So much has been written about John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr and their collective influence on 20th century popular music, that anything I might say here runs the risk of sounding at best, stale, and at worst, cribbed. These four moptopped lads from Liverpool (see?) first conquered the Top 40, and then systematically redefined nearly every aspect of the pop music form, all within a decade of the advent of rock and roll. From elaborate
packaging to concept albums, from cross-genre references to prog rock, it is difficult to find an aspect of modern music that cannot be traced back to The Beatles.
How did they exert such an influence? Why? Was it some grand design, or serendipity of the highest order? Perhaps the simplest explanation is to say that they and we and rock music all grew up together. More complicated analyses will
likely involve entire scholarly careers, and volume upon volume of dry and dusty pages. Who needs that? The exciting part of it is the music itself, so that is what we will plunge headlong into, here. If there is something in pop music that you’re fond of, grab an inner tube and follow me. You will most likely discover that it started with these guys.