What The Beatles did for The Liverpool Music scene! It’s not all good!
Since 1963, The Beatles have been a staple of Liverpool. Being one of the world’s first established boy bands, they were global phenomenon and travelled the globe with their signature brand of optimistic rock.
By the time the boys returned to the Liverpool docks, their existence was all anyone could talk about; and 50 years on, The Beatles buzz is still going strong. From museums to statues to music venues, there are literally dozens of spots that remind you of the presence the band holds over this city.
It wasn’t until The Beatles hit national fame that people were even paying attention to the Liverpool music scene, but within the year they struck fame and many other Liverpool bands like Gerry and the Pacemakers and The Searchers were able to reach the top of the charts. It is worth noting that the bands that got big around this time were indistinguishable from The Beatles – either you were a band of four guys in suits or Liverpool didn’t know who you were.
You might recognise some of the other big names to come out of Liverpool, A Flock of Seagulls or Echo & The Bunnymen, but you’ll notice that the style of their music and general aesthetics are far removed from The Beatles. It may even be fair to say that other than The Beatles, Liverpool has never had another outright famous pop band.
It could also be said that The Beatles’ style is outdated, and that a band like them couldn’t fit in with the Liverpool of the 21st century. But with the constant reminders and celebration, it’s hard to fully support that claim. It’s understandable that people have a lot of respect for them but with The Beatles remaining so present there isn’t much that an upstart band can do to challenge a national identity.
It may take hundreds of years until Liverpool isn’t recognised as “The Beatles’ city” and depending on where you’re from it’s unlikely your first thought would be of a location when you think of bands like Echo & The Bunnymen.
It’s ultimately a suffocating effect. Everyone will be constantly compared to them and that’s a bigger problem when you consider they only really did one thing well. If The Beatles is all that Liverpool has to offer then it should be celebrating the way other bands establish themselves, but instead the cultural osmosis flushes them out for not doing something that has been done for the past 50 years.
Modern bands aren’t anything like The Beatles, not just style but who they are. Liverpool is a diverse city with countless kinds of people and to say the pinnacle of Liverpool’s music is four white guys puts down so much of what the city has to offer.
That’s not to say you can’t find a thriving music scene still – if you are just focused on the space by Liverpool’s docks, (the tourist part of Liverpool), then you’ve veered away from the richest parts of Liverpool’s musical underbelly.
Just a few streets over you’ll find a tight yet varied collection of local music venues. These give a platform to various jazz, indie, and alternative groups. And by being near Manchester, Liverpool’s O2 arena is also a spot for travelling artists who would need a bigger crowd, further cementing Liverpool’s as a space of diverse music.
Whilst the upbeat and emotional pop of The Beatles isn’t something that many could replicate (and there’s a question of if it’s even worth bothering to), their example has helped mould Liverpool into the music loving space it has become. It shouldn’t be forgotten the effect they’ve had on Liverpool and the world, but if its all people talk about then Liverpool is being denied so much of what it could be.