Beatles Inspired Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

Source: Wall Street Journal

Source: Wall Street Journal

The Beatles, a 1960s English rock band influenced by Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley, in turn inspired a number of musically talented Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame inductees.

We list several of those musical groups and artists here, but The Beatles' impact on music and the music industry was profound and extends much further.

Nirvana

"When I was young, that's how I learned how to play music - I had a guitar and a Beatles songbook. I would listen to the records and play along. Of course, it didn't sound like the Beatles, but it got me to understand song structure and melody and harmony and arrangement. So, I never had a teacher - I just had these Beatles records." - Dave Grohl, drummer.

Lead singer of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, wrote the song "About a Girl" after spending three hours listening to album Meet the Beatles! 

The Beach Boys

Pet Sounds, widely considered the surfer rock group's masterpiece album, was inspired by the Beatles' Rubber Soul.

"As soon as I started hearing it, I loved it. I mean, LOVED it! I still remember hearing 'Michelle' for the first time and 'Girl.' What an incredible song! Everything about the way John Lennon sang and the lyrics he was writing...It really did inspire the instrumentation I ended up using for Pet Sounds." - Brian Wilson, leader and co-founder.

Joni Mitchell

Early in her career, Joni Mitchell wrote hits for other folk artists. After playing a song for John Lennon, he asked, "You want a hit, don't you? Why do you always let other people have your hits for you?"

Inspired by Beatles' album Rubber Soul, which she played over and over, Joni Mitchell began incorporating rock n' roll and jazz elements into her music.

Heart

When they were little, sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson of the rock band Heart wanted to be just like the Beatles.

"The lightning bolt came out of the heavens and struck Ann and me the first time we saw the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. There'd been so much anticipation and hype about the Beatles that it was a huge event, like the lunar landing: that was the moment Ann and I heard the call to become rock musicians. I was seven or eight at the time." - Nancy Wilson.

Below is a video of Wilson playing a cover of Beatles song "The Word."

Billy Joel

Billy Joel saw the Beatles for the first time on The Ed Sullivan Show and said this about the music group's impact:

"That one performance changed my life...Up to that moment I'd never considered playing rock as a career. And when I saw four guys who didn't look like they'd come out of the Hollywood star mill, who played their own songs and instruments, and especially because you could see this look in John Lennon's face - and it looked like he was always saying: 'F--- you!' - I said: 'I know these guys, I can relate to these guys, I am these guys.' This is what I'm going to do - play in a rock band."

His song "Through the Long Night" was directly inspired by the Beatles' "Yes It Is."

The Mamas & the Papas

"We knew we had to get out of folk music as it was dying a quick death but when we listened to that Beatles album, and it wasn't the first Beatles album - I don't know where we were when the first Beatles album came out. It was the second Beatles album and our jaws just dropped and I remember Denny was the one who said, 'Now, we wanna be doing more stuff like this.'" - Michelle Phillips, singer and songwriter.

KISS

"There is no way I'd be doing what I do now if it wasn't for the Beatles. I was watching The Ed Sullivan Show and I saw them. Those skinny little boys, kind of androgynous, with long hair like girls. It blew me away that these four boys in the middle of nowhere could make that music. The Beatles were a band, of course, and I loved their music. But they were also a cultural force that made it OK to be different." - Gene Simmons, co-lead singer and co-founder.

In 2003, KISS did a live cover of Beatles' song "Day Tripper" in Tokyo.

Bruce Springsteen

Shortly after the murder of John Lennon in 1980, Bruce Springsteen spoke to the crowd at an emotional concert in Philadelphia:

"It's a hard night to come out and play tonight when so much has been lost. The first record that I ever learned was a record called Twist and Shout. It was a Beatles record. If it wasn't for John Lennon, we'd all be some place very different tonight."

Singing "I Saw Her Standing There" and "Twist and Shout" with Paul McCartney thirty-two years later was a dream come true.

If you found this article interesting, check out our episode about John Lennon, legendary singer and songwriter from The Beatles, on Remarkable Lives. Tragic Deaths, a Parcast Network podcast series.

Remarkable Lives. Tragic Deaths examines the lives and tragic deaths of people who changed history and influenced pop culture.