Beatles - Not Even Close To The Best Group Ever.

The Beatles were not a super duper amazing group. They were a boy-band before there were boy-bands. In that sense they were innovators and are the grandfathers of N’Sync.

George Martin made them sound good and Brian Epstein marketed them like they were a commodity - which is exactly what they were. They were produced, packaged and sold just like Coca-Cola.

No one cites an individual Beatle as an influence. Find someone that says Lennon or McCartney influenced their writing, McCartney was an influence as a bassist, George Harrison influenced their guitar work or Ringo on the drums.

The band itself was an influence to people that grew up in the era of payola and few choices for radio listening. Yes, people that grew up listening to the Beatles said they were an influence. Certainly.

But next to no one that didn’t grow up with them cites them. Why? Because none of them were really that good. The sacredness of the Beatles lies in a combination of zeitgeist and marketed gestalt.

Almost half of their first three albums were covers.

Some of their most famous songs were thefts and they got successfully sued for it.

What innovations they are credited for weren’t innovations they were just the first time a commercial band used them.

I don’t seny their influence on people that had little choice and I don’t deny the effect of nostalgia but objectively they were, at best, on par with the best of their time and, mostly, subpar.

Please understand that I like a lot of the Beatles’ stuff. I don’t hate the Beatles.

I just recognize them for what they were, accept them as such, and don’t buy into Beatles’ worship.


I think the reason the Beatles are treated as a top tier legendary band is because of what happened after the teeny bopper years. As great as their pure bubblegum was, it was what came next that really made them legends. Plus they wrote their own stuff when most bands were relying on outside writers. I’d argue that many bands were just as good as the Beatles during that era in terms of writing good pop, but they had people like Carole King or Neil Diamond or Boyce and Hart writing the songs, or even Lennon/McCartney! Then there’s the Motown artists, who all sang what the same group of writers gave them to sing.

Sure, Martin made them sound good, but few groups can handle their own production as well as songwriting and performing, and most of the bands that try really shouldn’t.

The Beatles are an example of a band being greater than the sum of its parts. That’s what makes a great band exciting.

And I’d bet that when they diverged their bubblegum fans ignored them and they developed different fans. Photo-negative Metallica. Many of heir bubblegum fans deserted them after they left straight bubblegum-pop and they got some new fans based off of their “counter-culture” re-invention.

Their old fans still loved the old stuff and still “loved” the Beatles but not the new stuff. Their new fans loved the new stuff but not the old stuff. But they all still lovedthe Beatles.

Using Metallica as an example I love Metallica. I have no use for anything after “And Justice For All”. They went from anti-commercial to nothing but a commodity. I will always hold up Metallica as a vitally important band - but I’ll never say they were the best.

Almost half of the stuff on their first 3 albums weren’t written by them. That’s fine except for the fact that Beatles’ people insist that they wrote their own stuff. The fact is that the songs that made them famous were, for the most part, written by other people.

That’s cool if people want to say that the Beatles are the best pop band ever. That I can’t argue with. But using other people’s stuff and singing pop does not equate to bestest band ever.

Fair point but no one is talking about the Temptations or the Four Tops as the greatest.

And that explains their radio popularity and their derision live.

All bands handle performing themselves - if they Milli Vannili it then they brutally suck. The Beatles routinely fake it.. It wasn’t Milli Vannil faking but they still lip synced a lot.

Brittaney Spears caught shit for that, Madonna and others have caught shit for it why not the Beatles? Because they pioneered it? There’s a reason they stopped touring and it ain’t mutual hatred. Their live shows, from most accounts sucked.

As someone,I truly can’t remember who, said “there are bootlegs of every other band
but not the Beatle” ← paraphrase.

The Beatles didn’t suck. They don’t suck. But they were not then and are not now the paragon that they are held up to be

They had some good songs, they were listenable, but they were not, and are not, the be all and end of music.


Time + place + marketing = Beatles

I don’t think they were any better than all the other groups that have their 10, oh sorry **100 **greatest songs written up in Rolling Stone: 100 Greatest Beatles Songs.

I’d ask the OP who he thinks is the best group ever. Or at least name a group he thinks are better than the Beatles.

Great bands aren’t imitated by almost every other band that follows them are they?

I was one of the Beatles’ early fans; well, I preferred the Stones but surely listened to my sister’s Beatles records. Of course they were packaged for the teenyboppers (just like all the hitmakers) but their early music was not “bubblegum.” (Ever hear of Herman & the Hermits?) They covered American blues & rock tunes. Then began writing more original stuff.

I’ve read that George Bush Jr liked the Beatles’ early stuff but checked out when they went psychedelic; he was atypical. Most of my generation went from “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to “Why Don’t We Do It In the Road”–and beyond–in a few short years.

Were the Beatles “the best”? They were pretty damn good & much of their music has held up. Timing made them influential; they & Electric Dylan convinced many folkies I knew to expand their horizons. There were other fine bands at the time & later.


Actually, quite a few people cite John Lennon (for example) as an influence. And the Beatles as a whole had great impact on numerous other musicians.

While I don’t “worship” the Beatles, it’s easy to recognize that they churned out an incredible number of great songs, which matters more to me than their “cultural” legacy.

And it’s silly to hone in only on the first three albums to claim that they didn’t write much of their own stuff.* How about the rest of their work?

*I think you’ll find that in that era, musicians of all sorts commonly issued covers of others’ songs. I doubt there were pop groups of any consequence who wrote all their own album material in the early-mid '60s.

I am not going to engage because this is silliness. Enjoy yourself.

The facts are:

They are the biggest selling act, whose songs endure to this day.

They innovated - who else hooked up a Leslie speaker to a microphone? And yeah, New Kids on the Block experimented with tape-looping, variable-speed recording, and changed the way bass guitar was presented in the mix. The Beatles took huge sonic risks while at the top of charts and fame. It would be like 'N Sync experimenting with 12-tone music or bringing a symphony in to lay down Bye Bye Bye.

They innovated with PowerPop, Psychedelic Pop, feedback, song cycles. As stated in the other thread, their release of Sgt Pepper influenced everyone, including your beloved Kinks and their Village Green concept album. (the Kinks are totally worthy of that love and respect, but not in a black/white way vs. the Beatles - there’s room for both).

They held the top 5 slots on the pop charts at one time, in 1964 - i.e., early in their career; 2 months into the U.S. - and wrote 4 of the 5 songs. And their version of Twist & Shout was very different from the Isley’s - and John’s vocal is held out as definitive to this day.

You have strong opinions. Yay. But you have no clue what you are talking about.

The OP lacks perspective of the times.

E.g., complaining they didn’t write a lot of their early songs. Um, at the time most performers wrote 0% of the songs they recorded! People like Buddy Holly got a lot of flack from record companies for trying to record their own songs. So the Beatles were ahead of most folks at the time.

Even today, there’s two guy’s who’ve written (but not performed) a lot of recent hits.

And on and on.

BTW: Guess who has the #1 selling album of the first decade of this century. Guess.

Do you really think that there will ever be another group that will have the #1 album for the decade 30 years after they broke up?

The scandal with Milli Vanilli was that they were lip-synching to other peoples’ singing. All performers lip-synch to their own singing. At least, all nowadays do: I don’t know if that was yet another Beatles innovation.

Don’t forget McCartney and his bass. He’s up there as being one of the most influential rock bassists. Ringo has influenced many drummers, as well.

Well, the OP’s credibility was already shaky. Now it’s non-existent.

Oh, I see that the bass and drum angle has been mentioned. Well, here’s one cite of bassists citing him as an influence. Look at the end.

Or here’s Dave Grohl talking about the Beatles and Ringo specifically about his influence on his drumming.

And that’s just a cursory search. The idea that McCartney and Ringo are not cited by bassists and drummers as being an influence wouldn’t even occur to me. I’ve spent a lot of time around musicians and been involved in playing, recording, and touring myself. Paul and Ringo are highly respected and have influenced many of the musicians I personally know. It’s not even a question.

Ultimately, this is covered by Scott McCloud in his Understanding Comics (which doesn’t mention the Beatles).

Basically, people look at art by noticing what McCloud calls “surface.” It’s the slick and shiny elements that are most apparent. But surface is the easiest thing to achieve in any art and innovators spend less time on it than on other elements. So newbies sneer at the early artists because they don’t look as cool as newer ones. They see the imitations and think that the originals are just poorly polished versions of what people have taken from them and polished.

As he says:

McCloud says that an important step in becoming an artist it to see that surface is all . . . surface and that the deeper – and far more difficult and innovative – elements are what makes an older artist great.

Some people never get to the stage where they see beyond the surface. They may not be the best group ever for everyone – there will always be disagreement based on personal taste – but they’re certainly a consensus choice by people who know music.

It’s not surprising so many other musicians praise the Beatles – in order to be a success in any art (including music), you have to see the other elements.* But they see more than just the skin on the apple.

Ultimately, there are too many reasons why the Beatles are so highly regarded to just dismiss them.
*In order of sophistication, idea/purpose, form, idiom, structure, craft, and surface.

They couldn’t even hear themselves for all the screaming. I don’t know how many bands prior to the Beatles played for packed baseball stadiums. I’m not sure acoustical engineers were consulted. In at least one instance, their audio was put through the PA speakers, so the quality of the audio was sure to be abysmal.

I’d almost go as far as saying to OP is trolling, it’s hard to imagine that anyone could actually hold those opinions. They are just patently and demonstratively false.

You might not like them, you might not like “beatlemania” but their talent and cultural and musical influence is undeniable.

It’s more like this Zeke: talent + talent + talent = Beatles.

Plus, ditching that approach freed 'em up to do stuff that would’ve been even worse if sung live in a baseball stadium. I mean, A DAY IN THE LIFE is built around having a 40-piece orchestra – harp, flute, violin, oboe, you name it – as the mere sideshow to John Lennon singing along with his prerecorded vocals, because, hey, you can’t really get that weird warble from slight variations unless he’s backing himself up.