Five Reasons the Beatles Were Not The Best Band
First off, before I get hate mail, here is my disclaimer: I really like the Beatles. I just don’t buy the hype that they were the best band ever. Being a “best band” involves a lot of responsibility and the Beatles just can’t hold that mantle. Many people hold an emotional tether to this group. They have great songs. Memorable lyrics. But the Beatles were not the best band. Let me explain in further detail.
In the 1940s, music executives created screaming girls to follow Frank Sinatra. It was reproduced again in the 1950s and early 60s for Elvis Presley. By the time they created this “sensation” for the Beatles, the process had been perfected. What? You really believed teenage girls will scream like blathering idiots if not coerced into doing so? Well, some of them will jump on the bandwagon, but a lot of them were planted to get the ball rolling. The Beatles – on their own – didn’t get the girls swooning. It was all a ruse. And for those people who say that they influenced some of the great bands…well, if we can get rid of bands like NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys, and Brittany Spears, I can live with that.
The Beatles were mainly a club band that had a great producer. There is often talk about a “fifth Beatle”. When he is mentioned, people automatically think of Stu Sutcliffe, the bass player with the band in Germany who suffered a head injury during a brawl and died in 1962, but they would be wrong. The true fifth Beatle is George Martin, the band’s producer. He worked on all but one of their albums. The overdubbing, reversed tracks, and sound effects are thanks to him. Without the genius of George Martin, the Beatles would have stayed at the Cavern in Liverpool singing “Twist and Shout”. To be fair, Brian Epstein would have still signed them and they would have had the popularity Gerry and the Pacemakers (another Liverpool band at the same time). However, without the skills of Martin in the studio, they would have faded into obscurity.
Individually, They Were Mediocre
Together, the Beatles have had an impact on popular music. Individually, not so much. You don’t look at the band members and say, “He is the greatest person to play that instrument.” Looking at their skills as musicians, it could be said that George Harrison was, by far, the most musically gifted. However, when you compare him to Jimi Hendrix, Duane Allman, or Jeff Beck, he isn’t in the same league. The same holds true to the rest of the band. Ringo Starr isn’t competing with Neil Peart from Rush or Keith Moon from the Who. There just isn’t a comparison.
They Didn’t Practice What They Preached
The Beatles were all about Peace and Love. They promoted these concepts in their songs, but when it came to walking the walk, they stumbled and fell. In fighting and hate for each other led to them ultimately breaking up. Sure, you can blame Yoko Ono on the break up, but they were all having problems. During the recording of the White Album (actually called, The Beatles), they had to schedule their time in the studio so they didn’t perform with each other. Once again, George Martin came to the rescue and put it all together. The songs about peace and love turn out to be a facade for their true feelings.
Couldn’t Stick It Out For The Long Haul
Face it. The Beatles became famous in the United States in 1964. By the time they played their last concert at Shea Stadium, it was 1966. Two years as international, live performing stars – that’s it! Being the greatest band ever depends on how you relate to your fans as well as putting out great albums. When you quit due to stress and other issues, you aren’t performing all of your responsibilities as a good band. The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, The Who, and others performed for years afterward (and are still performing in many cases). There are dozens of other bands that continue to thrill live audiences and don’t hide in the confines of a studio. Maybe the solitude is the reason behind the Beatles success. If it is, then it was as manufactured as their music.