May 1, 2019

Would Blur Exist Without The Beatles?

Would Blur Exist Without The Beatles?

“No Beatles means no Britpop, which means no Blur, which means no Song 2, which causes air guitar to disappear as an art form.” This was the answer of The Ringer’s Michael Baumann when he was asked what sounds at first like a simple question: “What is the farthest-reaching consequence of the erasure of the Beatles?” Go ahead and give that question a couple seconds to sink in. And if you’re like us, prepare to basically see your own brain’s gears going into overdrive.

Even those who are even just a little bit familiar with music history will know just how influential The Beatles were in shaping modern rock. And if you’re wondering what spurred this discussion to make the rounds online, look no further than the trailer for the upcoming Yesterday, a film that postulates a world in which the entire planet forgets about The Beatles overnight. According to the trailer, only one man remembers the greatest British pop-rock band in the world, and he uses it to get famous as hell. The man’s rise to stardom replicates Beatlemania in the modern era – a strange combination of pandemonium and mass amnesia, and an unexpected twist on the typical Beatles-inspired movie musical. Again, it makes perfect sense, until you think about the ramifications of The Beatles having never existed at all.

CREDIT: By Roy Kerwood - Photo by Roy Kerwood. Previously uploaded to en: with same image name May 11 2006., CC BY 2.5,

For starters, Baumann was right when he said that Blur wouldn’t exist – as confirmed by Damon Albarn. According to Albarn, John Lennon’s Imagine was what inspired him to take up songwriting in the first place, adding that he would’ve loved to work with Lennon, if only he wasn’t shot when Albarn was still stuck in school. Meanwhile, Lottoland’s list of the top influential rock songs, point out how the classic I Wanna Hold Your Hand was essential to sparking the musical revolution of the 60s. Without The Beatles, a decidedly different sound would have come out of that revolution, creating further waves in the evolution of British rock. Another instant casualty would be Graham Coxon’s work on the re-recording of the Beatles’ debut albumPlease Please Me. These are just some of the more horrific possibilities posed by the upcoming Yesterday.

While early criticism of the movie points out how the trailer doesn’t seem to address these historical implications, we have to admit that the very concept has spurred a renewed interest in The Beatles and just how far their influence extends, The idea of Yesterday happening would definitely mean no Britpop as we know it. If Blur did still exist, they would definitely sport a different sound, which is a concept we’d rather not get further into. In short, The Beatles defined what rock was, is, and will be. Not bad for a couple of lads from Liverpool.


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