"Beatlesque" (/ˌbtəlˈɛsk/) or "Beatles-esque" describes a musical resemblance to the English rock band the Beatles. The term is loosely defined and has been applied inconsistently to a wide variety of disparate artists.[1]


To better explain what the word might mean, eight possible answers were formulated by radio producer Kevin Howlett, music professor Rob Bowman, and Klaatu drummer Terry Draper:

Toronto Star's Jack Sakamoto has commented: "[Some people's] notion of that sound includes everyone from Panic! at the Disco to Billy Joel to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. With those reference points, it's debatable whether the Beatles themselves would qualify for the adjective their music has spawned."[1] Culture Sonar's Scott Freiman argued that anyone who is "Beatlesque" has "got to be a band – not just a singer/songwriter with a backing band ... [but having] multiple songwriters and multiple vocalists".[2]

Writing in 2017, Rolling Stone critic Rob Sheffield identified Paul McCartney as the Beatle whose character best fitted the term "Beatlesque", adding: "If you dislike the Beatles, it's because you dislike Paul. If you love them despite their flaws, you mean Paul's flaws ..."[3]

Associated artists

Notable acts described as "Beatlesque"

  • Badfinger[1][2] – The first artists to sign with the Beatles' Apple Records. Their songs "Come and Get It" (1969), "No Matter What" (1970) and "Day After Day" (1971) were produced by McCartney, Beatles road manager Mal Evans, and George Harrison, respectively.
  • Big Star[2][4] – Although the American band attracted critical acclaim for its Beatles-influenced work in the 1970s, its life proved contentious and short. They earned critical acclaim and a cult following despite the lack of commercial success.[5]
  • The Byrds[6][7] – Sometimes regarded as the "American Beatles".[2] While their long-term influence has proven to be comparable to that of the Beatles in terms of sound and style, the Byrds failed to match their contemporaries' record sales.[8]
  • Cheap Trick[2][9] – Also sometimes known as the "American Beatles".[9] In addition, the group's 1980 album All Shook Up was produced by longtime Beatles producer George Martin, and the group's live performance of Beatles songs culminated with a full orchestra-backed live album, titled Sgt. Pepper Live (2009).[10]
  • Electric Light Orchestra[1][2][4] – Formed explicitly with the intention of "picking up where the Beatles left off", the outfit has proved one of the few Beatlesque groups to achieve sustained commercial success. In addition, frontman Jeff Lynne began a musical collaboration with George Harrison in the late 1980s that led to him working on several projects related to the Beatles. In the early 1970s, John Lennon praised ELO as "sons of Beatles" and cited their 1973 song "Showdown" as a personal favourite.[4]
  • Klaatu[1] – Falsely rumoured to be the Beatles themselves,[11] re-formed.[1] The band are sometimes known as the "Canadian Beatles".[12]
  • Oasis[1][2][13] – Their Beatles influence was labelled as an "obsession" by British media.[14] During their 1991 to 2009 career, the band's widespread success in terms of culture and social reach caused it to be possibly the most popular band since the Beatles.[2]
  • Panic! at the Disco[15][16] – Their album Pretty. Odd. is thought to be remarkablly similar to the Beatles, most notably their song "Nine in the Afternoon".[17][18]
  • Squeeze[2] – The British band's songwriting pair Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook have attracted comparisons to the Lennon–McCartney partnership.[19]


See also


  1. Sakamoto, John (1 November 2013). "What do we really mean by 'Beatlesque'?". Toronto Star.
  2. Freiman, Scott (12 November 2016). "15 Bands Following in the Beatles' Footsteps". CultureSonar. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  3. Williams, John (4 May 2017). "The Inexhaustible Four". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  4. "ELO: The band the Beatles could have been". The Guardian. 16 October 2008. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  5. Big Star: The Unluckiest Band In America : NPR
  6. Inglis, Sam (2003). Neil Young's Harvest. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-4411-8896-0.
  7. Kemp, Mark (2006). Dixie Lullaby: A Story of Music, Race, and New Beginnings in a New South. University of Georgia Press. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-8203-2872-0.
  8. Schinder, Scott; Schwartz, Andy (2008). Icons of Rock. Greenwood Press. pp. 257–258. ISBN 978-0-313-33846-5.
  9. Szczechowski, Joe (21 October 2015). "Cheap Trick's five most underrated songs". Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  10. SGT. Pepper Live – Cheap Trick|AllMusic
  11. The Band Everyone Thought Was The Beatles-Polyphonic on YouTube
  12. North of America The Sepultura EP Review|Pitchfork
  13. Young, Clive (2004). Crank It Up: Live Sound Secrets of the Top Tour Engineers. Hal Leonard. p. 167. ISBN 978-1-61774-510-2.
  14. Glassman, Julie (30 November 2001). "The Beatles' musical footprints". BBC News.
  15. "Panic at the Disco's Secret Influences From the Beatles to Alice in Wonderland to Fellini, the cultural inspirations that make up the band's sound and vision". Rolling Stone.
  16. "Ten Years Ago, Panic at the Disco Took a 'Pretty' Big Risk With Their Second Studio Album". Billboard.
  17. "Let! Them Be". SPIN: 92.
  18. "Panic At The Disco: We're Inspired By The Beatles". Gigwise News.
  19. Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Squeeze | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  20. Crouse, Richard (2012). Who Wrote the Book Of Love?. Doubleday Canada. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-385-67442-3.
  21. George, Nelson (2003). The Death of Rhythm and Blues. Penguin Publishing Group. p. 165. ISBN 978-1-101-16067-1.
  22. Unterberger, Richie (2003). Eight Miles High: Folk-rock's Flight from Haight-Ashbury to Woodstock. Backbeat Books. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-0-87930-743-1.
  23. David Giles (14 November 1987). "The Likely La's". NME. United Kingdom. Archived from the original on 31 October 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  24. Bob Stanley (10 June 1989). "Side Lines". Melody Maker. United Kingdom. Archived from the original on 31 October 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  25. Unterberger, Richie. "Por Favor! - Los Shakers". AllMusic. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  26. Pezband – Pezband|AllMusic
  27. Riley, Tim (2002). Tell Me Why: A Beatles Commentary. Da Capo Press. p. 340. ISBN 978-0-306-81120-3.
  28. Johnston, Richard (2004). How to Play Rhythm Guitar: The Basics & Beyond. Backbeat Books. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-87930-811-7.
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