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Was "Hey Jude" the first pop piano ballad?


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Showing 1-23 of 23 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 23, 2010 6:56:53 PM PDT
JustaMini says:
Many pop entertainers have made hits and careers sitting at the piano singing sensitive love songs. "Hey Jude" was huge, nine weeks at number one in the Fall of '68. Was that song the prototype for Elton John, Billy Joel and hundreds of others? Discuss...

In reply to an earlier post on May 23, 2010 7:10:04 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 23, 2010 7:29:08 PM PDT
TomPlum says:
M. Alpaugh:

I'm not sure how this will catch on, fair question. You brave the waters to ask it, so I give you that.

First off; just in my opinion, I think some of Sir Elton John's music is a bit like the Beatles. I think ELO is a bit like the Beatles too.

Okay, Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge over troubled water", probably just a year or two after "Hey Jude".

If you are saying pop, it's a fair question, I think "Blue Monday" by Fats Domino is a piano ballad but of course, he's a great rocker so maybe you'd call it rock and roll. Paul McCartney says "Lady Madonna" was styled like a Fats Domino song, Paul says that, not me. Anyone can look that up. I think the two even performed it together.

Burt Bacharach, he's pop, I don't know all of his songs, he seems to be piano oriented.

Posted on May 23, 2010 7:18:18 PM PDT
Perhaps a more accurate phrase would be 'first rock piano ballad' - that is, if it really was the first. The rhythmic structure seems to fit the 'rock ballad' label better than a lot of the earlier piano-based pop music. It does seem like there was a glut of these types of songs over the following three years or so, including McCartney's "Let It Be" and "The Long And Winding Road," as well as S&G's "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

Posted on May 23, 2010 7:40:41 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 23, 2010 8:05:15 PM PDT
TomPlum says:
"Little Richard (1958)
More consistent and more varied than the first Specialty LP, from the ballad "Send Me Some Lovin'" to the incredibly fast "Keep A-Knockin'."

http://www.warr.org/littlerichard.html

What constitutes a ballad often troubles me.

If "All shook up" is a ballad, that is surely another one.

Are we saying ballads are slow love songs?? Why are there songs like "Ballad of Davey Crocket"??

"Ruby Tuesday" by the Rolling Stones, 1967...seems like "Something tells me I'm into something good" by the Hermans Hermits fits this too.

For whatever it is, "Let's spend the Night together" is clearly, a nearly totally based piano song though I'm not a big fan of it, '66-'67.

Posted on May 23, 2010 8:55:57 PM PDT
Jason Culp says:
I would check the dictionary before you continue...

Posted on May 23, 2010 9:00:06 PM PDT
Jason Culp says:
A ballad is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. Ballads were particularly characteristic of British and Irish popular poetry and song from the later medieval period until the 19th century and used extensively across Europe and later North America, Australia and North Africa. Many ballads were written and sold as single sheet broadsides. The form was often used by poets and composers from the 18th century onwards to produce lyrical ballads. In the later 19th century it took on the meaning of a slow form of popular love song and the term is now often used as synonymous with any love song, particularly the pop or rock power ballad.

Posted on May 24, 2010 10:04:14 AM PDT
JustaMini says:
Sorry, Jason. I didn't have the Grout in front of me. "Ballad" is one of those words that gets misused as much as "beat" when often what is meant is "rhythm". I figured everyone would know what I meant and I wouldn't get called out on it. Oh well...

I also considered Burt Bacharach and guys like Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis but couldn't think of a major hit that followed the format of: Love song starting vocal with piano accompaniment only followed by gradual build toward the chorus or second verse.

In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2010 10:11:40 AM PDT
Jason Culp says:
yes, I just thought if we were veering off into Little Richard and the Stones for examples of "ballads" that maybe we should have more definite terms. I knew what you meant.

Posted on May 24, 2010 10:19:51 AM PDT
Ballads with just a vocal and piano have been around for ages. Duke Ellington and Count Basie were the "pop" of their day it's only later we threw all these other labels at them.

Posted on May 24, 2010 10:27:55 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 24, 2010 10:40:23 AM PDT
TomPlum says:
Don't misunderstand me, we can work it out. I hope this doesn't sound hostile.

Hey Jude was big in 1968.

Angie? Wild Horse? Those are ballads by the Rolling Stones, Wild Horses still gets a lot of airtime now. Let alone, many ballads in the '60s, Ruby Tuesday, Lady Jane, etc. I don't think that is veering off at all. Sounds more like someone is not familiar with their music.

I think we are just witnessing another more Beatles fan tunnel vision, don't know about other bands, evangelizing us on what they did.

If having narrow views is how it is, maybe we should say "Let's spend the night together" was a piano based top 40 hit in '66-'67. Maybe we should say that inspired the top 40 hits that were to come like Bridge over Troubled Water and others.

Now with the Keyboards, during that era, of course, the Doors hit the scene and their music clearly has a heavy dominant keyboard in it with hits like Light my fire and other songs, I'd think Light my fire qualifies as a keyboard ballad.

Too, just to throw out that pianists/keyboardists Nicky Hopkins and Billy Preston became imminent musicians back in that time so maybe their keyboarding talent had something to do with it. Hopkins plays with the Who, Kinks, Beatles, Rolling Stones and Jefferson Airplane just for starters.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicky_Hopkins

House of the Rising Sun, Ballad? Keyboards.

Elton John, when did he actually start coming out with his music? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elton_John He was in the business a long time before his more known songs.

Slow ballad, John does piano on "He ain't heavy" by the Hollies.

In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2010 11:22:19 AM PDT
No.

In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2010 5:47:23 AM PDT
Jason Culp says:
pardner, you seem a little defensive. The point is you started a thread regarding ballads, and you have indeed veered off into a discussion of "piano-based" songs, which does not make them ballads. "Ruby Tuesday" is not a ballad, even if it has a soft beginning and a piano -- it is a beat song. Angie, yes, wild horses, yes, although Wild Horses is a guitar song. But they both came after "Hey Jude". I wasn't arguing for "Hey Jude" being the first piano ballad, someone else said that. Anyway, it's simply a point of departure. But you are all over the place with your evidence, and have proven nothing.

In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2010 5:52:35 AM PDT
Jason Culp says:
"If having narrow views is how it is, maybe we should say "Let's spend the night together" was a piano based top 40 hit in '66-'67. Maybe we should say that inspired the top 40 hits that were to come like Bridge over Troubled Water and others."

Maybe we shouldn't say that, because there isn't any truth in it, or any sense. "Let's Spend The Night Together" inspired "Bridge Over Troubled Water"? It's not a narrow view, it's just distorted.

In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2010 8:00:13 AM PDT
TomPlum says:
"Maybe we shouldn't say that, because there isn't any truth in it, or any sense. "Let's Spend The Night Together" inspired "Bridge Over Troubled Water"? It's not a narrow view, it's just distorted. "

It uses the same kind of logic as the first post here. That's all.

By the way, what is the single before 'Hey Jude' by the Beatles? Is it 'Lady Madonna'? Yes, and that is not a ballad but I would call it a piano based rocker btw.

So, really, one can see, Stones "Let's Spend the Night together" Rocker '67, Beatles "Lady Madonna", Rocker, '68

Ruby Tuesday-Ballad, '67, Hey Jude-Ballad '68

-------------------

'Hey Jude' has all kinds of instruments on it too, I even had to get my copy out to hear that piano. Now, one can hear McCartney's 'Maybe I'm amazed' and that piano is readily heard.

-------------

"..."Ruby Tuesday" is not a ballad, even if it has a soft beginning and a piano -- it is a beat song."

Obviously, you did no search on it before you said that.

"Ruby Tuesday is a ballad, but with a strong beat. It's very melodic, very weird, with some strange things in it. I think I prefer that (side of the single). It may prove to be the side that everyone goes for.
- Mick Jagger, 1967" - http://www.timeisonourside.com/SORuby.html

All that was said was by the writer of the song prior in the year before 'Hey Jude' was even released.

Anyway, it's obvious that Fats Domino wrote such ballads a decade before these songs anyway.

Posted on May 27, 2010 9:48:41 AM PDT
Shadow says:
You know, when this thread started, I thought to myself "piano in Hey Jude?" I had to play it to see. Oh yeah, it does start off with piano....but changes to something else pretty quickly. And the long coda is the antithesis of the piano ballad, as far as I'm concerned.

In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2010 12:44:24 PM PDT
Jason Culp says:
well i didn't need to search on "Ruby Tuesday" because I know every note. Mick Jagger is not exactly a musicologist, even if he did write it. He acknowledged, however, that it has a strong beat, and if you listen to it again, you'll see that the tempo is the same throughout. I would say that tempo has a lot to do with what characterizes a ballad. But somehow I feel like we're going nowhere with this.

Posted on May 27, 2010 1:29:37 PM PDT
TomPlum says:
It's a ballad, everyone says so, are you a musicologist?

Posted on May 27, 2010 2:13:36 PM PDT
TomPlum says:
"Blue Monday" listed among Rock's Greatest Ballads and called a ballad.

If it don't have a beat, I don't know what does!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3041kBbxGM&feature=related

Posted on May 27, 2010 2:16:05 PM PDT
TomPlum says:
"Blue Monday" listed among Rock's Greatest Ballads and called a ballad.

If it don't have a beat, I don't know what does!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3041kBbxGM&feature=related

Also, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder were making a lot of music back then too.

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2010 12:26:31 AM PDT
Is the question that started this thread really serious ? If so, it's hard to believe but the answer is: No, not even close. Pop ballads, meaning "popular music ballads", were huge from the '30's onward, and the Beatles themselves had recorded many, many pop piano ballads prior to "Hey Jude". Good example: "For No One" from the 'Revolver' album.

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2010 2:31:37 PM PDT
Jason Culp says:
yeah, I was going to mention "For No One" a couple days ago, before this thread became hopeless. Obviously no one has suggested there weren't ballads for decades. Clearly, the author of the thread meant rock ballads. But never mind.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 27, 2010 10:41:22 PM PDT
I. Wazdere says:
No!

Posted on Sep 28, 2010 9:14:44 AM PDT
R. Riis says:
Let's forget all the musicology and stick with the original question.

"The End of the World" by Skeeter Davis (1963) follows the suggested pattern, as does "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers (1965).
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This discussion

Discussion in:  Pop forum
Participants:  10
Total posts:  23
Initial post:  May 23, 2010
Latest post:  Sep 28, 2010

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