The Beatles (band)/YMMV

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This is really the extreme end of this scale, courtesy of a misquote from John.


Being one of the most famous bands in the world, The Beatles are definitely prone to people with a myopia of opinions. These are some of them.


Subjective Tropes for The Beatles include

  • Adaptation Displacement: Who can listen to "Nowhere Man" and not think of Jeremy Hillary Boob, Phd.? Only someone who's never seen Yellow Submarine.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Self-indulgent, drugged-out pop stars, or musical geniuses with gifts that could change society? Or both? Especially prevalent in the views of John, who was probably neither the saint that some of his fans would believe nor the monster that Albert Goldman wrote about in his hatchet job.
    • "Hey Jude", while well-known today to be written by Paul to Julian Lennon (John's son who he had with his first wife Cynthia), got lots of this in its day, with John believing the song was meant for him and even a journalist believing the song to be about herself.
  • Americans Hated The Beatles: Some of them did. After John's comment that the band was "more popular than Jesus" (taken out of context), many American communities, particularly those in the Bible Belt, did things like mass Beatle record burnings (with Lennon's reaction being to point out they had to buy the records to burn them) and throwing objects at them during their concerts. They received no backlash of that sort in their homeland of Britain, where the comment was mostly ignored. On the other hand, their records sold just as well in America after the controversy as they had before.
    • The Phillippines are an even better example. Brian Epstein's fumbling of an invitation to visit First Lady Imelda Marcos when the Beatles played the Phillippines in 1966 led to violent anger from Filipinos. The resulting chaos played no small part in the group's decision to stop playing live concerts.
    • As for the record sales booming despite the controversy, the Beatles themselves rather sardonically noted that in order to burn their albums, one had to purchase them first. There are also numerous anecdotes of kids publicly burning their Beatles albums before then secretly sneaking into record stores and replacing them. And, of course, despite all the hoopla this was mainly happening in a relatively small part of the country.
  • Awesome Music: So many examples.
  • Better Than Canon: some people prefer the LOVE version of Strawberry Fields Forever to the original. Then there are those who prefer the original acoustic demo.
    • LOVE gets this a lot, actually. There are people who refuse to listen to the Abbey Road version of Octopus' Garden who care deeply for the LOVE version.
    • Paul felt this way about his original take of "The Long and Winding Road," before Phil Spector laid a full orchestra and other effects on a simple piano ballad. He once said that Cilla Black's 1972 cover was how he'd intended it to be sung.
    • John had once stated that Deep Purple's cover of "Help" was how The Beatles should have done the song.
      • Paul also said he got goosebumps listening to Joe Cocker's version of "With a Little Help from My Friends" (the version that would eventually become the theme to The Wonder Years). And let's not forget Aerosmith's versions of "I'm Down" and "Come Together".
    • Let's not forget the Earth Wind and Fire version of "Got to Get You Into My Life".
    • John never liked his version of "Across the Universe", and gave his approval to David Bowie's cover by playing guitar and singing backing vocals.
  • Non Sequitur Scene: "Revolution 9". Really, WTF?
  • Broken Base: Experimental Rock aficionados dismiss their entire "Fab Four" era. Conversely, some fans of the earlier stuff dismiss their post-Rubber Soul output. And modern Beatles fans disagree over the merits of any work that was created after the band officially broke up—not just all the post-Beatles solo projects, but any music ever recorded by anyone at all after 1970. There are fans of nearly every genre of music out there who like The Beatles; thus, merely knowing someone likes them gives one no clue as to their taste in general.
    • Ringo Starr's drumming is a contentious point amongst Beatles fans. Some call him a creative drummer, others call him a terrible drummer, others find his drumming competent but boring. Some people have, however, acknowledged his competent-but-boring-ness as his greatest strength. In a band with three artists trying to go in different directions, Ringo was able to mould to their style and provide a solid backbone to their different styles. He allegedly mucked up two takes in all the years the band was together.
  • Covered Up:
    • Who remembers the Isley Brothers' version of "Twist and Shout" anymore?
    • This could apply to many of the band's cover versions; it's easier to list the exceptions ("Please Mr. Postman" and "Till There Was You").
    • Conversely, Joe Cocker's cover of "With a Little Help from my Friends" (theme song from The Wonder Years) is arguably much more widely known than the original amongst some, to many however, the original is one of their best known songs. Also, Marmalade's cover of "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da," at least in some circles.
  • Draco in Leather Pants/Ron the Death Eater: Invariably occurs during some of the more Fan Dumb arguments about whose fault it is the band broke up, usually taking the form of "Beatle X was a jerk whose solo material was completely worthless"/"Beatle X was the only sane member of the group and the others would have been nothing without him." John is a frequent Draco in Leather Pants, Yoko a Ron the Death Eater, and Paul is both.
    • Maxwell Edison is an in-universe example.
  • Ear Worm: It would probably be quicker to list those tracks which aren't examples.
    • Even "Revolution 9," but in a bad way.
  • Ending Fatigue: "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" has about four minutes of the same repeating guitar riff. This one borders on Deconstruction.
    • The coda in "Hey Jude" is a great deal longer than the song proper. God help you if you ever encounter a live performance of this song.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: "Quiet Beatle" George Harrison, who was generally overshadowed by the Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership, released the triple album All Things Must Pass after the band broke up, featuring a Chiffons cover. To this day, it's the top selling album by any solo Beatle.
    • His record company was even named Dark Horse Records, after one of his albums.
  • Epileptic Trees: The "Paul Is Dead" theory, that Paul died in the early-to-mid sixties and was replaced by a look-and-sound-alike named Billy Shears.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Some fans try to find symbolism in every song. The worst of those was Charles Manson, who used The White Album, most famously "Helter Skelter", to mobilize his murders.
  • Fan Hater: You are not allowed to like what Phil Spector did with Let It Be. Unless you're John Lennon.
  • Funny Aneurysm Moment: After the passing of John and George, any reference to death in Beatle canon has become this. Also, considering how John died, any reference to guns. Examples:
    • John saying "Shoot Me" over and over again in "Come Together".
    • John singing "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" is kinda creepy too.
    • Even creepier - If you look in the booklet included in the Magical Mystery Tour album, there is a picture of John as he's leaving a small corner store. Just behind him is a sign that reads, "The best way to go is M. & D. Co". Obviously not related, but M.D.C. are the initials of Lennon's killer, Mark David Chapman. * shudder*
    • A mid-'60s interview featured John being asked how he thought he would die. His response? "I'll probably be popped off by some loonie."
    • The line "I know what it's like to be dead" in "She Said She Said".
    • In the Yellow Submarine animated movie, the Beatles accidentally Time Travel to the 2000s (it's a setup for "When I'm 64") and see their future selves out the window of the submarine. Ringo remarks, "There's only two of us."[1]
    • One scene in Help! has John being held at gun point.
    • "We Can Work It Out": "Life is very short/and there isn't time/for fussing and fighting, my friend..."
    • In "Love You To", George singing, "Love me while you can/Before I'm a dead old man."
    • Also from "Love You To": "A lifetime is so short/A new one can't be bought."
  • Funny Moments: Has its own page now.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • "Revolution 9" includes samples of various classical works, including those by Sibelius, Vaughan Williams, Schumann and Beethoven. Though "Revolution 9" in general is something of a Genius Bonus; usually only those who've been exposed to avant-garde electronic music before will find it listenable. (Believe it or not, it's probably one of the more accessible works in the genre.)
    • There is also the snippet of a dramatic reading of King Lear at the end of "I Am the Walrus."
    • John Lennon was inspired to write "Because" from hearing Yoko Ono play the Moonlight Sonata and asking "Can you play those chords backwards?"
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Americans love "Eight Days A Week."
    • "I Should Have Known Better" reached number one in Norway.
  • Growing the Beard: Before William Riker, there was George Harrison, and to a lesser extent, the whole gang. The video for "Strawberry Fields Forever" stunned their fans with their sudden facial hair, and their music started to get more artistically ambitious.
    • The pictures on the Red Album and the Blue Album are the same Beatles in the same place in the same pose, seven years apart. They changed a lot in that time...
    • They also provide a subversion, however; the one time McCartney grew a beard was during the sessions to record what would ultimately become Let It Be; the sessions were unhappy and bitter, and they signaled the band's ultimate collapse, resulting in a poorly-received and mixed-quality album.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The song, "We Can Work it Out." Despite the optimism of the title, ultimately none of Beatles could see the problems of their comrades their way and thus could not work it out.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: "When I'm 64" became quite appropriate when Paul actually turned 64. At least one radio station played said song on said birthday.
  • Hype Backlash: Perhaps inevitably, they received some of this, particularly in the "Beatlemania" era.
    • Even today, when they're treated as the best band ever to exist in all of history, it can turn younger fans off.
  • It Gets Better: Oh. Dear. God.
    • "I've got to admit it's getting better... A little better all the time."
    • Well, "It can't get no worse."
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks: The Beatles: Rock Band didn't have that great a reception among the more hardcore Rhythm Game enthusiasts and Rock Band fans due to their belief that it was too easy. The meager song list (45 songs out of hundreds of possible songs by the band) and the inability to import the songs to another Rock Band game certainly didn't help matters.
  • Macekre: An Urban Legends sprang up that the Beatles arranged for Yesterday... And Today to have the infamous "Butcher Cover" as a protest over Capitol mangling their UK albums, as noted in Cut and Paste Translation on the band page. Go to the entry at Snopes for in-depth info.
    • Paul McCartney also accused Phil Spector of "ruining" the Let It Be album. Spector was acting as the album's producer at the insistence of Allen Klein.
  • Memetic Mutation: How else do you explain a large chunk of the fanbase believing not only that Paul died in a car crash, but the band replacing him with a double? This makes this trope Older Than the NES.
  • Memetic Outfit: The suits and moptop hairdos from the early Sixties. May induce high pitched squeals in younger females.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • The Paul Is Dead urban legend theories based on supposedly hidden messages in the Beatles' songs.
    • "I Am The Walrus" and "Glass Onion" were intended as sarcastic attacks on all those Beatle fans who sought for hidden messages and meanings in their songs. Beatles fans "found" hidden messages in them, too.
    • Sadly, American serial killer Charles Manson managed to interpret the lyrics of the songs "Piggies", "Revolution 1", "Revolution 9", "I Will", "Honey Pie", "Blackbird" and "Helter Skelter" as a message to start murdering other people. For his Cloudcuckoolander interpretations, see http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/manson/mansonbeatles.html
  • Moment of Awesome: Has its own page now.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Back in the day, Cavern Club regulars weren't too happy about Pete being replaced by Ringo.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Next to Heather Mills, Yoko Ono suddenly doesn't look so bad.
    • A popular bumper sticker at fan conventions reads "Even Yoko has a Leg Up on Heather Mills."
  • Sacred Cow: Any sort of criticism (be it mild or harsh) of The Beatles is bound to get you burned. In fact, just going so far as to state that The Beatles are not your personal preference (even if you qualify it with mentioning that you do, however, respect them) is quite risky.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Definitely. It's hard for some younger listeners to appreciate how groundbreaking they were because, basically, every pop-music act ever since is following in their footsteps.
    • The fact people are always told to start with Sgt Pepper or Abbey Road can make people feel this way. It is generally recommended to listen to the albums in order to get an idea of how varied the band's music was.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: "Now it's time, to say goodnight, goodnight, sleep tight."
    • A deliberately over-the-top example, sung by Ringo, written by John. John asked producer George Martin to give it the most over-the-top "Disney" orchestration he could muster to write.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Several of the band members have said, not in so many words, that the worst they could have done for their career was to be in the Beatles. They weren't far off.
    • "Carry That Weight" is widely seen as being the Beatles acknowledging that they will be a tough act to follow, that they will "Carry that weight a long time".
    • The Beatles themselves, in their early days, definitely thought being next on the bill after Roy Orbison was this.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: The film Magical Mystery Tour.
    • "Revolution 9"
    • "What's the New Mary Jane," a White Album outtake that was apparently shelved after George Martin decided one "experimental" track was enough.
  • What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: One of the most famous examples. John Lennon's "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", thought by many to be about LSD right down to the "LSD" initialism formed by the title, was actually inspired by a drawing presented to John by his young son Julian. John asked what the picture was, Julian said "Lucy [a schoolmate] in the sky with diamonds"—presto. The lyrics and dreamy quality of the instrumental don't help the perception.
  • Woolseyism: Some of the Capitol albums might be sequenced better than the corresponding EMI albums; for instance, Meet the Beatles got onto the Rolling Stone "Greatest Albums of All Time" list, while the version it "butchered", With the Beatles, didn't. Many fans, including Brian Wilson, think the US version of Rubber Soul is miles better than the UK version. (Capitol cut out most of the more electrified songs in favor of the acoustic pieces.)
    • As noted in Canon Immigrant on the main page, the Capitol Magical Mystery Tour album is so superior to the British two-EP set, if only in form factor, that it has displaced the EPs in "Canon." Not only did the US album have a 12" version of the 7" British booklet, it also included the band's 1967 singles on Side 2. In England, the album version of Magical Mystery Tour finally replaced the EPs in 1976.

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  1. In context, he was talking about two submarines with four Beatles apiece, though.