Strawberry fields forever

Strawberry fields forever
A scene from Beatles musical Let It Be, which will start its run in Singapore next week.

You could argue that The Beatles were not the biggest band on the planet, but you'd lose.

The Liverpudlian four-piece - John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr - triggered a musical revolution in the 1960s, and became the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed act in the history of pop.

Today they are cultural icons, attracting new fans each day and still influencing musicians the world over.

More than 50 years on, Beatlemania is very much alive - just with less screaming than in the 60s.

The band's 50th anniversary celebrations have been accompanied by unprecedented international fanfare.

You could even take your pick of anniversary, for the 50 years since they first recorded at Abbey Road in 1962 or this year's 50th of the US invasion.

Fans throng to cities around the world for Beatles-themed festivals.

This year, two Beatles musicals have hit our shores - Beatlemania On Tour played at Marina Bay Sands earlier this month while smash hit West End production Let It Be starts a week-long run at the Resorts World Sentosa next Wednesday.

Demand for their music sees constant reissues, from digital to lovingly remastered older format.

For example, The Beatles in Mono, out now in stores, is a landmark limited-edition 14-LP box-set. Vinyl! In mono!

And yet these are objects of much desire.

So what is it about The Beatles that has created such enduring popularity?


Obviously. The tunes matter.

British newspaper The Telegraph once described the band's original compositions as "greater than the sum of their considerable parts.

"The music just overwhelms analysis, it burst through with a pulsating vitality of its own, it comes alive again every single time."

The Beatles' songs are melodic, lyrical, emotionally rich and defy any pigeonholing. They span genres (sometimes within one song), from warm ballads to bubblegum pop, psychedelic rock to orchestral compositions.

The foursome dared to ditch formula for experimentation.

More than their peers, they absorbed influences and became influencers.

The best part about their all-encompassing music is that everyone has his or her favourite version of The Beatles.

Like the mop-top days in the early 60s, when they burst forth with youth and raw energy.

Upbeat tracks such as She Loves You, and Can't Buy Me Love were simple, jangly and filled with punchy hooks.

Or the flower-power era of the late 60s, when their creative juices powered them to make haunting, hallucinatory-like tunes I Am The Walrus, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and Tomorrow Never Knows.

Considering they were together for only eight years, they looked and sounded totally different from how they started out.

Over the same period, other bands just look a bit older. The Beatles utterly transformed.

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