When discussing classic rock, or rock/pop music in general, The Beatles are an unavoidable feature. If popular music is a planet, The Beatles are a moon. There is no group more significant to our modern conception of rock and roll; the very name has become something of a logo for the genre as a whole.
This all makes them an extraordinarily boring subject to discuss, mainly because there is very little left to discuss. I'm willing to bet that every music critic/journalist active in the past thirty years has written at least one article/review/blog post that referenced the Fab Four, and at least half of them have probably reviewed a Beatles album or discussed their history. The well is dry.
There are still a few things I consider worthy of consideration though.
- Unlike every other band I can think of (especially for the era in question) every song The Beatles put to record has a reasonable chance of being played on a radio station (with a few exceptions ["Wild Honey Pie", "Revolution 9", etc, etc]). They are one of the scant few exceptions to the "one/two a day" rule I mentioned in my introduction to this subject.
- The modern conception of twee music can be traced back to a single song, "Yesterday". That song is the blueprint for every Jason Mraz song you will ever hear.
- Similarly, punk music can be traced back to "Revolution", as well as a number of other 60s groups (that I'll cover later in the Apocrypha). The Beatles were one of the first mainstream groups to make significant use of audio distortion.
- Studio experimentation was brought to the forefront. People will argue that Pink Floyd did it better, but The Beatles sold more records with it. Among other things, this means that Autotune can be traced back to John complaining about how terrible his voice was.
- They would have never existed without Jayne Mansfield (more on that later).