Documentary review: How the Beatles changed the world?

NOTE: This is first of a series of review posts I’ll be doing over the next few months in an effort to extract more out of the media I consume. If these posts end up introducing worthwhile content to the readers, that would make it even better.


The documentary, How the Beatles changed the world, isn’t extraordinary in cinematic terms. But the story it tells definitely is. The story is told through a mixture of old footage, and interviews with those close to The Beatles.

A point which is stressed upon is that the primary reason for the Beatles’ emergence as the defining musical force of the 1960s and eventually the century was due to the series of firsts they came up with in context of popular music. Be it their treatment of the press, usage of a recording studio or experimentation with their music itself. As an interviewee put it, “They were the most popular and the most experimental band in the world… That is rare.” That may very well be an exaggeration but there is truth to that statement.

Some interesting aspects are covered around the band’s involvement with the counterculture movement of the 60s, their spiritually inclined journey to India.

We get to witness how 4 Liverpudlian boys became household names primarily due to their rough edges and earnestness which the music industry, up until that point, preferred to discard in favor of absolute professionalism. Also, we find out that it was eventually the process of growing beyond their roots and exploring individual identities for themselves which led to demise of the most successful music collaboration of the 20th century.

Why watch it?

If you have been exposed to western culture and in particular, the music, you may have read about the Beatles’ influence and found them at the top of various greatest-ever lists. However, you may not have been able to comprehend the described phenomenon if you never actively researched into it. That wasn’t exactly the case with me since I’d tried to look into the Beatlemania earlier as well. However, the documentary ‘How The Beatles changed the world’ provided me with insights which helped me understand the Beatles’ impact on popular music and culture much better.

Memorable bit

There are quite a few memorable bits and old footage which could easily qualify for this section. There’s one in particular which captures quite a bit.

After unprecedented success in UK, the Beatles traveled to the US and ended up emulating their success there as well. In the midst of it all, they gave numerous live interviews. In one of them, the interviewer with an apparent distaste for the Beatles’ brand of music asked them if they considered what they produced as music at all. They answered, “Yes.” The interviewer, tongue in cheek, retorted, “with a question mark?” Their reply, “No, with an exclamation mark!”

That’s The Beatles for you.