Side one of the original LP is occupied by the 21-minute title epic track, beating both Genesis' "Supper's Ready" and Yes' "Close to the Edge" by a year.

Source: http://www.allmusic.com/album/tarkus-mw0000652026

I am not sure what exactly "beating … by a year" means in the context. Does it mean that "the title epic track" is better than the two mentioned LPs that were released one year later after Tarkus.

  • I was buying lots of rock/pop albums around the time of Tarkus, and so far as I recall it was specifically by using the "device" of having one long track filling an entire LP side that ELP "beat" other bands to the punch (came earlier) who were appealing to much the same audience (mostly, stoned students, as I recall! :) – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Sep 19 '17 at 17:07

To beat something|someone by a {unit of measure}

means to outdo it|them by that said unit.

The unit of measure could be literal or an exaggeration. You can beat someone in a race "by a mile" and actually beat them only by a few strides. If the race were a 100 meter dash, to beat someone by a few strides is to beat them soundly, and you could be said to have beaten them "by a mile", that is, handily; whereas in a marathon, a few strides is almost nothing, and there you might exaggerate in the opposite direction and say that you had beaten them "by a hair".

In your case, the LP might have been released a year earlier than the others. To answer that requires some knowledge of the context. If they did indeed come out a year later, then they were "beaten" to release by a (literal) year.

  • I understand. ELP trump Genesis and Yes beceause they recorded their LP (where one side contains the epic track) in 1971, whereas Genesis and Yes came up with similar LPs in 1972. They (ELP) beat them by a year. – bart-leby Sep 19 '17 at 17:39

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