BEATLESQUE GROUPS

BEATLESQUE GROUPS List, Version 1.0
1 March 1994
compiled by Robert Berry
Copyright 1994 by Robert Berry--No unauthorized use permitted
Updated and modified March 1995 by Ed Chen.
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So what do you listen to after you've played all the Beatles CDs back to back and still find yourself hungry for more? Well, play them again, of course. Eventually, though, you may find yourself wondering if there isn't still somebody making music in the style of the Beatles. This file is a list of such artists, compiled from recommendations made by readers of rec.music.beatles and from my own favorites.


A COUPLE OF NOTES

It's worth saying that it is unfair to pigeonhole any artist as merely derivative of the Beatles' sound. Each artist on this list (with the possible exception of the Rutles :-) possesses a unique talent worthy of recognition.

Nonetheless, the Beatles created a style of musical expression that did not disappear in 1970. Difficult to define precisely, the genre's features include a strong sense of melody; a focus on vocals and vocal harmony; eclecticism and variety in both arrangement and song construction; top-notch songwriting; and tight, clean production.

But there is tremendous variation within the genre. This list isn't intended to name Beatles "sound-alikes"; it is instead intended to complete the sentence, "If you like the Beatles, you might like..."


ABOUT THE LIST

I have not heard all of the artists listed here. For those I have heard, I've included a brief summary of my impressions, based solely upon my own listening; needless to say, these opinions are mine alone.

I've also included the names of many artists that have been recommended to me, but whom I have not yet heard. For these, I've marked the entries with an asterisk, and in most case included no additional remarks. This file is my CD shopping list, and as I hear more of these artists, I'll add new information.

If you have additional recommendations or information you think should be included, please write to Robert Berry, rberry@vnet.ibm.com.

And now, in alphabetical order...


THE LIST

Badfinger

    Beatles proteges who started out on the Apple label. Recorded Paul's "Come And Get It." CD releases include "Magic Christian Music," "No Dice," "Straight Up."

*Adrian Belew

*Cave Dogs

*Charlatans

*Crash Test Dummies

*Marshall Crenshaw

    Considering Crenshaw started his career playing John Lennon in one of the Broadway casts of Beatlemania, it is not surprising he would assimilate some Beatles into his own music.

Crowded House

    Rock/pop from New Zealand. Their first three albums -- "Crowded House," "Temple of Low Men," and "Woodface" -- all feature good, solid songwriting and tight, clean production. Their latest album, "Together Alone," is just out in the U.S. as of this writing (and I'm listening to it right now). More complex in texture and less overtly Beatlesque, it nonetheless continues the band's unbroken record of outstanding pop music.

Don Dixon

    Tight, eclectic rock/pop songs. His first album "Most of the Girls Like to Dance But Only Some of the Boys Like To" is a must. Also check out his collaborations (nominally as producer) with his significant other, Marti Jones. Unfortunately, Dixon's CDs have become difficult to find (they may be out of print), but a "best-of" compilation called "If I'm a Ham, You're a Sausage" appears still to be readily available. Dixon is probably better known for producing bands such as REM and The Smithereens.

*Dramarama

Dukes of Stratosphear -- See XTC.

*The Dylans

*Electric Light Orchestra

Gin Blossoms

    Their two albums, "New Miserable Experience," and "Congratulations, I'm Sorry" feature straight-ahead electric-guitar pop, as well as some playful eclecticism (listen for their stabs at country and zydeco). Former band member and songwriter Doug Hopkins committed suicide late in 1993, but he had already left the band by that time.

*House of Freaks

*Jellyfish

Billy Joel

    Not all of Joel's work is Beatlesque, but he has made it quite clear that the Beatles were his chief inspiration for becoming a musician. Occasionally the influence is apparent.

Marti Jones

    Her four albums, "Unsophisticated Time," "Used Guitars," "Match Game," and "Any Kind of Lie," are all produced by Don Dixon (see above) and feature Dixon's songwriting, playing, and background vocals. "Any Kind Of Lie" is the best of them, but all are good. The latter three are available on CD.

*The La's

    Mentioned frequently as reminiscent of the Beatles; depending upon whom you believe, their chief Beatlesque aspect may simply be that they are a foursome from Liverpool. Still, the band's signature song, "There She Goes" evokes the best of McCartney.

Lenny Kravitz

    Kravitz's musical style seems to veer between Beatles and Hendrix, and he evokes the Seventies more than the Sixties. But there are some great tracks that any Beatles fan would love ("Stand By My Woman" from "Mama Said" is chillingly Lennonish).

Julian Lennon

    If nothing else, his voice is Beatlesque, for genetic reasons.

Los Lobos

    Perhaps not strictly Beatlesque, but nonetheless creative and original performers; good old rock & roll with a strong dose of Mexican traditional music. Their latest "Kiko" is a varied and intricately textured album.

*Love and Rockets

Aimee Mann

    Introspective pop songs with varied arrangements, catchy melodies, and well-produced vocals.

*Material Issue

George Michael

    Has been compared by some to Paul McCartney. He certainly has the pop sensibility and the varied songwriting style, as well as a taste for skiffle ("Faith"). His first album, "Faith," is dancy and often overly "techno," but does feature some good songwriting. His second album, "Listen Without Prejudice," is far more subdued and moody.

Michael Penn

    "Free-For-All" features introspective, guitar-based rock songs, tightly produced and with some nice arrangements. Perhaps more like solo Lennon than the Beatles, Penn's songs are bleak and dark and a bit depressing for extended listening; nonetheless, the tunes are catchy and compelling.

The Posies

Two albums, "Dear 23" and "Frosting on the Beater." A direct Beatles connection: the song "Golden Blunders" (from "Dear 23") was covered by Ringo on his "Time Takes Time" album. "Dear 23" is airy and a bit psychedelic; "Frosting on the Beater" has a harder edge.

*The Pursuit of Happiness

*The Raspberries

The Rembrandts

    AKA Danny Wilde and Phil Solem, great pop songwriters clearly inspired by the Fabs. Their first album, "The Rembrandts," features what may be the Perfect Pop Song, "That's Just The Way It Is, Baby," and includes some very Fab-like songs ("Somebody," "If Not For Misery"). Their second, "Untitled," is less minimalist, adding some very Beatlesque cellos (listen particularly to "Maybe Tomorrow"). Their biggest hit of late, "I'll Be There For You" (The FRIENDS theme) is almost a direct copy of "I Feel Fine :-)"

The Rock Club

    One CD, "Wet Money," with melodic, guitar-based pop songs and lots of vocal harmonies. Reminiscent not only of the Beatles but of the Beach Boys as well. Some of it sounds a bit amateurish, but it's well-produced and a lot of fun. "Wet Money" is available by mail; see Notes below for ordering information.

Rooster Head

    An (amazingly) unsigned band from Dania, Florida, Rooster Head produces some of the best, most eclectic, Beatles-style pop music I've heard. Primarily the project of eccentric songwriter Michael Kennedy, the songs range from dark and strange to irresistibly catchy to breathtakingly gorgeous. Rooster Head recordings are available by mail; see Notes below for ordering information.

Todd Rundgren

    Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer. In addition to his own material, he has also produced Badfinger and XTC (see separate entries). See also Utopia.

The Rutles

    Not a real group, the Rutles are a Beatles parody created by ex-Monty Python member Eric Idle and musical associate Neil Innes. Despite the satirical intent, Neil Innes's songwriting on the soundtrack CD "The Rutles" captures the Beatles sound nearly as well as the Fabs themselves. Most of the songs are clearly parodies of specific Beatles tunes, some almost note-for-note copies ("Ouch!," "Get Up And Go"); but others are truly Innes originals and worthy tributes to the Beatles' genius.

*Shoes

The Smithereens

    Albums include "Green Thoughts," "11," and "Blow Up." Drummer Dennis Diken's liner notes on the CD-EP "Beauty and Sadness" make clear that the band was at least partially inspired by the Beatles, and their straight- forward, guitar-based pop confirms it.

*Spent Poets

The Spongetones

    An independent band from Charlotte, NC., whose press release describes their sound as "an updated Merseybeat style." Their latest CD "Oh Yeah!" features great pop tunes very reminiscent of 1965-era Beatles. Several previous releases are also available, all by mail; see Notes below for ordering information. As of this writing, a new album is in the works.

*20/20

Toy Subs

    Another unsigned band, this time from Houston, Texas.

Utopia

    Todd Rundgren's band, Utopia is notable here for its album "Deface the Music," an homage to -- and parody of -- the Beatles. Although Rundgren manages to capture the superficial *sound* of the Beatles in these songs, the songs themselves just aren't that great, and the album is ultimately less successful than that other Beatles parody, "The Rutles" (see above).

World Party

    The album "Goodbye Jumbo" has been named by several r.m.b posters as particularly Beatlesque. The new release, "Bang!", has several very melodic pop songs in the Beatles tradition (the best are "Is It Like Today?" and "All I Gave"), but also has a strong dose of drum-machine techno-pop. Worth a listen for any Beatles fan, and growing on me as I listen to it more.

XTC

    Well-produced, quirky studio pop. Most Beatlesque is their "Skylarking" album, produced by Todd Rundgren (see separate entry). Even more Beatlesque is their one CD recorded under the pseudonym The Dukes of Stratosphear, "Chips From The Chocolate Fireball." Actually a compilation of two vinyl releases (the EP "25 O'Clock" and the LP "Psonic Psunspot"), this disc features not only some distinctly Beatles-flavored songs, but also clear influences from other '60s artists. A must.

ORDERING INFORMATION

Several of the groups listed here are independent bands without major-label record deals. Following is information on how to obtain their recordings.

THE ROCK CLUB: As of December 1993, "Wet Money" by the Rock Club (catalog number HOMBURG 001) was available by mail from Vampire Records, 220 Jericho Turnpike, Floral Park, NY 11001, for $14.99 (including US shipping). ROOSTER HEAD: As of December 1993, the following recordings were available by mail directly from Rooster Head: "A Legendary Cock" (cassette, $8) "An American Cock In Paris" (cassette, $8) "Barnyard Delights" (cassette, $8; CD, $10) "Tasting Your Molester" (cassette, $8) Also available is a compilation tape containing selections from all Rooster Head releases (cassette, $3). Supplies are limited on all but "Tasting Your Molester," their most recent release. The current plan is for a CD to be released later this year, including all of the tracks from "Tasting" plus additional material. Prices include US shipping. Order from Rooster Head, c/o Jeff Jones, 11500 NW 37th Place, Sunrise, FL 33323. If you're interested in Rooster Head, send a note to Jeff Jones, jljones@encore.com. THE SPONGETONES: "Beat Music" (vinyl LP, $10) "Torn Apart" (vinyl EP, $8; cassette, $5) "Where-Ever-Land" (CD, $15; cassette, $8) "Oh Yeah!" (CD, $15; cassette, $8) "Yuletunes" (collection of alternative-pop Christmas songs with one Spongetones selection; CD, $15) "Textural Drone Thing" (CD, 1995) "Beat and Torn," a compilation of "Beat Music" and "Torn Apart" is available from cdnow , as well as "Oh Yeah!" and their most recent release, "Textural Drone Thing". CD's can also be ordered directly from The Spongetones, Post Office Box 5102, Lake Wylie, SC 29710.

DISCLAIMER

Need I say it? I have no affiliation with any of the artists listed in this file. All information is to the best of my knowledge, but I make NO guarantees of accuracy. Opinions are mine and are therefore immediately suspect.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The following people are among those who made recommendations that are listed herein. There were many others whose recommendations (but not their names) were scrawled on Post-It Notes. Thanks to all of those who have given recommendations, and apologies to those whose names I didn't keep up with.

Charles F. Board Edward S. Chen Jeff Jones Felicia Jordan Dennis McGee saki Click here to return.