Originating from Liverpool, England, The Beatles were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr and were active from 1957 to 1969. Their success was not instantaneous, but once people started hearing their music, they never looked back. Aside from selling over one billion records internationally and releasing over 40 singles to hit number one, everyone who listens to music all over the world knows, even vaguely, the likes of Yellow Submarine, Help, Strawberry Fields Forever, Hey Jude and the ever famous All You Need is Love.
Catchy tunes coupled with memorable lyrics, their songs appealed to the masses, and when their music matured and began to hold a more intense and meaningful message, they appealed to the discerning. Regardless of what is your favourite Beatles song, they will always be remembered and known as the band that were, according to Lennon, “more popular than Jesus”. The Beatles have helped define what we know today as pop culture, and have become an international symbol of love.
The Beatles’ impact on the world today has been incredible, and their captivating lyrics and constant advocacy of love has not only affected romantic love (I know quite a few people who have proposed to their loved ones over a Beatles song), but have affected the world of human rights and even animal rights. When asked why his group, the Beatles, had not recorded any anti-war songs, John Lennon responded, “All our songs are anti-war.” His statement suggested that through their messages of peace, love and understanding, the Beatles were taking a stand against war in more general terms, which was much more appealing to mainstream culture.
They were, along with other bands of the time, active in anti-war efforts and this is echoed in their music being used as a basis for many revolutionary speeches, movies and plays, including the 2007 film, Across the Universe, directed by Julie Taymor, which chronicles the songs of The Beatles through a fictitious story that could very well have occurred at that time. Their sense of activism has even spilled over to their children; Stella McCartney, McCartney’s daughter, is a fashion designer who is in bold opposition to fur and animal cruelty. Many people who are involved in any sort of activism have professed to looking to the lyrics of Beatles songs for inspiration.
Their advocacy of anti-war sentiments, as well as free love and peace was not entirely innocent, though. It was a belief that was patterned with drug use, and Lennon’s promotion of the recreational use of marijuana was well known. Many of their songs have been seen as evidence of their drug use, and are analogies for drugs, such as Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and I Am the Walrus.
Regardless of how The Beatles carried out their lives and what they stood for in the 60s, they will always be remembered for their promotion of love, peace and revolution. Indeed, they did revolutionise music as we know it today, and will forever be the ones who stood out of the crowd, with their suits and long hair and music that will give many generations to come pleasure and joy.