Good Music That Just Totally Rips Off the Beatles?
September 4, 2022 1:15 AM   Subscribe

Hello: What are some bands I may not know of that just did hardcore Beatles worship?

I mean like hardcore Beatles worship on the level of Emmitt Rhodes, Nilsson, ELO, and Badfinger.

I can think of bands that almost hit those heights at times, like Big Star, Sloan, maybe Squeeze? Basically I am just asking for bands that scratch the Beatles itch for you. I'm seldom totally in the mood for the Beatles anymore but I do take some delight in songs and bands where I think, "That is the Beatles."
posted by kensington314 to Media & Arts (45 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: We All Together was Peruvian band that had two very Beatles-inspired records in the 70s.

- First Album (1972)
- Second Album (1974)
posted by aiko at 1:48 AM on September 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

A 1970s Toronto-based band called Liverpool began life as a Beatles tribute act and later wrote some very Beatles-esque original material.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:23 AM on September 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: XTC consistently had that feeling. Check out their 1986 album Skylarking, produced by notorious Beatle-phile Todd Rundgren, in particular [first two tracks on YT] but pretty much any sample of their oeuvre would fit the bill.
posted by theory at 3:30 AM on September 4, 2022 [11 favorites]

Best answer: Klaatu. If I recall, when the first album came out there was fan speculation that it was actually the Beatles recording again under a pseudonymous band name.
posted by Silvery Fish at 4:09 AM on September 4, 2022 [10 favorites]

Panic at the Disco's Pretty Odd has strong Beatles influences; it's really an outlier album in their catalog and for that reason, my favorite.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 4:57 AM on September 4, 2022

The Apples in Stereo, Olivia Tremor Control, and a couple other members of the Elephant Six collective all have some Beatles stuff going on. Even early of Montreal.
posted by papayaninja at 5:01 AM on September 4, 2022 [7 favorites]

If spoofs are welcome, the Rutles.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 5:16 AM on September 4, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: The Australian band, Cicadastone, has the harmonies and sound of the Beatles psychedelic period.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 5:30 AM on September 4, 2022

The Robyn Hitchcock/Andy Partridge project Planet England (only an EP, unfortunately) works for this; here's a track (even the title of the track, "Turn Me On, Deadman" is a Beatles reference). The XTC offshoot Dukes of Stratosphear is also very Beatles inspired.
posted by carrienation at 5:47 AM on September 4, 2022 [6 favorites]

If spoofs are welcome, the Rutles.

Indeed. Neil Innes has skill at the pastiche. More than once I have encountered “Let’s Be Natural” — a flawless evocation of White Album-era John Lennon — on bootleg LPs, added apparently seriously by compilers who were unaware of its actual provenance.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:05 AM on September 4, 2022 [3 favorites]

If spoofs are welcome, the Rutles.

Came to say this, as well. Stands on its own as a good little pop album, but, if you’re at all a Beatles fan, the music alone (separate from the lyrics) is guaranteed to give you many chuckles.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:38 AM on September 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

The Wikipedia entry for Beatlesque has some ideas including The La's, Tame Impala, and (their words, not mine) Oasis.
posted by box at 6:41 AM on September 4, 2022

posted by willnot at 6:48 AM on September 4, 2022 [4 favorites]

The Beatles hover over Elliott Smith's XO and Figure 8 albums, IMHO.

Baby Britain (which also happens to include a reference to Revolver)
Son of Sam
posted by baseballpajamas at 7:14 AM on September 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

Kontiki by Cotton Mather reminds me of Revolver.
posted by icebergs at 7:28 AM on September 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The Dukes of Stratosphear’s (aka XTC) Vanishing Girl has a nicely Beatle-esque edge to it.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:41 AM on September 4, 2022 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Yes to the Dukes of Stratosphere—also, Martin Newell’s record The Greatest Living Englishman that XTC’s Andy Partridge produced.
posted by umbú at 7:49 AM on September 4, 2022 [5 favorites]

Peter Cook & Dudley Moore (yes, that Dudley Moore) made an absolutely remarkable parody of psychedelic-era Beatles, The L.S. Bumblebee. It captured the Beatles' sound so well it was included on Beatles bootleg compilations and thought by many to be a secret, unreleased Beatles track.
posted by eschatfische at 7:50 AM on September 4, 2022 [5 favorites]

Soundgarden's Blow Up The Outside World was considered such a Beatles homage that people are still writing about it.
posted by saladin at 8:18 AM on September 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Depending on whom you ask, Tears for Fears' 1989 song "Sowing the Seeds of Love" is either a Beatles homage or Beatles parody. Either way, it's dripping with Beatleosity.
posted by Dr. Wu at 9:50 AM on September 4, 2022 [5 favorites]

Try the album “An Apple a Day” by Apple.
posted by snofoam at 10:46 AM on September 4, 2022

Best answer: ”Not the Beatles” playlist (post from r/beatles, more suggestions in the comments)

And the entire Not the Beatles subreddit (not active anymore but lots of posts to check out).
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:49 AM on September 4, 2022 [4 favorites]

Rundgren used his Beatlecharms on Bourgeois Tagg's I Don't Mind At All and got them their only US charting single. If you close your eyes it could be a B-side off of Skylarking.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:59 AM on September 4, 2022

Best answer: Songs that sound like the Beatles... but aren't by them
posted by alex1965 at 11:06 AM on September 4, 2022

Best answer: The Smithereens covered the Meet the Beatles album with their Meet The Smithereens album.
posted by COD at 12:13 PM on September 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

Guided By Voices!
posted by kapers at 12:15 PM on September 4, 2022

Lies by the Knickerbockers
posted by Chenko at 12:27 PM on September 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

The Claypool Lennon Delirium.
posted by The Half Language Plant at 12:28 PM on September 4, 2022

I've been really enjoying John Cunningham lately and I think he fits the bill. More like George Harrison solo stuff mixed with Nilson and Nick Drake than the Beatles, though.
posted by clockwork at 3:12 PM on September 4, 2022

There are songs on Oasis’s “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?” where Liam Gallagher is doing John Lennon with such force it borders on parody.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 5:37 PM on September 4, 2022

For a different take on The Beatles, try The Blues Beatles (link to their awesome version of "Yesterday"). They have a YouTube channel. I went to a live performance here in Florida and it was great, too.
posted by TimHare at 5:48 PM on September 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

The Spongetones were a regionally popular band in the early 80s that sounded a lot like the Beatles, a lot a lot a lot, and clearly did so on purpose. (Here's She Goes Out With Everybody.)

Feeling the Elephant is an album by a guy named Bill Lloyd that shows up on "undersung power pop classic" type lists every so often. Several of the songs have very Beatles-influenced structure and melodies. My favorite is Nothing Comes Close.

Weird one: There's a Christian rock band called Daniel Amos that developed a cult following in the 80s by releasing a bunch of difficult albums that are frequently about what the songwriter perceived as failings in the church. He clearly really loved John Lennon's music, which comes out in a couple of album closers ("The Shape of Air and Beautiful One) and the sitar-y Live and Let Live.

(Also, while I'm recommending cult Christian rock acts who loved the Beatles—Phil Keaggy, a 60s born-again guitar god whose voice sounds a lot a lot a lot like Paul McCartney's, did an album in the late 80s called Phil Keaggy and Sunday's Child that was intentionally recorded using 60s equipment to sound kind of like the Beatles.

He's more conservative theologically and politically than DA, so the whole album might not be your speed, but Tell Me How You Feel and especially Sunday's Child are pretty anodyne lyrically and have a really clear Beatles-pastiche sound. I Always Do doesn't sound quite so much like a Beatles song but it's one of my absolute favorite power pop songs ever and has no Christian message at all, so I'd love for more people outside the CCM bubble to hear it.)
posted by Polycarp at 7:40 PM on September 4, 2022

Surprised the only Robyn Hitchcock reference so far has been to the recent collab with Andy Partridge. Robyn’s stylistic approaches range all over the map but he always has a very McCartneyesque sense of melody and an extremely Lennony intonation. Check out Flesh Number One (Beatle Dennis) as an aptly-named example.

In general I’d say most of his 80s / 90s more solo-y work hits this spot best. Eye, Queen Elvis, but also all the way back to I Often Dream of Trains.
posted by sesquipedalia at 9:43 PM on September 4, 2022

Utopia - Deface the Music. The whole album is songs with extremely strong Beatles flavoring.
posted by bink at 12:00 AM on September 5, 2022 [2 favorites]

oh yeah, I recall seeing an early-1980s Utopia live concert recording and thinking it was the strangest thing in that context at that time.
posted by ovvl at 8:26 AM on September 5, 2022

Karl Wallinger as World Party, especially the first album, Private Revolution.
posted by andreap at 10:16 AM on September 5, 2022

Bink beat me to it. Deface The Music is so Beatles-esque that I know specific Beatles songs that each track reminds me of. It's a great album.
posted by wittgenstein at 11:32 AM on September 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

"Lies" by the Knickerbockers

Also, their One Track Mind
posted by Rash at 1:55 PM on September 5, 2022

I think this album by Chris Knox and this by Nic Armstrong are worth a listen.
posted by polecat at 10:05 PM on September 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

Tears for Fears' album "The Seeds of Love" is often described as beatlesque.
posted by bluedora at 11:11 PM on September 5, 2022

Kaleidoscope (UK) aka Fairfield Parlour
posted by veery at 6:57 AM on September 6, 2022

I get pretty strong Beatles vibes from Dr. Dog.
posted by GoldenEel at 1:44 PM on September 6, 2022

Cotton Mather - the singer is basically copying John Lennon.

April's Fool
Homefront Cameo
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:15 PM on September 6, 2022

Billy Joel's The Nylon Curtain is very Beatles-y: "Critics have interpreted the album to be, in part, an homage to the music of The Beatles and the then-recently deceased John Lennon." Reportedly, Julian Lennon, upon hearing The Nylon Curtain, became so impressed with the sound of it, he hired the album's producer, Phil Ramone, to produce his own debut album.

For way more obscure stuff, there's a VERY Beatles sound to a lot of the power pop that came out of San Francisco and Los Angeles in the 1990s. I'm partial to Red Letter Day (Try, three live clips) (I tried to sign them to my little indie record label, but it didn't work out), the Mockers (actually from Virginia), and The Andersons (Hey Coelacanth).

If you like any of those folks, some web searches for a few of those names and maybe the phrase "power pop" should turn up endless rabbit holes of interrelated 90s power pop bands. They played at a lot of the same pop festivals and lots of players were in multiple bands.
posted by kristi at 2:29 PM on September 6, 2022

Mr Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra... this one yeah.
posted by ovvl at 6:35 PM on September 7, 2022

« Older Birks Re-Soled   |   Need urgent medical prescription in Stockholm Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.