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Beatlesque

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Beatlesque

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Beatlesque (pronounced /ˌbi:təl'ɛsk/) is a term used to describe rock and pop bands and musicians who make music similar to that of The Beatles, an English rock-pop music band from the 1960s.

As the Beatles broke several music sales records and charted numerous times during their careers, the term is typically used by record reviewers, rock and pop music fans, and members of the media as a form of praise; it is only occasionally used to mean that an act is too derivative of the Beatles or similar acts of the 1960s. Typical hallmarks of Beatlesque bands include:

  • A strong, well-crafted melody, rarely driven by a riff
  • A focus on vocal performance, featuring distinctive singing styles and vocal harmony
  • Subtle tension in the chord progressions, as heard on Cry Baby Cry, Blackbird, Sexy Sadie, and many others. This would continue much into Lennon's solo career with songs such as Jealous Guy.
  • A "fresh", eclectic, and innovative approach to composition and performance, often featuring arrangements or instruments unusual to the format of the conventional pop song
  • Elements of psychedelic music, especially reminiscent of the Beatles' work during the period of 1966–1968
  • Strong songwriting, with intelligent, profound, and accessible lyrics
  • High standards of production, resulting in a very "clean" sound

Not all of the Beatles' songs fit into this formula; for example, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" has very simple, straightforward lyrics, and "Day Tripper" is a purely riff-driven song. Adherence to a few of the criteria, plus some passing resemblance in tone or voice, is often enough, however, to be labeled into this varied genre.

Some bands and artists considered to be "Beatlesque" are listed below. The list is supplemented by an informal publication of the Usenet newsgroup rec.music.beatles on Beatlesque bands. It should be noted that some bands (see Oasis), consciously attempted to mimic the Beatles' sound. For the most part, however, the resemblance to The Beatles is not as intentional.

Examples of "Beatlesque" bands and artists

Richard Cummins Independent artist from Vancouver, Richard's songs are always being compared to the Beatles, largely due to his extreme emphasis on melody, memorable hooks and harmony.
Tori Amos: Certain of her compositions have been cited, particularly more recent songs such as "Wednesday" from her album Scarlet's Walk and "Ireland" off of her most studio release The Beekeeper. She has also covered a fair number of Beatles songs.
Apples in Stereo: An independent American pop band that heavily draws from The Beach Boys in addition to The Beatles. The album Her Wallpaper Reverie is probably the most heavily Beatles influenced album of The Apples. Some Apples songs even have titles similar to Beatles songs such as "Strawberryfire" ("Strawberry Fields Forever") and "Submarine Dream" ("Yellow Submarine").
Badfinger: Recorded the Paul McCartney composition "Come and Get It" for an early hit, in much the same way that the song was demoed to them. George Harrison, too, worked with Badfinger, not only producing much of their music but also contributing the slide guitar solo on their song "Day After Day." George Martin, Geoff Emerick, Chris Thomas, and Mal Evans, all of whom worked heavily with The Beatles, also worked with Badfinger (all but Martin produced them). Badfinger was sometimes accused of being too derivative. They were on the Beatles' Apple Records label.
Charlatans UK: Contemporary British band from Manchester, near the Beatles' home of Liverpool.
Cheap Trick
Chris Cornell: Has claimed in a Rolling Stone interview that the Beatles are his favorite band. His Euphoria Morning album shows much Beatles influence in the melodies and chord progressions; Kim Thayil has mentioned that Soundgarden somewhat imitated the Beatles on their Superunknown album.
The Church: Strong Beatles influence on many songs from this Australian band.
Coldplay: Known for their Beatlesque melodies.
Peter Cook and Dudley Moore: Cook and Moore recorded a Beatle parody titled "L.S. Bumble Bee" released in early 1967, with Moore sounding like Lennon, which spoofed the psychedelic sound. It appeared on many Beatle bootleg albums.
Marshall Crenshaw: Crenshaw started his career portraying John Lennon in a touring production of Beatlemania.
Crowded House: Beatles-like sounds fill this band's catalog, from their debut album to their demise. See also Neil Finn, Split Enz
Don Dixon: Chiefly a record producer, but has recorded his own material.
Electric Light Orchestra: Band members have remarked that they were heavily influenced by the Beatles. Frontman Jeff Lynne later produced George Harrison's Cloud Nine album, worked with him on the Traveling Wilburys albums, and completed Harrison's final work Brainwashed; Lynne also produced the new songs for the Beatles' own Anthology. John Lennon reportedly stated that if the Beatles stayed together, they would have sounded like ELO.
Galactic Cowboys: Defunct band that deftly blended power pop and heavy metal.
Gasman James: Authentic, original compositions that sound very Beatle-like. Visit http://gasmanjames.50webs.com/
Gin Blossoms: Occasionally experiment with their pop sound, mixing in country and zydeco.
Robyn Hitchcock: Has remarked that he was heavily influenced by The Beatles.
Jacob's Trouble: Christian rock band which set out to sound as Beatlesque as possible
Jellyfish: Short-lived San Francisco band whose two lead songwriters had a relationship similar to Lennon and McCartney; they also wrote several songs for Ringo Starr's "Time Takes Time" LP.
Billy Joel: Though only a few of his songs would be considered Beatlesque, Joel has admitted that the Beatles were his chief inspiration for becoming a musician. A clear Beatles influence is evident on his Glass Houses album.
Phil Keaggy: Noticeable similarity, particularly on his 1988 album Phil Keaggy and Sunday's Child
King's X: A band from Houston, Texas that mixes Beatles songcraft, progressive metal, and funk into a unique concoction.
Klaatu: Canadian band of the early 1970s whose sound was so reminiscent of the Beatles that rumors were started that the band was actually the Beatles reformed under a different name.
Lenny Kravitz: Specifically on the songs "Stand by My Woman" and "Let Love Rule", mainly because Sean Lennon produced some songs on Kravitz's "Mama Said" album.
The La's: Another foursome from Liverpool; their biggest hit was "There She Goes".
Julian Lennon: The son of John Lennon; critics have noted the similarity in their voices.
Love & Rockets
Aimee Mann: Former lead singer of 'Til Tuesday and wife of Michael Penn. Her style has become more eclectic since leaving 'Til Tuesday.
The Monkees: Specifically created by US television to replicate the style and music of The Beatles, at the height of Beatlemania, following the success of "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!". In television episodes the band had adventures much in the vein of the aforementioned films. Each episode had a song, rendered in the style of The Beatles. Top songwriters of the day were commissioned to write the songs, and it was only when individual band members started writing their own material did the songs depart from The Beatles template. Ultimately, The Monkees developed their own style and can be considered as a succesful group in their own right.
Nirvana: Singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain idolized John Lennon, and admitted that "About a Girl" was essentially his attempt at writing a Beatles song.
Oasis: Main songwriter Noel Gallagher has often cited The Beatles as a strong influence. The drummer Zak Starkey is son of Ringo Starr.
Gilbert O'Sullivan: Best known for his 1972 hit "Alone Again (Naturally)".
Michael Penn: Particularly on his 1989 hit "No Myth".
Pink Floyd: One of the earliest acts to adapt Beatles-style harmonies and arrangements; Syd Barrett had noted the Beatles as a big influence on their early sound.
The Pixies: Singer Frank Black is a Beatles fan, and their guitarist Joey Santiago has mentioned George Harrison's guitar licks as his inspiration to learn guitar.
The Posies: One of their songs was covered by Ringo Starr.
Sam Phillips: Her albums The Indescribable Wow, and Martinis and Bikinis have been noted for their Beatlesque sound. Bikinis even included a cover of Lennon's "Gimme Some Truth."
The Pillows: Even though their songs are in the Japanese language, several of their songs, including "Patricia" and "Scent of Sweet", have sounded remarkably Beatlesque.
Radiohead: While many of their songs are Beatles-influenced, Karma Police in particular has a piano arrangement almost exactly like that of Sexy Sadie.
The Ramones
The Raspberries: Considered one of the founders of the power pop style, drawing inspiration from the Beatles and other British Invasion bands.
The Redwalls: A former Beatle cover band that began writing its own compositions.
The Rembrandts: Most famous for performing "I'll Be There for You", the theme to the American TV show Friends.
The Romantics: 1980s power pop band from Detroit, Michigan evoked the sound of the early period Beatles and other British Invasion groups in their energetic, electric guitar- and drums-based New Wave rock, and evoked the look of the early, Beatlemania era Beatles with their matching band suits and bushy hairstyles.
Todd Rundgren: Similar to Don Dixon (above), Rundgren is primarily a producer, and has produced albums by XTC and Badfinger. His band, Utopia, is listed separately.
The Rutles: Not a proper band in their own right, the Rutles were a Beatles parody project created by Neil Innes and Eric Idle.
Elliott Smith: Has repeatedly stated the huge influence that the Beatles have had on his music.
The Smithereens: The drummer of this New Jersey-based quartet, Dennis Diken, mentioned the Beatles' influence on their music in liner notes.
The Smiths: Similar to Michael Penn (above) in that the Smiths' lyrics are generally more depressing and "downbeat" than the Beatles'.
The Spongetones: Another former Beatle cover band that began writing its own compositions.
Stars on 45: Dutch group of session players who in the 1980s recorded authentic covers of Beatles songs for a "medley" played against a disco beat. More derivative than Beatlesque.
Superdrag: Released the album Head Trip in Every Key which was fully orchestrated.
System of a Down: The Heavy Metal band's guitarist, Daron Malakian has stated in interviews that the Beatles and other 60's rock bands have a heavy influence on them, particularly in the Serj Tankian-Daron Malakian harmonies.
Terry Scott Taylor: Taylor's first two solo albums, Knowledge and Innocence and A Briefing for the Ascent, were frequently compared to the Beatles music by reviewers, and Taylor himself was often said to sound like John Lennon. Taylor's band Daniel Amos also often received comparisons from reviewers, especially their 1978 album Horrendous Disc.
Tears For Fears: Their song "Sowing The Seeds Of Love" is heavily influenced by the 1967 Beatles. Also, their song "Shout" was owing to John Lennon's sound on his first solo album Plastic Ono Band. Their newest album as of 2005, Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, is self-consciously Beatlesque throughout.
Utopia: Notable for releasing an album directly parodying the Beatles, Deface the Music.
Ween
Weezer
Wilco
The Wackers Canadian band from Montreal. Particularly Beatlesque is the Hot Wacks LP (Elektra 1972) which yielded a single cover version of John Lennon's Oh My Love, and many shades of Abbey Road and The White Album.
The Wonders: Fictional one-hit wonder band from Tom Hanks' 1996 film That Thing You Do!. The group's songs and sound were intentionally modeled after the Beatles of 1964.
World Party
XTC: Their albums Skylarking (produced by Todd Rundgren, above) and Oranges and Lemons, are particularly cited for the adjective. Even more so are their recordings as The Dukes of Stratosphear, which are deliberately reminiscent of the psychedelia of the 1960s.

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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