If you turn on Top 40 radio today, you’ll hear lots of different genres. One that isn’t heard much? Rock or Rock and Roll, whichever derivative you want to call it.
Part of that is because of how much music has evolved and how many different genres and sub-genres there are now. And part of it is because there simply aren’t any transcendent rock bands out there right now.
There are some good and even great acts, including The Black Keys and Arcade Fire. There are those who are still touring but removed from their prime, such as U2. And many who are still touring and far removed from their prime, such as Tom Petty, Neil Young and Bob Dylan.
In my opinion, though, there are no acts out there right now in their prime that actually transcend. None who make me think I’ll regret it for the rest of my life if I don’t see them.
Now, why are the Beatles and other classic rock bands still relevant to millennials?
When it comes to the Beatles, lots of things converged to create a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.
For starters, they were the first band that actually wrote their own songs. The first popular band that brought true ferocity to the stage. The first band that evolved in a way where their first album is so different than their fifth that it’s nearly impossible to understand their brilliance.
The Beatles also gained popularity in the U.S. and around the rest of the world shortly after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, giving American youth something to turn to.
Aside from their immense musical talent, though, the Beatles were political. They were opinionated. And sometimes purposefully and sometimes not, they gave young people a reason to feel free. A reason to rebel. A reason to experiment. A reason to hope.
And the above things are eternal and what transcends, making it easy to understand why millennials still identify with the Beatles and why many millennials are more hardcore fans than their parents were.
Other classic rock bands that transcend and are loved by many millennials include Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd, but the Beatles stand head and shoulders above them.
I work for a Beatles festival, and while fans of all ages attend, it seems some of the most ardent and true fans are millennials.
Why is that?
With youth comes hope, and with the Beatles — who disbanded in 1970 when none of them were older than 30 — there is eternal youth.