There's no denying that the Beatles defined the era of 1960s music, but their songs have stood the test of time. Even today, the rock group gains new fans who find their music just as relevant as it was almost six decades ago.
From breaking cultural barriers, experimenting with their sound, and much more, here is how the Beatles changed the world.
They Debunked The Stigma Against B-Sides
Typically, B-sides of albums were where artists would put songs that they wouldn't think would get air time on the radio.
The Beatles flipped that on its head and put some of their greatest work on the B-sides. Some examples were "Rain," "Don't Let Me Down," and "I Am The Walrus."
An Appearance On Ed Sullivan Gave Them A New Audience
Not only were there thousands of people trying to get a seat in the studio when the Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show but many more viewed the broadcast on television.
A record-breaking 73 million households tuned in to watch them perform in 1964. Many famous musicians cite this broadcast as influential to their career, such as Billy Joel and Tom Petty.
John Lennon's Quote About Beatles Fame Took Off
Some Beatles fans may remember the hubbub around John Lennon when he was quoted saying that the group had become "more popular than Jesus."
The mention of being more famous than a religious figure really bothered a lot of people, and they started to protest their music. Lennon later clarified that he didn't mean it with a negative connotation.
The Beatles Celebrated The Counterculture Movement
The times were changing during the 1960s, which ushered in a counterculture. The Beatles became influenced by 60s icons, including Bob Dylan and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Their influence changed the way the group made music with trippy instrumentals and lyrics about wanting peace and love on earth. This can be heard in songs such as "The Word" and "All You Need Is Love."
Rock Critics Got Their Start Because Of The Beatles
While music critics existed before the Beatles gained fame, there wasn't really a place for rock critics. Rock music wasn't taken too seriously, with artists such as Elvis Presley getting snubbed.
However, their songs transformed the genre. Publications such as Rolling Stone took off where critics were solely writing about artists making rock music.
They Introduced Listeners To Concept Albums
Albums were usually made to contain a collection of singles that could be played on the radio. A concept album is when all of the songs express a particular theme or idea.
The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was one of the first concept albums for rock music. It centered on a fictional band played by the group.
Going Solo Proved Successful For Each Of Them
Band breakups are sometimes inevitable, and that was true with the Beatles. However, the four of them were able to launch extremely successful solo careers.
Going solo provided them with the ability to create new sounds. For example, Ringo went for country-pop, George wrote very emotional lyrics, and Paul shifted with the times by producing music in every decade.
They Learned About Instruments From Around The World
One of the most transformative experiences for the Beatles was their trip to India. George Harrison was specifically inspired to experiment with new instruments.
He learned how to play the sitar and incorporated it into some songs, such as "Norwegian Wood." Harrison was also one of the first artists to use a Moog synthesizer.
People Started To Copy Their Style
When the Beatles rose to fame, one of the first things fans noticed was their unique style. It wasn't before long that the mop-top hairstyle and high-heeled Baba boots became part of the mainstream.
During the later part of the 1960s, the group wanted to step away from the boy band image, so they each adopted their own fashion sense.
They Broke The Barrier For Music Genres
The Beatles frequently experimented with their sound, which meant they went outside of the rock genre. Their early music may be categorized as pop, but many of their later work consisted of all kinds of tunes, such as melodic ballads.
One of their most off-the-wall songs was "Revolution 9," which was an eight-minute recording of found sounds.
They Started Their Own Record Label
The Beatles needed a space to express their creativity, so they decided to create their own record label called Apple Records.
While the Beatles produced some great songs at Apple Records, they also lent the space to other budding artists such as Badfinger and James Taylor. A subsidiary called Zapple Records was created a couple of years later.
Being Chart Toppers Came Naturally To Them
Everything that the Beatles released turned into a massive success. They had the honor of earning the top-five slots on the Billboard Hot 100, the top six slots of Australia's Top 10, and the top 9 slots in Canada's Top 10 all in the same week.
Also, every album they made became the U.K.'s best-selling album the year it was released.
Being Inspired By Motown Led Them To Social Justice
When the Beatles were starting out, they were inspired by a diverse array of artists, including some of Motown's greats.
After learning that one of their concerts in Jacksonville, Florida, was segregated, the group refused to play. "We never play to segregated audiences, and we aren't going to start now," said Lennon.
They Appeared On The Silver Screen
The Beatles didn't stick to only music. They starred in several films that featured their songs on the soundtrack.
One of their most remembered movies was A Hard Day's Night. They played fictionalized and heightened versions of themselves as they raced to escape the crowds of fans. Their movies showed how music and cinema could combine into a cohesive unit.
Giving Up Touring Allowed Them To Let Out Their Creativity
Touring started to get too hectic for the group, and they decided to give it up in 1966 to focus solely on their music.
They spent many hours in the studio trying to find new sounds. For example, they would reverse instrumental tracks, dampen the drums, and layer vocals to different tones.
They Weren't Afraid To Call Out Injustice
Often times rock music is used as a vessel to speak out on injustice in the world. The Beatles wrote numerous songs expressing how they felt about what was going on in the world in the 1960s.
This included "Back in the U.S.S.R," "Taxman," and "Blackbird." Also, John Lennon became one of the most influential activists during the 60s and 70s after meeting his wife, Yoko Ono.
How The Beatles Became A Corporation
While the Beatles started out simply as a music group, they soon became a corporation. During the band's prime, they had every kind of merchandise imaginable, ranging from posters, dolls, and other collectibles.
Even after they broke up, there were TV shows, documentary films, and more that marketed the band to new audiences.
They Designed Some Memorable Album Covers
Most albums that were released before the 1960s would typically feature a portrait of the artist with some text. The Beatles wanted to change the way album covers were designed.
They used line-drawn art with a collage of black and white photos of themselves for Revolver. Then, they designed a colored collage of themselves in front of historical icons for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
They Led The British Invasion
Before the Beatles arrived in the United States, Americans typically listened to American musicians. After they performed on The Ed Sullivan Show, it made room for more Brits to have their music heard around the world.
Artists such as the Kinks, The Rolling Stones, and The Who soon became global music icons.
The Beatles Filmed Some Of The First Music Videos
The artists who came before the Beatles would usually perform their songs on late-night or variety shows, but the band wanted to switch things up.
They wanted to combine their music with visual media, so they made some of the first music videos in rock history. Videos were made of them performing "Day Tripper," "We Can Work It Out," and many more.
The Beatles Paved The Way For Heavy Metal
The Beatles had to consistently keep up with other rock bands. When Paul McCartney read that The Who had released one of the hardest rock songs of all time, he wrote something even bigger.
"Helter Skelter" became the Beatles' triumph in paving the way for heavy metal. Paul screamed into the microphone, Ringo heavily banged on the drums, and the guitars sounded very distorted.
The Beach Boys Wrote Pet Sounds Because Of Rubber Soul
After the Beatles released Rubber Soul, the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson knew he needed to create something even better. This led him to make one of the top albums of all time, Pet Sounds.
Then, the Beatles were inspired by his work and released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. After hearing this album, Wilson didn't feel like he could keep up and stopped working on the album Smile.
They Have Sold Billions Of Records
The Beatles are the top-selling artists in the world, with over one billion records sold. Many artists, including Garth Brooks, Elvis Presley, the Eagles, and Led Zeppelin, have come close to their record.
They also hold the record for a music group with the longest span between number-one albums on the Billboard album charts at 36 years and 51 weeks.
They Popularized The Singer-Songwriter Movement
It was pretty common to have songwriters write songs for artists to perform, but the Beatles wanted to make their songs more personal.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney started out writing the songs for the group, but George Harrison and Ringo Starr became talented songwriters in the Beatles' later years.
Ringo Made Drumming Look Easy
The Beatles actually started out with a different drummer, but Ringo joined the band in 1962 because the original one didn't impress producer George Martin.
Ringo is regarded as one of the greatest drummers in history. He almost never ruined a take in the recording studio and was able to consistently keep time.
One Of Their Songs Has The Most Covers Of All Time
One of the Beatles' most popular songs is "Yesterday." McCartney wrote the melancholy ballad about a break-up, and it appeared on their album Help!.
"Yesterday" has become the most covered song in music history and has inspired over 2,200 cover versions. McCartney actually composed the entire melody in a dream.
They Used Real-Life Inspiration For Their Songs
Many fans related to the Beatles' music because they were able to draw from their real-life experiences for the lyrics.
They would often write about love, breakups, family members, or what they saw happening in the world. Finding inspiration came naturally to them. For example, Ringo used a family boating trip to write the lyrics for "Octopus's Garden."
Their Star Power Was Out Of This World
The Beatles have garnered fans all over the world, but their fame goes beyond this planet. In 1990, the Minor Planet Center named five minor planets after the band members because of their influence across the globe.
The minor planets are named 4147 Lennon, 4149 Harrison, 4148 McCartney, 4150 Starr, and 8749 Beatles.
Paul Had Wisdom Beyond His Years
While Paul McCartney and John Lennon wrote the majority of the songs for the Beatles, some fans may not know just how young they were at the time.
The band was formed in 1960 when McCartney was 18, and Lennon was 20. McCartney even wrote the song "When I'm Sixty-Four" at the age of 16 before adding it to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
They Collaborated With Other Musicians
The Beatles didn't come up with every song completely on their own. They had help from other musicians such as Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton.
Clapton even played some of the lead guitar parts on Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," but he never received any official credit. Clapton ended up marrying Harrison's ex-wife Pattie Boyd.