Did People Hate the Beatles?

I dont like the Beatles much. Seems to me their music is OK (but over hyped even now). I dont like Seargent Pepper stuff much, too much BS.

My main problem is with Lennon and McCartney. Lennon strikes me as having been a bit of a dick. Into all that communist stuff and he was arrogant too.

McCartney I dont rate. his solo stuff sucks badly, and have you seen his painting?!!! Dont make me laugh Paul, plz.

Ringo and Harrison are my favourite Beatles.

The Beatles are interesting because of how their audiences age range expanded as their careers went on. In the beginning, they were mostly listened to by teeny-boppers, but by the time Let It Be came around people in their 50’s were listening and enjoying them, and the teeny-boppers were still there, as well as every age group in between.

As far as the whole Lennon saying the Beatels were more popular then Jesus hoo-ha, it tends to get lost that he was voicing an opinion, yet he had to apologize for it.

The world is filled with cretins and morons.

No offense to any of the previous posters, but I don’t think anyone has really properly answered the question yet. The OP isn’t asking if there were simply people who hated the Beatles…as many of you have pointed out, there were plenty of folks who didn’t agree with the Beatles’ politics or fashion sense. I think that owlofcreamcheese is just putting the Beatles out as an example of a really popular group and asking if they received the same kind of “teeny-bopper, artless crap” criticism that Brittney and the Backstreet Boys get.

I think the problem, owlofcreamcheese, is that you are comparing Brittney to the wrong performers. The Beatles came seemingly out of nowhere with a completely different sound that was accepted by a wide range of people that might otherwise never have listened to the same kind of music. I would say they compare more to a Beck than to a Brittney Spears. Beck enjoys a lot of respect for his “art,” from teeny-bopper fans and self-professed intellectuals alike.

However, just like today, there were performers at that time who were marketed exclusively to teeny-boppers and were ridiculed for being too cute. The Monkees come to mind…Anette Funicello…any one of the “teen idols…” A lot of old-timers forget that there was just as much awful crap making tons of money back then as there is now.

And my take is that his opinion is not what it sounds like.

I heard the original interview, and I’ve heard (and read) the thing several times over the years. IMHO Lennon wasn’t saying “Good for us, we’re more popular than Jesus”. Instead he was saying, “Can you believe how crazy the world is, when a rock group like us can become more popular than Jesus?”.

I’ve always kind of thought that Lennon was never real happy with the celebrity part of the whole deal, and just wished he could do the music without that part. On the hand, he didn’t mind using his status to voice his opinion, and I don’t suppose those millions of dollars really broke his heart.


My grandfather is about the same age as yours, musicguy, and he also contends that the Beatles ruined America.

Here in everlovin’, enlightened Birmingham, Alabama, two DJs sponsored a Beatles record-burning after the John Lennon “Jesus” remark. Tommy Charles and John Ed Willoughby (TC and John Ed) had a long career in radio, and I think they were somewhat influential in the business. If memory serves, that incident garnered national attention.

I’m sure some fundamentalist congregation has sponsored a Britney Spears record-burning, but I don’t know of one personally.

Well, the OBVIOUS answer to the original question is, “Of COURSE there were people who hated the Beatles in 1964.” You’re never going to have unanimity of opinion on any subject. There were elderly folks who hated rock and roll in general, and thought the Beatles’ music was just noise. There were jazz and classical music lovers who thought the Beatles’ music was puerile and unsophisticated. Even at the height of Beatlemania, there were millions of people who disliked the band.

That goes without saying. Not everybody liked Bing Crosby in the 1930s, not everybody liked Sinatra, and not everybody liked Elvis in the 1950s. EVERY artist, no matter how popular, has some detractors.

But I think the OP is getting at something different. Today, it seems that bands or artists who become popular almost always inspire a vicious, vulgar, angry, and IMMEDIATE backlash. There were people who hated the Monkees in 1965, just as there are people who hate 'N Sync today. But back in 1965, Monkee haters simply ignored the Monkees. When a Monkees song came on the radio, or the Monkees sitcom was on TV, people simply changed stations. But today, 'N Sync haters don’t ignore 'N Sync- they curse them and mock them at every opportunity. They create “I HATE 'N SYNC” web sites. Their hatred seems a little more venomous, and a little more obsessive.

Similarly, people who hate Brittney Spears today are a LOT more vocal and a lot meaner than people who hated, say, Lesley Gore in the 1960s. People who hate the Backstreet Boys are a LOT more vicious than people who disliked, say, the Partridge Family in the 1970s.

Why is this? I’d guess that it’s mainly because of the way the media have changed over the last few decades. In the 1960s, “the media” weren’t so omnipresent. Even the most overexposed, overhyped celebrities were fairly easy to avoid. In 1964, if you hated the Beatles, it was fairly easy to avoid them. They weren’t on American TV very often (an occasional performance on the Ed Sullivan show was about it), and there were MANY radio formats that didnt feature Beatles songs. So, in 1964, if you hated the Beatles, you were in luck: you almost never had to see or hear them. If you were an older TV viewer or radio listener, there were plenty of entertainment options available to you.

Today, however, “the media” are omnipresent, and they’re increasingly tailored to the same market: young, affluent white people. As a result, it’s been a lot harder for me to avoid Brittney Spears than it was for my grandmother to avoid the Beatles. She’s on TV, she’s in the movies, she’s on the radio, she’s in commercials… and if you don’t like her, it starts to feel as if she’s being jammed down your throat.

And THAT, I think, is why popular artists today face hostility that popular artists of the 1960s didn’t. People start to feel like they’re being bombarded, and they resent it. In the 1960s, nobody thought, “Damn that Diana Ross… I just can’t get away from her!” But LOTS of people feel that way about current boy bands and teen-sexpot singers.

astorian answered my question, thank you astorian. I asked because I was sitting around and hateing my sister for listening to backstreet boys, so I go into my room and turn up my beatles CD. sorta wondered if being born a few decades earlyer, if the same thing woulda happened with her listening to the beatles. was basicly wondering if I was being horribly ironic

This is one quote that sticks out…

“The Beatles are not merely awful…. They are so unbelievably horrible, so appallingly unmusical, so dogmatically insensitive to the magic of the art, that they qualify as crowned heads of antimusic.”

(William F. Buckley Jr., 1964)

So certain old school ‘intellectuals’ didn’t care for them.

Someone mentioned Lennon/Beatles as “communists”. I think its possible to make a distinction between real hard line Brezhnev style communists and new left hippy "imagine there’s no ____ " thinking. An elderly professor from Poland I knew, who wasn’t the type to pander to ‘popular’ tastes, told me with a straight face that the Beatles perhaps did more to undermine communism among younger Poles (and other Eastern Bloc people) than any other non-poltical westerners since the 1960’s.

The Beatles, and other such music was dismissed by real Marxists as crass capitalistic ‘culture’. They would even play it as ‘evidence’ of western decadence. Of course a lot of young people there disagreed - and swapped the decadent tapes of the Beatles all over the place.

My dad hated the Beatle back in there heyday. Back then and even today he prefers Frank Sinatra or Debby Reynolds. My mother loved them though. I still remember my dad walking out of the house the night the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan. I can also remember my dad throwing out my sisters Donny Osmond records, he thought he was a pot smoking hippie.

I was a kid when the Beatles began, in the early sixties. To understand their impact, you must understand how different society was.

In each of our countries, society was far more conservative than today. There were strict dress codes, and you could be sent home from school if your hair was too long (I was). Young people were expected to conform fairly strictly to their parents’ standards of behaviour.

A revolution was ready to happen, and in the 1960’s and 1970’s my generation blew the old norms apart. Younger people today have no idea of the changes we wrought over about ten years. Like Christopher Wren, if you wish to see our monument, look around you.

As the wave was about to break, the Beatles hit town. They had long hair. They sang rock songs. They showed a lack of respect for society’s norms. They hinted at using cannabis and LSD. They opposed the Vietnam war. They espoused a freer life for all of us.

And of course the music was good - and still is.

They became one of the symbols of my generation’s fight for freedom. Because they were surfing this wave of youth, they became a hate object for many adults of that time. They were seen as a cause, not an effect of my generation’s revolution. So, even now some older people hate them.

This has nothing to do with liking them as performers - as you may like (or abhor) Ms. Spears. They had a huge cultural impact which helped to change society. You will not understand the impact of the Beatles by playing their music, although I strongly recommend the music to you.

Another point to remember: the Internet has given EVERYONE a forum for expressing displeasure.

If I’d been a teenager in 1964, and I hated the Beatles, I might well have felt alone. I might have thought, “Everybody else likes them. I’m the only oddball who hates them… better to clam up, and keep my opinion to myself.”

But today, a kid who hates 'N Sync or Brittney Spears doesn’t have to clam up. The Internet allows him to voice his hatred loudly, vulgarly and anonymously. And if there are others out there who share his feelings, they’ll respond in kind! Before you know it, there are chat rooms and web sites all over the place saying that Justin Timberlake is the anti-Christ.

I mean, look at the SDMB! Every week there are new threads entitled, “Am I the ONLY One who hates ______?” OBVIOUSLY, no matter what you put in the blank (“Star Trek,” Celine Dion, the movie “Titanic,” the novels of Marcel Proust, the Mona Lisa, whatever), there are going to be lots of people who are only too ready to post back, “No! You’re not alone! I hate it too!”

When you see such rants on the Internet so often, it may seem that there’s a bigger backlash against something than there is.

For an interesting Web page on Lennon’s “more popular than Jesus” remarks (complete with a link to the enire published interview), click here.

I wasn’t around at the time, but I think a lot of people who were into Dylan (especially in his early folkie days) were very dismissive of the Beatles, who they saw as teenybopper music.

And in the early 1970s in Britain, when for the first time there was a real effort to target young children with bands like the Bay City Rollers, The Osmonds, etc, there was a lot of contempt towards them by students and young adults who were into prog rock, mirrored by serious music magazines like Melody Maker and NME. Other acts like the Chapman and Chinn stable of glam rockers (Suzi Quatro, Mudd, The Sweet) were similarly regarded with disdain by cool Genesis and King Crimson fans. I think this mirrors the current situation pretty closely.

Of course, the irony is that most of the music that’s remembered from the early 1970s, at least in Britain, is from bands who were damned at the time for being trivia and childish: all the glam acts from Slade to T Rex, and pop like Abba, while prog rock is largely ridiculed and viewed with contempt (although Pink Floyd and Led Zep seem socially acceptable nowadays), proving that the kids got it write and their smug pretentious older brothers and sisters were wrong.

At one time, the BBC used to have a test called the Old Grey whistle test. The doormen were known as the Old Greys, and if they were heard whistling a new tune it was sure to be a success. There is good cause behind this - you will only remember a tune that you can sing or whistle. Most of the “good” bands you were told to admire played obscure music, which no one could sing in the shower - so they have been largely forgotten.

Sadly, at one time the BBC produced a show called The Old Grey Whistle Test, which ignored the rule implied by its name. It presented a lot of obscure crap groups, with very few good ones. Most of the groups played music which no one, and certainly not alone the Old Greys, could whistle. Almost no one watched the show which was moved to a late night showing.

I think they have SOME idea. :slight_smile:

But since you brought it up, something that frustrates me as a person born in 1970 is that the media constantly glosses over the transition period of late 64-65-66. Movies, TV, and even books always act like pop culture went from “And here they are—THE BEATLES!” jump-cut to the Summer of Love. I can always pinpoint the moment when “Turn, Turn, Turn” is going to be played on a soundtrack, signifying that it’s 1967 and everyone on earth is now a capital-H Hippie. To me, the transition years are far more interesting than the peak. But they’re more difficult to portray…

Rilchiam - you are right.

Subtle mental changes make bad TV. When it deals with the 60s and 70s, TV usually shows the same stock shots of the Woodstock festival - blurry pictures of naked bathing and people playing on mudslides. If you are lucky, they may show a few seconds of music. They add a few Summer of Love pictures of hairy people waving flowers and passing round joints. Maybe a lot of mini-skirts and hot pants.

Most of us were not hippies, although we began to smoke a lot of funny-smelling cigarettes. However, as a generation we broke old patterns.

The real changes were mental, and they came in the 60s, with the acceptance that you did not have to conform to standards or to stereotypes. Men and women could have long or short hair, and could wear T-shirts, jeans and sneakers. A woman could wear no bra. A man could choose not wear a hat or a tie. You could play or listen to any music.

Young people started to believe they could change the world. We believed that you did not have to accept what the Establishment or the government told you to do. If you did not like it, you made your voice heard on the streets. Demonstrations became a way of life for many of us.

This led to other changes - civil rights, women’s rights, and mass demonstrations against the Vietnam war and against apartheid - and so on.

Real changes trickled down in many small ways. In 1961 I was sent home from school because my hair was too long. In 1968, the Head Boy in the school - the number one teacher’s pet - had hair down to his shoulders.

Ah, nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

My stepfather was a prime 19 year old when the Beatles were making big. He hated them, still does, but he was part of a group of blue collar hot-rodders in the American Graffiti vein, where the Beach Boys were considered “out there” (pre-Pet Sounds). I would compare his feelings to the eighties hard rockers when Nirvana hit the mainstream. Suddenly, they were yesterday’s news, and they grudgingly tried to hang on, building animosity towards the new scene. Or, they changed their haircuts and joined the crowd. My stepfather and his friends were of the former group. Surely this has happened all through history in popular culture. Anyways, “Abbey Road” is my second favorite album of all time.

Perfectly correct!