1. Mass singalongs to “Hey Jude”
“Hey Jude” has become the alternative national anthem—the song that Paul McCartney is wheeled out to play at all events of patriotic significance, including the Olympic Opening Ceremony. Without it, we wouldn't have discovered the joy of collectively belting out nonsense words. All together now, “Na, na, na, na-na-na na!”
2. Gridlock on Abbey Road
Thanks to a continuous stream of tourists recreating the famous album cover on the London street.
Photograph: © Caleigh-Rose
3. Thomas the Train
Would the little blue train have been so successful without Ringo's monotone narration underpinning his adventures in the UK series Thomas the Tank Engine?
Steve Jobs named his company Apple out of admiration for the Beatles’ record label of the same name. Sadly for Jobs, this wasn’t taken as a compliment and resulted in a legal battle between the two firms that lasted for decades.
5. The image overhaul
You wouldn’t think that Lady Gaga would have a lot to learn about pop from Paul McCartney. Her reinventions have sustained her over a few years, but she should look to the Beatles for tips on how to refresh a look over a few decades. They might not have been the first band to change their image, but they managed more impressive costume changes than most other groups, setting a standard for the periodic rock makeover. If only Status Quo had taken note—think where they could be now.
6. John Peel
The legendary British DJ got one of his first breaks on US radio thanks, in part, to the fact that he hailed from the same part of the world as the Fab Four. Peel came from Heswall on the Wirral Peninsula, which was near enough to Beatles territory for Dallas station KLIF. He was hired as a “Beatles Correspondent” after he rang the station to correct a presenter on a fact about Liverpool.
Photograph: © Peter Sanders/Rex Features
7. Music videos
The Beatles and Richard Lester, director of A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, were honored by MTV in 1984 for “essentially inventing the music video.”
8. Stadium concerts
The band’s show at Shea Stadium, New York, in 1965 was the first of its kind. The Beatles were so popular, all 55,600 tickets sold out in 17 minutes.
Photograph: © Andrew Hasson/Rex Features
9. Rooftop gigs
Their final gig, played on the roof of Apple Records’ Savile Row HQ, has been aped many times by everyone from Homer’s barbershop quartet in The Simpsons to U2, who took to a Los Angeles rooftop in the video for “Where The Streets Have No Name” and played a surprise gig on top of the BBC headquarters in 2009.
10. Beatles cover bands
You might know the Bootleg Beatles, but many more are also playing the circuit: The Counterfeit Beatles, Them Beatles, The Fab Faux, Sisters of Mersey, Sgt Pepper’s Only Dart Board Band, Rebeats, Revolution Four, The Fab Fourever, Hey Dudes... the list goes on.