Professors, student reflect on impact of band’s arrival in America

There has not been and may never be a band as epic as the Beatles.

That’s the opinion of Dr. Jack Stamps, a music composition professor and songwriter.

“It is hard to imagine how pop music and the concept of the mega-band/star and the development of live performance might have evolved along a Beatle-less path,” Stamps said.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ British Invasion that brought their sound to the states, dazzling crowds everywhere.

George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr performed live on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in February of 1964 launching Beatlemania.

The Beatles changed the musical landscape of America forever. “They brought rock ‘n’ roll to mainstream America,” said Dr. Robert Waters, a music professor who is teaching a class on the Beatles this semester. “What the Beatles represented culturally helped to change the social fabric of America and Europe.”

The Beatles set the bar for entry into the music industry, and that entry was not to tip-toe, but to take the industry by storm.

“The Beatles helped to galvanize a process whereby an artist creates a kind of license to chart their own creative path by ‘breaking into’ a market,” Stamps said.

The group’s energetic live performance are a staple of their legacy.

Waters said, “Their raw energy heard in their singing style was electric, and their charismatic personalities went a long way, as in their brilliant collective sense of humor when it came to courting the press.”

“Hey Jude” or the upbeat tune of “Twist and Shout” may transport our parents to days of their youth, but for students, the music is vintage rock.

Freshman Heather Stocking said she grew up listening to the Beatles and said their influence is still evident today.

“I think especially with a lot of indie rock music starting to trend again, the Beatles are definitely an influence,” Stocking said. “They’re one of the bands that no matter the genre, current artists can draw from their music.”

Stamps said his parents claim he could say the words to “Hey Jude,” before he could say anything else and he could pick out the single from others lying on the floor.

“I’d like to believe that is all true and it is possible because of how powerful songwriting is,” Stamps said.

Michelle Foti can be reached at

Author: Michelle Foti

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