In a recent interview with New York Magazine, Quincy Jones took it upon himself to address a lot of issues, past and present, with the music industry … or what’s left of it (his opinion, not mine).
The 85-year-old music producer had some choice thoughts on iconic artists such as Michael Jackson, the Beatles and Cream, as well as modern pop artists.
To make a long story short, Jones said Jackson stole from a number of other artists to make most of his music, including Donna Summers’ “State of Independence” to make the hit song “Billie Jean”.
But his most important opinions came later in the interview, referring to the Beatles as “no-playing motherf*ckers,” and going on to say that “Paul [McCartney] was the worst bass player [he had] ever heard.”
All in all, Jones believes the Beatles are a group of terrible musicians. And yeah, we all pretty much know the Beatles used only three to four chords a song, but does that make them terrible musicians?
While I definitely don’t believe the Beatles are anywhere close to the best band ever, to say they’re terrible is a bit much. Not working with them as closely as Jones did, I don’t have the same insights he does, but it’s obvious that their formula worked – just a handful of chords and simple, fun songwriting.
Minimalism worked for them time and time again, as they created plenty of iconic hits. While I still find them a bit overrated, there’s no arguing how pivotal they were in the evolution of music. Not to mention we live in a day-in-age where musicians are even lazier, so the Beatles certainly weren’t guiltier than others.
However, Quincy and I finally agreed on something. In the interview, Jones went on to say both rap and pop music are getting lazy, stating all pop music is “just loops, beats, rhymes and hooks.” He then continued to say he was impressed by the likes of Bruno Mars, Chance the Rapper, Sam Smith, Mark Ronson and Kendrick Lamar.
This is a complete oxymoron. How can Jones praise artists that are falling into the exact same laziness he blames pop music for?
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy these artists. But at the very least, Bruno, Chance and Smith are all guilty of getting stuck in the beats, loops and hooks the industry is infamous for. Besides, most modern day pop artists don’t write the full musical arrangements themselves. At least the Beatles had originality and paved the way for future musicians and musical variety.
While I don’t have the 28 Grammys under my belt like Jones does, I just don’t think he’s right about any of this. Plus, if Jones really thinks Paul is a terrible bass player, he should try to play the bass line in “I Saw Her Standing There,” because that’s a challenging song … or maybe I just wasn’t that good at playing bass.
Everyone knows modern pop music is super diluted at this point, but he can’t blame the Beatles for the repetitive low-effort hooks that are plaguing the industry today.