1. The Beatles
3rd Place: 3
2nd Place: 3
1st Place: 4
A future inmate of Reading gaol once famously mused “He who is tired of London is tired of life”. Just as the undoubted hub of western civilisation in the Victorian Age belonged to a tiny island to the north of France, so too does the group who forever settled any arguments as to which is the most influential in popular music. They sprang not from the big smoke in the south though, rather from a once prosperous provincial port now fallen on hard times a couple of hundred miles further north. In this writer's opinion it's scarcely an exaggeration to apply Oscar Wilde's London maxim to them too.
You know of where and whom I speak. Voltaire said of God that if he hadn't existed it would be necessary to invent him; the band whose singer once proclaimed they were bigger than Jesus did exist and were no record label or studio boss invention. Dues were paid & crafts honed at Merseyside garden fêtes and in Hamburg bierkellers. After their initial rejections by cloth-eared talent scouts, over a recording career that lasted less than a decade they left behind the body of work against which all others in their chosen medium will forever be judged and forever found wanting.
The Beatles are there for everyone to discover. So deep and pervasive is their reach that they are, to all intents and purposes, impossible to ignore but if you believe you know them then dig a little deeper and you'll find riches to embarrass Croesus. Their better known works, paled through familiarity, slander and traduce the more recondite jewellery in their trove. Less than three years separate the simple pop pleasure of She Loves You from the towering double tracked genius of Tomorrow Never Knows. Exponential doesn't begin to cover that kind of growth.
There is nothing more tiresome than being told what to like. I know of what I speak; such was and is the Fabs' ubiquity that long haired callow ****s with more education than sense like my younger self would chafe at the idea we were missing out by remaining cold to their blandishments. I was a graduate before the Cambridge branch of Our Price reducing a copy of Sgt Pepper to £7 finally persuaded me to do myself the huge favour of beginning my own Beatles journey. The scales fell from my eyes (well, ears, technically, I suppose) and I realised that old whore posterity occasionally does know best.
The Beatles - Get Back (rooftop concert 1969) - YouTube
John Lennon: Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Paul McCartney: Vocals, Bass Guitar
George Harrison: Vocals, Lead Guitar
Ringo Starr: Drums
NB – UK discography is being used, US releases ignored, with one exception detailed below.
Please Please Me (1963)
With The Beatles (1963)
A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
Beatles For Sale (1964)
Rubber Soul (1965)
Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
Magical Mystery Tour (1967)*
The Beatles (1968)
Abbey Road (1969)
Let It Be (1970)
*Magical Mystery Tour originally released as an EP in the UK but an LP in the US. The LP became part of the worldwide Beatles canon in 1975 with the UK LP release.
Past Masters Volume 1 (1989)
Past Masters Volume 2 (1989)
The Beatles Anthology 1 (1995)
The Beatles Anthology 2 (1995)
The Beatles Anthology 3 (1996)
Yellow Submarine Songtrack (1999)
Let It Be…Naked (2003)
Many other compilations also available, however those listed above are the only ones which contain different songs, or alternative versions of songs, to those in the core discography listed above.
Download these songs:
A Day In The Life; Strawberry Fields Forever; Tomorrow Never Knows; She Loves You; Ticket to Ride; Girl; All You Need Is Love; While My Guitar Gently Weeps; And I Love Her; Eleanor Rigby; A Hard Day’s Night; You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away; Day Tripper; Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown); Paperback Writer; Penny Lane…hell, just get the lot.
Write-up by Boy Brumby