The Staying Power of The Beatles

Now that the world has been given the joy that is Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back, one thing has been made abundantly clear: The music of the Beatles is something that has stood the test of time. For better or worse, the music that Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr gave to us continues to be of importance to us all and The Beatles: Get Back is only a stepping stone in understanding why their songs continue to remain relevant.

I grew up in a household that loved The Beatles. My dad used to sing me “Rocky Raccoon” or “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” when I was getting a bath and I used to love listening to them over and over again. For a while, I took notice of those calling a love of The Beatles a “basic” thing and so I loved them in secret, listening to “Across the Universe” on repeat and hiding the fact that I actually still really loved them because it wasn’t seen as a “cool” thing.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve put those childish fears aside and I’ve re-embraced the band for what they were: Revolutionary. And now that we have children not even knowing who The Beatles are, maybe all those years of mocking those who liked them by calling us “basic” backfired.

Because, if anything, their music is something that is important. While I don’t like the movie, I think that Yesterday was right about one thing: The world is a more inspired place because of the music of The Beatles. They’re not the only band or musicians to do this. There are plenty of people who paved the way in the world of music and crafted careers that changed the world for the better. Prince and Chuck Berry instantly come to mind.

The Beatles Get Back
Courtesy of Disney+

But The Beatles: Get Back did remind myself and audiences everywhere just how incredibly talented each member of The Beatles was/are. Their music might now feel trivial to some but without it, who knows where rock music would be today. Or where our love and ideas of “boy bands” would be because while the Beatles were not a boy band, they did begin with “Beatlemania” which has permeated through modern bands like One Direction and even BTS.

Each member of The Beatles brought a talent and an energy to the band that made them what they are. Paul McCartney wrote hundreds of songs with John Lennon throughout their creative partnership together and went on to great success outside of the band and as we can see in The Beatles: Get Back, he was clearly the one who wanted to make sure everyone stayed on task.  John Lennon was a brilliant songwriter but a man who loved to mess around and was a pessimist to McCartney’s optimism.

George Harrison was the frustrated little brother who knew he had good songs and just wanted the world to see them while Ringo Starr is still one of the greatest drummers alive. They were four lads who loved to play music and it shows in their songs still.

I wouldn’t go as far as calling The Beatles the greatest band to ever live or uphold them as something other than four men who were talented. But I do think that there’s a reason their music is still important, that people still know “Hey Jude” by heart decades after it was released.

They knew how to target emotions within us and make us think. They understood the balance between social commentary and fun hooks that had people singing out against a war without some of them even noticing what they were doing. And they did all of this before any of them turned thirty years old.

So why do I think The Beatles and their music are still important? Because their lyrics were timeless. I often think about “Across the Universe” because it is my favorite song from The Beatles but also because it has the lyrics “Nothing’s gonna change my world” in it. It’s meant to center us, make us think and understand while also remaining grounded and I think it is beautiful.

Yes, there have been songs written that have messages that can change the world and there have been beautiful lyrics that speak to us all. But there is just something about The Beatles that has many of us going back to their music time and time again and taking inspiration from their work. Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr may have just been four lovable lads from Liverpool but they somehow used their music to change the way many of us listen to songs.

The Beatles weren’t perfect and we can see that in The Beatles: Get Back but one thing is certain: Their music did change the world.

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Rachel Leishman is a writer based in New York City.  She specializes in yelling about her favorite properties. A real-life Leslie Knope, she loves her fictional characters and knows probably too much about Harrison Ford's career.