Originally Posted by Beasty
My view - the Beatles were a great studio band. You cannot deny the success they had up to 1970. However they stopped touring in 66. That pretty much means 8 years of churning out (great) songs and 4 years of showing they could deliver them on stage. Some boy bands last longer than that! So yes - a great band, but the fact they stopped so soon perhaps results in a case of their status being partially sustained by nostalgia.
I'd be inclined to believe that The Beatles relatively short career producing records only adds to their greatness - between '63 and '70 they kept pumping out inspired music, constantly evolving and staying ahead of the pack right up until the point when they stopped. There was no fallow period or some part of their career where they were less than excellent. All of their contemporaries who outlasted them have released a lot of dross over the years, it's only natural if you've been around so long. The Beatles never had to contend with that problem: that's not nostalgia, just really, really good quality control - all killer, no filler.
And lets be fair, they played A LOT of gigs between 1960-66 and, during all that, - in the words of internet music critic Mark Prindle - "they pretty much invented modern rock'n'roll by combining the rockabilly of Buddy Holly and Elvis with the crisp vocal harmonies and melodic sensibility of The Everly Brothers" - also while redefining what it meant to be a "band" in the first place. Then they became a studio band and continued to push the boundaries there too. Good going, if you ask me.