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Impact Of The Beatles – How The Beatles Changed The World

Near enough everyone on this planet has listened to, or at least heard of, the Beatles. During the 1960s, this English rock band heavily influenced many cultural movements, asserting “British dominance” in the industry and encouraging many young people to pursue careers in music.

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In the short decade that they were active, the Beatles caused quite the impact – an impact that would last a lifetime. Let’s take a look at how the Beatles changed the world.

A brief insight into the history of The Beatles

The Beatles formed in 1960, featuring the incredibly talented John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. Although varied, most of the music produced by the band incorporated elements of classical and traditional pop, creating an unconventional genre that everyone couldn’t get enough of.

Throughout the majority of the 1960s, the Beatles dominated pop charts, breaking several sales and attendance records all over the globe. This quick rise to success sparked “Beatlemania” in 1963 – a term used to describe the incredibly devoted fans that would follow the band all over the country. These (mainly female) fans paved the way for boy band culture, influencing how fans react at shows even to this day.

Whether it’s because they released 11 albums in 8 years or because they touched on (and heavily influenced!) cultural movements, the Beatles did a hell of a lot more than “just make music”. Even 50 years after their split, Beatlemania continues to thrive, with many fans still devoted to their music.

Three cultural movements that The Beatles influenced

The Beatles influenced many cultural movements that occurred in the 1960s. With an incredibly committed and primarily young fanbase on their side, the band was held responsible for a lot of changes in society. This included:

1. Attitudes

Although the band experimented with a whole series of different genres, the attitudes of all four members never changed. The Beatles were known for being smart, playful, irreverent and eclectic, averting British stereotypes and making a very rare breakthrough for an American audience.

They successfully popularized the Northern English accent and heavily relied on humor to mock social expectations. This was something that no other artists would dare to do, further signaling the rise in popularity of the band.

2. Hairstyles

All four members of the Beatles rocked a mid-length hairstyle that was unusually long for the 1960s. Although most adults laughed at this, it didn’t take long for mid-length hair to become all the craze.

This hairstyle choice was another fine example of the Beatles straying from society’s expectations; after all, it was quite the change from Elvis Presley’s slicked-back hair in the ‘50s.

3. Merchandise

If you thought One Direction merchandise was extreme, you would have been shocked to your core if you saw the craze of Beatles merch.

As soon as Beatlemania became a thing in 1963, Beatles-themed merchandise was a must-have. This was particularly true in the US market, which saw the likes of chewing gum, alarm clocks, stationery, junk food and bath products raking in millions of dollars. You could even get “Beatles wigs”, which became the “best-selling novelty toy since yo-yos”.

It’s safe to say that, much like Presley, it didn’t take long for the band’s image to be exploited.

Seven ways that The Beatles changed the music industry

Culture aside, the Beatles unsurprisingly also had a huge impact on the music industry. They were unapologetic record-breakers, and, still to this day, set the bar incredibly high for other artists. Here are some achievements from the band that changed the world as we know it…

1. Record sales

As it stands, the Beatles have sold over one billion records worldwide. That’s right, one billion. This number continues to rise, making the Beatles one of the longest successors in the music industry.

2. Successful tracks

The United World Chart states that the Beatles own 16 of the 100 most successful tracks of all time. If this wasn’t enough, they’re responsible for 7 of the 100 most successful albums in history, too!

3. Movie success

The Beatles have had a lot of movies made about them. This includes ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, released in 1964. This movie’s soundtrack was written by the Beatles, making it the first album for the band to write from start to finish. For this reason, we’ve included it in our roundup of the best movie soundtracks of all time.

4. Recognition from Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra is a big fan of “Something”, a track written by Beatles member George Harrison. Sinatra used to repeatedly play his own cover of the song, proving just how much of an impact the band had on the whole music industry.

5. Shaping the future of recording

It’s no secret that the Beatles loved experimenting with different sounds. This all began in the recording studio. Instead of playing live, they would use multiple tracks and varying tape speeds to create special effects.

Although they didn’t necessarily invent this form of recording, the Beatles certainly revolutionized the way in which artists perform in the studio.

6. They have the greatest album ever made

The album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has repeatedly been classed as the greatest album ever to be made. It might not have been the band’s most creative album, but it was one that further revolutionized recording processes. Even The Who and Pink Floyd took inspiration from this album.

7. They did it all in a decade!

Let’s not forget that the Beatles accomplished all of the above in just seven years. Yep – seven years. Eleven albums, devoted fans, movies, cultural movements, the lot.

It’s safe to say that very few artists have impacted the world quite as much as the Beatles.

Emily Wilson
Emily Wilson
Writer, record player and retro music researcher. Emily dives deep into the history of music, and legendary artists and brings their highlights to the Upbeat Geek site for your eyes. Being a regular festival and concertgoer, Emily also writes about the latest music, and soundtracks and loves anything to do with record players. Outside of music research, Emily loves Sunday walks with her dog Lee.