LTE: A Response to “The Beatles are Overrated”

I was incredibly disappointed to read a recent column for the Arts section titled “The Beatles are Overrated.” As a diehard Beatles fan, I tend to get very passionate about the subject. When people tell me they simply aren’t fans of the Beatles’ music, I (usually) manage to hold back explaining why everyone should be a Beatles fan. But overrated? It’s impossible to remain silent on that. The Beatles are not overrated. Not by a long shot.

I will ignore the columnist’s most developed argument—that Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr as individuals are not as talented as other individual artists—because I don’t think that argument correlates to the “overrated” question.

The Beatles completely changed music and the way the public consumed it. Unusually for the time, they wrote their own music, initially by supplementing covers with original songs, but eventually churning out albums full of original material at a remarkable rate. They released 13 albums in seven years, and each album contains iconic, original songs.

McCartney, Lennon, and Harrison each earned reputations as prolific songwriters over the course of their careers—and rightfully so! I strongly disagree with the assertion that Beatles songs had “insultingly simple” lyrics with “little depth.” Indeed, over time, their songs became increasingly developed and profound. Some of my personal favorites are Let It Be, Yesterday, and Here, There, and Everywhere—but if you ask me next week, I’ll give you three completely different songs. That’s the magic of The Beatles. They experimented with so many different sounds over their (all things considered) short tenure as a band, making it easy for people with a variety of musical tastes to find something special to them in the Beatles’ catalogue.

I cannot overstate The Beatles’s influence on other bands. They paved the way for British groups like The Rolling Stones to come to America, ushering in the British Invasion. They set the bar for their contemporaries—a friendly rivalry between McCartney and The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson inspired Revolver, Pet Sounds, and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club, three influential and highly-regarded albums.

The Beatles completely changed the music industry. They both opened paths for other bands and set an impossibly high standard. They influenced musicians across the globe, and continue to influence current musicians. The Beatles’ impact in music—and in culture—is still felt today. In no way are they overrated.

Annabel Steele, Heights Senior Staff, MCAS ‘19

Featured Graphic by Anna Tierney / Graphics Editor

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