1. The Beatles revolutionized music. Before The Beatles came around, popular music was meant mostly to dance to. It also seemed like every song of the previous decade had the exact same 12-bar blues melody (which brings up the unrelated point that Elvis was highly overrated). The Beatles experimented with music so much that they cultivated what we still attempt to do in music to this day, yet it seems like no one else seems to be really doing as well: the perfect song. It’s common to have an artist make two good songs then make 12 bad ones then hack together a horrible album. The Beatles made every track on every album great. That’s why they’re still so highly regarded today. Their songs are timeless. Anybody can become easily infatuated regardless of generation.
2. The Beatles created the music video. Today, in music, it’s almost breaking an unwritten rule if a popular music act doesn’t release a music video to accompany their latest single. In the mid to late 60’s, The Beatles started making short films to promote their new songs in order to avoid having to go on 20 different TV shows and talk about it. They were, at that time, referred to as promotional videos. You could argue then that this one band invented MTV and this crucial part of modern music.
3. The Beatles invented the hidden track. A common occurrence at the end (or sometimes the beginning) of albums today is the inclusion of an extra track an act has made that is on the disc itself but not mentioned in the track listing. This song is known as a “hidden track.” On their 1979 final album, “Abbey Road”, The Beatles included a studio outtake, “Her Majesty” at the end of the album. The track was hidden well because it wasn’t mentioned on the back cover and was obscured by a long bit of silence following the album’s final track-listed song, “The End.”
4. The Beatles helped create the concept album. A concept album is an album where each track follows a continuous story line or common theme. Although it’s true that none of The Beatles albums definitively fit this description; their album, “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band,” was originally planned to be one. This album, in its released state, does show signs of this plan. Due to that record’s widespread acclaim and influence, it’s not too difficult to see that The Beatles laid the ground work for the first real concept albums to come in the 1970’s from bands like Styx and Pink Floyd.
5. The Beatles’ success and appeal transcends time. It has been forty years since The Beatles broke up and they are still as famous and their songs as well known as ever. In fact, just recently, they were ranked #1 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” countdown with John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s solo work also placing in the list. With new products such as compilations, the re-mastered box set and The Beatles: Rock Band being released constantly, it is certain that The Beatles are an immortal entity in music and indeed the world.
6. “Lady Madonna”, “Hey Jude”, “Abbey Road Medley”, “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”, “Norwegian Wood”, “Eleanor Rigby”, “A Day in the Life”, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Here Comes the Sun”, “Dear Prudence”, and “I’ve Got a Feeling”…these songs speak for themselves.
7. The Beatles were one of the only acts to be as famous as they were awesome. There are so many bands before, during and after that were almost as famous but made much fewer good songs or marks on the history of music. The Beatles deserved their world-wide fame. Artists such as, say, Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, Rhianna, Katy Perry, and countless other very famous artists, do not. Though this point may be tainted with bias, I still think it’s true that The Beatles deserved their fame.
8. The Beatles were the most successful band in the history of music. Not only did they deserve their success but they had more of it than any other act in existence. They have twenty number-one singles in the United States alone with plenty more than that in Britain. They have made or inspired dozens of feature films and documentaries, have been a huge study for musicologists for years, have sold over a billion records worldwide and that’s just the beginning of their list of accomplishments.
9. The Beatles changed the way studio dynamics worked. Before The Beatles, it was common to have a band record their songs live in the studio and release it as mono. When The Beatles started experimenting in the studio in the mid-sixties, they recorded in stereo and added more blends of sound than had previously existed in popular music. As mentioned before, by adding these new instrument sounds together, they moved the rock and roll genre out of purely dance music and made it a spectacle of its own. For example, the song, “A Day in the Life” is clearly not meant for dancing.
10. Almost every single artist that has come after them has admitted or shown, in one composition or another, that they have been influenced by The Beatles. The Beatles were so revolutionary, relentlessly famous and prolific that they could not help but influence most current artists. Some might say, in fact, that The Beatles saved music from remaining in the coma that was rockabilly, and helped us to not revert back to classical. It’s safe to say that if those four young men from Liverpool, England, hadn’t gotten together and started performing, that music today would be vastly different and much less interesting or enriching than if they had never existed. The Beatles are the heart and soul of popular music. The composers that wrote the soundtrack to many generations and the architects of current music culture. I think their infamy and rabid acclaim will live on forever.