supposed to end. Nevermind...I hope people had fun on Halloween! Oops, that's when I posted the preview for the Championship round. As you can see, I have let Summer Psychosis go way past summer, and for that I'm sorry. I know you were waiting with bated breath, utterly ruining your November while I was selfishly celebrating my birthday (not that you would know that).
Anyway, that's all behind us because we have come to a decision!!!! The Beatles and Bob Dylan are more than deserving of wearing our best-artist-of all-time crown, but only one can.
Before I reveal who came out on top, let's reflect on the amazing careers of these two groups. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's 5000 for each artist.
The Beatles - 3
"I know what you’re thinking – how can you choose between these 2 greats. I know my fellow writers are wrestling with this right now, although I can guess how they’re leaning, and I can tell that this is going to be as close as you would think it is, and someone is going to go home crying. Kind of like when you were 8 and played Mario Party and…(Editor's note: Eric goes into a long run-on sentence about family issues. I'm guessing that this competition brought back some emotional trouble)
Anyway, I have to go with The Beatles. I just have to. If you look back my previous write-ups about The Beatles that made it through, I clearly got love for them. Not to say that I don’t love Bob Dylan. He’s the man, with a… unique voice and a fantastic sense of lyricism. Folk music, even back then, wasn't exactly selling records left and right. For someone to make a name for himself in that genre is incredibly difficult. It’s a testament to Bob Dylan’s skill and talent that he’s even in the bracket, let alone in the championship round.
But it’s The Motherfucking Beatles. What I love in an artist is a clear, obvious evolution in their music that pushes the bounds of not only the band’s sound, not only the genre they’re in, but for music in general. That’s one of the reasons why I love The Beatles so much – they have such an amazing evolution, releasing album after album of new, interesting material that brought in influences from everywhere and everything. Yes, you can argue that this was facilitated by Bob Dylan and his drugs, but that’s like saying you should be thanking Tom Brady’s high school coach for the Patriots’ Super Bowl wins. Each has a strong vocal, lyrical, and songwriting ability that you can debate about for decades (and people have). And while Dylan did push some boundaries with his electric guitar (and got a lot of hate for it), those songs and albums are nowhere near as experimental as The Beatles, and that’s what clinches it for me." - Eric
"It is not good to leave these decisions for a while because you start to overthink it. When I think of The Beatles vs. Bob Dylan, I think of a best-case and worst-case scenario. Best case in that two of, if not the most powerful influences in all of popular music are going head to head for our title. Worst case because I have to choose between them. But enough beating around the bush. I’m going with the Beatles. There’s no way around that. I've already mentioned that "The White Album" is my favorite album of all time, but here’s why I consider it the quintessential Beatles album. In 1968, the band basically broke up and could barely stand to be near each other in the same studio. But instead of trying to be the same old Revolver/Sgt. Pepper-era classic Beatles, they explored the absolute fringes of their sound. Country, proto-metal, musique concrete…it’s all in there and somehow, it all works.
The Beatles are not the most gifted players, songwriters or singers ever, but that display of musicianship lets me know that they are the greatest group of musicians I have ever heard. This doesn't mean that Bob Dylan isn't also an incredible musician. I am perfectly happy with “Like a Rolling Stone” being the most acclaimed (yes, I had to mention it) song of all time because it’s absolutely brilliant. He’s still amazing as a septuagenarian. But Dylan has yet to overwhelm me with something like "The White Album", “A Day in the Life” or “Hey Jude”. I am eager to truly take in what Bob Dylan has had to say. Until then, the Beatles are my pick." - John
"The Beatles music career started out like every big pop band ever has; with catchy music with almost no weight to it. Were the Beatles in 1963 any better than One Direction now? Well many people will want to murder me for this, but I have to say "not by much". I mean think about it. "Love me do", "P.S I love you", "Baby its you" and "I saw her standing there". Sure these songs might have a bit more musicality to them than "What makes you Beautiful", but come on, this is not music that even compares to Bob Dylan.
What is important is what the Beatles did from there. They never ever stopped changing. Every single album they made after 1964 pushed them in new directions. They constantly evolved, constantly innovated, and constantly upped the anti. Think about it. "Let it Be" is nothing like "Abbey Road" which is nothing like "the White Album" which is nothing like "Sgt. Pepper's" which is nothing like "Rubber Soul" which is the evolution of "Revolver" which is nothing like "Help" which is the tip of their early career. Who would think that the band that was famous for their hair cuts would become famous for their ideas on peace and love? They were musical and cultural revolutionaries. I love the song "Get Back" because it is NOTHING like the rest of their music; it shows that even in their last days, they were never done evolving.
You might argue that Bob Dylan did the same and you are right, his music did evolve. You are right! But Bob Dylan has been making music for 40 years or so and I don't think he has touched as many different styles and genres as the Beatles did in seven years.
Wait, seven years? Yes. The Beatles did everything that they did in seven years. Taylor Swift's first album came out six years ago. In this time the Beatles would have just released "the White Album." Lady Gaga has only been around for four years, the Beatles would just be releasing "Sgt. Pepper's." Radiohead? The Beatles would have broken up before "Kid A" came out. The Beatles existed for less time then a two term-president. They are truly incredible.
The last point I wanted to make was the Bob Dylan would not have been Bob Dylan without the Beatles and vice versa. They fed and challenged each other. They expanded each others minds (sometimes literally, Bob gave the Beatles pot). So even though I am choosing the Beatles over Dylan, I wanted you all to know that they are interdependent. Once again, I feel like the Beatles looked forward and did more with less. Also, that chord at the end of "A Day in the Life" gives me Goosebumps every...single...time." - Elliott
Bob Dylan - 2
"In any sort of bracket tournament, every match-up could be put up for contention. It’s a necessary evil because we have every single possible match-up. However, I would be hard pressed to find someone would be REALLY upset with how this bracket has turned out. I have met people who don’t like one of these guys or the other, but I've met so many more who love, appreciate and respect both. So…I guess I’ll have to pick one.
John really sums up my personal conundrum best: both of these guys were important to each other’s careers and craft. They are both extremely influential, groundbreaking, talented, and timeless. It’s a photo finish, and to me Dylan is just a nose ahead.
Dylan manages to transcend music in a lot of ways to me. His works are so poetic, and I feel they speak for a certain time, place, or people, sometimes even all three. The Beatles--though of course, their music is ubiquitous in pop culture--doesn't really seem to. Great music or not, it’s kind of just that.
I also think Dylan’s influence is more important then the Beatles’. The Beatles are so important to rock and roll and really helped to bring it to the forefront of culture, but for the most part, the music they were harrowing already had champions. Pop music was going to happen, of course it would be drastically different without them, but it would still happen. Lastly on a more personal note, Dylan’s songs always held more weight for me. The Beatles songs are, and will forever be some of the greatest of all time. However, there are only a few that really evoke any feelings, or any more feeling then another great song. Dylan has some songs that are so swollen with emotion, feeling, tradition, history, passion and substance. Songs like “Tangled up in Blue,” “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” and “Hurricane” among SO many others hit me the same way they did the first time I head them. That’s got to mean something." - Mark
Does that sound hokey? Absolutely it does, but it's true. Now I could go into the details of why that is, why I think Bob Dylan deserves the accolade of being the best modern musician ever, but it just doesn't matter. The Beatles never meant that much to me; is that a character flaw, does that make me a bad person? There are some people who would say that it is and that it does, but I never saw it that way. For me this is an easy choice, and it always will be." - Steve
Well, that's all folks. We have a Summer Psychosis champion: The Beatles!!!!! This final matchup was very fitting because both of these artists were more or less coasting until now. It appears that the only serious challenge for these two artists was each other.
I'd like to thank my fellow blog writers Elliott, Eric, Mark and Steve for letting me drag them along in this huge undertaking. I am grateful for the Beatles, Bob Dylan and the other 148 artists who were a part of this bracket. Your music inspires so many every day. Last but not least, thanks to the people who read these posts! I hope that it has been as fun for you to read as it was for me to write.
2012 is almost over and 2013 is almost here, so I hope you have a happy New Year! Keep your eyes peeled next summer, we'll be making some kind of painful decision (we never learn)!