The Beatles' influence on popular culture
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The Beatles influence on rock music and popular culture was, and remains, immense. Their commercial success commenced an immediate wave of changes—including a shift from US global dominance of rock and roll to UK acts, from soloists to groups, from professional songwriters to self-penned songs, and to changes in fashion and lifestyle.
Album format and covers
Prior to The Beatles' influence, record albums were of secondary consideration to singles ("45s") in mass marketing, generally devised to contain "filler" material along with one or two hits. As their career proceeded, however, The Beatles began to increasingly focus on the album as an artistic medium in its own right. In general the Beatles did not include their singles on their albums. Several Beatles album covers have been copied or parodied, for example:
- All of the band's album covers were spoofed by the parody band The Rutles in their 1978 mockumentary All You Need Is Cash.
- With The Beatles was defaced by Meet The Residents (The Residents) and more or less loosely imitated by Get The Knack (The Knack), Meet The Smithereens! (The Smithereens), Young Black Teenagers self-titled debut album, Kiss's self-titled debut album, and Deface the Music (Utopia) – itself an album of pastiches spanning The Beatles' career. As well, the Japanese anime soundtrack Meet the Tenchi Muyo! parodies the cover, though no Beatles songs are used. The artwork of the 1986 Genesis single Land of Confusion, is a parody of the original Beatles cover, with puppet versions of the members of Genesis.
- A Hard Day's Night was imitated by House of Heroes Meets The Beatles (House of Heroes).
- Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was imitated by The Yellow Album (The Simpsons), We're Only in It for the Money (Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention), Cripple Crow (Devendra Banhart), Sinister Slaughter (Macabre), Electric Circus (Common), and Let's Eat (The Wiggles)
- Abbey Road was imitated by The Abbey Road E.P. (Red Hot Chili Peppers), and the soul act ' New York City' did the same thing with their 1974 album Soulful Road. The cover of the Booker T. and the MGs album, McLemore Avenue is an homage to Abbey Road.
- Let It Be was imitated by Demon Days (Gorillaz), and Shout at the Devil (Mötley Crüe).
Richard Lester received a formal letter from MTV declaring him the father of the modern pop video, for the work he did directing both of the early Beatles films, A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965). His revolutionary camera techniques together with short lines of dialogue and rapid editing cuts to the beat were all seen as the precursor to the modern rock video.
In the mid-1960s, The Beatles began filming promotional music videos for their songs, which they sent to television networks in lieu of appearing in person. Starting with the promotional clip for "Rain" in 1966, these films began using many techniques previously only seen in experimental film, such as intensive use of slow-motion and reversed film. This approach was further taken to new heights with the groundbreaking promo clip for "Strawberry Fields Forever", directed by Swedish television director Peter Goldman in January 1967 which, besides the techniques already seen in "Rain", also used intricate jump-cuts that rapidly alternated between night and day, switching colour temperature filters during the song's outro extensive post-production colour filtering and other avant-garde devices. These techniques were later copied and the use of such film and videos started the now common practice of releasing a video clip to accompany singles.
In May 1966, John Lennon said of people covering their songs, "Lack of feeling in an emotional sense is responsible for the way some singers do our songs. They don't understand and are too old to grasp the feeling. Beatles are really the only people who can play Beatle music."
Although many artists have performed covers of songs by The Beatles, the following are among the most notable:
On 4 June 1967, the Jimi Hendrix Experience played their last show in England, at London's Saville Theatre, before heading to America. Two Beatles (Paul McCartney and George Harrison) were in attendance, along with: Brian Epstein, Eric Clapton, Spencer Davis, Jack Bruce, and pop singer Lulu.
Hendrix opened the show with his own rendition of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", which he had learned in the few days leading up to the show. Harrison and McCartney were extremely impressed by this, especially because it was played on the Sunday after the release of Sgt. Pepper the previous Friday. McCartney had publicly endorsed Hendrix for months, before Hendrix broke into the UK music scene. Hendrix also played "Day Tripper," which can be found on the live albums Radio One and BBC Sessions.
Joe Cocker's first album was called With a Little Help from My Friends and contained a song with the same name. He had completely revamped the Lennon/McCartney song by changing it to a 12/8 blues/rock song. The Beatles heard it before its release, as the producer was uncertain as to how they would react to such a radical overhaul of one of their tracks. The Beatles agreed that it was a great version.
Cocker's version was later used as the theme song for the TV show The Wonder Years.
In the album "Joe Cocker!" he also sang: "She came in through the bathroom window" and "Something".
David Bowie covered "Across the Universe" on his 1975 album Young Americans. John Lennon was partly involved in the making of the album. Bowie revamped the song into a soul version, eliminating the monotone vocals used in the Beatles version (and other covers of the song), as well as eliminating the "jai guru deva om" part of the chorus.
Also, in the title track from Young Americans, a chorus sings "I read the news today oh boy" alluding to "A Day in the Life".
In 1976, Keith Moon of The Who covered the Beatles' "When I'm Sixty-Four" for the soundtrack of the documentary All This and World War II, and sang backing vocals (with many others) on "All You Need Is Love". Moon also covered "In My Life" on his album Two Sides of the Moon.
Moon once approached the Beatles' table at a London nightclub. "Can I join you?" he asked. "Yeah, sure," said Starr, as he pulled up a seat for Moon. Moon then said, "No, can I join you?", implying that he wanted to join the band. Ringo replied with, "No, we've already got a drummer." The last photo of Lennon and McCartney together was owned by Moon.
Moon's final night out was as a guest of McCartney at the preview of the film The Buddy Holly Story. After dinner with Paul and Linda McCartney, Moon and his girlfriend—Annette Walter-Lax—left the party early and they returned to his flat in Curzon Place, London. He later died in his sleep.
Peter Sellers recited the lyrics of "A Hard Day's Night" in a "Shakespearian" voice, (in the style of Laurence Olivier playing Richard III) with minimal backing music. Sellers' recording reached #14 on the UK charts in 1965.
He deliberately changed the tempo and dynamics of the original lyrics to make them comical. He left definite pauses between words, such as:
"But when I get home to you... I find the things that you do... will make me feel (pause) all right."
Sellers had casual friendships with Harrison and Starr. Harrison told occasional Sellers stories in interviews, and Starr appeared with Sellers in the anarchic movie, The Magic Christian (1970), whose theme song was Badfinger's cover version of McCartney's "Come and Get It". Starr also gave Sellers a rough mix of songs from The Beatles. The tape was auctioned, and bootlegged, after his death.
Other successful cover versions
- Elton John collaborated with John Lennon in 1974 and recorded "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", while Elton John appeared in Lennon's "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night". (For more information, see Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds#Elton John version.)
- Earth, Wind & Fire recorded "Got to Get You into My Life".
- Stevie Wonder covered "We Can Work It Out" on his 1970 album Signed, Sealed, and Delivered. The single reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, and earned him his second Grammy Award nomination in 1972, for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
- Frank Sinatra covered "Yesterday" and George Harrison's "Something" even though he once famously said (at a live concert) that it was his favourite Lennon and McCartney song.
- Ray Charles covered "Eleanor Rigby" and "Yesterday" and was known for his appreciation of The Beatles' music.
- Siouxsie and the Banshees featuring Robert Smith of The Cure on guitars, recorded a cover of "Dear Prudence" in 1983 and peaked at number 3 in the UK singles charts.
- Wet Wet Wet had their first Number 1 hit with "With a Little Help from My Friends" in 1988.
- Rosanne Cash topped the Country charts with a cover of "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" in 1989.
- Rufus Wainwright and Fiona Apple covered "Across the Universe" (the latter for the Pleasantville soundtrack).
- Franz Ferdinand covered "It Won't Be Long" live.
- A number of artists have rerecorded the whole Sgt. Pepper album, such as Oasis, Kaiser Chiefs, Travis, Bryan Adams, and Cheap Trick.
- Elliott Smith recorded a version of "Because", which was played over the end credits of the film American Beauty.
- Aimee Mann and Michael Penn recorded a cover of "Two of Us" on the I Am Sam soundtrack. Also, Mann recorded a version of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".
- Also, singer-songwriter Ben Folds covered "Golden Slumbers" on the I Am Sam soundtrack.
- Phish covered the White Album in its entirety on 31 October 1994 in Glens Falls, NY as part of their Halloween "musical costume." The show was later released as Live Phish Volume 13. Phish also covered "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "A Day In The Life" regularly in their live performances.
- Wilson Pickett covered "Hey Jude", which was a #16 pop hit.
- In 1995, the Argentine band Los Fabulosos Cadillacs did a reggae cover of the song "Strawberry Fields Forever" with Blondie's Debbie Harry.
- In 2004, Styx covered "I Am the Walrus". The cover hit the top 10 on the Mediabase Classic Rock chart just 2 weeks after being released.
- In 2006, Os Mutantes played a version of "I feel a little spaced out (Ando meio desligado)" which included a guitar solo that cited "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"'s solo, together with voices that sang The Beatles' song's chorus. It was recorded on the live album Mutantes Ao Vivo - Barbican Theatre, Londres 2006.
- Mae's 2006 album The Everglow: Special Edition featured a cover of "A Day In The Life"
- In December 2007, Ozzy Osbourne covered "In My Life", for a video clip
- Silverstien's 2009 album Shipwreck in the Sand featured a cover of "Help!"
- Big Time Rush covered "Revolution" "A Hard Day's Night" "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" "Can't Buy Me Love" for their movie Big Time Movie.
The Beatles were the first entertainment act to stage a large stadium concert. At Shea Stadium, New York City on Sunday, 15 August 1965 the group opened their 1965 North American tour to a record audience of 55,600. The event sold out in 17 minutes. It was the first concert to be held at a major outdoor stadium and set records for attendance and revenue generation, demonstrating that outdoor concerts on a large scale could be successful and profitable. The Beatles returned to Shea for a very successful encore in August 1966.
The Beatle haircut, also known as the mop-top (or moptop) — because of its resemblance to a mop — or Arthur amongst fans, is a mid-length hairstyle named after and popularized by the Beatles. It is a straight cut – collar-length at the back and over the ears at the sides, with a straight fringe (bangs).
As a schoolboy in the mid '50s, Jürgen Vollmer had left his hair hanging down over his forehead one day after he had gone swimming, not bothering to style it. John Lennon is quoted in The Beatles Anthology as follows: "Jürgen had a flattened-down hairstyle with a fringe in the back, which we rather took to."
In late 1961, Vollmer moved to Paris. McCartney said in a 1979 radio interview: "We saw a guy in Hamburg whose hair we liked. John and I were hitchhiking to Paris. We asked him to cut our hair like he cut his." McCartney also wrote in a letter to Vollmer in 1989: "George explained in a 60s interview that it was John and I having our hair cut in Paris which prompted him to do the same…. We were the first to take the plunge."
Because of the immense popularity of the Beatles, the haircut was widely imitated worldwide between 1964 and 1966. Their hair-style led toy manufacturers to begin producing real-hair and plastic "Beatle Wigs". Lowell Toy Manufacturing Corp. of New York was licensed to make "the only AUTHENTIC Beatle Wig". There have been many attempts at counterfeiting, but in its original packaging this wig has become highly collectible. At a press conference at the Plaza Hotel in New York, shortly after the Beatles' arrival in the United States, Harrison was asked by a reporter, "What do you call your hairstyle?" He replied "Arthur". The scene was recreated in the movie A Hard Day's Night with the reporter asking George Harrison, "What would you call that, uh, hairstyle you're wearing?"
Mikhail Safonov wrote in 2003 that in the Brezhnev-dominated Soviet Union, mimicking The Beatles' hairstyle was seen as extremely rebellious. Young people were called "hairies" by their elders, and were arrested and forced to have their hair cut in police stations.
In 1967, most memorably on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, all four of The Beatles sported prominent moustaches, sparking a trend for facial hair towards the end of the 60s and through the 1970s; additionally, Harrison also began to sport long hair while Lennon began to wear his signature round glasses. This look signalled a new, more mature image for the "mop tops." By the late 1960s, The Beatles generally had much longer hair than they had during the Beatlemania era, and often wore full beards, much like rock stars such as Jeff Lynne and Phil Collins would do so in the 1970s.
In the early Beatle-mania years, The Beatles would occasionally wear black, and then later grey, Edwardian collarless suits. This style of suit was adopted from the Mod youth cult, then at its peak in the UK. These suits (instead of leather trousers, plaid shirts, and slacks) became extremely common for new bands to wear after 1964.
Later, during the psychedelic era of 1967–1968, The Beatles popularised bright colours, and wore paisley suits and shirts and trousers with floral patterns. The Beatles also popularised Indian-influenced fashions such as collarless shirts and sandals.
By the late 1960s, The Beatles had adopted trends toward more casual fashions, with t-shirts, blue jeans, and denim jackets. Lennon also popularised wearing solid white suits, reflecting an interest in minimalist design that also influenced the cover of the album The Beatles. This mixture of casual wear and unconventional formal clothing could be seen in The Beatles' later years as they grew beards and drifted towards more hippie and Indian clothing.
Beatle boots are tight-fitting, Cuban-heeled, ankle-length boots with a pointed toe which originated in 1963 when Brian Epstein discovered Chelsea boots while browsing in the London footwear company Anello & Davide, and consequently commissioned four pairs (with the addition of Cuban heels) for The Beatles to complement their new suit image upon their return from Hamburg, who wore them under drainpipe trousers.
The style of hat worn by Lennon and his wife Cynthia on the Beatles' tour of the U.S. in 1964 was adopted widely by both men and women. In 1966, during the filming of How I Won the War, Lennon adopted round, thin-rimmed "teashade glasses," which became a signature element of Lennon's look. This style of eyewear is still popularly known as "John Lennon glasses."
- Beatlemania: Broadway musical that ran for 920 performances from 1977 through 1979.
- Love: Cirque du Soleil show which opened in June 2006 at The Mirage in Las Vegas.
- RAIN – A Tribute to the Beatles: Broadway musical that ran for 300 performances from 2010 through 2011.
- Let It Be: Musical which opened at the West End in 2012 and Broadway in 2013.
The hit UK TV show Absolutely Fabulous, better known as "Ab-Fab", filmed a whole episode based on finding the "Lost Tapes" of the Beatles. Robert Lindsay played a fictional tape engineer who used to work at Abbey Road Studios during the time that The Beatles worked there.
A long scene was filmed in the Abbey Road Studios: Joanna Lumley pressed the record button by mistake on the reel-to-reel recorder while she was looking for a second bottle of champagne in the control room. In the meantime, Jennifer Saunders unknowingly sang over the tapes, and they were lost forever. When Robert Lindsay played the tapes at the party and realised that they were lost forever, he promptly collapsed on the floor.
In the The Simpsons Season 5 opening episode, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet", Homer, Skinner, Apu, and Barney form a group called the Be Sharps, which rapidly rises to the top. There are numerous references to the Beatles, such as Barney dating a Japanese conceptual artist (a parody of Yoko Ono) playing a song that repeats "number 8", a "Revolution 9" parody, and the Be Sharps naming their second album "bigger than Jesus". It ends with them singing on the rooftop of Moe's bar. The episode even includes a cameo by George Harrison, who meets Homer (but Homer cares more about his brownie than the legend), and later appears in a limousine while the Be Sharps sing on the rooftop, remarking that "It's been done." Homer later states to the crowd, "I'd like to thank you on behalf of the group, and I hope we passed the audition", but Barney is the one who does not understand what he means. ("I don't get it.")
In the Season 7 episode, "Lisa the Vegetarian", Paul McCartney and then-wife Linda McCartney appear at the roof of the Kwik-E-Mart to give Lisa guidance of being a vegetarian. In the end they ask her if she would like to hear a song, Lisa is thrilled and agrees. But in a twist they go to Apu to sing a song (on a tabla – an off key version of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band") – while they snap to his beat, and when Lisa says she ran away from home Paul says the line,"What! She's Leaving Home!?",a reference to the song on the Beatles album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".
The three Beatles who were alive in the 1990s recorded their voices for The Simpsons. Ringo appeared on "Brush with Greatness", Paul and Linda McCartney on "Lisa the Vegetarian", and George on the "Homer's Barbershop Quartet" episode. The John Lennon song "Mother" appeared in one episode ("My Mother the Carjacker").
Other television appearances
- In the American television show Animaniacs, the voice of the character Wakko Warner is modelled after the voice of Ringo Starr. His voice was originally going to be modelled after John Lennon, but the voice actor, Jess Harnell, raised the pitch and made it more like Ringo after he saw that Wakko was "a little guy."
- Also in Animaniacs, episode 73 contains a skit called "A Hard Day's Warners", a parody of the film A Hard Day's Night, in which the Warners run from their fans as they try to reach a cartoon convention.
- In the episode "Rockabye Freakie" of the American television show Growing Up Creepie, the group is parodied as four beetles with Liverpool accents, who usually speak their lines in mellow, musical tune.
- In the American television show Pinky and the Brain, episode number 34 is titled "All You Need is Narf", a parody of the Beatles' song "All You Need is Love". The episode is a parody of The Beatles and their encounter with the Maharishi.
- In the episode "Bomb" of the English sitcom The Young Ones, Neil says to Mike, "John Lennon once said, 'a man with an arm full of takeaway is either very hungry or knows someone who's very hungry'." In the episode "Boring", while Vyvyan, Rick, Mike and Neil are walking across a zebra crossing, they mimic the album cover of Abbey Road.
- On Nickelodeon in a behind the scenes fact of SpongeBob SquarePants, Plankton has an album hit called Krabby Road (referring to Abbey Road by The Beatles), which shows him walking on Abbey Road. Also, in addition the episode "Nautical Novice" features the Yellow Submarine in a museum of boating.
- "The Hatrocks and The Gruesomes", the 22 January 1965 episode of The Flintstones, features a band with The Beatles' trademark mop-top hair that plays "bug music", a parody of the "yeah, yeah, yeah" refrain from "She Loves You".
- The early 90s series Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad featured an episode entitled "Amp Loves You! Yea, Yea, Yea."
- Pinky and Perky, a children's puppet programme from the late 1957 until 1971 featured occasional appearances from "The Beakles", a crow based version of The Beatles.
- The Beatles TV series, a late 1960s American fictional animated television series featuring the musical misadventures of The Beatles.
- The Rutles, a mid-1970s series of sketches on the BBC television series Rutland Weekend Television, which would lead to the 1978 mockumentary film All You Need Is Cash.
- Sesame Street featured a parody band called "the Beetles", a group of four bugs with Liverpool accents and Beatle hair performing parodies of their songs, such as "Letter B" and "Hey Food".
- In The Powerpuff Girls episode "Meet the Beat-Alls", Mojo Jojo, "Him", Princess Morbucks, and Fuzzy Lumpkins form a group of supervillains named "The Beat-Alls". There are many additional references to the Beatles, their history, songs, and albums through the episode. Also, in one part of the episode, all 4 Beatles appear in their animated forms from the "Yellow Submarine" film.
- The Beatles were mentioned in an episode of Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 titled "Kootie Pie Rocks", where Kootie Pie threatened to turn her favourite band Milli Vanilli into beetles (she meant the Buzzy Beetles from the game). Rob and Fab comment "Who wants to be a band from the '60s?".
- Also, in the episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show called "Princess, I Shrunk the Marios", Mario and Luigi are shrunk down to the sizes of bugs, and in one scene, they are underground running away from 4 beetles with the faces of all 4 Beatles and mop-top haircuts. Mario even admits that he hates Beatles.
- The cast of British soap EastEnders sang a number of songs of the set of the programme for Children in Need 2007. They sang Beatles songs including, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", "Fixing a Hole" and "With a Little Help from My Friends". The performance also marked the 40th anniversary of the release of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.
- Nick Jr's The Wonder Pets premiered an episode called "Save The Beetles" in which the Pets save four beetles with mop top hair cuts stuck in a yellow submarine, referenced to one of the Beatles' songs, "Yellow Submarine". The episode also draws musical inspiration from the band itself.
- An episode of the Disney Channel original series Phineas and Ferb is entitled "A Hard Day's Knight," a parody of the Beatles' hit song "A Hard Day's Night". Also, Phineas, Ferb, and Baljeet make a band called "The Baljeetles", a parody of The Beatles. "
- Before Cleveland left Quahog in the first episode of The Cleveland Show, Peter, Joe, and Quagmire are dressed in the Sgt. Pepper costumes saying they are going to find a new Ringo.
- In an episode of Rocko's Modern Life, Rocko claims that "Everybody's got something to hide except meat and my monkey".
- In the South Park episode "Free Hat", the character Stan mentions The White Album in defending the integrity of original artwork and not changing it.
- Nickelodeon's Back at the Barnyard has an episode titled "A Barn Day's Night" where the play a song of the same name which is a reference to "A Hard Day's Night." The band they form is called "The Weaviles", a reference to "The Beatles". They also dress like The Beatles in their early years.
- God Rocks!, a Christian show on TBN, Smile of a Child and Daystar, has a band on it named The Beat Stones, which is a parody of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
- In the television show Friends, when Phoebe finds her birth mother, she says they do not have anything in common. They later discover they both like The Beatles. Also, in Phoebe's wedding, while she's walking down the aisle an instrumental version of "Here, There and Everywhere" is playing.
- In the Total Drama World Tour opening theme, Noah and Leshawna are seen dancing in exactly the same spot The Beatles were on the Abbey Road cover.
- In the episode of Scrubs where Turk and Carla get married, their first dance at their wedding reception was to "Eight Days a Week".
- There is an episode of the Disney Channel show Hannah Montana that is titled "Miley in the Sky with Diamonds", which is a reference to the Beatles' song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".
- Former ECW wrestler, Brian Heffron, goes under the name of Blue Meanie
- There's an episode in SpongeBob SquarePants called "Krabby Road", the title card of the episode has a similar style of that of the back cover of Abbey Road
- In the last scene of the 23 May 1999 series finale Tia and Tamera sitcom, Sister, Sister, Roger (Marques Houston) sings the wedding song "In My Life" of his neighbour of Tia and Tamera Mowry's (Tia and Tamera Mowry) Lisa (Jackee Harry) who married to Victor (Richard Lawson) in the episode, "Fly Away Home".
- The title of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Yoko Factor" refers to Yoko Ono's role in the Beatles' break-up (also addressed during the episode by one of the characters).
- In the TV show Adventure Time, in the house of Marceline the Vampire Queen, a yellow album hanging on her wall looks like The Beatles' Abbey Road.
- On The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson in the Tweetmail segment, Ferguson will sometimes use an intro for it performing an all roles of a fictional band called The Tweets. Ferguson in multiple roles wears the suits made famous in the band's early career. It is even shown in black & white. Ferguson also dons a mustache similar to Ringo Starr and plays bass left-handed just like Paul McCartney.
- In American television show Breaking Bad's season 3 episode "One Minute", the smarmy lawyer Saul Goodman makes a joke about the relative cuteness of partners Walt and Jesse after Jesse's face was savagely beaten, cracking "Paul meet Ringo, Ringo meet Paul."
- In a parody of The Beatles and Beatlemania, Gilligan's Island had an episode titled, "Don't Bug the Mosquitos", where The Mosquitos arrive on the island to get away from their fans.
- Magical Mystery Cure is the title of season 3, episode 13 from TV show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and makes reference to The Beatles' album Magical Mystery Tour.
- The film I Wanna Hold Your Hand is about "Beatlemania" and is a fictionalised account of the day of the Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
- The rock musical Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, released in 1978, featured Beatles covers by the Bee Gees, Peter Frampton, Aerosmith, Earth, Wind & Fire and many other musical and non-musical celebrities. It went on to be a critical and commercial disaster.
- The 2007 film Across the Universe is a musical that takes place during the 60s. 33 Beatles compositions were performed in the film along with names of characters referenced in their music and multiple small allusions to The Beatles are scatted throughout the film.
- The 1996 film That Thing You Do! tells the story of a fictional one-hit wonder rock band and makes many (indirect) references to The Beatles' career.
- The 1978 television film All You Need Is Cash (based on a single sketch from a mid-1970s sketch series called Rutland Weekend Television) traces the career of a British rock group called The Rutles in mockumentary style.
- The film Ferris Bueller's Day Off features at least two references to the Beatles: Ferris (Matthew Broderick) states his admiration of John Lennon's quote "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me," and later sneaks onto a parade float and lip-synchs to "Twist and Shout", to positive reception from the crowd.
- The film This Is Spinal Tap also pokes mild fun at the Beatles. In a flashback to the band's early days as a skiffle group (which The Beatles actually had roots in), they sing a song in the same style as older songs. They are also dressed similarly, with a grey, collarless suit and white collared shirts. Their album "Smell The Glove" has a plain black cover, parodying the Beatles' "White Album".
- In the 2007 comedy film Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, fictional Dewey Cox meets The Beatles who are purposefully portrayed satirically by Jack Black as Paul McCartney, Paul Rudd as John Lennon, Jason Schwartzman as Ringo Starr, and Justin Long as George Harrison.
- In Winning London, a film starring Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, the twins and their love interests can be seen walking down Abbey Road in one of the earlier scenes.
- In the film Top Secret!, a horse trots off singing "A Hard Day's Night."
- In the 2007 movie Superbad, the character Seth (Jonah Hill) says to Evan (Michael Cera) that looking into offscreen character Matt Muir's eyes was "like the first time he heard the Beatles".
- In the 2008 movie Yes Man, Carl Allen (Jim Carrey) sings "Can't Buy Me Love" when he sneaks into the Hollywood Bowl with Allison (Zooey Deschanel), He soon also mentions the murder of John Lennon and yells "I've got blisters on my fingers!" after playing the guitar to save a man from jumping off a building.
- In the 2008 film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Benjamin and Daisy watch The Beatles perform "Twist and Shout" on The Ed Sullivan Show.
- In the 2001 film I Am Sam, Sam's daughter is named after the song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". Lucy's idyllic early years are accompanied by "Across the Universe". At the Halloween party, "I'm Looking Through You" drives home the point that Sam is "not the same" as other adults. We see Sam and Rita's relationship grow to "Golden Slumbers". Sam's lawyer's name comes from The Beatles' song "Lovely Rita", a point made by Lucy. At the end of the film, "Two of Us" is used.
- In the 2009 film (500) Days of Summer, Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) claims "Octopus's Garden" is the greatest Beatles song, much to Tom Hansen's (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) surprise. Summer also says Ringo is her favourite Beatle, despite Tom's claim that "no one likes Ringo".
- The 2008 film I'm Not There features a segment in the mid-1960s in which singer Jude Quinn (a fictionalised version of Bob Dylan, played by Cate Blanchett) visits London and is briefly seen fraternising with the Beatles, who are portrayed playing on a hill at fast speed and with high-pitched voices. They are later seen in the background running away from a crowd of fans, à la A Hard Day's Night.
- In the 2009 anime film Summer Wars, the two guardians of Oz (the virtual world) are called John and Yoko.
- The 2000 Icelandic film Angels of the Universe, which focuses on schizophrenia and is mainly set in a psychiatric hospital, features one character, Óli, who believes himself to have written most Beatles songs and to have transmitted them to The Beatles via telepathy, even after the split of the band. "Hey Jude" is being "composed" by Óli in one scene of the film.
- In the 2008 comedy The Rocker, Fish, Rainn Wilson, mentions the Lennon–McCartney partnership when describing Curtis (Teddy Geiger); Fish tells the band that the Beatles did not ask their mums and dads to play Shea Stadium which Matt retorts with, "they were adults"; and the record producer mentions John Lennon rolling over in his grave. The producer also sees Curtis's mom kissing Fish and says, "Well hello Yoko". Pete Best also makes a cameo appearance.
- In he 2003 romantic comedy Love Actually the song "All You Need is Love" is sung. The Beatles are mentioned during the Prime Minister's speech. Ringo Starr and his wife are mentioned. Sam has a sign on his door that say says, 'Ringo Rules' during his story of learning the drums.
- One of the NPC's in Final Fantasy X says "I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in," a direct quote from the lyrics of Fixing A Hole
- The Beatles: Rock Band, developed by Harmonix Music Systems, was released 9 September 2009.
- In EarthBound, there are various references to The Beatles throughout the game. Shigesato Itoi, the game's creator, has stated that he was a huge fan of the Beatles, and APE, the company that created the game, cited John Lennon as an inspiration for the game's music. Here are some examples:
- Various people in Moonside will say "Hello! And... goodbye!", a reference to the song "Hello, Goodbye".
- In the Japanese version, John (for Ness), Paul (for Jeff), George (for Poo), and Ringo (for King the dog) are included as "suggested names" (included by the developers if you do not want to create names yourself). Yoko (as in Yoko Ono, the widow of John Lennon) is also a "suggested name" for Paula. Additionally, "honey pie" is a suggestion for your favourite food, and "love" is a suggestion for your favourite thing.
- A yellow submarine can be seen inside Dungeon Man. The description for the sub also bluntly states "the color is completely coincidental".
- One of the Runaway Five members can be heard singing "Money (That's What I Want)" to himself.
- Bits of Beatles melodies are scattered in the game's music. For instance, part of the opening to "All You Need Is Love" can be heard in the Cave of the Past, and part of Tessie's song references "Strawberry Fields Forever".
- In Worms & Reinforcements United, one team of worms is known as "The Fab Four", and its worms are named "John", "Paul", "George" and "Ringo".
- The Four craftsmen in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time are called "John", "Paul", George" and "Ringo" as well.
- In Curse of Enchantia, there's a music band of humanoid slugs called "The Slugs".
- In Guitar Hero 3, Xavier Stone's 'Captain X' costume is available in four styles, three of which are named after members of The Beatles: John, Paul, and George, respectively (the fourth is named Larry). The costume is also similar to the uniforms on the cover of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.
- The Star Fox 1992 comic makes a reference to Sergeant Pepper by Fox making a pun by saying "General Pepper? Hmm...I thought he was only a Sergeant."
- On the Internet website Neopets, there is an item on the site called the "Strawberry Fields Forever Paint Brush", named after the song "Strawberry Fields Forever" written by John Lennon.
- Issue #2 of the Official UK Nintendo Magazine spoofs the album cover of Abbey Road with a cover of Animal Crossing: Wild World.
- In the PC game Warcraft III, if you click on a Crypt Lord unit many times, he says "I'm the fifth Beatle" in an English accent.
- The original trailer for the Wii game No More Heroes featured the main character, Travis Touchdown, battling an assassin named "Helter Skelter." This encounter is not seen within the game, but mentioned as a prologue. The sequel, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, featured Skelter's brother "Skelter Helter" as the game's first boss.
- In the videogame Left 4 Dead 2 there's an achievement called A SPITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS, a reference to The Beatles' song "With a Little Help from My Friends", said achievement is loosely based on this video.
- Throughout the Call of Duty series, several NPC's in the games are named Sgt. Pepper,
- The game Fable III features a weapon called "Beadle's Cutlass", which contains an upgrade titled "Dayripper".
- The game Fallout: New Vegas there's an achievement called "Day Tripper" A reference to The Beatles song of the same name.
- In the official Player's Guide in Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3, for world 3-5 they say "you can even dive down as a yellow submarine" despite the submarine in the level being cyan.
Beatlesque // music and artists are those rock and pop bands and musicians who were influenced by The Beatles and make music that is very similar. New bands are promoted as being "The next Beatles" or "The new Fab Four", and members of the media refer to musical acts as being "Beatlesque". This practice has itself been parodied; for example, the band Type O Negative often refer to themselves as "The Drab Four".
Badfinger Badfinger was a Welsh rock/pop band that formed in the late 1960s. They became closely associated with The Beatles due to their close work relationship with Beatles members and producers. The Beatles' producer George Martin was also their producer, and the band released their records on the Beatles' Apple Records label. Their interpretation of the song "Come and Get It" was based on Paul McCartney's demo version. Their song "No Matter What" is Lennon-inspired. George Harrison also worked with Badfinger, not only producing much of their music but also contributing the slide guitar solo on the song "Day After Day". The band was even named after "Badfinger Boogie", the working title for the Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends".
Electric Light Orchestra Electric Light Orchestra, also known as ELO, was a successful British rock music group of the 1970s and 1980s. ELO grew out of a former band known as The Move, and when the remaining members decided to regroup as ELO, they announced their intention to "continue where 'I Am the Walrus' left off". They recorded a tribute song called "Beatles Forever", but it is still unavailable, as band member and Beatles fan Jeff Lynne was reportedly embarrassed by it. "Can't Get It Out of My Head" (on The Mike Douglas Show) with a quartet and horn section is very Lennon-like and included the line, "I saw the ocean's daughter", a play on the name of Yoko Ono, whose name means "Ocean child".
Frontman Jeff Lynne later produced George Harrison's Cloud Nine album, worked with him on the Traveling Wilburys albums, and completed Harrison's final work Brainwashed. Lynne also produced the new songs for the Beatles' Anthology.
Julian Lennon Julian Lennon is the son of John Lennon. The songs "Valotte", "Saltwater", and "Too Late for Goodbyes" are all Beatlesque. The music video for the song "I Don't Wanna Know" features Julian and his band dressed up as the Beatles. Julian also covered "When I'm Sixty-Four", which was originally sung by Paul McCartney.
There was wild media speculation that a Beatles reunion might take place with Julian Lennon in his father's place, even though neither Lennon nor the remaining Beatles ever endorsed the idea, and the remaining Beatles denied that there had ever been any truth in the reports. (The Beatles Anthology)
The Monkees The Monkees was initially a TV show developed by US television in 1965, about an imaginary band that wanted to be The Beatles, but were never successful, whose cast members soon became a real band. This occurred at the height of Beatlemania. At the peak of their success, the Monkees outsold The Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined, selling over 35 million records, and having four consecutive Number 1 albums in the year 1967 alone. The craze has become known as 'Monkeemania', as the remarkable teenage craze had not been seen since the peak of Beatlemania. Much controversy has been put down by the "Pre-fab" (pre-fabricated) four as the public believed they did not play their own instruments; but all four had musical backgrounds, with some form of previous acting experience, and within four months of their public debut, they were recording in the studio as a self-contained, fully functioning band. (See The Monkees#Independence) "Randy Scouse Git," a song written by Monkee Micky Dolenz about partying in London with The Beatles may be the first song reference to The Beatles in the line "the four kings of EMI," EMI being the Beatles' label. The song title was censored in England and it was released as a single there as "Alternate Title".
The Beatles' influence on 90s rock group Oasis has been noted by critics ("Beatles copyists") as well as the band members themselves; guitarist Noel Gallagher has stated "It's beyond an obsession. It's an ideal for living. I don't even know how to justify it to myself. With every song that I write, I compare it to The Beatles." Vocalist Liam Gallagher (whose vocal style imitates aspects of John Lennon's) named his first son Lennon. The two brothers shared the role of frontman, a concept made popular by The Beatles. The band has been known to perform live covers of "I Am the Walrus", "Helter Skelter", "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" and "Strawberry Fields Forever", which have seen release on live albums and as b-sides. From 2004 to 2008, Ringo Starr's son Zak Starkey was Oasis' drummer. Noel Gallagher sat on a panel in 2004 to decide on the most influential of pop artists to be included in the UK Music Hall of Fame, and was quoted as saying "[The Beatles] inspire me more now than they did when I was a kid and are still the greatest".
Oasis have been successfully sued for plagiarism by Neil Innes, ironically himself a member of Beatles-parody band The Rutles sued by McCartney over plagiarism of The Beatles' songs, as Noel Gallagher's 1994 song Whatever directly lifted parts of its melody from Innes's 1973 song How Sweet to Be an Idiot. This event was subsequently referenced in The Rutles song Shangri-La off their 1996 album The Rutles Archaeology, itself a parody of The Beatles Anthology.
Lyrical/musical references to The Beatles in Oasis music
Oasis songs also often contain references to Beatles' songs, such as:
- “You can sail with me/In my yellow submarine” - "Supersonic" off Definitely Maybe (1994).
- During live performances of "Whatever" (1994), the band often alter the lyrics to match those of Beatles song "Octopus's Garden".
- "Walking to the sound of my favourite tune, tomorrow never knows what it doesn't know too soon" - Morning Glory" from (What's the Story) Morning Glory (1995)
- The song "Don't Look Back in Anger" from (What's the Story) Morning Glory (1995) features a piano line near-identical to that of John Lennon's solo hit "Imagine", as well as a bridge section instrumentally reminiscent of "Octopus's Garden" and featuring a Lennon quote in the lyric ('so I start a revolution from my bed').
- The song "Wonderwall" takes its name from a 1968 film for which George Harrison wrote the soundtrack. A lyric in the song, 'all the roads we have to walk are winding', references The Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road".
- "Champagne Supernova" features a lead guitar line (occurring approximately 5 minutes & 45 seconds into the song) markedly similar to the closing lead guitar of "Dear Prudence".
- "She's Electric" from (What's the Story) Morning Glory (1995) ends with the same chord progression as the end of "With a Little Help From My Friends".
- John Lennon was once asked to sum up the 60s in one phrase - his reply, "Be here now", was used by Gallagher for Oasis' 1997 album, and for the album's title track. George Harrison had previously used the title for a song on his 1973 album Living in the Material World.
- “Sing a song to me/One from ‘Let It Be’” – "Be Here Now" from Be Here Now (1997).
- The "Na-Na-Na-Na" segment of "All Around the World" from Be Here Now (1997) is very similar to that of "Hey Jude"
- "Get on the Helter Skelter/Step into the fray" - "Fade In-Out" from Be Here Now (1997).
- “I’d like to be/Under the sea” - a line from Beatles song "Octopus' Garden" is recycled in "Take Me Away" from the Supersonic [EP] (1994). The same line can also be heard around the 4:50 mark of "The Masterplan" (b-side to "Wonderwall", 1995) being sung by Noel.
- “Fool on the Hill and I Feel Fine” - "D'You Know What I Mean?" from Be Here Now (1997).
- “Down The Long and Winding Road/and back home to you” - "My Big Mouth" from Be Here Now (1997).
- The title of Go Let It Out may be a reference to the line in "Hey Jude", "So let it out and let it in, hey, Jude, begin (2000)
- "Won't let you down/Don't let me down" - "Won't let you down", b-side to "Lyla" (2005)
- The melody for the Liam track "Guess God Thinks I'm Abel" from Don't Believe the Truth (2005) by his own admission, is a slowed down version of "I Wanna Be Your Man".
- “Who kicked a hole in the sky, so the heavens will cry over me?” a reference to Beatles song "Fixing a Hole" - "Let there Be Love" from Don't Believe in the Truth (2005).
- "Love is a litany/A magical mystery" - "The Shock Of The Lightning" from Dig Out Your Soul (2008).
- "I'm Outta Time" from Dig Out Your Soul (2008) features an audio-clip of Lennon defending his right to live in New York, when he says "As Churchill said, 'It's every Englishman's inalienable right to live where the hell he likes. What's it gonna do? Vanish? Is it not going to be there when I get back?'"
- "Falling Down" from Dig Out Your Soul (2008) imitates the rhythm and drum-focussed sound of "Tomorrow Never Knows"
References/Influences of The Beatles in imagery used by Oasis
- The music video for "Supersonic (1994) features the band performing on a rooftop, similar to a famous rooftop concert delivered by The Beatles
- The music video for "Shakermaker" (1994) features Liam Gallagher in a record shop, holding the Paul McCartney and Wings LP Red Rose Speedway.
- The front cover of the "Live Forever" single (1994) features a photograph of the childhood home of John Lennon.
- The cover of "Don't Look Back in Anger" (1995) is a reference to the story when Ringo left The Beatles for a short time, only to be welcomed back with flowers all over his drum set.
- The cover for the single "Don't Go Away" (1997) features Liverpool Speke Airport, famous for being the site of The Beatles' return from a major trip to the US, to be mobbed by fans during the "Beatlemania" era.
- The Rolls Royce on the cover to Be Here Now (1997) features the same license plate number "(SYD 724F)" as the police van on The Beatles "Abbey Road" album.
- The video to "All Around the World" (1997) features the band in white suits similar to those worn by The Beatles for their performance of "Your Mother Should Know" during the film Magical Mystery Tour. Psychedelic, cartoon imagery - similar to that used in music videos by The Beatles - is used throughout, as the band appear to be travelling in a yellow spaceship, a reference to The Beatles song "Yellow Submarine". During the video, the band do in fact come across an actual yellow submarine.
Outside of Oasis
Both Noel and Liam Gallagher have continued to show the influence of The Beatles music outside of their work with Oasis.
In 1995, Noel performed on a cover of "Come Together" with Paul McCartney and Paul Weller under the guise of the Smokin' Mojo Filters, recorded at Abbey Road for release on The Help Album. In 1999, he provided acoustic guitar for Claire Martin's cover of "Help!". In 2000, Noel Gallagher was a guest performer at a John Lennon tribute show performed at George Martin's AIR studios, performing with other musicians on "Tomorrow Never Knows", "All You Need Is Love", and "I'm Only Sleeping". For a large part of Noel Gallagher's acoustic solo tour to promote the Oasis release Stop the Clocks in 2006, his set-list inclulded "Strawberry Fields Forever".
Liam Gallagher's new band Beady Eye have stated one reason they selected that name was so that as part of an alphabetised CD collection, their music would most probably be next to someone's collection of Beatles albums. As a charity single, the band recorded a cover of Beatles song "Across the Universe".
- Flip Magazine, May 1966
- Jimi Hendrix Sunday At The Saville Theatre at eil.com
- Jimi Hendrix at britannica.com
- Magical Mystery Tour product page on jr.com
- Two Sides of the Moon sleeve notes (Waybacked)
- Youtube video: Richard III
- The Beatles Off The Record. London:Omnibus Press p193. ISBN 0-7119-7985-5
- Miles. p77.
- Beatles suits at liverpoolmuseums.org.uk
- Hewitt, Paolo. 2003. The Soul Stylists: From Mod to Casual. Mainstream Publishing, UK.
- Sims, Josh (1999). Rock Fashions. Omnibus Press. pp. 151–152. ISBN 0-7119-7733-X.
- Beatlemania at the Internet Broadway Database
- "Love official website"
- Rain at the Internet Broadway Database
- "Let It Be official website"
- Let It Be at the Internet Broadway Database
- "BBC NEWS | News Front Page". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 14 September 2009.
- "Beatles References in "Meet the Beat-Alls"". Rowdyruff.net. Archived from the original on 18 April 2008. Retrieved 14 September 2009.
- Game screenshot
- "The Beatles' musical footprints". BBC News. 30 November 2001.
- "Beatles fly flag in hall of fame". news.bbc.co.uk. 9 September 2004. Retrieved 6 March 2007.