Top 11 Musicians Influenced By the Beatles

Top 11 Musicians Influenced By the Beatles

Continued from Page 1

6. Michelle Phillips, the Mamas and the Papas

By 1965, the Mamas and the Papas – vocalists Cass Elliot, Denny Doherty and John and Michelle Phillips – had performed in folk music groups with little success and were ready for a change. “We were trying to get out of folk music and into whatever this was that was coming out of Britain. I don’t think we even called it the British Invasion at that point,” Michelle Phillips told Retrosellers.

“The first night we ever took acid we heard our first Beatles album. It was such an eye opener. We wanted to do commercial music but we just didn’t know exactly what it was. And it wasn’t folk anymore.

“We knew we had to get out of folk music as it was dying a quick death but when we listened to that Beatles album, and it wasn’t the first Beatles album – I don’t know where we were when the first Beatles album came out. It was the second Beatles album and our jaws just dropped and I remember Denny was the one who said, ‘Now, we wanna be doing more stuff like this.’”

I Call Your Name by the Mamas and the Papas:

5. Gene Simmons, KISS

For Gene Simmons, lead singer and bassist of heavy metal’s KISS, Liverpool had always been a place he’d wanted to play. “I’ve been fascinated by the place ever since I heard the Beatles,” Simmons told the Liverpool Echo when he arrived in 2010. “There is no way I’d be doing what I do now if it wasn’t for the Beatles. I was watching The Ed Sullivan Show and I saw them. Those skinny little boys, kind of androgynous, with long hair like girls. It blew me away that these four boys in the middle of nowhere could make that music. Then they spoke and I thought, ‘What are they talking like?’ We had never heard the Liverpool accent before.

“I thought that all British people spoke like the Queen. The only time you heard a British accent was when they played the Nazi in war films.

“Overnight I became an Anglophile,” Simmons continued. “I read up on the Beatles, who they were, where they were from. I learnt about Liverpool, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, Ringo’s band, and the Quarrymen and all that. I read up on everything they did in the news. I followed their failures and their successes. The Beatles were a band, of course, and I loved their music. But they were also a cultural force that made it OK to be different.”

Day Tripper by Kiss:

4. Maurice and Robin Gibb, the Bee Gees

Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb formed the Bee Gees in 1958 and have sold more than 200 million records in a career that spanned four decades. The brothers told CNN that the music industry was a far different place before the Beatles showed that singers could write their own songs. “In those days, I used to think like Sinatra and Elvis and all of them used to write their own songs and do their own thing,” said Maurice. “You never knew what label the pop people were on. You never knew who produced them. You never knew the names of the people in the band.”

“They were a great influence to us because they were songwriters, they broke a lot of rules and they created an artistic credibility in the pop music business, which was never there before,” added Robin. “The Beatles broke those walls down and started selling a lot of albums, which pop artists didn’t do before them… When the Beatles came on they changed all that. And pop music started.”

A Day in the Life by the Bee Gees:

3. Joni Mitchell

Early in her career, singer Joni Mitchell was best known as the writer of Chelsea Morning, The Circle Game and Both Sides, Now – all hits for other folk artists. Mitchell told Rosie O’Donnell that after playing a song for John Lennon at a recording studio, the Beatle was puzzled. “You want a hit, don’t you?” Lennon asked. “Why do you always let other people have your hits for you?”

Like Brian Wilson, Mitchell was influenced by the Beatles’ 1965 masterpiece, Rubber Soul. That year the Canadian folk singer had moved to the United States, where her music evolved to include rock ‘n’ roll and jazz elements. “Rubber Soul was the Beatle album I played over and over,” Mitchell related in Lava. “I think they were discovering Dylan, and the songs often had an acoustic feel. I used to sing [Norwegian Wood] in my coffeehouse days in Detroit before I started writing for myself.

“The whole scenario has this whimsical, charmingly wry quality with a bit of a dark undertone. I’d sing it to put some levity in my set. I got a kick out of throwing it in there amongst all these tragic English folk ballads.”

Norwegian Wood by the Beatles:

Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell:

2. Roger McGuinn, the Byrds

When the Byrds topped the charts in the midst of the British Invasion with 1965’s Mr. Tambourine Man, the media dubbed them “The American Beatles.” The jingle-jangle of Roger McGuinn’s 12-string Rickenbacker guitar and the voices of McGuinn, David Crosby, Gene Clark and Chris Hillman defined the band’s sound. “Early on the Byrds went to see A Hard Day’s Night, a kind of reconnaissance trip,” McGuinn recalled in Modern Guitars. “And we took notes on what the Beatles were playing and bought instruments like they had. We got a Gretsch Country Gentleman and the Rick.

“I got really jazzed by the Beatles. I loved what they were doing… I imagined that they were more folk-oriented than they really were. I thought they were probably more a folk band that could play bluegrass banjo and mandolin, but they chose to do pop music because it was more commercial. Turned out not to be the case. But in my imagination this whole thing developed and I started mixing up old folk songs with the Beatles beat and taking them down to Greenwich Village and playing them for the people there. To the point where a guy put out a sign outside that said, ‘Beatle Imitations.’ I was kind of put off by that.”

Anna by Roger McGuinn:

1. Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen was thrilled when Paul McCartney asked him to join the band at the 2012 Grammy Awards for a performance of the Abbey Road closing medley. “I’ve been waiting since 1964 for you to ask!” Springsteen told McCartney. In a documentary produced by the Grammys, Springsteen said, “There’s a basic realization that you simply would not be here, the way you are here, without this specific person. Who actually is a person!”

At an emotional Philadelphia concert  in 1980 shortly after the murder of John Lennon, the Boss shared with the audience how important the Beatles were to him. “It’s a hard night to come out and play tonight when so much has been lost. The first record that I ever learned was a record called Twist and Shout. It was a Beatles record. If it wasn’t for John Lennon, we’d all be some place very different tonight. It’s an unreasonable world and you get asked to live with a lot of things that are just unlivable. It’s a hard night to come out and play but there’s just nothing else you can do.”

I Saw Her Standing There/Twist and Shout by Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen at Hard Rock Calling:


Of course, this list merely scratches the surface. Countless musicians, artists, songwriters and the like can call the Beatles a driving influence in their careers…if you think of any we left out, please let us know in the comment section below!

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20 Responses to "Top 11 Musicians Influenced By the Beatles"

  1. Luke Spanton   February 5, 2014 at 12:32 am

    Michelle Phillips made the list, but not Jeff Lynne? Seriously?

    • Kim Senior   September 16, 2017 at 10:48 am

      I was thinking the same. Actually, The Beatles influenced far more artists than this list suggests!

  2. Matt Blick   February 5, 2014 at 4:23 am

    Influenced by the Beatles – lots of people here

    from Motorhead and Abba to Jim Carrey and Steve Jobs!

  3. Steve   February 5, 2014 at 7:47 am

    Great article! Though I thought there was one somewhat glaring omission: the amazing, underrated, fantastic band from Rockford, IL, CHEAP TRICK! They’ve covered several Beatles tunes: “Day Tripper”, “Magical Mystery Tour”, and of course covered all of Sgt. Pepper’s which is incredible. And I almost forgot their cover of John Lennon’s “Cold Turkey” and “Losing You.” And many of their original songs owe a debt to the Beatles…

  4. R D Perry   January 2, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Everyone old enough to have been a part of that transformative season (the Sullivan shows) for the U.S. can’t help but grin when they read this. There are always new stars emerging with their unique sound, but very rarely do you get a whole new genre. Throw in the political, social, cultural, & philosophical influences… and it stands alone in history. I love reading here that it affected soon-to-be stars just the same as it did to me. It seemed like it would last forever, but sadly was for just a few years. Yet we still talk about it… nuff said. Great piece!

  5. billy   January 30, 2015 at 8:14 am

    ur dumb

  6. lenjerii pat   April 11, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    even if there aren’t so many comments, this article is awesome

  7. online comment   October 5, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Very insteresting

  8. Ben Lynch   October 25, 2016 at 2:09 am

    I’m using this article (I hope that’s OK) for my Extended Project (EPQ) and I of course, have to cite the sources I use. Just wondering what year this was written?
    Great piece and many thanks.

  9. BR   January 30, 2017 at 7:22 am

    In 2010 I read an online article that had an interview with Ernie Isley of The Isley Brothers about a recent tribute to Jimi Hendrix, in which he says that Jimi played for The Isley Brothers & lived with them & that they & he were fans of The Fab Four from the moment they all watched them on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. I always thought that Jimi was only a later period Beatles fan,I knew he played Sgt.Pepper live the weekend it came out,& he played Day Tripper live also,& several people on different message boards said that when he was asked where the direction of music was going,he said ask The Beatles.

  10. BR   January 30, 2017 at 7:24 am

    Ozzy Osbourne has been a big Beatles fan since he was an early teenager,and he picked She Loves You as one of his favorite songs for Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest songs and Sgt.Pepper is one o his favorite albums.

    Ozzy Osbourne has been a big Beatles fan since he was an early teenager,and he picked She Loves You as one of his favorite songs for Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest songs and Sgt.Pepper is one o his favorite albums. He says that not loving The Beatles is like not loving oxygen and he called The Beatles the greatest band to ever walk the earth.

    Here Ozzy Osbourne says that he doesn’t anyone will ever be as great as The Beatles and he said they were all great,even George Harrison and Ringo Starr were great.

    Here is a video of Ozzy Osbourne meets Paul McCartney for the first time and they hug each other.

    Here Ozzy Osbourne says how hearing She Loves You at age 15 inspired him to go into music.

  11. BR   January 30, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Here in this article by Ger Tillekens about The Beatles chords,Bob Dylan is quoted saying what he thought in 1964 about The early Beatles music,he said that they were doing things nobody was doing and that their chords were outrageous,just outrageous and their harmonies made it all valid.

    Here in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 Greatest Song Writers Bob Dylan( who is the number 1 greatest song writer,and John Lennon is number 3,and Paul McCartney is number 2.) is quoted about a car trip when he heard a lot of Beatles songs on the radio, he said they were doing things and that he knew they were pointing the direction where music had to go.

  12. BR   January 30, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Bob Dylan talks of Beatles friendship

    Legend admits: ‘I’m in awe of McCartney’

    May 16, 2007

    Bob Dylan has spoken in depth about his longstanding friendship with The Beatles and his particular bond with George Harrison.

    Talking to Rolling Stone magazine, Dylan talked freely about Harrison’s struggle to find his voice within the songwriting collective of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

    “George got stuck with being the Beatle that had to fight to get songs on records because of Lennon and McCartney. Well, who wouldn’t get stuck?” he asked.

    Dylan highlighted the writing talents of Harrison, saying: “If George had had his own group and was writing his own songs back then, he’d have been probably just as big as anybody.”

    Speaking against popular belief, the singer also denounced any rumors of competitiveness towards Lennon and McCartney, asserting, “They were fantastic singers. Lennon, to this day, it’s hard to find a better singer than Lennon was, or than McCartney was and still is.”

    Nodding his cap to McCartney in particular, Dylan concluded: “I’m in awe of McCartney. He’s about the only one that I am in awe of. He can do it all. And he’s never let up… He’s just so damn effortless.”

  13. BR   January 30, 2017 at 7:33 am

    As The All Music Guide says in their excellent Beatles biography “That it’s difficult to summarize their career without restating cliches that have already been digested by tens of millions of rock fans, to start with the obvious,they were the greatest and most influential act of the rock era and introduced more innovations into popular music than any other rock band of the 20th century.”

    “Moreover they were among the few artists of *any* discipline that were simultaneously the best at what they did *and* the most popular at what they did.” They also say as singers John Lennon and Paul McCartney were among the best and most expressive in rock.

    Also on an excellent site,The Evolution of Rock Bass Playing McCartney Style by Dennnis Alstrand,Stanley Clarke,Sting,Will Lee,Billy Sheehan,George Martin and John Lennon are quoted saying what a great,melodic and influential bass player Paul has always been.

    And Wilco’s John Stirratt was asked in Bass Player which bass players have had the most impact on his playing and the first thing he said was, Paul McCartney is one of the greatest bass players of all time,if you listen to what he was tracking live in the studio it’s unbelievable.” “With his tone and musicality he was a huge influence,he covered all of his harmonic responsibilities really well but his baselines were absolutely melodic and inventive.”

    In this 2010 interview the blogger says that John Stirratt has an affinity for good melodies so it’s not surprising that Paul McCartney is one of his musical icons and then he quotes him saying that he’s always absolutely in awe of his playing,including Paul’s Beatles years.

    And in an online 1977 Eric Clapton interview,Eric Clapton In His Own Words he says that there was always this game between John and George,and he said partly because John was a pretty good guitar player himself . He played live with John as a member of John’s 1969 Plastic Ono Band.

    And there is a great online article by musician and song writer Peter Cross,The Beatles Are The Most Creative Band Of All Time and he says that many musicians besides him recognize Paul as one of the best bass guitar players ever.He too says that John and Paul are the greatest song composers and that to say that John and Paul are among 2 of the greatest singers in rock and roll is to state the obvious,and that John,Paul and George were all excellent guitarists and that George is underrated by people not educated about music but that Eric Clapton knew better,he also says that both John and Paul played great leads as well as innovative rhythm tracks.

    John Lennon co-wrote,sang and played guitar on one of David Bowie’s first hits Fame in 1975 and David invited John to play guitar on his version of John’s beautiful Beatles song Across The Universe.Brain May,Ozzy Osbourne,and Liam Gallagher and many more call The Beatles The Greatest Band Ever.’

    Also on Music Radar Tom Petty,Joe Perry and Richie Sambora in What The Beatles Mean To Me all say how cool and great they thought The Beatles were when they first saw them on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964 when they were just teen boys,Richie was only 5.Tom Petty said he thought they were really really great.

    Robin Zander of Cheap Trick said he’s probably one of the biggest Beatles fans on the planet.Brad Whitford of Aerosmith said that a lot of that Beatles influence comes from Steven Tyler’s collaboration with Mark Hudson both whom are absolute Beatles freaks and he said I guess the goal is to try and emulate probably some of the best music of the last 50 years which has to be The Beatles.

  14. BR   January 30, 2017 at 7:35 am

    Also in an excellent Beatles book Ticket To Ride by Denny Somach where so many other well known popular respected rock musicians and artists are interviewed about The Beatles praising them including Jimmy Page,Brian Wilson who says he’s always loved The Beatles. And Brian Wilson called John & Paul the greatest song writers of the 20th century on a 1995 Nightline Beatles tribute show,(which had on music artists from every type of music,a young black jazz musician,a middle aged black opera singer,Steve Winwood,Meatloaf,and classical violinist Isak Perleman,who said he plays his children Bach,Beethoven Mozart and The Beatles)and he played With A Little Help From My Friends on the piano and he said he just loves this song. He also said that Sgt.Pepper is the greatest album he ever heard and The All Music Guide says in their Beach Boys biography,that Brian had a nervous breakdown after he heard it.

    Brian also said that when he first heard The Beatles brilliant 1965 folk rock album Rubber Soul he was blown away by it.He said all of the songs flowed together and it was pop music but folk rock at the same time and he couldn’t believe they did this so great,this inspired him to make Pet Sounds.

    John Lodge and Justin of The Moody Blues are interviewed in this book and Bill Wyman and Ron Wood says how The Rolling Stones became good friends with The Beatles in 1963 after John and Paul wrote 1 of their first hits,the Rock n Roll song,I Wanna Be You’re Man.

    Ron Wood was asked what his favorite Beatles songs and he said there are so many apart from the obvious like Strawberry Fields I Want To Hold Your Hand is one he said he used to like a lot ,and he said he really loved We Can Work It Out.He also says that The Beatles used to have a radio show every Friday where they played live and spoke and he would never miss an episode. He said in fact whoever has the rights to those shows should dig them up,because they are incredible.

    Justin Hayward says that the album he always really loved ,and he said it was when they started experimenting with chord structures ,was A Hard Day’s Night.He says they began to move away from the standard 3 chord thing and just went into more interesting structures .

    He said A Hard Day’s Night was the album for him and their song If I Fell was the song.He said it started in a different key to how it ended up,and it’s a beautifully worked out song and that there are some songs on that album that were very emotional and evocative. He said that for everybody just starting to write songs as he was,it was a real turn on and eye opener.

  15. BR   February 1, 2017 at 5:04 am

    Also on Music Radar Tom Petty,Joe Perry and Richie Sambora in What The Beatles Mean To Me all say how cool and great they thought The Beatles were when they first saw them on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964 when they were just teen boys,Richie was only 5.Tom Petty said he thought they were really really great.And Alan White from the group Yes is also interviewed.

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  17. Lenjerii de pat   April 7, 2017 at 7:22 am

    I love the Beatles

  18. Kim Senior   September 16, 2017 at 11:02 am

    What about Barclay James Harvest?

  19. lenjerie bumbac satinat   December 7, 2018 at 7:47 am

    I think Beatles is the best


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