Home > Misc > Were The Beatles a ‘boy band’?

Were The Beatles a ‘boy band’?

In the beginning, The Beatles played Rock ‘n’ Roll. This music wasn’t recorded, and mostly comprised of covers. When the band started to become more popular, primarily in Liverpool, they wanted more, but their manager told them in order to truly succeed, they’d have to clean up their image; stop eating on stage, stop swearing, stop smoking. John said ‘it was a choice of making it or still eating chicken on stage’, as ‘guitar bands’ were ‘out’.

From then on, their pop songs were based heavily on Buddy Holly (rock ‘n’ roll) and the Everly Brothers (rock ‘n’ roll influenced by country). In a sense, pop did not exist as it does now. The Beatles defined it. Granted they weren’t putting much effort into writing complex songs or lyrics. They merely wanted to succeed. The point is that the songs they wrote were revolutionary; even their pop songs. They were bringing rock and roll down a peg or two and supplying it to the masses. And thus ‘pop’ as we now know it, was born.

Yes, The Beatles were a group of boys, girls loved them, and they wrote popular songs. But this is where the similarity with boy bands ends. Of course, boy bands occasionally write their own songs, some even play their own instruments. Most are choreographed. Almost all are manufactured. But the point is that they do not enter a new genre of music. They stick with what’s known. They stay in the realm of pop, and don’t venture outside of it. They don’t create anything new or revolutionary, and this is the point at issue.

If Take That picked up guitars, stopped dancing, and started eating chicken on stage, they would remain a boy band so long as they stuck within the strict barriers of ‘pop’ that were set out largely by The Beatles. Once they venture out of these barriers, they would no longer be a boy band. They would become a band; a rock band; a country band. But not a boy band.

This is why bands such as Mcfly, Busted, Backstreet Boys, Boyzone, Take That and Westlife are all obviously boy bands. They don’t create anything new. What makes The Beatles so controversial is that hey were obviously revolutionary even in their early pop days. They were a prototype for boy bands, but not an actual boy band, for they were not sticking to the musical rules.

At the beginning of their success, The Beatles were not sticking within the walls of pop, they were building the box! They were being revolutionary, and so cannot be counted as a boy band. This is the differentiating factor.

Could we count modern punk bands as boy bands because they’re not doing anything ‘new’? I wouldn’t say so. Boy bands are only in the realm of pop, and are non-revolutionary.

Thus, The Beatles were a rock band that turned into pop band then later returned to being a rock band.

They were never a boy band.

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