What she says:
What she means:
The fact that so many books still name the Beatles "the greatest or most significant or most influential" rock band ever only tells you how far rock music still is from becoming a serious art. Jazz critics have long recognized that the greatest jazz musicians of all times are Duke Ellington and John Coltrane, who were not the most famous or richest or best sellers of their times, let alone of all times. Classical critics rank the highly controversial Beethoven over classical musicians who were highly popular in courts around Europe. Rock critics are still blinded by commercial success: the Beatles sold more than anyone else (not true, by the way), therefore they must have been the greatest. Jazz critics grow up listening to a lot of jazz music of the past, classical critics grow up listening to a lot of classical music of the past. Rock critics are often totally ignorant of the rock music of the past, they barely know the best sellers. No wonder they will think that the Beatles did anything worth of being saved. In a sense the Beatles are emblematic of the status of rock criticism as a whole: too much attention to commercial phenomena (be it grunge or U2) and too little attention to the merits of real musicians. If somebody composes the most divine music but no major label picks him up and sells him around the world, a lot of rock critics will ignore him. If a major label picks up a musician who is as stereotyped as one can be but launches her or him worldwide, your average critic will waste rivers of ink on her or him. This is the sad status of rock criticism: rock critics are basically publicists working for free for major labels, distributors and record stores. They simply publicize what the music business wants to make money with. Hopefully, one not-too-distant day, there will be a clear demarcation between a great musician like Tim Buckley, who never sold much, and commercial products like the Beatles. And rock critics will study more of rock history and realize who invented what and who simply exploited it commercially. Beatles' "aryan" music removed any trace of black music from rock and roll: it replaced syncopated african rhythm with linear western melody, and lusty negro attitudes with cute white-kid smiles. Contemporary musicians never spoke highly of the Beatles, and for a good reason. They could not figure out why the Beatles' songs should be regarded more highly than their own. They knew that the Beatles were simply lucky to become a folk phenomenon (thanks to "Beatlemania", which had nothing to do with their musical merits). THat phenomenon kept alive interest in their (mediocre) musical endeavours to this day. Nothing else grants the Beatles more attention than, say, the Kinks or the Rolling Stones. There was nothing intrinsically better in the Beatles' music. Ray Davies of the Kinks was certainly a far better songwriter than Lennon & McCartney. The Stones were certainly much more skilled musicians than the 'Fab Fours'. And Pete Townshend was a far more accomplished composer, capable of "Tommy" and "Quadrophenia". Not to mention later and far greater British musicians. Not to mention the American musicians who created what the Beatles later sold to the masses. The Beatles sold a lot of records not because they were the greatest musicians but simply because their music was easy to sell to the masses: it had no difficult content, it had no technical innovations, it had no creative depth. They wrote a bunch of catchy 3-minute ditties and they were photogenic. If somebody had not invented "beatlemania" in 1963, you would not have wasted five minutes of your time to read a page about such a trivial band.
I've never seen someone display such a blatant lack of knowledge about music, music history, and The Beatles, and try to pass it off as superior wisdom. The idea that someone can actually exist who thinks that The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, or The Who could ever have possibly existed without The Beatles before them is patently ludicrous. To say with a straight face that The Beatles' music "had no difficult content, it had no technical innovations, it had no creative depth" is so laughable I don't even know where to begin except to say that I could not think of a more clear demonstration of a complete and utter lack of musical acumen. The Beatles' "Love Me Do" was a hit already in 1962. The Rolling Stones? Formed in 1962. The Kinks? Formed in 1964. The Who? Formed in 1964. These bands were started as a direct reaction to The Beatles, you fucking moron. If you ask the musicians of today, with the benefit of 50 years of hindsight, who the single most influential, most significant, most important, rock artist of all time is, most of them are going to tell you without hesitation that it's The Beatles. Not rock critics, MUSICIANS. And, I'm not talking about you 20-something hipster kids who haven't actually had any real experience with music history aside from what you read in books or on the Internet, I'm talking about people who have been there, and fucking done that. Musicians that have been around since The Beatles were still playing gigs, musicians who lived through real punk rock, real hip hop, real goth, real electronic music, not the fucking pablum you little shits don't even realised you've inadvertently revived 20 years after it died out the first time. Given the demographic of Tumblr, it's a pretty damned good bet that whoever wrote this wasn't even fucking born when I was hanging out at CBGB 30 years ago. And while I'm at it, claiming Duke Ellington and John Coltrane as the greatest jazz musicians of all time is awfully safe, and ignores a shitload of jazz music on top of it. I suppose you think Miles Davis sucked? Dave Brubeck probably generates sneers of disdain by you. Blossom Dearie? You probably don't even know who the fuck she was, do you? Bill Evans? Antonio Carlos Jobim? João Gilberto? Bird? Monk? Armstrong? Any of these names ring a fucking bell? Shit, I haven't even really gone back earlier than the 40's yet, and I've already ripped giant swaths through your little theory. Jazz was going decades before that. Yeah, I'll give you, Ellington may very well be one of the greatest, and maybe even the greatest, but jazz is so varied that to say only two guys were "the greatest" is just naïve.