Battle of the Bands: The Beatles vs. The Beach Boys

Julio_Strikes_BackJulio_Strikes_Back Headliner
edited February 2011 in History of Rock
Sorry I was slow this time, I got caught up in Cod4. :D

This battle is between two of the biggest bands of all time: The Beatles and the Beach Boys. In this corner:

The commanding officers of the British invasion, weighing in at billions of record sales... The Beatles!

Here is a promotional video of their hit, "Help!"



And in this corner, one of the few bands in the American counterstrike to the British invasion, The Beach Boys! Here is their amazing hit, "Wouldn't it Be Nice."




LET'S GET READY TO RUUUUUUUUUMBLLLLEEEEE!!!!!!!!

Comments

  • King_NuthinKing_Nuthin Road Warrior
    edited January 2008
    This will not be close, I don't care. I loved the Beach Boys as a kid. In terms of sheer musical genius Brian Wilson takes the cake. If Smile had come out as it finally did in 2004 as a Beach Boys album in the 60s I think this would be a much closer contest.
  • drunkenmonkey379drunkenmonkey379 Rising Star
    edited January 2008
    we are eventually going to get to 90's bands right
  • DethBoxxDethBoxx Road Warrior
    edited January 2008
    The Beach Boys are absolutely nothing except for Brian Wilson, who was a genius but was out of the band by the late sixties. The rest of the Beach Boys are pretty much untalented morons and you can't really compare them to the Beatles IMO.
  • Julio_Strikes_BackJulio_Strikes_Back Headliner
    edited January 2008
    drunkenmonkey379;292642 said:
    we are eventually going to get to 90's bands right
    There'll be several battles from each decade and genre of music. :)
  • OldFogeyOldFogey Road Warrior
    edited January 2008
    DethBoxx;292659 said:
    The Beach Boys are absolutely nothing except for Brian Wilson, who was a genius but was out of the band by the late sixties. The rest of the Beach Boys are pretty much untalented morons and you can't really compare them to the Beatles IMO.
    Brian couldn't do 5 part harmonies by himself. All the members contributed lead vocals at one time or another, Carl most notably. I happen to think Carl wrote some great songs, as did Dennis. Mike co-wrote many of the Beach Boys biggest hits.

    Brian had several returns to the band in performance throughout the 70's and 80's. He continued writing and producing pretty much the whole time, until the final split in the 80's. "Holland" was a pick by Rolling Stone for album of the year in '73, Brian wrote its best song, "Sail on Sailor."

    Opinions are fine, but informed opinions are better. :cool:
  • OldFogeyOldFogey Road Warrior
    edited January 2008
    I still listen to more Beach Boys than I do Beatles, but I have to acknowledge the English group's overall contributions. I think the Beach Boys' best is better than the Beatles', but the sheer volume of great material from the Beatles is hard to top.

    +1 for the Beatles.
  • Rockbandfan23467Rockbandfan23467 Headliner
    edited January 2008
    John, Paul, George, and Ringo.
  • BhindBluEyes430BhindBluEyes430 Road Warrior
    edited January 2008
    Im gonna go with the beatles for the soul reason that every day in the summer at my job at a waterpark they played the beach boys and bruce Springsteen Constantly in a loop. (True) but thats not the reason

    i think the beatles because they were way ahead of their time. But if we went with years i would say the beach boys were better than the early beatles i only realy liked the White album, hey jude and abby road. the others were way too acid induced or 60's pop that i just couldent stand them.
  • XtremeManginaXtremeMangina Unsigned
    edited January 2008
    I grew up on The Beach Boys and didn't discover The Beatles until later in life other than the classic Help! and Love Me Do, days.

    Brian Wilson had talent true, but, The Beach Boys are nothing compared with The Beatles. Well The Beatles on drugs anyway....:D The Beatles have a much richer musical history than the boys of summer.
  • xanofarxanofar Unsigned
    edited February 2008
    I grew up knowing only a few songs by each band respectively, so I knew the typical 5-10 songs everyone knows by those bands. I loved all of them.

    Well, years later, I decided to get a greatest hits album by both of them. I listened to all the songs I didn't know by The Beatles, and all the songs I didn't know by The Beach Boys.
    Result?
    I hated The Beatles other songs I didn't already know.
    I loved the majority of the other songs I didn't already know by The Beach Boys.

    So I'm going to have to definitely go with The Beach Boys, because, before, I could just give The Beatles the benefit of the doubt that ALL their songs were as good as "Yesterday" or "Here Comes The Sun" or "Yellow Submarine" or "8 Days A Week". I remember specifically listening to "The Ballad Of John and Yoko" and thinking it was just terrible crap. Plus, The Beatles are pretty over-rated beyond belief, so yeah. That's my reasoning.
  • GianthogweedGianthogweed Opening Act
    edited February 2008
    It is a shame you matched The Beach Boys up against The Beatles, who would surely win in this contest, because The Beach Boys is definitely a band that deserves a little more props than it gets for really revolutionizing the vocal aspects of rock and paving the way for bands like The Beatles. Still, The Beatles took it a huge step further and pretty revolutionized every aspect of rock with 15 albums worth of excellent songs in only 8 years.

    Rolling Stones vs. The Beatles would have been a better contest, or even Led Zep vs. The Beatles (even though they defined two seperate decades).
  • m00pm00p Banned
    edited February 2008
    The Beatles, no doubt. U cant help to like this band. They took their music from fckin Elvis, and made it BETTER. They have an extroardinarily amount of rhythm. Their all on key. John, just like ozzy, wus born to sing. Sure, Paul has the good looks. But john was the key to the band. Paul can also sing really well as in yesterday or other songs. He wus made famous tho for his lefty bass guitar skils. George Harrison was possibly the greatest song writer of all time, and the most underrated guitarist. He wrote songs like "Here Comes the Sun" which blew out records. Ringo was the beat keeper of the beatles. He came up with the name of the band, and is one of the beatles living today. Read Character Pics thread and my post for more info.


    EDITL I dare you guys to find ONE song thats bad the beatles have made when john lennon wasnt doin azn chicks. ONE song. There isnt one. But i can name hundreds of beatles songs that were better then your beach boys. " Here Comes The Sun, Revolution, She Loves You, Love Me Do, Twist n Shout I am the Walrus, A Day in the Life(Record number one new song when it was released), I Feel Fine, Please Mr. Postman, Hey Jude, All You Need is Love, Help!, Hello Goodbye, Yesterday, Sgt. Pepper, I Feel Fine, Birthday, Rain, Free as a Bird, HELTER SKELTER, Eleanor Rigby, In my life, Revolution 9, may i go on? Those are all the greatest hits, that blew the rooftop of sales. Find a band better with sales? Good luck, cus metallica is the only band with higher sales then the beatles. You cant even compare the two bands on here. It's no match.
  • OldFogeyOldFogey Road Warrior
    edited February 2008
    m00p;294394 said:
    The Beatles, no doubt. U cant help to like this band. They took their music from fckin Elvis, and made it BETTER. They have an extroardinarily amount of rhythm. Their all on key. John, just like ozzy, wus born to sing. Sure, Paul has the good looks. But john was the key to the band. Paul can also sing really well as in yesterday or other songs. He wus made famous tho for his lefty bass guitar skils. George Harrison was possibly the greatest song writer of all time, and the most underrated guitarist. He wrote songs like "Here Comes the Sun" which blew out records. Ringo was the beat keeper of the beatles. He came up with the name of the band, and is one of the beatles living today. Read Character Pics thread and my post for more info.


    EDITL I dare you guys to find ONE song thats bad the beatles have made when john lennon wasnt doin azn chicks. ONE song. There isnt one. But i can name hundreds of beatles songs that were better then your beach boys. " Here Comes The Sun, Revolution, She Loves You, Love Me Do, Twist n Shout I am the Walrus, A Day in the Life(Record number one new song when it was released), I Feel Fine, Please Mr. Postman, Hey Jude, All You Need is Love, Help!, Hello Goodbye, Yesterday, Sgt. Pepper, I Feel Fine, Birthday, Rain, Free as a Bird, HELTER SKELTER, Eleanor Rigby, In my life, Revolution 9, may i go on? Those are all the greatest hits, that blew the rooftop of sales. Find a band better with sales? Good luck, cus metallica is the only band with higher sales then the beatles. You cant even compare the two bands on here. It's no match.
    No need to diss the boys to defend your choice of the Beatles. You seem to know your Beatles, but I'm not sure you know your Boys. A little history for you:

    From their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (along with the Beatles in the first year of eligibility:

    The Beach Boys’ sunny vocal harmonies are one of the signatures sounds of the modern era. Among rock and roll groups of the Sixties, the California quintet place second only to the Beatles in terms of their overall impact on the Top Forty. They were the Fab Four’s only serious competition on a creative level, too. Paul McCartney has allowed that the Beatles’ masterpiece, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, was their attempt to rise to the challenge of the Beach Boys’ magnum opus, Pet Sounds (which itself was inspired by the Beatles’ first self-contained album, Rubber Soul). This creative dialogue between the two biggest bands of the Sixties pushed rock and roll to its artistic apex. Recently, Paul McCartney noted that “both [Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper] have more than held up. To me it’s like, ‘What have people been doing in the meantime? Where’s the progress?’ I can’t see anything as modern as that around at the moment.”


    http://www.rockhall.com/inductee/the-beach-boys

    Want to know what the Beatles themselves thought? A sample from Paul:

    it was PET SOUNDS that BLEW ME OUT OF THE WATER. First of all, it was Brian's writing. I LOVE THE ALBUM SO MUCH. I've just bought my kids each a copy of it for their education in life - I FIGURE NO ONE IS EDUCATED MUSICALLY 'TIL THEY'VE HEARD THAT ALBUM. I was into the writing and the songs.


    http://www.brianwilson.com/media/words/mccartney.html

    In terms of musical sophistication, the Beach Boys harmonies actually go way beyond anything the Beatles ever did, both in terms of chord choices, modulations (key changes), but also contrapuntal techniques -- beyond closely-matched 5 part (!!) harmony, or classic theme-echo harmonies, there was a lot of independent, intertwining lines (counterpoint) in the Boys harmonies.

    One other thing -- what would the impact to the Beatles have been if you had taken away George Martin. All those sensational arrangements and productions -- done in collaboration, of course, but with major contributions from George. Well, the Boys, specifically Brian, did their own production and arrangements.

    So, on both a creative and commercial level history says the only Rock and Roll Band that gave the Beatles competition in the 60's was the Boys. They belong in the debate without a doubt.
  • dmc11217dmc11217 Unsigned
    edited February 2008
    This is a no contest... The Beatles by a mile... The Beach Boys mean very little to anyone outside the US. The Beatles on the other hand ARE popular music.
  • OldFogeyOldFogey Road Warrior
    edited February 2008
    dmc11217;294614 said:
    The Beach Boys mean very little to anyone outside the US.
    Beach Boys were very popular in England at the time -- check records of sales in UK from Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beach_Boys_discography

    They did world tours more or less continuously throughout their career (indeed, it was on one of these world tours that Brian had his famous episode of freaking out on an airplane).

    Just want to make sure we get the facts straight. ;) The opinions are another matter entirely....
  • dmc11217dmc11217 Unsigned
    edited February 2008
    I said MEAN... not MEANT. I'm not saying they didn't tour... I'm saying that compared to the Beatles, they're little league. They haven't stood the test of time and to me anyway, their material now sounds dated whereas the Beatles still sound relevant to todays music.

    And NOWADAYS they mean very little outside the US... just the veterans circuit.

    And Wikipedia isn't a valid source... Anybody can edit it. I'm not saying THAT fact is wrong, but Wikipedia certainly is the fountain of knowledge that many think it is.
  • OldFogeyOldFogey Road Warrior
    edited February 2008
    dmc11217;294721 said:
    I said MEAN... not MEANT. I'm not saying they didn't tour... I'm saying that compared to the Beatles, they're little league. They haven't stood the test of time and to me anyway, their material now sounds dated whereas the Beatles still sound relevant to todays music.

    And NOWADAYS they mean very little outside the US... just the veterans circuit.

    And Wikipedia isn't a valid source... Anybody can edit it. I'm not saying THAT fact is wrong, but Wikipedia certainly is the fountain of knowledge that many think it is.
    Yeah -- I got "mean" not "meant." But a) this is a "history" forum, b) those fans don't simply disappear, c) how well a band does on the so-called "veterans circuit" is actually a very good indicator of what the band "means" to people, d) the records still sell, and e) the name is enough that Mike Love (hack, hack) can tour the world on it with a way watered down version of the band. Brian himself has a new band and tours extensively with new material, not on the veterans circuit.

    You think the records don't hold up, fine -- but McCartney doesn't agree (check out the link I've posted above). Follow the thread -- you might be surprised by the number of folks on this forum (hardly a Boys friendly forum) who still love the Boys music, even if they voted, as I did, for the Beatles.

    Re Wiki -- always check the discussion tabs, to get a sense for the quality of the article. There are some pretty good editing practices there, so even tho' crap can find its way in, the Wiki community is pretty good about jumping on it and weeding it out. The data I used, by the way, is ultimately from Billboard, just collected by Wiki.
  • dmc11217dmc11217 Unsigned
    edited February 2008
    Let's bring it into the 21st century shall we...

    the Beach Boys are on iTunes... nobody cares...

    When the Beatles catalogue goes digital... HEADLINE news!

    I like some Beach Boys stuff... They're a relatively important band... They just don't stand comparison to the Beatles in terms of importance to the music world.

    The fans don't go away, you're right... They die. How many contemporary bands cite the Beach Boys as an influence compared to the Beatles? In 50 years time people will still be talking about the Beatles... All the Beach Boy fans will be dead.

    I hate McCartney by the way... No class, and nowadays a hack... He's nothing without the quality control of Lennon and Martin.
  • OldFogeyOldFogey Road Warrior
    edited February 2008
    dmc11217;294823 said:
    Let's bring it into the 21st century shall we...

    the Beach Boys are on iTunes... nobody cares...

    When the Beatles catalogue goes digital... HEADLINE news!

    I like some Beach Boys stuff... They're a relatively important band... They just don't stand comparison to the Beatles in terms of importance to the music world.

    The fans don't go away, you're right... They die. How many contemporary bands cite the Beach Boys as an influence compared to the Beatles? In 50 years time people will still be talking about the Beatles... All the Beach Boy fans will be dead.

    I hate McCartney by the way... No class, and nowadays a hack... He's nothing without the quality control of Lennon and Martin.
    I have this personal flaw -- I tend to prefer to make comparisons about musical merit rather than popularity. There's no question in terms of popularity that you are right about the relative stature of the two bands. On musical merit, however, the comparison is much more competitive.

    I've argued elsewhere that influence is vastly overrated as a measuring stick of musical worth in rock and roll -- because influence is a lot about which bands other bands thought they could copy, and that's usually not the hardest musical stuff, in fact the opposite. I think it's easy to understand why the Boys haven't had more influence -- hard enuff to find bands who can do two part harmony let alone 5. And then there is the non-traditional rock instrumentation. It takes a big band with extremely talented musicians, probably most of them multi-instrumentalist, to cover the Beach Boys' best stuff. (It would take the same for some of the Beatles best stuff, too, I know -- no surprise there since they were directly inspired by the Beach Boys.)

    (BTW there's another thread on this Forum about "who's the best Beatle." Given your interests, you might want to contribute to that.)
  • Julio_Strikes_BackJulio_Strikes_Back Headliner
    edited February 2008
    dmc11217;294823 said:
    Let's bring it into the 21st century shall we...

    the Beach Boys are on iTunes... nobody cares...

    When the Beatles catalogue goes digital... HEADLINE news!

    I like some Beach Boys stuff... They're a relatively important band... They just don't stand comparison to the Beatles in terms of importance to the music world.

    The fans don't go away, you're right... They die. How many contemporary bands cite the Beach Boys as an influence compared to the Beatles? In 50 years time people will still be talking about the Beatles... All the Beach Boy fans will be dead.

    I hate McCartney by the way... No class, and nowadays a hack... He's nothing without the quality control of Lennon and Martin.
    This thread isn't about which band is more popular.
  • dmc11217dmc11217 Unsigned
    edited February 2008
    No, it's about which is best... I mean how dumb and immature is that? But it seems if you actually state an opinion you get shot down, so I tried to introduce some logic!

    Who are you anyway, the post police?
  • King_NuthinKing_Nuthin Road Warrior
    edited February 2008
    Thanks OldFogey for sticking up for the Beach Boys better than I ever could. It seems like its just cool to bash the Beach Boys these days while people who rarely even listen to the Beatles fawn all over them.

    I like the Beatles just fine, but I have to say I find their early cover work to be abysmal and doesn't hold a candle to the originals or what the Stones were doing at the time.
  • Julio_Strikes_BackJulio_Strikes_Back Headliner
    edited February 2008
    dmc11217;295299 said:
    No, it's about which is best... I mean how dumb and immature is that? But it seems if you actually state an opinion you get shot down, so I tried to introduce some logic!

    Who are you anyway, the post police?
    Yep. Now shut the fuck up.
  • DethBoxxDethBoxx Road Warrior
    edited February 2008
    OldFogey;293346 said:
    Brian couldn't do 5 part harmonies by himself. All the members contributed lead vocals at one time or another, Carl most notably. I happen to think Carl wrote some great songs, as did Dennis. Mike co-wrote many of the Beach Boys biggest hits.

    Brian had several returns to the band in performance throughout the 70's and 80's. He continued writing and producing pretty much the whole time, until the final split in the 80's. "Holland" was a pick by Rolling Stone for album of the year in '73, Brian wrote its best song, "Sail on Sailor."

    Opinions are fine, but informed opinions are better. :cool:

    Actually Brian could and did sing the 5 part harmonies himself.
    All of the voices you hear on the albums he produces are him.

    He was recording in the studio while the others were off playing
    live, sounding like nothing you would want to hear, probably.

    I agree informed opinions are better. :cool:
  • OldFogeyOldFogey Road Warrior
    edited February 2008
    DethBoxx;295858 said:
    Actually Brian could and did sing the 5 part harmonies himself.
    All of the voices you hear on the albums he produces are him.

    He was recording in the studio while the others were off playing
    live, sounding like nothing you would want to hear, probably.

    I agree informed opinions are better. :cool:
    Nah -- he was in the studio getting the instrumental arrangements down. Then he brought the boys back in to record the vocal tracks. The vocal tracks were always live, not overdubbed.
  • OldFogeyOldFogey Road Warrior
    edited February 2008
    Doing some fact checking (because some of the assertions on this thread had me thinking "that can't be right" so I had to go check it out) I came across this really lovely write up on Brian. It's too long to post the whole thing here, but here's the link:

    http://www.ginnydougary.co.uk/2002/06/01/after-the-wipe-out/

    No attempt to cover up for what is obviously some serious psychological damage. It does really give you a feel, though, for the strong emotional connection so many people have with Brian and the music.

    Hope you enjoy
  • m00pm00p Banned
    edited February 2008
    Fact 1 :

    The Beatles music made the strongest man shed tears

    Fact 2:

    Mike Love worships Bruce Springsteen

    Fact 3:

    Fifty Best Artists of all time: Rolling Stone Magazine

    1. The Beatles

    12. The Beach Boys

    Fact 4:
    As written in the same article in Rolling Stone
    "John Lennon and Paul McCartney were exceptional songwriters; McCartney was, and is, a truly virtuoso musician; George Harrison wasn't the kind of guitar player who tore off wild, unpredictable solos, but you can sing the melodies of nearly all of his breaks. Most important, THEY ALWAYS FIT INTO ARRANGMENT. Ringo Starr played the drums with an incredibly unique feel that nobody can really copy, although many fine drummers have tried and failed. Most of all, John and Paul were fantastic singers."

    Not only are the beatles an exceptional band and by far one of the best, they suit this game to perfection. God damnit if only they'd give up the rights.

    Fact 5:

    The Beach Boys sing about sand and surfing, the beatles sing about walruses. Now which is cooler?
  • NydhogNydhog Unsigned
    edited February 2008
    I personally think that the Beach boys are better. I like them both. But id have to say The Beatleborgs are better.
  • CML207CML207 Opening Act
    edited February 2008
    So I think we should just close it, and open week 3 up...This was total domination and the Beach Boys have no hope(Not like they ever did...)
  • OldFogeyOldFogey Road Warrior
    edited February 2008
    m00p;296169 said:
    Fact 1 :

    The Beatles music made the strongest man shed tears

    Fact 2:

    Mike Love worships Bruce Springsteen

    Fact 3:

    Fifty Best Artists of all time: Rolling Stone Magazine

    1. The Beatles

    12. The Beach Boys

    Fact 4:
    As written in the same article in Rolling Stone
    "John Lennon and Paul McCartney were exceptional songwriters; McCartney was, and is, a truly virtuoso musician; George Harrison wasn't the kind of guitar player who tore off wild, unpredictable solos, but you can sing the melodies of nearly all of his breaks. Most important, THEY ALWAYS FIT INTO ARRANGMENT. Ringo Starr played the drums with an incredibly unique feel that nobody can really copy, although many fine drummers have tried and failed. Most of all, John and Paul were fantastic singers."

    Not only are the beatles an exceptional band and by far one of the best, they suit this game to perfection. God damnit if only they'd give up the rights.

    Fact 5:

    The Beach Boys sing about sand and surfing, the beatles sing about walruses. Now which is cooler?
    Good post, m00p --

    I think you've definitely hit on some of the key points why a) the Beatles were more popular, and b) they're especially more popular on a Rock Band forum. And lyrics and subject matter definitely have a lot to do with it (but let's not forget the dopey Ringo and Paul songs on every album) -- John of course was the major factor in that. I think it's one reason why Pet Sounds (and even Today before it) finally got the recognition it deserved, because the lyrics and subject matter were so much mature and relevant. It's also why Smile, as incredible as the music is, gets to be unlistenable, I mean who wants to hear about vegetables and wind chimes.

    Something else -- both of them are more pop than pure rock, but the Beach Boys rock was in feel and sound more rooted in the 50's and Chuck Berry, where the Beatles really updated their sound to feel more contemporary. I think the Beach Boys continue to appeal to audiences that have more of a pop, jazz or even classical orientation in their rock choices.

    It's also true that what was completely amazing about the Beatles was how the individual parts (who were very good but I think there can be some real arguments about whether they were great based on post-Beatles production) complemented each other so well that the whole was much bigger than the sum of parts.

    Don't forget also the contributions of George Martin and even Billy Preston, who finally brought some instrumental excellence to the band. (I'm not knocking George and Ringo -- I agree with Rolling Stones' assessment, but it's kind of like when Mick Taylor joined the Stones -- yeah the other guys did their thing well but it's a real eye opener when a master starts playing the songs.)

    By contrast, of course, Brian had to shoulder an incredible load to lift -- playing the roles of John, Paul and George Martin. The other Boys were much better than they are given credit for, but there's no doubt that there was one driving creative force behind that band. A real lesson there about team work -- something Steve Tyler and Joe Perry learned through painful experience. (Carrying that load was also clearly a big reason for Brian's mental collapse, btw.)

    One final thing -- personality plays a big part, too. The Beatles were fun, charming, witty. That translated not only in the music and performance but in two pretty good movies. It doesn't have much to do with how good the music is, but it has a lot to do with how popular they were.

    BTW -- #12 all time isn't bad, and it probably could have been higher. It also indicates, contrary to some opinions on this forum, that the Boys do belong in the debate.

    And -- speaking of making strong men cry -- you might want to read the article I posted above. There's plenty of that phenomenon to go around.
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