Beatlesque (pronounced ) is a term used to describe rock and pop bands and musicians who make music similar to that of The Beatles, a British rock-pop music band from the 1960s.

As the Beatles broke several music sales records and charted numerous times during their careers, the term is typically used by record reviewers, rock and pop music fans, and members of the media as a form of praise; it is only occasionally used to mean that an act is too derivative of the Beatles or similar acts of the 1960s. Typical hallmarks of Beatlesque bands include:

  • A strong, well-crafted melody, rarely driven by a riff
  • A focus on vocal performance, featuring distinctive singing styles and vocal harmony
  • A "fresh", eclectic, and innovative approach to composition and performance, often featuring arrangements or instruments unusual to the format of the conventional pop song
  • Elements of psychedelic music, especially reminiscent of the Beatles' work during the period of 19671970
  • Strong songwriting, with intelligent, profound, and accessible lyrics
  • High standards of production, resulting in a very "clean" sound

Not all of the Beatles' songs fit into this formula; for example, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" has very simple, straight-forward lyrics, and "Day Tripper" is a purely riff-driven song. Adherence to a few of the criteria, plus some passing resemblance in tone or voice, is often enough, however, to be labeled into this varied genre.

Some bands and artists considered to be "Beatlesque" are listed below. The list is supplemented by an informal publication of the Usenet newsgroup on Beatlesque bands. It should be noted that some bands, especially inferior contemporaries, consciously attempted to mimic the Beatles' sound. For the most part, the artists below tend to have talent which stands on its own merit.

Examples of "Beatlesque" bands

Band or Artist Comments
Badfinger Recorded the Paul McCartney composition "Come and Get It" for an early hit, in much the same way that the song was demoed to them. George Harrison, too, worked with Badfinger, not only producing much of their music but also contributing the slide guitar solo on their song "Day After Day." George Martin, Geoff Emerick, Chris Thomas, and Mal Evans, all of whom worked heavily with The Beatles, also worked with Badfinger (all but Martin produced them). Badfinger was sometimes accused of being too derivative. They were on the Beatles' Apple Records label.
Barenaked Ladies
Big Star
Charlatans UK Contemporary British band from Manchester, near the Beatles' home of Liverpool.
The Church Strong Beatles influence on many songs from this Australian band.
Crash Test Dummies
Marshall Crenshaw Crenshaw started his career portraying John Lennon in a touring production of Beatlemania.
Crowded House Beatles-like sounds fill this band's catalog, from their debut album to their demise. See also Neil Finn, Split Enz
Don Dixon Chiefly a record producer, but has recorded his own material.
The Dylans
Electric Light Orchestra Band members have remarked that they were heavily influenced by the Beatles. Frontman Jeff Lynne later produced George Harrison's Cloud Nine album, worked with him on the Traveling Wilburys albums, and completed Harrison's final work Brainwashed; Lynne also produced the new songs for the Beatles' own Anthology. Also, George Harrison has reportedly stated that if the Beatles stayed together, they would have sounded like ELO.
Galactic Cowboys Defunct band that deftly blended power pop and heavy metal.
Gin Blossoms Occasionally experiment with their pop sound, mixing in country and zydeco.
Robyn Hitchcock Has remarked that he was heavily influenced by The Beatles. See VegetableFriends (, the original Syd Barrett-Robyn Hitchcock Discussion Group
Jacob's Trouble Christian rock band which set out to sound as Beatlesque as possible
Jellyfish Short-lived San Francisco band; their lead songwriter now composes for Japanese band Puffy Amiyumi.
Billy Joel Though only a few of his songs would be considered Beatlesque, Joel has admitted that the Beatles were his chief inspiration for becoming a musician. A clear Beatles influence is evident on his Glass Houses album.
Marti Jones Produced by Don Dixon (above).
Phil Keaggy Noticeable similarity, particularly on his 1988 album Phil Keaggy and Sunday's Child
King's X A band from Houston, Texas that mixes Beatles songcraft, progressive metal, and funk into a unique concoction.
Klaatu Canadian band of the early 1970s whose sound was so reminiscent of the Beatles that rumors were started that the band was actually the Beatles reformed under a different name.
Lenny Kravitz Specifically on the songs "Stand by My Woman" and "Let Love Rule", mainly because Sean Lennon produced some songs on Kravitz's "Mama Said" album.
The La's Another foursome from Liverpool; their biggest hit was "There She Goes".
Julian Lennon The son of John Lennon; critics have noted the similarity in their voices.
Love & Rockets
Aimee Mann Former lead singer of 'Til Tuesday and wife of Michael Penn. Her style has become more eclectic since leaving 'Til Tuesday.
Material Issue
The Mustard Seeds
Oasis Representative of present psychedelic Britpop.
Michael Penn Particularly on his 1989 hit "No Myth".
Sam Phillips
Stars on 45 Dutch group of session players who in the 1980s recorded authentic covers of Beatles songs for a "medley" played against a disco beat. More derivative than Beatlesque.
Tears For Fears Their song "Sowing The Seeds Of Love" is heavily influenced by the 1967 Beatles. Also, their song "Shout" was owing to John Lennon's sound on his first solo album Plastic Ono Band.
The Posies One of their songs was covered by Ringo Starr.
the pillows Even though their songs are in the Japanese language, several of their songs, including "Particia" and "Scent of Sweet", have sounded remarkably Beatlesque.
The Pursuit of Happiness
The Raspberries Considered one of the founders of the power pop style, drawing inspiration from the Beatles and other British Invasion bands.
The Rembrandts Most famous for performing "I'll Be There for You", the theme to the American TV show Friends.
The Romantics 1980s power pop band from Detroit, Michigan evoked the sound of the early period Beatles and other British Invasion groups in their energetic, electric guitar- and drums-based New Wave rock, and evoked the look of the early, Beatlemania era Beatles with their matching band suits and bushy hairstyles.
Todd Rundgren Similar to Don Dixon (above), Rundgren is primarily a producer, and has produced albums by XTC and Badfinger. His band, Utopia, is listed separately.
The Rutles Not a proper band in their own right, the Rutles were a Beatles parody project created by Neil Innes and Eric Idle.
Elliott Smith Has repeatedly stated the huge influence that the Beatles have had on his music.
The Smithereens The drummer of this New Jersey-based quartet, Dennis Diken, mentioned the Beatles' influence on their music in liner notes.
The Smiths Similar to Michael Penn (above) in that the Smiths' lyrics are generally more depressing and "downbeat" than the Beatles'.
The Spongetones
Terry Scott Taylor
Utopia Notable for releasing an album directly parodying the Beatles, Deface the Music.
The Wonders Fictional one-hit wonder band from Tom Hanks' 1996 film That Thing You Do!. The group's songs and sound were intentionally modeled after the Beatles of 1964.
World Party
XTC Their albums Skylarking (produced by Todd Rundgren, above) and Oranges and Lemons, are particularly cited for the adjective. Even more so are their recordings as The Dukes of Stratosphear, which are deliberately reminiscent of the psychedelia of the 1960s.
  John Lennon Missing image
Paul McCartney

The Beatles George Harrison Ringo Starr  

History of the Beatles | Long-term influence | British Invasion | Classic rock era | Paul is Dead rumours | Apple Records | George Martin | Geoff Emerick | Brian Epstein | Beatlesque | Discography | Bootlegs | Beatlemania


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