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Ten Beatlesque Bands

List Of The Day

I'm not going to include any of the obvious "rip-off" type outfits that showed up in mop-tops right after the Beatles first hit U.S. shores. No organizations that seemed designed to mislead the public. Not even the honorable Pete Best, who got sacked from the band by their new record producer, George Martin, just before the Beatles became the biggest band in the history of the world. Though I often stared at my cassette of The Beatle That Time Forgot and wondered "Why?"

Nope, the following 10 are performers who in some way used the Beatles playbook and did something to it, usually to the tune of some significant coinage.

Fans of The Rutles, of course, know that the Beatles stole everything they know from them and were often considered "Rutlesque" for years. 

Are the Jonas Brothers "Beatlesque"? I don't know. From what I understand, they've submitted forms to the Beatlesque Committee but these things can take years to sort out. Take heart, fellas!

10) Kiss: Kiss are four guys, each with a separate identity within the group, who play songs that can't wait to get to the choruses, so the tunes can make you remember them whether you want to or not. 

9) Electric Light Orchestra: Jeff Lynne didn't grow up thinking he would one day become the next Beatles. He was too old for that sort of thing. So he did the next best thing. He assembled a band that used many of their most baroque and progressive ways and then a decade later produced an album for one of them (George) and then started a band with him (Traveling Wilburys) and eventually produced the remaining members and their new "Beatle" tracks ("Free As A Bird," "Real Love"). Lennon could only participate in demo form. 

8) The Smithereens: There were always obvious Beatle influences in this New Jersey's band's pop formula. Who would've guessed that two decades later, they'd be releasing album after album of them performing Beatle songs like they were the new cover band, Beatlemania? Cheap Trick must be amused.

7) Bread: In the early '70s, there were few acts who could sing in tight harmony and score one smooth radio hit after another quite like the fellows in Bread. These studio pros behaved as if they just might come along and take up the spot the Beatles once effortlessly occupied. Except no one was offering up this spot. It was busy being bronzed for the museum.

6) The Raspberries: The term "Beatlesque" always seems to refer to tight pop harmonies and songs with tons of hooks that belong on the radio, never to songs with screaming loud guitars, or avant-garde tape experiments. Even a band like The Flaming Lips can do all the Sgt. Pepper's and Magical Mystery Tour homages on their albums and it's not considered "Beatlesque" but instead "indie rock" even when it's put out by Warner Brothers?

5) Big Star: Basically, everything you'd say about the Raspberries without the radio play or the chart hits. Alex Chilton and his fine band will be coming to you with a new boxed set soon enough. Their strong critical rep remains in part due to the band's embracing of the "Beatlesque" model in the early 1970s when it only worked for a rare few and not guys on a tiny little Memphis label who never toured.

4) Badfinger: Beatles roadie Mal Evans convinced his controlling partners at Apple Records to sign the guys in Badfinger (who were then performing as the Iveys) as the first non-Beatle act on the roster and sure enough these guys sound like they've been very well-schooled in Beatleography. Then again, with McCartney giving the group "Come and Get it" and producing it, you'd expect them to sound like Procol Harum?

3) The Knack: Signed to the Beatles' U.S. record label, Capitol Records, while dressing in coordinated fashion, playing tunes that sounded heavily influenced by catchy songwriters everywhere, the Knack were practically done in by the media blitz. The Knack were one of those bands who became too popular to sustain a real career. Other Beatlesque bands like the Go-Go's and the Bangles would suffer similar fates, but none could match the hatred inspired by the Knack's success that led to a "Knuke the Knack" campaign strengthened by the band's insistence at recording their hit single "My Sharona" a second time as their next album's first single "Baby Talks Dirty." People noticed. 

2) The Knickerbockers: Their 1966 single "Lies" is now remembered as the finest recreation of the 1964 Beatles ever attempted. The band would not go on to massive success since they were clearly two years behind the times, which in the 1960s was a much greater span of time than it is today.

1) Klaatu: The lack of credits on their album issued by Capitol Records and a striking similarity to a certain British combo led to rumors that Paul was indeed alive and well and playing in Klaatu. At least they didn't still sound like the 1964 Beatles, but the later group, circa 1968-69, which by the mid-1970s was almost as if time was standing still.

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