Thursday 16 September 2021



It’s easy to forget how different the world was before The Beatles. The band arrived during a time when the UK was reeling from the impact of the Second World War. During the 1950s, when the would-be Beatles were still at school, the legacy of that cataclysmic conflict was still everywhere to be seen. In major cities like London and Liverpool, children still played in bombsites, rationing was still enforced, and countless houses remained derelict. 
The war had enforced a uniformity on the UK population, one that a generation of teenagers coming of age in those post-war years stood in stark opposition to. And, in an interview in 1976, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page described the immense cultural impact The Beatles had on the social fabric of the UK.

The post-war period was one in which established modes of thought were being thoroughly examined. Having inherited the trauma of the Holocaust, the atomic bomb, and the bloody conflict of WW2, the young population started to dissect everything around them. Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention, and, seeing the devastation the war had caused, young people must have felt that an alternative was absolutely essential. 
Combine this with the proliferation of popular culture, and it’s easy to understand why, in the decades following the Second World War, young people became the incubators of a radical new cultural identity. Simply put, there was nowhere else to go, and pop music provided a soundtrack for this new cultural outlook.

Jimmy Page, responding to a question about the influence of The Beatles music on the present day’s (1976) breakout of rock music, said: 

“I don’t know about today’s. Certainly, at the time, you know, the social question poised by The Beatles, with the long hair and the sandals – it was cool the long hair then – it had a lot of impact. A lot of change went down a lot of social barriers. We broke down the class barriers even though it may have been resented afterwards, but nevertheless, they (The Beatles) helped to do that. And over the years that they were very musically prominent and productive, I think there is a classic example of a group who shows so much development and maturity within their music, within the years that they were together. I mean, let’s face it, the early records aren’t really anything to write home about. But by the time they’re at Magical Mystery Tour, I mean it was really going somewhere.”



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