The Beatles are overrated
Sarah Claus (TheLorian)
The Beatles are massively considered the best rock band of all time, but as more and more movements are being made in the music industry, does this claim still stand true? The world could be split into two distinct categories: those who worship the Beatles, and those who don’t. I unquestionably fall into the second category, as why else would I be writing about it?
I grew up on a steady diet of classic and hard rock and still listen to it avidly to this day. My opinion on the Beatles could very well be influenced by my dad’s infatuation with 80’s hairbands, such as Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe, but I find myself swapping out the hard rock for (relatively) calmer classic rock from the 60’s and 70’s, such as the Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac.
Even with my growing obsession for 60’s and 70’s rock, I still find myself omitting the Beatles from my playlists, and generally skipping the eight songs of theirs I do have. And for as much as a legendary band as the rest of the world makes the Beatles out to be, shouldn’t I, a self-titled classic rock enthusiast (or aficionado, if you will), be as in love with their music as I am with Billy Joel’s? But yet, I find the Beatles music to be rather bland with a couple of exceptions in the form of “Come Together,” “Day Tripper,” and “Here Comes The Sun,” leading me to the conclusion that the Beatles are overrated. Not bad, or not influential, just overrated (save your eyerolls for the end, please).
For those who may not know, or just don’t care, the Beatles were an English rock band consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, that managed to stay together from 1960 to 1970. In those ten years (actually eight years for the “fab four”), the band released 13 studio albums, becoming the best-selling music act of all time, and managed to set the record for the most number-one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 (20 songs). While still together as a band, the Beatles were pioneers in the music industry, revolutionizing many aspects of it, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. They are considered the most influential band of all time (Wikepedia). Since the band parted ways in 1970, all four members have gone on to pursue solo careers, and I will admit that I do listen to a good portion of George Harrison’s and Paul McCartney’s solo music (including Wings), and thoroughly enjoy it. But as a band, there are many reasons as to why they are overrated.
One very prevalent reason to not think the world of the Beatles is that their music is rather boring if it’s not the kind of music you’re into. The Beatles were definitely influential in making rock what it is today, but so many rock bands and artists have released such good music since then, it’s difficult for most anyone to prefer the placid melody of “Let It Be” over Elton John’s resonant “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time).” The Beatles may have been the first to incorporate classical music in with traditional pop, but they certainly are not the best to do it. Just like with new innovations of anything, the first is revolutionary, but then others will eventually come along and do it better. That’s the nature of competitive industries like the music industry.
Advocates for the Beatles argue that they are able to transcend musical genres. Yet, many artists and bands are able to transcend genres also, not just the Beatles (I see your Beatles, and raise you Steely Dan, Queen, No Doubt, Panic! At The Disco, and Lizzo). I could give a long list of other artists and bands who have transcended genres, as well as countless playlists of rock music I would prefer over the Beatles. Surpassing genres is now what seems a common practice in the music industry today, everyone striving to create a new sound the public will want to play on repeat in the car at full volume. The Beatles do deserve credit for being one of the first to transcend music genres (as I would argue Elvis Presley is the first), but we’re kidding ourselves if we keep believing the notion they are the only ones to do it, or are even the best at it.
Another reason the Beatles are overrated is that the lot of them all hated each other, and were proper jerks (especially John Lennon, but that’s another opinion for another time). It’s what ultimately led them to break up after all, and I don’t see the appeal in idolizing a group of four guys who couldn’t stand each other. Humans are creatures of sentimentality, and there’s certainly a lack of sentimentality when you hate the other members of your band.
I think all the hype about the Beatles is ultimately what ruined them for me. The first couple of times I went to listen to their music, I had such high hopes in that I would be impressed and blown away with their music as I was with the Cars, Sweet, and Derek & the Dominoes. All the buildup and worship surrounding the Beatles has put their music on a pedestal, and unfortunately, their music doesn’t quite make it pedestal worthy in today’s music industry. I think I would have rather enjoyed the Beatles had the hype surrounding them not raised my expectations so high. The Beatles are a good band, but have become so overrated they are no longer able to live up to the hype. So, until the Beatles are lodged into obscurity, catch me skipping the Beatles to listen to the likes of the Who, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Heart.