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Beatles Overload? 5 Beatlesque Bands You Should Hear
You can't help it, you are just so jazzed that it is The Beatles' 50th Anniversary of their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show that you've grown your moptop, dusted off your Hofner Bass and even broke out your copy of The Rutles.
You have assuredly already been to NYPL's excellent exhibit Ladies and Gentleman...The Beatles! at the Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center four times and have two more trips planned. You even caught a battle between The Beatles celebrity fans and Stones diehards but with the exhibit ending May 10th you are wondering what you will do next?
While madness for the Fab Four is completely justified this post is to help you branch out into other acts who have been directly inspired by the lads from Liverpool.
Safe to say every pop band that has come after The Beatles were influenced by them somehow, but these five acts have direct lineage. We stayed away from some obvious choices like Oasis or friendly rivals The Beach Boys because four of the five below are still playing today, having each released new music in 2013 and toured to support it. The fifth just had some high profile press and even played a surprise show.
Each exhibit Beatles style with their own distinct flair, exploring music the way The Beatles did a few generations ago:
The Beatles solidified their status as all-time great artists, as opposed to merely the planets biggest rock stars, when they changed course mid-career and released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Their late career has been an obvious direct influence on the fearless freak rocking Flaming Lips who stunningly incorporate beauty and weirdness into their music. 2014 is going to be a big year in Flaming Lips and Beatles tie ins as the Lips already covered the Beatles to kick off the year, offered a free download of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" and plan to re-record the full Sgt Peppers Disk with some friends. 2014 is a great time for Beatles fans to dig into The Flaming Lips.
One of the best bands carrying on The Beatles tradition today are the fellows from Philly called Dr. Dog. We did a full post on them here if you are more interested in their style but safe to say, their duel front-men/songwriting/singing style is right in line with Lennon and McCartney's. Their harmonies are gorgeous, their sound production lush and a retro vibe is palpable. Unlike the Fab Four they are never afraid to perform, currently touring in fine form. (another group from that series that should be mentioned with 2 strong front-men/songwriters are The Raconteurs who we also wrote about, this list just jumped to 6 Bands!)
The only English band to grace this list, the group started out as acclaimed pub/punk rockers but have steadily evolved, releasing one of the best albums of 2013 while growing into an arena headlining act around the world and recently right here in NYC. The group has long proclaimed their admiration for the Beatles siting Lennon's lyrics as an influence. The 4 piece also showed off some high profile musical love covering "Come Together" for the London Olympics and "All My Loving" at their recent MSG headlining gig to commemorate the elders Ed Sullivan appearance. A young group who continue to prove The Beatles influence is everywhere including close to their original home.
From the youngest group on this list to the oldest, this foursome from Boston came to fame in the late '80s on the perfected formula of LOUD/quiet/LOUD rock that would be labeled "alternative". The Pixies were beloved on college radio and developed a cult following reaching a peak with the 1989's Doolittle. The album is considered a masterpiece and during the time of its recording, main songwriter Black Francis was listening heavily to The Beatles (aka The White Album). The group's internal conflict is legendary; also something they have in common with the lads. Recording some of the most influential music of the era they (and The Beatles) had a direct influence on the last and most well-known band on this list...
When Nirvana changed the face of popular music with "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in 1991 "I Want To Hold Your Hand" may not have been forefront on every ones mind. Moptops and suits were traded in for unwashed, even longer hair and flannels but The Beatles were a huge part of Nirvana's make up as a band and particularly on Kurt Cobain as a songwriter. Dave Grohl recently talked about it, it can be seen in their classic "In Bloom" video and one of the groups best early songs "About A Girl" came about after Cobain spent a full afternoon listening to Meet The Beatles! Take away the feedback noise and stage dives and you find a band whose tied together with the Fab Four via influence, songwriting and spirit. Recently added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Nirvana now resides next to one of their main influences.
This is just a starter list as we mentioned almost every band that came after them owes some debt to The Beatles. Enjoy their tunes and also enjoy what they inspired. If you have other bands that deserve a mention, feel free to share them in the comments.