May I join the fair chorus of approval for Woebot's non-canonical Beatles post. My occasional partner in crimes of one sort or another, Monster Bobby, took as a slogan for one of his more ambitious projects a return to the time 'before the Beatles ruined everything'- to Meek, Spector, Mann/Weil or Goffin/King as opposed to all this four boys with guitars writing their own songs nonsense. And while this is a very seductive argument (tho kind of evokes the Pre-Raphaelite 'return' as well, no? And every return is a rupture after all..) among its flaws is that it forgets how interesting the sheer artiness and artfulness of the (early as much as the more officially 'arty' late) fab four would have been.
In one of those awful NME originals magazines, a little Q&A with our heroes from 1963-4 reveals their rather un-English tastes; one member for instance claims his ideal woman to be Juliette Greco, of all people. Jon Savage's essay on Stuart Sutcliffe is totally key here, the tracing of how postwar conformism and austerity gets subverted by the incursion not only of rock & roll, but also the European, abstraction, ambiguous sexuality- setting up their base in Germany of all places...or think of them in A Hard Day's Night, stealing moves from Welles' The Trial...or even in their dress, with its combination of ostensible smartness and effeminacy...
Addenda- at the debate referred to above, Rodney Gordon used as an analogy for the the commercial brutalism of the tricorn and the gateshead carpark the Beatles' combination of avantgardism and accessibility; eliciting the response from Quinlan Terry 'well I never liked The Beatles.'(!)