Are The Beatles overrated?

September 7, 2009


A framed handwritten report card from 1950 on the wall of Mendips, John Lennon’s childhood home in Liverpool, states:

“John has worked quite well this term. His oral work is very good, his written work is good, but he chatters far too much.”

Lennon, born in 1940, had been living on Menlove Avenue with his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George for five years when that report was issued.

In retrospect, the remarks may have hinted at Lennon’s later prolific songwriting talents.

Despite his aunt’s academic encouragements, Lennon left Liverpool’s Quarry Bank High School in 1957 without qualifications, but with the foundations of his musical career established in his skiffle group the Quarry Men.

He met Paul McCartney, who lived not far away at 20 Forthlin Road in 1957, and the two turned their talents to composing songs. The rest is history, as they say.Forthlin Road, Liverpool, Paul McCartney's childhood home.

Their band, The Beatles, which has sold more than 600 million albums worldwide, went on to become arguably the world’s most successful pop band.

On Wednesday, Apple and EMI will release digitally re-mastered versions of The Beatles’ UK studio albums. Simultaneously, a Beatles computer game will go on sale.

The Beatles broke up in 1969. Neil McCormick of the Daily Telegraph refers to their original albums as a “holy grail, the font of pop culture, when four incredibly talented individuals experienced a kind of collective, accelerated musical growth that untapped all the latent potential of pop.”

Do you think The Beatles are worth the bother or are they overrated?


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Of course the Beatles merit the attention. Anyone who says they do not has either not lived long enough to appreciate their impact, or does not know quality pop songwriting when they see it. There is no debate here. But I won’t be buying their video game because I don’t play those games. This takes nothing away from their wonderful accomplishments and music.

Posted by Fred | Report as abusive

Who put you up to this suicide mission?

Posted by John C Abell | Report as abusive

No, if anything their achievements are understated. The catalogue they produced in such a short period is astonishing in the quality of the work and the progress of talent from album to album. From December of ’63 to March of ’69, simply amazing. Don’t see how it could ever happen again.

Posted by Dave Stoll | Report as abusive


Posted by Gongboy | Report as abusive

“arguably the world’s most successful pop band” What? One could agrgue who’s the best band……but the most successful, “The beatles” ans thats pretty inarguable.

Posted by jim | Report as abusive

If they are overrated, then I guess Madonna is underrated??

Posted by Ricky Johnson | Report as abusive

Actually (and there should always be two sides to any debate), whilst the beatles were undoubtedly hugely successful, their musical talent was miles behind the likes of Free, Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd…

Too many 2 and a half minute tracks based on simple “12 bar blues”!

I can’t imagine what the video games will be about???

Posted by Ian J | Report as abusive

Of course they are–always have been. They sound like a McDonald’s commercial.

Posted by Sus | Report as abusive

1/ Who was the first “World music” band? :

Response : The Beatles

(Influence Irish – the beatles were Irish immigrants – influence English, influence Continental Europe (Classical, Waltz, Bolero, Folk, Avant-Garde, for example), influence Indian, influence US ( almost all styles of music

2/ In the world, it’s what the most covered songs during the twentieth century :

Response : The Beatles (and despite a career of only 8 years!!!…1962-1970)

3/ Who was the best duet vocal during the twentieth century? : (With The Everly Brothers)

Response : Lennon / McCartney

4/ Who was the best vocal harmonies during the twentieth century? (With the Beach Boys and Crosby, Still, Nash, Young)

Response : The Beatles (Lennon / McCartney / Harrison)

Like you see, the Beatles weren’t the best singers like for example Pavarotti, the best virtuoso musicians like for example Mozart, but if you count all artistic criteria, this group was and is, here, there and everywhere!

In reality, this group wasn’t a Pop Group (pop is a media expression, not one style of music), the Beatles were a electric Folk Band, But sometimes acoustic.

Posted by Mozart | Report as abusive

Absolutely not.

Posted by A. Q. | Report as abusive

The Beatles’ success within their own time was colossal, and their influence on the development particularly of British and American popular music ever since has been enormous. That being said, it is important to try to separate deserved acclaim from affectionate nostalgia. Other comments posted here have suggested that those who think The Beatles were overrated weren’t around at the time, which is probably true; but every generation remembers its childhood idols. I’ll probably be talking about Radiohead in the same way myself in thirty years’ time.

There’s no harm in nostalgia of this kind in itself, but the temptation becomes to criticise modern music unfairly, to immediately write off any new music as “not as good as The Beatles” without giving it a fair hearing. Even worse to say that any particular act isn’t as good, because it isn’t as big. The chances of any new act having the same impact The Beatles had is very unlikely, thanks to the richly diverse spectrum of modern music that The Beatles legacy helped to create. It is simply too diverse now for any one act to so successfully cross all genres and satisfy all tastes.

The Beatles were – are – a band that deserve celebrating, but ultimately they are only one of countless fantastic British acts that equally deserve recognition. We have an enviable reputation for superb music in the UK that we all can be proud of, and while perhaps that began with The Beatles, it certainly doesn’t end with them.

Posted by Thomas Smith | Report as abusive

The beatles are over-rated. Fact.
Yes, they changed a generation and came out with a lot of good songs, but lets not forget that like every other band in existence they come up with songs that are absolute rubbish too.
A good band in my opinion, but certainly doesn’t come close to a top 10 band in my opinion.

You’ll find that a lot of people who say they like/love the beatles are actually just people who have ‘herd mentatilty’ who can’t think for themselves.

Thare are much better artists out there.

Posted by Alan Robertson | Report as abusive

I rarely listen to the Beatles anymore (although I love their music), but they are the greatest musical influence in history.

Posted by gene | Report as abusive

I prefer the Rolling Stones.

Posted by Controversial | Report as abusive

They´re not overrated. Not as good as The Stones though.

Posted by alejandro | Report as abusive

You cannot cite the brilliance of the Beatkes without mentioning producer George Martin. The further their careers went the greater his influence. All of the orchestration, sound effects, any intrument ither than a guitar and much of the keyboard work was done by George Martin. He also produced and mixed all their records.

The one album they did without Martin, Let it Be, with Phil Spector, sounded nothing like the Beatles we all knew and loved and ultimately led to their breakup. George is personally my favorite Beatle for his production genius. The lads were great songwriters and singers, but ultimately when I listen to a Beatles record it is the production I appreciate the most.

Posted by Paul Motter | Report as abusive

Has that ever been in doubt??

Posted by Garson | Report as abusive

I watched the Beatles perform live at a concert in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1964. With their long hair, matching suits and very British accents, they won us all over in no time. Their music was such a change from Elvis. It was refreshing to an up and coming group of adolescents looking for something different, a way to tell our generation’s story. I love their music and lyrics to this day. They are definitely not over-rated to our generation.

Posted by Victoria | Report as abusive

Only in the drug-loving 60’s could such a rubbish band have become such a hit.

Easily the most overrated band of all time, their songs are barely one level up from ice-cream van melodies.

In fact I just thought of Yellow Submarine and have to say that some ice-cream vans sound better.

Posted by dddd | Report as abusive

Kudos to the author or editor for asking a question that was sure to provoke a response.

The Beatles were not overrated. From music to clothing to hair styles to film and merchadising, the Beatles were a musical and cultrual juggernaut that will never be matched.

As a music major early in college, there was only one pop group ever mentioned – The Beatles. Contrary to the comments of others, the group did not rely heavily on the 12 bar blues. They were the vanguard of a movement away from the 12 bar blues standard into a more progressive musical direction.

Culturally, the Beatles were the first to capitalize on marketing themselves as a brand.

Arguing that they were the greatest band in popular music is sure to bring opposition. But claiming they were overrated is a losing proposition.

Posted by Scott | Report as abusive

the beatles were commies. no one wants to talk about it because they make such popy tunes. but john said he was a stupid communist in interviews. and they get away with a lot of oversimplified pop sounds that no one would listen to much if it came from a no name band these days.

Posted by regisphilbman | Report as abusive

No! The Beatles will always be the best band that ever was. No argument. Everyone else pales in comparison, including the Stones.

Posted by BemisHts1777 | Report as abusive

Before the Beatles and Bob Dylan, pop songs were generally three minute affairs with conventional takes on “moon-and-June” love. Around 1965 they shattered the rules and freed the medium, both musically and lyrically. Also, their hair wasn’t just a haircut, but in the crewcut United States became a symbol of resistance to conformity and personal freedom. No other band has had such a musical and sociological impact.

Posted by Andrew Jackson | Report as abusive

Overrated? No. Have you ever seen Love… after that, I’d say they are underrated.

Posted by Darek | Report as abusive

How good were the Beatles, well all one needs to do is just watch X factor or Britains got talent.

Posted by S webster | Report as abusive

Of course they are underrated, because they are a glaring example of the proletarization of the world. Wheras the other “popular” or “jazzy” forms of music (remnants of Big Band, Be-bop, West Coast, Cool) were getting rather sofisticated, their music was simplified to the needs of teens of that time. Because it was for the first time in history that adolescents had a considerable financial clout (thanks to their unknowing parents, bruised by the war), they became outrageously successful. Financially. And changed the world music -for the worse. Left Antonio Carlos Jobim or Dave Brubeck in the dust. Elevated Elvis Presley.
Well – the music can recover from this. But I doubt it. Proletarization of the world continues . . . P

Posted by Puk | Report as abusive

The Beatles are one of the most influential pop/rock bands ever. McCartney could sing expertly in a multitude of styles and was an extremely influential pop bassist. Lennon was an artist in the extreme, always pushing the boundaries of what could be accomplished in pop music. Remember too that the majority of their recordings were created on four track recorders(!). I believe it wasn’t until either Let It Be or Abbey Road(this one for sure) that the band even used eight tracks. The production on Abbey Road is still on par with any album that has come out since.

I would love to see any number of our modern day pop/rock bands record with no more than eight tracks and without ProTools to edit all the mistakes into place. If they are lucky enough to find a producer half as good as George Martin, they might get a record that’s 1/1,000 as good as the worst Beatles track ever.

Posted by Jack | Report as abusive


Posted by phi pham | Report as abusive

Without the Beatles, there’d be no Yoko, and then where would we be?

Posted by woodrob | Report as abusive

their art was diverse as any group could be.Didn’t fall into that trap of everything sounding alike.The harmonies coming from teenagers was as art is supposed to be from Abby Road to Sgt Peppers.These songs are timeless.They are still just as enjoyable to listen to today and will be always just as sex, good food, and good frienship will always be.The quality of their art will never be diminished.Sometimes when I hear their songs it is still fresh as well as new to me.LEE

Posted by lee | Report as abusive

suppose the moon was made of cheese. would you like a slice?

Posted by Buddhika | Report as abusive

September 7th, 2009
7:44 pm GMT
their art was diverse as any group could be.Didn’t fall into that trap of everything sounding alike.The harmonies coming from teenagers was as art is supposed to be from Abby Road to Sgt Peppers.These songs are timeless.They are still just as enjoyable to listen to today and will be always just as sex, good food, and good frienship will always be.The quality of their art will never be diminished.Sometimes when I hear their songs it is still fresh as well as new to me.LEE

– Posted by lee Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Posted by lee | Report as abusive

their music so diverse mccartney from the beautiful yesterday to the headbanger helter skelter, lennon from the beautiful in my life to tommorow never knows,harrisons something to here comes the sun, and ringos octupuses garden if anything they are underated

Posted by gary | Report as abusive

You might as well say Shakespeare is overrated. The Beatles are the cultural epitomy of their generation and undeniably influential.

Posted by Chuckles McGee | Report as abusive

What a ridiculous question… The Beatles set the standard for rock music post-Elvis.

Posted by LOD_NYPD | Report as abusive

Overrated? As a pop group no. As a rock group, yes. The Who rules supreme as the greatest rock group ever.

Posted by James Lyons | Report as abusive

I’m 61 years old and grew up with all the music transformations that were occuring in the 60’s. We started the era with Chubby Checker who had everyone in the world dancing the Twist. Then we evolved into a lot of girls groups and their clones. Then came The Beach Boys and Jan & Dean and the Surf era. In 1963 the Beatles came on the scene and the whole world changed! Their music was so much different than anything else before. The bowl cut hairdoos, Beatle boots and Jackets were just a small indication of what was to come. Almost immediately came the Dave Clark Five that were going to be the new group subplanting the Beatles. Sorry, didn’t work. Little by little everything started to evolve into Beatlemania. Each album that they did was something new. Their affiliation with eastern religion and the sittar (sp?) influenced just about every other band as well as dress. Everything they did set the tone for a whole generation which still extends into today. The Stones were great, but the Beatles were one of a kind!

Posted by Herbito | Report as abusive

Far far far over rated. Are they the most popular-yes
The most talented. ha!! if they are #1 then judging by the same merits you have to give the Monkeys the # 2 spot I do not see anyone lining up to take on that argument. when the beatles fans started to grow out of the pop music they created this musical genius aura about the band same way michal jackson is called a musical genius for a man that never wrote one page of actual music

call led zeplin ,the who, the beachboys the best and then you will have an argument.
the beatles did pop music well and 13 year old girls worshiped them


Posted by bigben351 | Report as abusive

Ocopuses garden and maxwells silver hammer changed my life

Posted by bigben351 | Report as abusive

Not only the best of their era, but they get better as the years roll by. No other band has contributed so much, or lasted so long. What a pity they are no longer with us as a group…

Posted by David White | Report as abusive

They happened to be at the right place at the right time and with luck on their side had all the success they could have wished for and much more….some of their songs are iconic and define an era in music but yes it must be said they were over rated.They just had the right people managing their P.R. It just fit them perfectly.We all know that there is more than just talent involved in the music industry and so too in their case .The image they portrayed and the messages they sent out … was too much in those days the world hand never seen anything quite like it.Subsequent musicians were then compared to them and ofcourse its never quite like the first time.So yes its safe to say they were somewhat over rated

Posted by dejavous | Report as abusive

It depends on who’s answering the question. To any Beatles fan,such as myself,they are not overrated. To any person who somehow doesn’t like their music,of course they’re overrated.
The Beatles were a rare,wonderful exception in that they were both the best at what they did and the most popular.
Personally,I never would have made it through my teens and twenties without The Beatles. They are music to me. They have brought me more joy than just about anything else on the planet. It’s impossible for me to overrate what they’ve meant in my life.

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive

the beatles were great in their era. they are not the best of all either. there have been many great groups along the way. all groups and solo singers have their fame time and then someone else comes along. I still enjoy what they did but I am not a groupie. music is good for it’s time and then we move on. one cannot live in the past.

Posted by gordon peterson | Report as abusive

The value of the Beatles has to be viewed in the context of their times. Rock and Pop was sissified pap when the beatles brought the raw edge back to rock/pop. In light of groups that came later they seem tame but their innovations remain significant. They expanded the genre astronomically. So, yes. They are definitely worth the hype.

Posted by slinger10 | Report as abusive

They were good and started the whole music invasion from the UK however Cream, Pink Floyd and the Stones recorded better tunes.This because these artist understood the BLUES! But then there is a big differnce between pop and ROCK!

Posted by dan | Report as abusive

I was certainly a Beatles nut as kid and I do appreciate the enormity of their talent and what they got done in such a short time. Yet as a musician it is hard for me to say that they are not overrated at least in the sweep of history. Considering Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, et al, I would have to conclude that the Beatles influence is overrated. we live in a very decadent time and for our time they are certainly extraordinary. But they’re not Bach sized in their impact on music.

Posted by John Frantz | Report as abusive

To Paul Motter who wrote: ” when I listen to a Beatles record it is the production I appreciate the most.”

So, why you don’t listen an album of George Martin?

Why you don’t listen all the groups and artists produced by George Martin?

It’s strange, George Martin was a great producer, but nobody listen his own recording.

George Martin was a producer, and without the Beatles, today he will be unknown

“All of the orchestration, sound effects, any intrument ither than a guitar and much of the keyboard work was done by George Martin.”

Totally wrong, he said exactly the contrary on his books!

He composed only one thing: the orchestration of “Good Night”

I’m sure you are jealous of the impact of the Beatles – A group you never listen – and then you invent stories.

Posted by Pink Floyd | Report as abusive

To Ian J above:

While I, too, am a great fan of Pink Floyd, Skynyrd, and many other bands who followed the Beatles in the pantheon of rock music, you are demonstrably mistaken in your primary criticism. As an accomplished musician myself, I can assure you that, compared especially to Pink Floyd, the Beatles compositions are several orders of magnitude more complex. Their mastery of the more complex chords and their facility with the entire package of chords in any given key belies your assertion that their music was largely based in 12 bar blues progressions. The 12 bar blues progression is a very specific and very recognizable musical pattern which the Beatles used rarely, and even then only with significant modification. The overwhelming majority of their songs, from an early date, manifest a very mature understanding of music theory, albeit an understanding that was rooted in an autodidactic approach (that is, they were “self-taught,” as are most rock musicians). On the other hand (and bear in mind that I am a much greater fan of Pink Floyd than I am of the Beatles) Waters, Gilmour, and Wright–generally speaking–produced significantly simpler compositions than did the Beatles. Many of their songs are built around nothing more than a basic and unadorned three-chord progression. Beautiful stuff, but very, very simple in its construction.

Are the Beatles overrated? Not hardly. They were, and continue to be, a unique and artistically significant cultural phenomenon that is, in many ways, as relevant today as ever.

Posted by Will from Utah | Report as abusive

The Beatles were English, not Irish (one Irish surname does not make all four Irish, and the last time I looked, the Beatles were all born in England.

George Martin was pivotal to their success, but the majority of songs were Beatles songs; they had undeniable talent, great harmonies, and paved the way for the experimentalism that dominated the 60’s. They made risk taking, if only for a short while, commercially viable. They also influenced more people than any other group or movement (including punk) to take up instruments and start their own bands–there was a literal explosion of kids playing music after the Beatles made it–so in terms of influence, they are nonpareil.

12 bar blues–I think the author meant the standard rock format of a tonic, dominant, subdominant–us basic rock and rock, still followed to this day. They also did a LOT more than that.

Posted by Gary Gomes | Report as abusive

Tough Question. Though the most succesful of all rock bands, they like all artists turned out some mediocre or bad product. Though I love them I don’t think like some that they were infallible. I think that their forte was their songwriting. There were other groups who were better instrumentalists and singers. Also their timing couldn’t have been better; Buddy Holly was dead and Elvis had forgetten that he was a musician. They were great but not perfect,who is?

Posted by Anthony Zelich | Report as abusive

If you were there in the 60’s watching on Ed Sullivan it was majic. Their talent individually and collectively
would be almost impossible to reproduce today without egos and agents breaking them apart. I can’t tell you how much they affected my total character beyond the music. Fashion, politics,relationships, the world became
interconnected in as much a way as the internet has achieved but in a much more personal way. If you don’t
quite get it because you weren’t there all the same components still work and hold true. Just remember, all you need is love and baby,you’re arich man too.
Groooovey Babeee!

Posted by Robert Moore | Report as abusive

No offense to the naysayers here but if timing is everything you can’t compare Hendrix, Skynard, Springsteen. Only Dylan and the Stones were on the Beatles heels. As far as 2 minute songs go that was to fit the radio format in the day. But this same group put out ‘I am the Walrus’which blew everything written before it away.If you think diffently you’re either lying to yourself or out of your fricken mind.
This isn’t to take away from anything before or since but to put things in prospective we can all thank the Beatles for a generation of music unmatched that may never have been without them. By the way, I think some of the best music and worst music is being written today.
Not much different than the Beatles era as well, so I’d have to say music is evolving quite nicely.

Posted by Robert Moore | Report as abusive

They are absolutely overrated, just like most other bands hyped as “best ever.”

Crediting them for influencing other bands and for sparking new things in music is crediting them for one thing: being born before other bands. That’s it. So what if band A was influenced by them? What if band A was around BEFORE The Beatles? Then the argument is meaningless.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

Thank God someone said it.

Posted by Totally | Report as abusive

I am quite sure that if this question were posed to any of the musicians in the bands which have been comparitively mentioned in the previous posts, the answer would certainly be, “No, the Beatles are not over rated”. In addition, I would bet they would also add, “Thank you Beatles for the influence and the inspiration”.

Posted by George Marks | Report as abusive

Are you kidding? They were great, certainly not over rated. As were (and still are) the Moody Blues – their “Days of Future Passed” may well have influenced some of the Beatles work. Two fantastic bands.

Posted by Barbara Richards | Report as abusive

yes, they are overrated

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

While you certainly cannot deny the colossal success of The Beatles, nor the fact that they inevitably opened the doors for countless other quality acts to gain attention, I still think that they were overrated in terms of musical prowess. In my opinion, The Beatles: overrated. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, the most underrated band: Eric Burdon and the Animals.

Posted by Rider McGinn | Report as abusive

The Stone Roses / Oasis / The Arctic Monkeys are the ones overrated because today, the kids aren’t all right anymore. Any music poll in the last decade or so would’ve listed one of these “wannbes” as the best ever band. Rubbish. The Beatles are.

Posted by Wyatt Wingfoot | Report as abusive

Yep, they’re over-rated and I’m tired of hearing about them.

Posted by Doug Ramsey | Report as abusive

The Beatles collective genius, (as in all truly great composers) is in their innovative sense of harmonic flow and melody. They changed the structural landscape of popular song construction.

Posted by Dr. Dave | Report as abusive

Probably not, but I do wish Macca would gracefully retire. All the years of adulation have gone to his head (now I’m Wordsworth, now I’m Mozart). John and George must be turning in their graves.

Classic FM have a lot to answer for.

Posted by Matthew | Report as abusive

Yes they are totally overrated. The Beatles were great at writing a good melody and appropriating other musical genres. It’s always surprises me how Beatles fans very rarely listen to what influenced the Beatles, it’s as if rock and roll started and ended with the Beatles. Is it not time to for us move on as there is so much music out there to be discovered. Go and listen to Fela Kuti, Nusrat Ali Khan or Rachid Taha, the Beatles would have wanted you to.

Posted by John Carruthers | Report as abusive

We knew they were great, But never truly realised how great. Like some folks I do not play their music much. I dont need to. It is because it is in my head forever.

Posted by tim | Report as abusive

I agree with the person who gave props to George Martin.

But no question, the Beatles were brilliant. Whether they were more or less brilliant than some other influential, seminal and extremely talented band is arguable, but I do know that they were influential not just to popular music and culture, but also to alternative music and subculture.

While their early songs mastered pop perfection, it is their later, stranger songs which ultimately served to inspire so many of my favourite quote-unquote “alternative” artists such as the Throwing Muses and the Breeders, Veruca Salt, et al.

That a group of four people (well, five if you count Martin, which I do) to have had so few missteps considering the size of their oevre, would suggest that when talented artists get together and have that ineffable chemistry, combined with hard work and dedication, and you have the makings of a legend like the Beatles. They became more than the sum of their individual parts.

Posted by Krantzstone | Report as abusive

No way!! Right Place, Right time, right goup. When will the next Beatles come along? We’re going on 50 years! U2’s the only group that comes close.

Posted by Dave Flaat | Report as abusive

No. The Beatles changed music forever.

If you want to look at an OVERRATED band, take a long, hard look at U2. They haven’t made a good album in 15 years and their lead singer is an idiot. :)

Posted by NoWai | Report as abusive

Yes, the music itself is overrated!

Posted by Bhavishya Goel | Report as abusive

I lived in the far east. Hardly spoke english in my teenage years. Grew up with the music of the likes of Michael Jackson,U2, Tears for Fears etc in the 80’s loves mainstream music but when i bumped into a song called Eleanor Rigby it changed everything. This is my personal experience of Beatles’ song. Its not nostalgia, i didnt grow up with them. Its the music itself, its like a bug that bit me and infected me for life…for me they are not overrated…

Posted by sff090909 | Report as abusive

The Beatles are not overrated. Their influence on songwriting, eclectic arrangements, both vocal and instrumental infulenced almost everything that came after it. I will note that perhaps the Beatles may have been nothing more than a very good bar band had George Martin not been on the scene.The Beatles were good musicians, bt Martin added the extra quality that made them great. They also had the luxury of being ridiculously famous to the point that they could have recorded themselves burping in harmony and they would have sold a million copies.

Posted by phil | Report as abusive

If one is not educated about rock music history, then they are entitled to appreciating The Beatles. Likewise, anyone with a sense of knowledge knows that The Beatles were not as inventive as the “critics” say. Really just a bunch of hippie backwash that has dragged on for too long.

The Beatles didn’t change music at all. They changed marketing, and made pop/rock music a money-making phenomena. If anything, all of their credit should be directed towards George Martin.

Posted by West Archer | Report as abusive

You need to establish the criteria by which they are to be judged-and remember they did all their stuff as pioneers 40+ yrs ago-its easy to criticise them-they were by no means perfect-but if we are to judge them by comparison then lets have some names of those who equal or exceed them-which act of today will still have appeal for kids in 2049! johnpaulgeorgeringo ROCK ON

Posted by tim colchester | Report as abusive

No they are not over rated. Just look and listen to today’s talent…the most of it has an odor.

The Beatles were the real deal!

Posted by i, robert | Report as abusive

Way overated. The hippies killed the Beatles for me. In the 80’s when all the flower children started managing grocery stores/laundrymats/restaurants etc. they piped in their beloved Beatles. They are the soundtrack to the mundane. They score the purchasing of jelly.

Great art hangs in museums. The Beatles music is the equivilant to the “horse painting” that adornes the lobby of lesser hotel chains everywhere. Maybe once they were inspiring and artistic. Now they soundtrack my digestive process at restaurants. boring.

Posted by Buzz | Report as abusive

Pioneers? Hah! Hardly, my friend. They continued to write short pop ditties while their contemporaries were trying to record long compositions. They are number 1 in every critic’s list because they are worth a lot of money and people care to read about them because they have never grown up to real rock music. As for the rest of us, we’ll have to endure this second coming for another 20 years {sigh}.

Posted by West Archer | Report as abusive

I was a big fan when I was young. The Beatles could do no wrong. Now I look back I think they’re work is patchy. If you have any doubts of how good they could be, crank up ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and the raw rock n’ roll power of that track is still up there with the all time greats. Their ‘ yeah yeah yeah’ days grate a bit but for me the Beatles would have definitely silenced the doubters if they’d have got off that roof in ’69 and gone on tour with Billy Preston on keyboards. Sadly somebody didn’t want to do it and now we’ll never know just how good they were.

Posted by Roy Brassey | Report as abusive

The beatles are of course overrated. Their tunes are nice melodic pop tunes which deserve appreciation however what lets them down is their lyrical content. Its just not inspiring or clever. Just listen to any track by Dylan.

Posted by chris m | Report as abusive


I have never heard The Beach Boys played on any classic rock stations only oldies stations but my classic rock station plays a lot of Beatles. Infact a 48 year old DJ who is a huge Beatles fan has hosted a 2 hour Sunday morning radio show,Breakfast With The Beatles for 7 years now.

Even The Beatles early music had a much harder electric guitar sound than The Beach Boys and all of The Beach Boys radio hits were beach surfing music.

And on a Bob Dylan fan site Expecting Rain posted last year nobody on there liked The Beach Boys except 1 person,and most said they never liked The Rolling Stones that much either,but many said they think The Beatles were the most,innovative,creative,and prolific band ever and that it is amazing how much great music of all different styles they wrote and played,and recorded in just an 8 year recording career.

Posted by THE_BEATLES_WERE_BRILLIANT_&_COOL! | Report as abusive

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By John Moulis

(Australia) – See all my reviews

This review is from: The Beatles: Recording Sessions: The Official Abbey Road Studio Session Notes, 1962-1970 (Paperback)

Anybody with even a passing interest in The Beatles must have this book. Set out in a diary format it gives details of all recording sessions by the group. Sometimes it gets fairly technical with details about recording equipment, overdubs, etc but it is still essential information. One criticism, if you can call it that – most Beatles songs have gained legendary status and it can be quite disconcerting at times to have them clinically dissected in this fashion. But that is a small criticism. The fact that the book is apparently out of print is deplorable. It would be good if it were issued free whenever anybody buys their first Beatles CD, it is that important. It isn’t a book, it’s a rite of passage.

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful:

Beatles Recording Facts, Secrets, Gossip, Timeline, Trivia!, December 3, 2001
By First Things

First “captainreflection” (Burbank, CA United States) – See all my reviews

I am simply dumbfounded that this book has gone out of print. There is simply no other source for the information contained in this book, and it is consistently fascinating, entertaining and enlightening. In view of the never-ending interest in The Beatles CDs, and the fascination with how the band was able to make such huge strides forward in the evolution and revolution of pop and rock music, not to mention our popular culture in general, it is amazing that this book even exists in the first place as a miraculous wellspring of information. It contains virtually everything you would ever want to know about how all of the Beatles songs were recorded, from many different perspectives including producer George Martin, engineer Geoff Emerick, the Beatles crew members, and anyone and everyone who was present. You will see the exact sequence of events as song ideas turned to demos, demos to masters, overdubs, special effects, recording accidents, mixes and mastering. You will see how albums took shape, and songs from one period ended up on albums from another period. Amazing facts abound…how about the fact that in the entire recording history of The Beatles, drummer Ringo Starr never made a musical mistake which caused the tape machines to stop rolling. Think about it…a perfect record of studio drumming! With all the complexity and variety of the music, not to mention 16-20 hour recording sessions for months on end, with guitars hitting wrong notes, voices cracking, piano note bloopers etc. A truly amazing feat! As the owner of both a Hardcover copy and a Softcover copy of this book, I suddenly realize that I am far richer than I thought! Find this book, read it, study it, and treasure it!

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:

Behind the Creative Genius of a Groundbreaking Band, March 4, 1999
By A Customer

This review is from: The Beatles: Recording Sessions: The Official Abbey Road Studio Session Notes, 1962-1970 (Paperback)

This is the real thing. Instead of concentrating on third-hand gossip and rumors or the trivialities of a group that was much more humble than its devotees, Mark Lewisohn delves into the actual music of the Beatles. I loved the accounts of the Fab Four recording “A Day in the Life,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” and “Tomorrow Never Knows.” This amazingly rich book gives detailed accounts of how the Beatles, AS A GROUP, came up with the sounds that broke down the barriers of pop music. As a musician, I found Mark Lewisohn’s portrayal of the Beatles genius (especially that of John Lennon and Paul McCartney) to be completely thorough and accurate, as well as insightful. If you are to buy any one Beatles book, buy this one!

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:

An excellent resource for those who care how the Beatles made magic, August 19, 2005

By Danno (NY, NY) – See all my reviews

Some Beatles books are gossipy, and others feature questionable armchair critical analyses of their music. Lewisohn takes a totally different approach. Working with the original Abbey Road studio logs, he’s created a day-by-day record of what the Beatles were doing in Abbey Road studios, who played what instruments, and how long it took them to record and write their songs.

I own a first edition of this book and have used it ever since I bought a used copy sometime in the early 1990s. I reread it many times that summer, and that somewhat battered, oversized copy still sits on my shelf. It’s a book I returned to when I set up a mini home recording studio, and returned to yet again when I was learning how to mix my sounds. Although this is not a “how-to” book, you can learn an awful lot about good recording and mixing technique by carefully reading it.

Furthermore, Lewisohn packed his text with surprises. I, for one, was shocked to learn how primitive Abbey Road’s technology was, even by the standards of a British studio in the 1960s. I was also surprised to learn why the mono and stereo mixes of the Beatles’ music often sounded so different from one another even though they were mixed from the same masters. Also, it’s amazing to learn just how quickly some seemingly complex tracks were put together, while some seemingly simple songs took far more work. As a side benefit, Lewisohn’s comprehensive notes probably knocked the wind out of more than one bootlegger trying to pass off BBC radio performances as lost studio recordings of Beatle tracks! Throughout, there are many, many excellent photos – many of which have not been reproduced elsewhere. Just when you think Lewisohn’s run out of goodies, there’s a rare interview with Paul McCartney that touches on the songwriting process.

I can’t rate this as a five star book although I’d like to. As good as Lewisohn is, there are a lot of minor details here that are misleading or just plain wrong. Lewisohn can’t seem to tell phasing from flanging (two very different techniques to create swirling electric guitar sounds). He also prints quotes from studio musicians without elaboration, leading me to believe he has a weak grasp on performance and theory. For example, one horn player describes a McCartney song as being “between the cracks” of two different keys; the song in question actually seems to have been recorded slightly flat and sped up to normal pitch upon playback, but we have no way of knowing what the horn player actually meant without more information. The average reader might walk away thinking that the song used two different keys, unless he also knew that the song was in a single key. I’m surprised an editor didn’t catch this stuff.

If you’re a Beatles fan who could care less about their personal lives, but would love to learn more about how they created their studio albums – this book is for you. If you’re interested in home recording, you’ll learn lots of tidbits here too. Lewisohn deserves a lot of credit for creating this resource, and I wish that it weren’t such a difficult book to find.

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:

Invaluable and Insightful-Here, There, and Everywhere, June 9, 1999
By Tim Steinert

( (Portland, Oregon) – See all my reviews

This review is from: The Beatles: Recording Sessions: The Official Abbey Road Studio Session Notes, 1962-1970 (Paperback)
This book has been a constant source for Beatles trivia- not to mention a roaring good read! I read through it 3 or 4 times a year. As a musician myself, I find its insights into the Beatles “what the hell- let’s try it!” mentality refreshing (in a time where the music business has become stiflingly boring and so much music is trite and disposable). Unfortunately, my cat had a great love for the book as well-especially page 91 and 92, so now I’m screwed!! Please reprint this book!!!

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:

A must-have for musician Beatlemaniacs, February 13, 2005
By twinsongsun “twinsongsun” (New England, USA) – See all my reviews

This review is from: The Beatles: Recording Sessions: The Official Abbey Road Studio Sessions

I love The Beatles records and have since my Dad purchased “Meet the Beatles” in 1966. The first records I bought on my own, as soon as I had a paper route and spending money, were The Beatles’ LPs, in order of American release. I even knew the exact running time of every Beatles song and couldn’t imagine that there were people in the world who didn’t know every Beatles song. If you’re like me, the revelation of the details of the recording of every Beatles track, as detailed in this book, will be a thrill to pore over.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:

Beatles recording history, January 1, 2001
By RAS (Vancouver Canada) – See all my reviews

I walked into my university bookstore years ago during a book sale and I spotted this book… “Some Beatle garbage” I said to myself. Then I found myself buying the book…!
Then I found myself buying all the Beatles CD’s so I could listen to the music that was described in the book…

I think the Beatles ARE BRILLIANT and I despair what to think my life would have been without the Beatles!! I just spent the whole day of New Year’s Eve listening to various Beatle cds and other sources!! This is a great book! and it’s not being published…! :(

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A Must Read for any Beatle Fan, January 29, 1999
By A Customer

This review is from: The Beatles: Recording Sessions: The Official Abbey Road Studio Session Notes, 1962-1970 (Paperback)
By far, the most complete and technically articulate of any of the Beatle’s books in print. Lewisohn crafts a marvelously detailed chronological sequence of all of the Beatles’ sessions from their debut meeting with George Martin to the last days of “Let It Be”. The result is a perfect blend of both the artistic and often overlooked technical genius of both the Beatles and the various studio engineers that made it all happen.
If (like me) you have ever wondered why “Rain” sounds raised an octave, just how Mr. Martin managed to meld two different songs in “Strawberry Fields”, or what the heck instrument they used for the its intro, you will not be dissappointed in this reference.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
one of the best Beatles books, October 13, 1998
By A Customer

Painstakingly researched, beautifully written, and containing many good photographs, this is surely one of the best books on the Beatles ever written. The creation of the Beatles’ enduring body of work is lovingly described. A must for all recording buffs or Beatles fans – a great reference tome, fun for browsing, and best when read cover-to-cover with obsessive delight. The facts herein speak for themselves.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
AMAZING, April 14, 2005
By D. Thomas “” (NY) – See all my reviews

This review is from: The Beatles: Recording Sessions: The Official Abbey Road Studio Session Notes, 1962-1970 (Paperback)
This book is a must for any Beatle-fan, or anyone working in a studio who knows the Beatles’ music. The book is a cornucopia of information on how the Beatles’ music was created in the studio. Sit down with the book and the CDs, and listen to each song as your read Lewisohn’s description of the recording session. It’s like being there!

Beatles Gear, Revised Edition by Andy Babiuk (Paperback – October 1, 2002)
60 Reviews
5 star: (54)
4 star: (6)

Posted by THE_BEATLES_WERE_BRILLIANT_&_COOL! | Report as abusive

Also I read an online interview around 2002 with George Martin where he says that even though he has worked with many other music artists he still has never known or worked with anyone as brilliant as The Beatles! And he said on a radio show on The Beatles I once heard the very true and obvious that, “John Lennon and Paul McCartney were incredibly talented people and both were extraordinarily talented song writers and great singers.

Posted by THE_BEATLES_WERE_BRILLIANT_&_COOL! | Report as abusive

Overrated? Certainly NOT. My kids were born between 1991 to 1999 and all of them and their friends love the Beatles. Definitely, I can’t tell them what to like or not. It’s a truth nobody can deny. The question, how can a very distant past still kicking very hard and alive soundly if not for whatever their worth? Whenever we have a big family gathering, the Beatles becomes our (grand parents, parents, kids) common denominator! We compete one another in our knowledge about the Beatles’s songs and sing their songs until we’re out of our breath. When the gathering is over, we bring home our happy feeling and the widest grin. The gathering becomes a treasured memory while looking forward for a reason to have another one in the near future. Lastly, mind you… we’re in Indonesia, very far away from the cradle of Western Civilization. Thus, overrated? I’d like the idea that perhaps the Beatles is even bigger than “overrated.”

Posted by moly69x | Report as abusive