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Long and Winding Road

February 18, 2001

Re Robert Hilburn's Perspective "Taking Abbey Road in a Backstreet Era," Feb. 4):

Yes, the Beatles are still amazing, but what will record labels do for an encore after they've recycled the best (and worst) of their catalog from 30 years ago yet again?

While they've been busy banking on this to pay the rent one more time, they neglected something called "artist development." That the Beatles can still outsell all the rest in 2001 is a testament to both the quality of their music and the poor job major labels have done in signing (and retaining) new, groundbreaking artists. Without significant artist development, labels simply won't have a catalog that people will want to buy 30 years from today.

It takes time, money and patience to let a career and catalog develop. Where would U2, Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen be based on the initial sales of their first releases in the climate of today's music business? Or the Beatles, for that matter?

Will REO Speedwagon, Will Smith, Adam Ant, Ricky Martin or Eminem have the longevity (read shelf life) of the Beatles? Hardly.


Los Angeles


There is a simple explanation for the sales of the Beatles' "1": price. The Beatles' "Red" and "Blue" can set you back 60-70 bucks. "1" is $15.




Whooo hooo! Features on my two favorite bands, the Beatles and the Jayhawks ("The Jayhawks Are Still Circling," by Steve Hochman, Feb. 4).

That a new generation is discovering the beauty of Beatle music is very gratifying. However, my giddiness is tempered by the fact that the impressive body of work produced by the Jayhawks has been largely ignored by my own generation (I'm 39). Here's a band with great songs, guitar hooks aplenty and soaring three-part harmony choruses that get stuck in your head and refuse to leave. Sound familiar?

My dream is that a Jayhawks "1" comes out before we start worrying about any Beatles "2."



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