Top 100 Hard Rock Groups
#11 The Beatles
By James West, The-Rocker.com
I should be ashamed of myself for not having The Beatles at the very top of my favorite Bands list. After all, they are responsible for probably every band on this list! To say they aren’t is an injustice to both those bands and to the fabulous four.
Straight from Wikipedia:
The Beatles are the best-selling band in history, with estimated sales of over 800 million physical and digital albums worldwide. They have had more number-one albums on the British charts and sold more singles in the UK than any other act. They are also the best-selling music artists in the United States, with 178 million certified units. In 2008, the group topped Billboard magazine's list of the all-time most successful artists; as of 2017, they hold the record for most number-one hits on the Hot 100 chart with twenty.
They have received seven Grammy Awards, an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score and fifteen Ivor Novello Awards. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, and all four main members were inducted individually from 1994 to 2015. They were also collectively included in Time magazine's compilation of the twentieth century's 100 most influential people.
And I have them at number 11? What the hell? Oh well… being a rebel in the world of rock and roll really was the goal of the band in my opinion anyways. So maybe not having them number 1 is my way of being the rebel of the rock critic world. Plus, I think I was just too young to fully appreciate everything they brought to the table. Just think about it- The Beatles were really the first group to actually write their own songs, play their own instruments, and produce themselves (with help from George Martin). Melodies, riffs, backbeat, harmonies, and style- all developed from four young lads from Liverpool, in an age where Freedom Of Speech was just coming into its own. Damn right they were rebels!
Turning Seven at the start of the Seventies I was really behind the eight-ball in their fast rise to fame, and by the time I even got into music in general they were gone in a flash, or a bullet in John’s case. I remember my aunt Charlene having the 45 combo of Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out. She would turn it up and open the windows so my sister Tammy and I could dance around outside in her front yard while playing and generally getting into trouble. I also have a flashback of playing pool with some other kids and hearing songs from Abbey Road in the background. I remember really liking the vocals but thought the songs themselves were a little to “poppy” for my taste.
It was after my harder, harder, harder! Phase in the late Seventies with bands like Aerosmith, Kiss, Ted Nugent, and Montrose that I decided to go back to the Sixties and truly give those bands a listen. I was amazed that what I liked from the 70s really was just harder renditions of what came before in the 60s! I believe I was finally old enough to truly appreciate great song structure and melody of late-era Beatles, The Doors, and Cream.
Not so much the early, poppy Beatles, but starting with songs like Ticket To Ride through albums Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s, and especially The White Album, I fell hopelessly I love with everything they delivered during their late 60’s period. It was only then that I could truly realize the impact they had on all my 70’s bands like Aerosmith, Kiss, Queen, Cheap Trick, and Ted Nugent.
Then, 80’s bands like Loverboy, Night Ranger, and even Ozzy Osbourne. Then, 90’s bands like Nirvana, Oasis, REM, and Smashing Pumpkins. The long list of influence continues even now. Every Rock group that I love has a huge debt to pay to groups like The Beatles, The Who, and The Yardbirds from the 60’s. And The Train Keeps A Rollin…
It’s hard to pick my favorite Beatles song. I have always loved the window-shattering distortion of Revolution, but I’m equally infatuated with ballad-type build-ups like Dear Prudence. I love the Indian-tinged stylings of Within You Without You and the orchestrated masterpieces like A Day In The Life. That’s the beauty of the The Beatles. You ask anyone about their favorite song and you’ll get something you don’t expect. For this reason alone maybe they deserve to be truly number One; because they have so many songs that are number One with so many different fans.
Who is my favorite Beatle? That’s tough too! I’m usually drawn to the lead guitarist so the Dark Horse George Harrison should have my vote. I love John Lennon’s voice so maybe him? Ringo’s drumming is so underrated along with his contributions so maybe give it to him? But the more I read and discover about Sir Paul McCartney the more I admire everything about him. I feel he truly was the originator and motivator of the group. His work ethic was, and still is, unmatched. His ability to take his own interests from Indian music, psychedelic experimentation, along with avant garde and the arts, and make them as one with his roots in rock and roll is truly unmatched by any musician in the history of popular music. All this, along with the fact that The Walrus was Paul make him my favorite Beatle!
Whoever you choose as your favorite of the Fab Four just know that it was truly the sum of all parts that made this band that good. To me, The Beatles should be like Boot Camp to musicians. Just like you have go to Basic Training before you can go to war, every aspiring musician and vocalist should have to listen and study The Beatles before attempting to do battle in the Kingdom Of Rock. This would weed out all the one-hitters and bull shi**ers who feel they deserve to take four to five minutes of my life having to listen to their nonsense. I know it's a hard standard and level to attain, but just think of what true originality and quality we could hear from that devotion and dedication. This may truly be our last hope in saving Rock and Roll. But, at least I know that if it all goes to Helter Skelter I will still have my White Album!