Why were The Beatles so amazing?

I want to welcome you to the Tone Taxi. I’m keeping it down because we’re on some sort of country road and I’m not quite sure actually where, and I feel the need to talk quietly because I feel like I’m somewhere I shouldn’t be. Anyways, nonetheless, the Tone Taxi must go on, because it’s an adventurous, mobile place to talk about music-related things, musicians, whatever it may be music-related. The Tone Taxi is the place to discuss it.

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This question’s been rattling around my mind for quite some time. I want to know why the Beatles were so amazing. Now, whether you like the Beatles, or you don’t like the Beatles, that’s not what I’m trying to get at here. The Beatles made a serious catalog of music and influenced many, many, many players. In my opinion, the thing that I think makes the Beatles so amazing is their versatility. They can do straight-ahead pop. They can do totally weird stuff. No matter what, it was awesome. I think that’s what made the Beatles amazing, is their versatility. I want to know why you think the Beatles are amazing, so please leave a comment below and let me know why you think the Beatles, the super group, The Fab Four was so incredible. Thanks for riding along on this Tone Taxi. This adventurous version of the Tone Taxi.


  1. Profile photo of Richard S
    Richard S

    The Beatles were so great because they continued to define not only what instruments made up a rock band, but what role each instrument would play in the sound of rock and roll to come.

  2. Profile photo of Tony P
    Tony P Post author

    Thank you everyone who contributed to this post!!! Wow some great stuff here, what a treat to read and reflect on. A huge amount of thanks to everyone that spent time to comment!!! Gotta love the Beatles whatever your reason may be, they are such a pillar in music history!!!


  3. Profile photo of Bruce B
    Bruce B

    It isn’t necessary to write a long list of why the Beatles were so amazing- their sound is what we love.

  4. Profile photo of Malcolm S
    Malcolm S

    Yes, versatility and the fact that three of the greatest songwriters ever were in the same band. Couple this with George Martin’s musical nous and Brian Epstein’s leadership they were unique. John said after the break up that they were a band, just a band who made it big…very big. But I think that the Beatles were more than just a band. They didn’t write and sing songs just to suit the times, they led and influenced the times they lived in, creating musical and social changes in a way that has not been heard or seen since. The six parts of the Beatles success – the 4 group members, the manager and the musical director gelled into an unstoppable creative force. I think that the main reason for their phenomenal success was their collective creative genius.

    1. Floyd Framer

      You mentioned George Martin and Brian Epstein, but you didn’t mention Geoff Emerick. Geoff changed the sound of the Beatles in a really great way, and (if he wasn’t exaggerating in his autobiography) he changed the way music is recorded. Someone said “their sound is what we love.” A lot of that sound was due to Geoff Emerick.

  5. Profile photo of Marilyn U
    Marilyn U

    For me it was the sound……never before had we heard those chords…they grabbed me right in the pit of my stomach. Never had I heard such a sound. I finally became one of those crying young girls…not understanding what I was hearing. Only know their music spoke to me. I had just started my first year of college……I was undone.

  6. Profile photo of nowhere man
    nowhere man

    I’m VERY late…. It’s been a crazy week for me… So I think I have no perspective on this. My musical upbringing was basically all listening to the Beatles while they were making records. My dad bought every album, played them on his most prized possession, his stereo, and we listened to Beatles music I think literally every day… I don’t know if it’s because of that, but I have what seems to other people to be an amazing ability to hear and sing harmony. It comes from singing along to the Beatles. So I guess 2 great lead singers, and amazing harmony singing too is what I come up with. And then there are all those songs they wrote. Some just little pop tunes. Some that people have written papers and chapters about. Some that people have played backwards to try to find the hidden meaning. So great song writing. Great singing and great song writing. And no slouches at musical composition either, right?

  7. Profile photo of Steve H
    Steve H

    So much good stuff here from everyone already. Versatility, timing, chemistry, ability, variety etc. etc. are all spot on. For me, growing up just North of Liverpool and going to school in the city The Beatles have been an ever-present. My dad and uncle were in a Merseybeat band which played the same venues (e.g. they played Litherland Town Hall the week after The Beatles were on) and the first song I learned to play on guitar was Wings’ “Mull of Kintyre”. Because of its strategic importance Liverpool was heavily bombed in the war and still bears the scars (some cleared city lots are still used as car parks today). Life was tough in post-war Britain, and especially there. But the indomitable spirit of its people and their love of music produced a band so innovative, prolific, and adventurous that The Beatles changed music and with it, the outlook of the city.

  8. Profile photo of Dennis J M
    Dennis J M

    Putting aside all of the craziness and fan worship in their careers, it all comes down to one word…songwriting. NO ONE before or since has written pop music as intricate, melodic, and ageless as Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison.

  9. Profile photo of Marty

    I was 10 when they went on the Ed Sullivan show and my mom and I watched them. My dad had just died after Christmas that year.

    Those were crazy times. My cousin who was only 8 years older than I was and he had just been killed in 1962 in some place called Vietnam?

    I’d already begun guitar lessons on a cheap nylon string acoustic and I tried to play some of those early songs (unsuccessfully). But those early songs helped me to through a lot of heavy stuff for a ten year old!

    I remember how different their hair style was, back then. That didn’t bother me much but I recognized that their song lyrics were poems but slightly different. Kind of unreal and kind of a puzzle and I love puzzles! Their songs were no further out than my out of control world was?

    Since then, I’ve learned (from their video interviews over the years) that they had begun writing out of a need to stand out from the other bands they competed with in high school which all played the same pieces of music that they did, which had been written by other bands. They felt the need to write so that they’d stand out. And that worked!

    I’d love to hear some of their earliest unrecorded tunes because they claim that they were really rubbish to begin with but got better with time. They’ve said that there was no magic, just hard work and determination. We all saw the ‘finished’ product after many years of playing and writing together. Too many people forget that. I am more impressed with what they made of themselves as musicians, knowing how long and hard they worked at it! Love it or leave it, it was all ‘real’ and written by them. Quite the team.

    Years later, when I was in high school, the truly surreal pressures of fame finally got to them and they imploded along with most of the really creative, really great bands I grew up with. The early 1970s and fame were hard for all of the bands? You could say that they all lost their private lives and wanted them back so they all went in different directions? Since then there have been far too many deaths!

    I believe fame was a curse for most of those groups and individuals? Their happiest times were when they were together, and focused on writing their music.

    At least their music lives on, even if many of those amazing song writers do not?

    Tony, I think it was due to their uncommon dedication, talents and mostly just plain old hard work and practice, practice, practice! I think John said it was 9 years of playing together before the Sullivan Show?

    Happy tunes and Peace!

  10. Profile photo of Cibby

    I’m a little late posting this. I want to give my reply from two different views one a pre teen seeing the Beatles for the first time and second from a young radio DJ in the crazy 70’s. The Beatles when I saw them for the first time on a Sunday night on Ed Sullivan’s show were unlike any musicians I had ever seen. My sisters were older than I was and they flipped that night Beatle mania had arrived that night at our house. I till then was growing up on there music Paul Anka, Ricky Nelson, Fabian and Bobby Darin. After that night even my sisters dumped there all American heart throbs . My parents hated them so did my barber when I stopped going every 3 weeks on Saturdays with my dad. I think every parent I new hated them and that made me like them even more. The day after there TV debut my sisters and I headed to the record store and bought 45’s She Loves You and I Want to Hold Your Hand for our old player. From junior high and all thru high school the Beatles were my musical influence and I think I bought every album till there break up. It didn’t stop there I got my first radio job as a DJ in 1973 and the Beatles were still as big as ever with rerleases of Sergant Pepper and the double LP Beatles Love songs and the Red Album Beatles 1963 to 65 or 66 I can’t remember and the Blue Album of there later songs until there breakup . Friday’s at my first station were Fab Four Friday’s and there were many Beatles weekends people still loved the Beatles years after there break up. McCartney kept many of there songs alive with his group Wings doing many of there old songs in his concerts. They all had hits after there break up Lennon with Imagine Harrison with my Sweet Lord and the album All Things Must Pass even Ringo made the charts with Your 16. So they were still there making the Billboard charts still giving people a taste of there talents but never giving people what they really wanted a Beatles reunion. Can you imagine if John would not have been needlessly killed what a Beatles reunion in the late 80’s or early 90’s would have been like. No group that followed the Beatles ever made the impact they did. Yes the Stones were huge and played forever and other groups were big but none ever impacted a culture as the Beatles did they changed everything they started the 1960’s maybe they didn’t stay in the mix but they were the beginning brought the change for everyone to follow them and we did.

  11. Profile photo of simon thorpe
    simon thorpe

    Dom,that was awesome,I love that you love the Beatles,and I admire the articulate way you put it across,I think all those things too,and you’re right about ringo……

  12. Profile photo of James G
    James G

    So many good comments, I think I’m particularly on the same page (and about the same age) as Dom T and Scott H, so I’ll add: I was ten when they hit the States and Ed Sullivan in February ’64, and I don’t think younger generations, or older ones for that matter, can appreciate the excitement and awakening of Beatlemania for those of that certain age. In addition to what has been said so far about the music, there was just so much of it, song after song, at the dizzying pace of 2 albums and an additional 4 singles per year (can you imagine such from today’s divas, who put out an album more like every 5 years, so as not to “saturate” their audience?) Well, saturate indeed, those first few years alone could sustain memories for a lifetime.
    But then they grew, and we got to grow along. Please Please Me evolved to Meet The Beatles to A Hard Day’s Night, but by Beatles for Sale (Beatles ’65 stateside), it was really clear that we were growing up. And on it went another 5 years or so. So much music, and so much…cool. It’s hard to imagine any other act in modern history ever approaching their outsize impact, and this is why we’re still talking about them 50 years on.

  13. Profile photo of Mark W
    Mark W

    I would echo many of the things people have written — not everything, but who’s to quibble? One of the awesome things about The Beatles is just how many people they inspired to play guitar. The famous (e.g., Glenn Frey, Neil Young) and not-so-famous (perhaps even some of us).

  14. Profile photo of leslie c
    leslie c

    Im from England, Ive read the comments and I know as I was a young man in the 60’s
    The Beatles Never came at the right time they Were the right time They started the 60’s
    you needed to live in England to know what it was like then to live here as a youngster
    Darleen The WHO also started a new Generation.

  15. Profile photo of Rich T
    Rich T

    I agree that versatility was one of the big keys. They put their “10,000 hours” of practice time in with all the Liverpool and Hamburg gigs, playing literally around the clock “8 days a week”. They played an amazing amount of cover tunes going from the 20’s through the 50s. Playing the whole variety of cover tunes, I believe led to the versatility in their own original tunes. The children, their parents and grandparents could all listen to the Beatles because they had a little of each generation in their songs. All four could sing….this is HUGE. There was some kind of harmonic pleasantness/ meshing, that John, Paul and George’s voices could get………kind of like when brothers and sisters of the same family sing together. Something in those vocal harmonies still sends shivers up my back and compels me to make my own band follow suit. And I also believe the timing was perfect….there was not a lot of competition. I do believe that today there is TOOOO much to choose from with music. My favorite artist section in Spotify is so large, I don’t know who to listen to at any give time. And everybody today is great, from the local bands thru the mid-level performers to the stadium acts, which makes deciding on who to play more difficult. Back then I think the choices were more limited. And of course The Beatles had George Martin the quintessential 5th Beatle who always steered them in the right direction and always had their best interests in the fore front.

  16. Profile photo of DeeDee L
    DeeDee L

    The Beatles were an innovative band. They had 4 great singers (where most bands only have one), 3 great songwriters, writing catchy tunes, played instruments, had mod hair, and a great producer. All that combined caused major Hysteria.

    Although, I really did not follow The Beatles much. I learned about them from my older siblings. I do love their music but I was more into The Who – Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend which is another story only because I was around older kids, but deep down inside I actually loved KISS. LOL. They caused my hysteria. LOL.

  17. Profile photo of Michael S
    Michael S

    I’m a big fan, part of the 60’s generation that grew up with them (freshman in HS through Sr. year in college, 1964 – 1971). I agree their versatility was stunning. I now recognize that they seldom overplayed anything – didn’t show off. They were sometimes lazy – John’s relatively poor playing on Norwegian Wood riff, for example. But they were so MUSICAL, their melodies and harmonies were easy to listen, and stayed in your memory bank all day long. And they were applicable to our lives. What boy had a girlfriend back then and didn’t appreciate We Can Work It Out, And I Love Her, Yesterday, or didn’t love to dance to Twist and Shout, When I Saw Her Standing There. Then they started the life observation songs, such as Taxman, Paperback Writer, Baby, You Can Drive My Car, Rain (When the Rain Comes) – aw, man! No group before or since has literally changed society and culture like they did, And yes, Tony – what a catalog of music. I think their music will be loved, studied and discussed for generations to come. Their staying power is nonpareil. Beatles Forever. I mean, they’re not God, but in the world of music and culture, they are incomparable.

  18. Profile photo of Bernard G
    Bernard G

    As John B I’ve been a huge Beatles fan for many many years now. I also agree with Tony and Glenn M : versatility and also talent to create great songs for John, Paul and George. Great songs with great vocals and great sound.
    They were already a very good rock band before they became the Fab Four. But then they grew up and could touch all kinds of music.

  19. Profile photo of Dom T
    Dom T

    I am not sure where to begin. I can say, yes, versatility….absolutely. I grew up with them. From I want to hold your hand 7th grade), all the way through Abbey Road (Freshman in college), I listened intently and screamed out the words to every song, every album, every song that wasn’t even on an album (Hey Jude). I listened back then with headphones while alone, or singing as loud as we could, when with friends. I knew and know the words to every song. I know what they mean. I won a bet in college that i couldn’t ‘recite’ the entire song Rocky Racoon. That guy was just dumb for betting me on that one, 😉
    I don’t think we realized it at the time, but even though the boys were a couple years older than us, we were all growing up together. We were experiencing the same things in life that boys experience as part of the growing process, almost at the same time. We influenced them, then wrote songs, said things, did things that influenced us. What other band in the history of the world made a Christmas message to their fans every year. It was revolutionary, thoughtful, charming, and funny. The boys were as innocent as we all were in that era. Then came the experiments with new cultures, drugs, new cutting edge ideas about different types of instruments, and recording methods, and themed albums.
    Each one of them, so talented in their own way. Ringo having to endure people saying that he wasn’t a good drummer. Well folks, major revelation to some of you……he was a really good drummer, and exactly what The Beatles music required, There are no mis-steps in his drumming, it is all exactly what the song needed, at exactly the moment it needed it.
    They were unique. They learned their instruments and music as they grew. Any one of us that tries to play their music has to realize as we attempt to play it, that they used not only most of the typical chords we all know and use, but they also used creativity in their chord use. They used unusual chords, 7ths, 9ths, dims, etc. When you look at a score sheet, use come upon a chord, stop playing, look real close and say “what the heck is that?” and when you form the chord as best you can, and strum it, or better yet, arpeggio it, you usually say, “WOW, that is beautiful’.
    Their music is full of those chords. Full of the amazing harmonies that we all know and love, full of bridges, some that seems silly, but MAKE the song their in. Yes. they could all sing, that was really important. Also, even more important, they each could sing in different ways. John could sound sweet (In My Life), or very serious and worried about the state of the world (Revolution), George could be a lover (Something), or a guy questioning who you think you are in the universe (Within you Without you), RIngo could be a serious singer (Boy), or the silly, funny guy we all love (Yellow Submarine),
    To me, and I guess it fits right in with versatility. Paul, well, Paul (I want his voice…..now THERE is versatility at its best), from Blackbird, Michelle, I Will, to Oh Darling, Why Don’t we do it in the road. How does one voice DO all that? How does a band get away with songs like Honey Pie? I mean seriously. The subject matter was from Rock n Roll (their own influences being American music from Ther Crickets, and Elvis). to world matters, to love, to just plain silly. All amazing music.
    They have lasted through generations. I know a lot of the younger generations know The Beatles, and a lot of them like or love The Beatles. It amazes me,when I see just how much passion there still exists today for this band that their own leader described as “It’s only a band, it’s nothing really important”
    The boys had great mentors too, from Brian Epstein to Sir George Martin, they were ‘kept focused’ and taught amazing things.
    All I know is that if you look at the band piece-by-piece, they were perfect together, and perfect for the times, and perfect for us to carry their message forward into the ages.
    I an only emotional about one band. My entire life revolves around these guys. My right arm proudly show anyone in reading distance the message they left us as the last recorded words ever as a band called The Beatles. “And in the end…..the love the take, is equal to the love you make”. Folks, if we live this way, when we leave will have made this world an even better place than when we entered it.
    Tony. everyone here knows I talk too much. And, knowing that, you asked a question about my biggest music passion ever. Well you got what you asked for buddy. SEE YOU IN BOZEMAN!

    1. Profile photo of Dom T
      Dom T

      Sorry for my mis-typings, especially the most important part. “And in the end…..the love YOU take, is equal to the love you make”.


  20. Profile photo of simon thorpe
    simon thorpe

    Great topic!!Theres a bit of a Beatles revival going on in our house at the minute,due to their arrival on Apple Music!hooray.
    I’m writing this listening to “Beatles for sale”whilst on the train.Genius,just brilliant,I haven’t listened to the earlier albums for years.Ive heard lots of people say(friends,work colleagues,other guitar players)”I’m not too keen on the beatles earlier stuff,I prefer the later albums”This seems to be a common phrase amongst people.Well,I love it all,and would go along with Andrew and say the vocals are a big draw for me,some of the harmonies are amazing,and hearing the earlier stuff again is fantastic,I’m getting that hairs standing up,warm feeling you get when you hear great,great music.
    Just four people coming together and making magic!!thats how I see it.

    1. Profile photo of simon thorpe
      simon thorpe

      My job gets me to Liverpool a lot,(train driver)at least once a week,and the influence of the Beatles is easy to see,lots of buskers,guitar players,an abundance of musicians in general really,not surprising I suppose,but it has a very unique atmosphere which is attributed(in part anyway)by the Beatles,and everytime I walk through the city I hear at least one busker playing a Beatles tune!

      1. Profile photo of Steve H
        Steve H

        Love this Simon! Next time you pull into Lime St. why not serenade your passengers with a few bars from Penny Lane? You’ll blend right in!

  21. Profile photo of Poppa Smoke
    Poppa Smoke

    Were they in the right place at the right time? I wonder. Sure, it was the 60’s, a generation moving out of the WWII mainstream philosophy. Drugs, sex, muscle cars, protests and Rock & Roll. The Beatles may have sensed this change but they definitely carved out the sound and feel that the boomer generation was looking for, beginning with the British Invasion with their innocuous “Meet The Beatles” to sophisticated arrangements such as “Sargent Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, “Rubber Soul” and the “White Album”. There has not been any band as influential as the Beatles. Maybe, there never will be again.

  22. Profile photo of Andrew D
    Andrew D

    Although the Beatles are outside of the generation that I grew up in, I’ve always felt the reason they were so successful is because all four members of the band could sing. This allowed the band to have a continual fresh and unique sound. I enjoy listening to the band Rush, but not an entire album in one sitting because whether they are playing Tom Sawyer or Happy Birthday I know what the lead singers voice will sound like. Robert Plant had such a broad vocal range that he kept Led Zepplin from becoming stale. I often wonder why more bands don’t form where each member has the ability to sing, but I bet ego has a lot to do with it.

  23. Profile photo of Glenn M
    Glenn M

    I agree with Tony that they were versatile and that came from their individual diverse talents. Take John, Paul and George’s song writing, all great songs but different. Their voices all great, different with amazing harmonies. I could go on and on buy the bottom line is that they were all very talented and with the help of George Martin were amazing when they blend together.

  24. Profile photo of John B
    John B

    I’m a lifelong, huge Beatles fan! I’m really happy that you are recognizing the versatility and talent of the Beatles. The Beatles changed the world, from their music, to fashion, to thought, and even something as important as hair styles. They started as a pop group, but very quickly grew into serious musicians. They could play country music (Act Naturally), elegant music (Yesterday), and hard rock (Helter Skelter, Revolution). Through their growth, they tested the boundaries of music technology with new sounds and instruments (Backward tracks, sitar) and pushed other musicians to improve (Brian Wilson, Rolling Stones, etc.). Yes, the Beatles were incredibly versatile, but more importantly, they were pure magic.

  25. Profile photo of Zach M.
    Zach M.

    I totally agree Tony that their versatility is part of the key. I also think part of what made them so amazing was timing (really, some of the first musicians to write and arrange how they did), the song writing and arrangements, and their ability to evolve their sound, yet retain true to their music “true north”. Lennon and McCartney are/were brilliant collaborators and brought out the best in each other musically,. I would argue that the Stones are perhaps even a bigger influence over modern rock and roll, given that they truly transformed as almost straight ahead Blues musicians and made Blues into Rock. But we would not have modern music of today without the Beatles for sure.

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