The Beatles were a British rock-and-roll band that had a pretty good run during the bulk of the 1960s.
While actually being a quartet of sarcastic bad boys from Liverpool, their manager persuaded them to wear suits and ties when they appeared on television. This "good boy" appearance made them very popular in the United States in the early 60s. However, as their popularity grew, they were able to control their image, and let go of the "good boy" image in favor of long hair, beards, beads and other scary stuff.
 Song writing
Most of their earlier songs and many of their later songs followed the "pronoun" formula—that is, songs that were about "you" or "she" or "we" tended to be destined for Billboard honors and were popular among young women. As time progressed, they started experimenting with the names of specific women, such as "Lovely Rita", "Dear Prudence", "Michelle" and "Sexy Sadie" (which is actually about a man).
While being credited for changing rock-and-roll from "music you get up and dance to" to "music you sit down and listen to" with the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, they were actually inspired to make the album by Frank Zappa's Freak Out!. Zappa later returned the favor with his album We're Only In It For The Money which had a similar album cover and jacket (a collage of famous faces, wax figures of the musicians, flowers arranged to form letters).
 Wall of Sound
Producer Phil Spector convinced the Beatles to use his "wall of sound" technique on the album Let It Be, using orchestral elements such as string instrument tones and cymbals. Many decades later, in a fit of Spielberg-esque revisionism, the remaining living Beatles had the album remade with all of the "wall of sound" elements digitally removed, named Let It Be Naked. It actually sounded better than the original.
Because they weren't making enough money selling records by the millions, they also made several movies, which were largely self-indulgent. The movie A Hard Day's Night, which featured many of their songs, showed them running around London being chased by lunatic fans. The movie Help, which also featured many of their songs, showed them running around England, the Alps, and the Bahamas being chased around by lunatic eastern cultists while high. The movie Yellow Submarine is really, really fun to watch while high (though, disappointingly, the Beatles did not provide the voices for their animated counterparts, who were voiced by actors). The chances of the warts'n'all movie Let It Be, which documented the band's disharmony in the studio, getting any kind of new release are practically zero.
 Inspirations and parodies
The Beatles were the inspiration for many British and American bands, especially the Ramones and Badfinger. Many of their works continue to be recorded by other artists, such as Aerosmith's hard rock versions of "I'm Down" and "Come Together", My Superhero's ska version of "Don't Let Me Down", and several songs performed by Joe Cocker.
The band Big Daddy did a tribute to the Beatles with the album Sgt. Pepper (complete with another similar album cover), playing all of their songs from the original album but in the styles of other musicians such as Johnny Mathis and Buddy Holly.
Many of the Beatles' works were parodized as well. Of particular note, the satire film The Rutles, which starred Monty Python musicians Neil Innes and Eric Idle, featured music that sounded very much like the works of the Beatles. That's because all of the music for the film was written by playing two real Beatles' songs at the same time, then combining the elements into something that sounded good. For example, the melody for song "Cheese and Onions" was created by overlaying "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" with "A Day in the Life"; the lyrics are just nonsense. In addition, they also got help from George Harrison and Ringo Starr when writing the songs; both musicians have cameos in the film.
The Monkees, a television show that was clearly a rip-off of the movie A Hard Day's Night, was still pretty successful in its own right. The band from the show went on to make a few records, some of which were very popular during the late 1960s/early 1970s. The style of filming also inspired a few scenes from the Austin Powers series.
 Stuff relevant to RationalWiki
When they first travelled to the United States, their manager paid a bunch of teenage girls to scream like crazy upon their arrival so that they looked like an incredible sensation that had just crossed the ocean and were ready to take America by storm. However, John Lennon specifically denied a similar charge against manager Brian Epstein (namely that he bought excess copies of "Love Me Do" to inflate its sales figures).
 "Paul is dead" rumor
In 1969 a group of
idiots students put forth the possibility that Paul McCartney had died in a car accident in 1967 and the Beatles were covering it up, having replaced Paul with a look-alike. They cited hundreds of points of evidence in a clear-cut non-scientific case of finding evidence to fit a theory.
Despite his death, he went on to form the band Wings, had a very successful solo career, recorded the theme to Live and Let Die and got married a few times.
The Beatles, being incredibly wealthy, were taxed 95% on their income from sales and performances. This inspired George to write the song "Taxman", which became the theme song of the tax protester. Somehow they still managed to scrape by despite only getting to keep 5% of their income.
In the song "Get Back", Paul McCartney sings about Jojo leaving his home in Tucson, Arizona, to buy "some California grass". Since Jojo was Paul's brother, there is a suggestion that the Beatles were "down" with "gear". This is true.
Fans of the psychedelic age have long suggested that the song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is about and was inspired by a rather crazy trip on LSD. While the implication is definitely in the title of the song, the inspiration actually came from a child's drawing.
The song "Happiness is a Warm Gun" is not about shooting people, but about shooting heroin.
 Helter Skelter
Charles Manson claimed that he heard a message from God which inspired him to build a family of murdering sociopaths while listening to the song "Helter Skelter". It couldn't possibly have been the voices in his head or the drugs he was taking.
 Eastern philosophy
Halfway through their career together, the Beatles took inspiration from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and the temporary endorsement boosted his popularity. His influence inspired George Harrison to learn to play the sitar, and the influence is evident in several songs, including "Within You Without You".
While the Beatles were away learning woo, their manager Brian Epstein died of an accidental drug overdose.
 See also
- ↑ For you kids and your iPods: an "album" is a large cardstock jacket designed to hold an ancient analog recording device called a "record". It contained lyrics, photographs and information about the band and the music.
- ↑ Who doesn't have an original bone in his body.
- ↑ Which was later put into an album, followed decades later by more songs with the release of Archeology as a joke reference/homage to the Anthology series
- ↑ http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc19782/m1/
- ↑ An old, tasteless joke: What looks like a dog, sounds like a banshee and has wings? Linda McCartney
- ↑ The estate in Tucson is called "Camelot" and it's
only a modela pretty nice house.
- ↑ That child, Lucy Vodden, died in 2009.
- ↑ http://abbeyrd.best.vwh.net/mysweet.htm