The Sea-Ders (The Cedars), A Lebanese Rock Band, used to be called “The Beatles of Lebanon”

Beirut, the early 1960s: a time of growing religious and political tensions in and around Lebanon… But something else was brewing then: the rise of rock & roll. Circa 1964, the Beatles erupted unto the international scene and the entire world, the Middle East included, fell for their music. (…)

The very first rock act to emerge in Lebanon as early as 1962, deserves a special mention. In turn called “Top 5” and “the Sea-Ders,” their music masterfully incorporates the Byrds’ psychedelic harmonies and the distinctive vocals of the Beatles’ front men… with an Oriental twist. This is the story of a band that broke cultural and religious barriers, landed a major deal in London during the swinging 60s and one day caught the eye (or ear, rather) of a couple of guys named Paul McCartney and George Harrison. This is the story of the Lebanese rock band that maybe, just maybe, could have made it big on the international stage. (…)

The 1960s saw profound transformations both in Lebanon and the region: the rise of Nasser’s Arab nationalism, heavy Palestinian migration into the country and latent repercussions of the short-lived 1958 civil war. It was in this context that the band came about, but with no particular message in mind. “While people were talking about politics and religion, we didn’t get involved. All we wanted to do was play music,” (…)

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