A discussion related to pop music and pop culture is always incomplete without mentioning The Beatles. The Beatles wasn’t just a rock band but a whole pop phenomenon that took over everything from magazine covers to dishes and could be seen on everything in the 60s. During the 60s, this English band was able to influence clothing style and hairstyles, and on top of everything, they amazingly influenced pop culture.
When talked about The Beatles, Jana Peri said, “That’s my No. 1 biggest influence. If you’re a rock musician and you say you don’t like The Beatles, then you’re a jerk. You’re just trying to be cool, but you’re not. You can’t deny The Beatles.” This is how we can guess how influential their music was for pop culture.
The Beatles is regarded as the most influential band in the history of pop music. The four members, namely “John Lennon,” “Ringo Starr,” “Paul McCartney,” and “George Harrison,” sparkled in the pop culture as the “Beatlemania” in 1963 and soon became international celebrities by gaining stardom all around the world. The band was known for its strong influence on the counterculture, era’s youth, the evolution of pop music into art, and the British identity.
The Beatles and Its Influence on the Pop Culture
The Beatles were able to influence the rock era and conquered pop culture with their amazing music. In the initial years of their career, The Beatles significantly impacted the “Baby Boom Generation.”
Soon enough, with such an effect on the music industry, their music got much appreciation, and the global sales exceeded 1.3 billion albums. They represented the young adults of the world and came up with revolutionary ideas so the world could look at life from a different perspective.
The Innovation That the Beatles Brought to the Pop Music
1. They Mixed and Blended Western and Country Music into Pop Music
In America, western and country music had always been popular; however, in England, it wasn’t that much liked until the 1950s. As soon as the influence started getting more potent, sailors started importing records to England from America. These records were the primary reason why The Beatles’ music taste was greatly influenced by country and western music.
If you listen to their early music, you will find significant hallmarks of country music (alternating bass note rhythms, large guitar chords, dramatic yet straightforward guitar chords, harmony singing, and acoustic guitars).” Act Naturally” is one of the songs that can be regarded as the most country-influenced songs.
2. Switching Music Instruments with Fellow Members
You must have watched pop band members switching the instruments with each other; however, the first ones to give this idea were The Beatles. The reason behind this practice was to make the idea of being able to professionally adept different instruments among musicians a normal thing. Several pop artists usually stayed stuck with their respective instruments; however, The Beatles would switch between bass, piano, guitars, singing, and drumming throughout their performances.
The new bands that emerged after The Beatles were mostly seen switching between instruments, and none of them would stick to one instrument.
3. They Didn’t Accept the Hippie Culture
George Harrison was the first one who got completely disfranchised by the hippie culture and made other members distance themselves from such scenes. The reason behind this distancing from hippie culture was the realization of how it was a cover for cultish and drug abusive behavior.
According to many interviews, Harrison was the one who talked with his members and convinced them to study Maharishi Yogi from India and make the White Album; moreover, this decision was mostly influenced by the band’s rejection of hippie culture and idols.
The White Album differed from their last two psychedelics (the music form influenced by mind-expanding drugs, i.e., hallucinogens, marijuana, and LSD) productions. It was more like a country-inspired song, and they used hard-rocking guitar and traditional instrument tracks in it.
How They Changed Music?
The Beatles became the first band ever who wrote most of their songs by themselves, thanks to the duo of McCartney and Lennon. They were also the first band who gave the world the concept of looping and sampling with their song “Tomorrow Never Knows” in 1966; moreover, the song was also said to be the first psychedelic song. The Beatles also takes the credits for the first-ever concept music videos in pop music.
The Beatles originated as skiffle (a music genre influenced mostly by jazz, blues, and American folk music) group and embraced the rock and roll music culture of the 1950s. Later on, they introduced the Mersey beat genre of music, after which The Beatles’ repertoire expanded to several genres of pop music. Lennon talking about the diversity of styles the band had explored while creating the song “Beatles for sale,” said, “You could call our new one a Beatles country-and-western L.P.”
The Beatles had the ability to bring innovation to their music; they had the sense of creative evolution required for newness. Bruce Ellis Benson talking about The Beatles, says, “The Beatles … give us a wonderful example of how such far-ranging influences as Celtic music, rhythm and blues, and country and western could be put together in a new way.”
Who Influenced The Beatles?
The Beatles were the ones to influence the whole pop music industry, but some names influenced The Beatles. The earliest influences of The Beatles include Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, the Everly Brothers, Eddie Cochran, and Carl Perkins. Little Richard taught them the proper way to perform their songs in 1962.
While talking about Elvis Presley, Lennon said, “Nothing really affected me until I heard Elvis. If there hadn’t been Elvis, there would not have been the Beatles.”
Later in their career, The Beatles were influenced by the songs of the Byrds, the Who, Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, the Beach Boys, and the Lovin’ Spoonful. An Indian classical music composer, Ravi Shankar, had a significant effect on George Harrison’s development in music during the later years of The Beatles’ performances.
The Fifth Beatle
Due to his extreme involvement with The Beatles, George Martin was considered the “Fifth Beatle.” He worked as the band’s informal music teacher and applied all his classical music knowledge and training to the boys. The creative development of The Beatles was intensely facilitated by George Martin, as his experimenting nature would always bring out more suggestions and ideas to try out. Other than advising, Martin was also said to have performed on The Beatles, i.e., he would play instruments like piano, bass, and organ.
The Beatles were undoubtedly one of the most famous bands of all time, and they are still the pop phenomenon in the music industry. They had a significant influence on the music of their times, and even today, there is a great part of their contribution to pop culture in pop music. They changed the way people and singers looked at pop music and brought innovation to the music, style, and the way of performing everything. We can say that The Beatles were ahead of their time, which is why they still impact the music industry.