So once upon a time four British guys changed music forever. No one has been able to duplicate not just The Beatles' popularity, but their direct impact on music itself. Although many, many have tried. I'm not even someone who would list The Beatles in my top ten bands, and I don't really listen to them regularly, but I can listen to my definite absolute favorites (*ahem* Billy Joel *ahem*) and see--or rather hear--pretty clearly how The Beatles paved the way.
So what made them so explosive and so seminal? How did they achieve the success that they did, and get away with shifting the music industry so significantly? That's a book-length topic right there, and many have been written, but here are a few leaves from their book I think we writers might be able to usefully incorporate.
1. The Beatles were genuine: If being themselves, being genuine, meant writing a song about yellow submarines, then they did it. Gritty lyrics had been done before, but I think they took it to a new level. And of course the music itself was totally new. I think they wrote music they wanted to hear, and it connected with that generation more deeply than any other music at the time. I think writers are doing this all the time. Think Ernest Hemingway or James Joyce or Hunter S. Thompson. Basically, don't be afraid to be yourself. Your readers will appreciate it.
2. The Beatles were prolific: How many albums did they make? How many songs? I don't know exactly, but it's a lot. I think this had a big part to play in keeping them on the forefront of peoples minds. Their was always something new from them to check out. And if someone maybe didn't like one album so much, they might fall in love with another. Example from the literary world? See Stephen King.
3. The Beatles were varied: The Beatles had everything from more hard-core rock to soft ballads to just plain weird. I think it not only kept things fresh, but again, gave them the opportunity to have something for everyone. They experimented and not just with...recreational substances. Sometimes their experiments were more successful then others, but they all helped shape The Beatles as a group and allowed them to change music the way they did.
4. The Beatles were British: Yeah, there's just no hope for some of us on this one. Bad luck us.
There's some quick thoughts on why The Beatles were so explosive. And I'll leave you with my favorite of their songs, one that I do listen to quite often: