Were The Beatles Truly Genius Or Did They Build A Name By Ripping Other Musicians’ Songs?

Formed in 1960, The Beatles is one of the oldest rock and roll bands in the world. Since their formation, the band’s songs and talents in composing them have been appreciated by people all around the world. Even today, the band appeals to listeners from all generations, including Generation Z.

The Beatles are considered the pioneers of many genres. Their musical style, which ranged from ballads or psychedelia to hard rock, their influences on the music scene are also undeniable. Apart from their musical success, the band was also a key figure in many political and social happening, which resulted in the guitarist John Lennon’s murder in 1980.

It is no surprise that a band that has been so popular since formed has been exposed to many allegations and lawsuits regarding their songs. For instance, the legendary band was accused of stealing riffs, and they were even sued for plagiarism several times throughout their career.

Which Songs Did The Beatles Rip Off?

In 1969, the legendary rock and roll artist Chuck Berry sued The Beatles for copyright infringement. Apparently, Berry thought his song ‘You Can’t Catch Me’ was ripped off by The Beatles to create ‘Come Together.’ The band slowed down the tune and made adjustments before the release, but that didn’t stop Berry from filing a lawsuit. Winning the case, Berry wanted John Lennon to release the song’s cover and give credits to him to make up for his financial damage.

However, this was not the only time The Beatles were accused of ripping off songs to gain worldwide success. During their career, they were usually ‘inspired by’ other bass or guitar riffs and adapted them into their songs. An example of that is The Beatles’ ‘Revolution’ guitar riff, which was quite similar to ‘Do Unto Others’ by Pee Wee Crayton. As the rest of the song carried not that much resemblance, no serious actions were taken.

Is It Okay To Plagiarise In Music?

Plagiarism is generally known to be a bad thing that is quite similar to real-life theft. However, in the creative industries, it is difficult not to be inspired. Moreover, it can be tricky to draw the line between inspiration and stealing.

During the era that The Beatles was still making music, the world didn’t have the power of technology. So, it was much easier for musicians to copy other people’s work without getting noticed, especially when compared to this era. Therefore, if analyzed, there would be many more contemporary artists sued for copyright infringement. However, considering The Beatles’ case, musicians were generally happy that the band loved their music enough to use them in their own compositions.

It is hard to believe that The Beatles earned the title of musical genius as they would sometimes steal from other musicians. Their talents, songwriting skills, and being inspired by quality riffs and melodies are just another aspect of their presence in the music industry. The only reason the world talks about them today is perhaps that they are the most influential band of all time.