What is the Beatles Magical Mystery & what’s the future of Beatles Tours without Macca?
THERE’S no magical mystery about the lasting popularity of the Beatles, in spite of the group breaking up in 1970, as scores of visitors book Beatles Walking tours with Brilliant Liverpool Tours.
The Beatles’ influence remains so widespread and profound that it continues to inspire pop and rock performers across the world today. Yet the Beatles could only have come out of Liverpool. As their manager, Brian Epstein, dubbed by Paul McCartney as the ‘Fifth Beatle’, said back in the mid-1960s: “It was essential.”
The influence of Liverpool’s Celtic (Irish, Welsh and Scottish) families with their love of performance and song combined with transatlantic liner stewards bringing in rock ‘n’ roll records during the mid-1950s – plus a huge dollop of talent – set the receptive teenage Beatles on their course to change popular music across the world forever.
Their enduring appeal is demonstrated by the continuous stream of visitors crowding around the Beatles Statues, on Liverpool’s Pier Head, all year round. Sculpted by Andy Edwards, of Wedgwood Pottery, the statues were unveiled by Julia Baird, John Lennon’s half-sister in December 2015, to mark the 50th anniversary of the band’s last live Liverpool appearance at the EmpireTheatre at the end of their final UK tour on 5 December 1965.
The Beatles are by far the city's most famous musical exports. They are the best-selling band in history, with sales of more than 800 million physical and digital albums worldwide. They have had more number-one albums in the British charts and sold more singles in the UK than any other act. Their US sales alone total around 178 million records.
The Fab Four’s influence was immediate. Watching The Ed Sullivan Show in New York back in 1964 inspired Billy Joel to become a singer-songwriter. The Beatles’ Rubber Soul LP motivated Brian Wilson in 1966 to create the Beach Boys’ acclaimed Pet Sounds album.
Police guitarist Andy Summers, when asked if he was a big fan of the Beatles, replied: “Isn’t everyone?” and lead singer Sting said they were the single greatest group of all time.
The continuing influence of The Beatles is demonstrated through Paul McCartney's current musical activities. Recently releasing a single with Kayne West and Rihanna, the Speke native still manages to keep himself on the pop apex and therefore in the minds of young music fans.
For the more mature and perhaps discerning listeners, artists like Mac Demarco - much vaunted by publications like Pitchfork – consistently tout The Beatles as the main influence. He says this is not only due to their music but also strength of personality, standing out against the more manufactured artists of today.
The Ron Howard-produced 2016 Beatles documentary 'Eight Days A Week' sold out in cinemas worldwide on release. It followed on from the Martin Scorsese film about George Harrison 'Living In The Material World'. Cinematic successes such as this maintain The Beatles profile and illustrate just how popular the band remain, almost 70 years after they began releasing music.
What will happen when the final remaining Beatles leave us for the 'Great Gig in the Sky?' Unfortunate though it may for these once in a century musical trail-blazers, it will only benefit Liverpool tourism. The state of the music industry being as it is, EMI-UMG will look to exploit their passing (particularly McCartney's) as much as possible. The huge marketing campaign which will surely follow could only benefit Liverpool, bringing more and more attention to the city: 'The Birthplace of The Beatles'.