Everyone and their mother has heard of The Beatles. How could they not? They travelled the world and took everyone’s hearts by storm.
A band who sold more than 250 million records and to this day, continue to sell more. The small band from Liverpool captured the nation and went on to take on the world. They even inspired several films such as ‘Nowhere Boy’, ‘The Beatles: Eight Days A Week’ and ‘A Hard Day’s Night’. And in 1964, they made a whopping $25 million (which is about $188 million in today’s terms), and to this today the band makes millions per year.
After the reign of The Beatles seemed to plateau, who came next?
That seems like an obvious question to me. Queen, a band formed in 1970, first charted with the album Queen II in 1974, and barely left the charts after that. In 2002, their hit song Bohemian Rhapsody was voted “the UK’s favourite hit of all time” and is now in the Grammy Hall of Fame.
In 2005 it was revealed they have spent a total of 1,332 weeks in the chart, which is a grand total of 25 years, 6 months, 2 weeks and 2 days. That’s one incredible achievement.
In 2006, they released a Greatest Hits album, which became the all time best selling album in UK Chart history. It sold over 5 million copies, which is over half a million more than the second best selling album, The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
So there you go, two huge bands back to back, taking the world by storm. But who took over that role?
Depending on your generation, you might say it was Wham!, Blue or even Duran Duran, but neither of them came close to the success of their predecessors.
In the 1990s, Oasis popularised Britpop, producing several anthems such as “Wonderwall” and “Don’t look back in anger”. They were a huge hit, and gained international fame. Their most famous album, “(What’s the story?) Morning Glory” sold 22 million copies. But that just doesn’t come close to the sheer amount sold by Queen or The Beatles. Many people debate between Queen and Oasis, over who is the better band, but if you’re judging that by how many copies they sold, Queen’s the obvious winner.
Now, if you’d asked me who came next five years ago, there would be no doubt that I thought it was One Direction, a product of the X-Factor, made mostly for teenage girls. They quickly took over the world and went on several tours, but eventually broke up, leaving the band behind them in pursuit of solo careers.
But who is it today?
I can hand on heart say I believe no one has taken on the role. Not one band comes to mind that’s having as much success as the Beatles or Queen. Nowadays it’s all about solo artists, like Rihanna or Selena Gomez. Who make tonnes of money per year, perhaps even more than the previously mentioned bands.
With the rise of genres such as grime, there’s no space for an internationally acclaimed band. People seemed to be more interested in a heavy bass line and repetitive lyrics you’ll find yourself singing for weeks on end. On the other side of the spectrum, there’s artists such as Dua Lipa, who’s suddenly burst into the charts and has no signs of leaving soon, who produce technically difficult songs, but are ridiculously catchy so everyone will love them.
Plus, earlier bands mentioned made millions out of having sell out world tours, which people had to attend as their music wasn’t as widely as accessible as it is today. Nowadays you can find anyone’s music at any time of day. You don’t need to listen to it on tape, on the radio or on a CD player. You could easily illegally download the music straight to your phone, meaning the band makes no money from you.
So the answer to my question “who is The Beatles of our generation?”…
It’s no one. At the beginning of 2018, no one has taken on the role. It will be interesting to see if this changes by the end of the year, but I cant see that being the case.
Perhaps we will never have a Beatles equivalent in this generation, who knows?