Before they took the world by storm, the Beatles were influenced by Buddy Holly and the Crickets (where do you think their name came from?), Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, The Everly Brothers and more.
And while the Beatles would not have existed in the form they did without taking bits and pieces from those who came before them, they did an incredible amount of things no musicians before them ever did.
Before the Beatles, there had never been a band that had more than one talented songwriter. In fact, aside from Holly and Berry, nearly every popular act (Elvis among them) primarily covered songs that were written for them. No band before the Beatles played in the ferocious style they did. No band had a personality like theirs, and no band spoke out about world issues.
Even though the Beatles broke up in 1970, after evolving at a furious pace while recording 13 albums in just over seven years, the earthquake that was their musical style and influence continues to shake the world.
Here are three current bands who were influenced by the Fab Four in a major way:
The New York-based quartet, which will likely be a trio when they decide to release their next album, is known for their unique style that infuses pop with rock, african music, and lots of other elements.
And bassist Chris Baio has spoken about the Beatles’ influence on their style:
“They played extremely popular music but at the same time drew upon Eastern and Western sources,” he said about the Beatles. “Whereas today, rock music has killed itself by being so white bread. We’re trying to mix sounds that are old and new and sounds that are Western and that are not Western. I think that’s our vibe.”
What Baio is referring to is how the Beatles evolved after 1964, when Beatlemania gave way to the more serious group that churned out albums like Rubber Soul, Revolver, and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
And while he’s often overlooked (but absolutely should not be), it was Beatles lead guitarist George Harrison — whose interest in Indian music and experimentation with the sitar — helped lead them down the amazing road they went down after 1964.
Vampire Weekend performs ‘Unbelievers,’ with the varied elements Baio alludes to:
“If it weren’t for The Beatles, I would not be a musician,” Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl has said. “From a very young age I became fascinated with their songs, and over the years have drowned myself in the depth of their catalogue. Their groove and their swagger. Their grace and their beauty. Their dark and their light. The Beatles seemed to be capable of anything.”
Grohl pretty much nails it, and let’s not forget that Kurt Cobain — the lead singer of Nirvana, who Grohl was the drummer for — idolized the Beatles, especially John Lennon.
So, if not for the Beatles, both Nirvana and Foo Fighters might never have existed. And that’s something I just don’t want to think about.
Let’s allow Grohl to wrap this up:
“Recently I showed my six-year-old daughter, Violet, the brilliant Yellow Submarine movie,” he said a few years ago. “It was her introduction to The Beatles, and she instantly shared the same fascination I felt when I was her age discovering The Beatles for the first time.”
Yes, the Beatles transcend age.
Dave Grohl performs the Beatles’ Hey Bulldog at the 2014 Beatles tribute:
Who, you ask? The Weeklings, who have members based in New York and New Jersey, The Weeklings play songs the Beatles wrote but never officially released, their Beatles-inspired originals, and many other Beatles cuts (from It Won’t Be Long to Baby You’re A Rich Man).
This band is so immersed in Beatleness that their recently-released second album, Studio 2, was recorded in the famed Studio 2 at Abbey Road, where the Beatles recorded most of their music.
It’s nearly impossible (unless you’re a total Beatles freak) to differentiate their originals from the lesser-known Beatles tracks they cover. And it’s a thrill to hear them unearth the gems the Beatles never fully produced.
If you’re in the New York City area, The Weeklings are in the midst of a residency at the famed Cutting Room, so be sure to check them out nearly every Thursday through the end of February.
Their ferocious show will not disappoint.
The Weeklings perform their Beatles-inspired original, Mona Lisa: