Why One Direction Will Never Be ‘As Good As The Beatles’

November 4, 2013
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My dad never saw the point in The Beatles and wrinkles his nose whenever I suggest that much of the music that followed their reign was inspired by the fab fours’ inventive sounds and lyrics. He simply insists: “The Beatles will never be as good as Dean Martin or Elvis” and he’s not the only one. It’s a story as old as time itself, people love to argue about music.

This Sunday saw Rihanna make the UK chart record books when her contribution to Eminems’ ‘The Monster’ gave her a 7th UK number in 7 years. A record matched only by The Beatles and Elvis. Is she any less deserving of such an incredible feat than the veterans? Some might argue that it’s harder to score a number one in this age due to the vast array of ways people can access music for free. Some MIGHT say it was easier for The Beatles to claim a number one because there was less choice?

In any case, who are we to say that any artist does not deserve recognition for their achievements, and at the very least, respect.

Try telling a One Direction fan that their beloved boys are not the real deal. A cheerful group of lads working hard on their dream, discovering the perils and joys of being in the spotlight. Young men who entered into the X Factor competition back in 2010 with the sole aim of pursuing their goal; to sing and entertain. Much like The Beatles then (minus the X Factor part).

Without talking specifically about the obvious difference in sales figures, which is impossible to compare since it’s a different game to that of the 1960’s, it’s fair to say 1D have made a significant impact on the UK charts over the last few years. But 1D have not been around for the same length of time as the Liverpool quartet, so again, sales figures should be thrown out of the window.

Both groups have created hysteria and thrilled their fans. So why do we still insist on constant comparison? Is it some playground mentality of “We’re the big kids and you’re the newbies, we know our music and you’ll learn”? Throughout the course of popular music history, this debate has rolled on without ever showing signs of slowing. Almost akin to religion, some bands’ fans will insist that their idols are the highest of all Gods and no other will ever be good enough, no matter how hard they try.

It is an obvious truth that we like what we like. Maybe our need to hold a beloved favourite band in such high regard is deeply rooted in nostalgia, or maybe we genuinely don’t believe another could better them? To limit ourselves by dismissing any other artists’ efforts to gain our respect seems like a waste of a potential new musical journey to me.

The next time I hear someone say “One Direction will never be as good as The Beatles” I will simply say: Does it matter?  I love The Beatles, admittedly more than 1D, but that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to let them grow on me and as Sir. Paul McCartney said last month:

“they can sing, they make good records, so I think that’s what I would see in common [with The Beatles]”

My dad still insists that neither of them are as good as Elvis.

-Lucy Jenkins.
@LucyWKTDJ

 

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