piero scaruffi, THE BEATLES and ELVIS PRESLEY


piero scaruffi,

The Beatles and Elvis Presley

There's a movie titled Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? It stars Dustin Hoffman as a singer-songwriter whose reputation was smeared with false rumors by the mysterious Harry Kellerman.
Things like that also happen in real life. Sometimes it's through malice and sometimes it's through ignorance.
Now, there's a music critic by the name of Piero Scaruffi. He doesn't like the Beatles. He doesn't like Elvis Presley. Some cynics might say Scaruffi is like a character we've all seen in countless Westerns. You know... the young punk with a gun who wants to make a name for himself by gunning down the famous old gunslinger. I, myself, don't believe this. I think Scaruffi is sincere in his musical tastes and he's entitled to them. I just think he has a case of Harry Kellermanitis.

About The Beatles...
Scaruffi writes, "Contemporary musicians never spoke highly of the Beatles and for a good reason. They could not figure out why the Beatles' songs should be regarded more highly than their own."

Brian Wilson was the creative force behind the Beach Boys. The Beach Boys were America's top pop group in 1964 when the Beatles arrived.
"I was sitting around a table with friends, smoking a joint, when we heard Rubber Soul for the very first time, and I'm smoking and I'm getting high, and the album blew my mind because it was a whole album with all good stuff! It flipped me out so much I said, 'I'm gonna try that, where a whole album becomes a gas.'" -- Brian Wilson
The book "Heroes and Villains: The True Story of The Beach Boys" (in quotations) reveals this about Brian...
"Despite Brian's tremendous musical accomplishments, the shadow of the Beatles had fallen across him, obscuring any pleasure he may have felt. To make it worse, Brian loved the Beatles' music and was in awe of their musical progression."
The follow-up to Pet Sounds was to be an album titled Smile. Brian Wilson abandoned the project. A contributing factor was "the release of two new Beatles singles, Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever, so wondrous and different-sounding that Brian was crushed." At a recording session for Smile approximately three weeks before Capital Records would announce it was scrapped, Paul McCartney stopped by and "spoke enthusiastically about a new Beatles album to be released the following month - Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. When Brian finally heard the album, he was shattered."

Roger McGuinn was the founder of the Byrds, a group that pioneered folk rock, psychedelic rock and country rock.
"Beatles inspired the Byrds. They were the driving force that got me to incorporate folk and rock." --Roger McGuinn

John Phillips was the founder of The Mamas and the Papas. Along with the Beach Boys and the Lovin' Spoonful, they were one of the three most successful American groups of the 1960s during the British Invasion.
"They (the Beatles) showed that intelligent people could work in rock and make their intelligence show." -- John Phillips

The list of Beatles contemporaries appreciating their music and recording cover versions of their songs, shortly after the originals were released, is a diverse group of artists.
Here are just fifty of those contemporaries and fifty of the Beatles songs they sang. The year of the cover version is given.
Al Green - Get Back (1969)
Andy Williams - Michelle (1966)
Aretha Franklin - Let It Be (1970)
Barbara Streisand - Good Night (1969)
Beach Boys - Tell Me Why (1965)
Billy Preston - I Got a Feeling (1970)
Brenda Lee - She Loves You (1965)
Brian Auger & the Trinity - A Day in the Life (1968)
Chubby Checker - Back in the U.S.S.R. (1969)
Deep Purple - Help (1968)
Del Shannon - From Me To You (1963)
Dion - Blackbird (1970)
Ella Fitzgerald - A Hard Day's Night (1965)
Fats Domino - Lady Madonna (1968)
5th Dimension - All You Need Is Love (1971)
Four Tops - Got To Get You Into My Life (1969)
Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Run For Your Life (1966)
George Benson - Oh! Darling (1970)
Gladys Night & The Pips - The Long and Winding Road (1971)
Grass Roots - You've Got To Hide Your Love Away (1966)
Harry Nilsson - She's Leaving Home (1967)
Hollies - If I Needed Someone (1965)
Ike and Tina Turner - Come Together (1970)
Impressions - The Fool On the Hill 1969)
Jackie Wilson - Eleanor Rigby (1969)
Jan & Dean - I Should Have Known Better (1965)
Joe Cocker - With a Little Help From My Friends (1969)
John Denver - Golden Slumbers (1970)
Johnny Rivers - Can't Buy Me Love ((1964)
Jose Feliciano - Norwegian Wood (1970)
Judy Collins - In My Life (1966)
Junior Parker - Taxman (1970)
Liza Minnelli - For No One (1968)
The Mamas and the Papas - I Call Your Name (1966)
Marianne Faithfull - I'm a Loser (1965)
Matt Monro - All My Loving (1965)
Otis Redding - Day Tripper (1966)
Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles - Yesterday (1966)
Petula Clark - I Want To Hold Your Hand (1965)
Procol Harum - Eight Days a Week (1975)
Ray Charles - Something (1971)
Richie Havens - Here Comes the Sun (1971)
Rolling Stones - I Wanna Be Your Man (1963)
Stevie Wonder - We Can Work It Out (1970)
Supremes - You Can't Do That (1964)
Tony Bennett - Here, There and Everywhere (1969)
Vanilla Fudge - Ticket To Ride (1967)
Ventures - I Feel Fine (1965)
Wilson Pickett - Hey Jude (1969)
Yes - Every Little Thing (1969)

Scaruffi writes, "The Beatles played pop ditties. Rock musicians of the time played everything but pop ditties, because rock was conceived as an alternative to ditties. FM radio was created to play rock music, not pop ditties. Evidently, to the kids (mostly girls) who listened to the Beatles, rock music had nothing to say that they were willing to listen to."

Scaruffi implies that the people who created FM rock radio wouldn't play the Beatles. Let's look into that, but first some background on its creation...
"Tom Donahue has been called the father of progressive radio. As a deejay and executive at San Francisco radio stations KMPX and KSAN in the late Sixties and early Seventies, Donahue pioneered free-form radio on the largely ignored FM band and revolutionized radio broadcasting in America.
"Donahue clearly saw the need for stations that would play non-commercial music by album-oriented bands like the Doors, Blue Cheer and the rising lights on the San Francisco scene. He convinced he owners of KMPX to begin playing album-oriented rock without playlists 24 hour a day, and thus did the underground rock radio revolution begin. In 1968, he moved from KMPX to KSAN.
"Donahue and his wife Raechel - herself a popular and influential disc jockey - founded four of the first free-form stations on the West Coast: KMPX and KSAN in San Francisco and KMET and KPPC in Los Angeles. The progressive format that the Donahues pioneered spread across the country." -- From the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

FM rock radio pioneers speak out...

Raechel Donahue
Question: (after familiarizing her with the Scaruffi quote) What do you think of that?
Raechel Donahue: Well, that is, may I say, BULLSHIT!! We didn't play I Want To Hold Your Hand, but when A Day in the Life came out, I can remember sitting in the car listening to one of our deejays playing all 12 seconds of that final note. And later we got numerous FCC complaints for playing Why Don't We Do It in the Road? Need I mention While My Guitar Gently Weeps or Happiness is a Warm Gun? We just played DIFFERENT Beatles stuff than the Top 40 stations. Glad to know that it's not only politicians who rewrite history.
Question: Were the Beatles held in as high a regard as other musicians and groups the station was playing?
Raechel Donahue: The Beatles were as important as the Stones in terms of what the British musical community added to our mix.
Question: So, it's safe to say you never considered dropping them?
Raechel Donahue: We would have no more dropped them than we would have stopped playing Janis and The Dead, or the blues.

Bonnie Simmons - at KSAN from 1970 to 1978, she was program music director and deejay.
Question: (after familiarizing her with the Scaruffi quote) Any comments?
Bonnie Simmons: The "critic" is just plain wrong. All FM radio stations I know of played the Beatles incessantly. Tom Donahue at KSAN was of course a huge Beatles fan as were all the jocks at KMPX and KSAN.
WXRT in Chicago has had an all Beatles show done by their morning person for something like 25 years. I think the same of WNEW in NY, WMMR in Philly, etc..
I myself still play the Beatles frequently. I can't imagine not doing so.
Question: Any special Beatles memory?
Bonnie Simmons: The Beatles gave us a print of one of their films to play as a benefit at the Straight Theatre on Haight Street when KMPX went on strike in 1968 and what the striking staffers took in on that was much appreciated, as well as the fun of being able to show a Beatles film way before the days of VHS.

Larry Miller - at the birth of FM rock radio, before the rock format was heard all 24 hours a day at KMPX, there were only two rock shows at KMPX... Tom Donahue on the air from 8 p.m. to midnight and Larry Miller midnight to 6 a.m..
Question: What did you think of the Beatles? Did you consider them only Top 40 or did they fit in nicely with the musicians from San Francisco and elsewhere that found a home at KMPX?
Larry Miller: I think the hip underground discovered the Beatles about the time we got stoned and went to see Help. By the time Rubber Soul and Revolver came out, they were ours.
We were already playing them a lot even before Sgt. Pepper came out. KMPX PD Tom Donahue was well-connected, and we got tapes of Sgt. Pepper way in advance of its official release, and before the Top 40 stations. I used to just roll the tape and track a whole side late at night.
We didn't play the early teeny-bopper stuff so much, but we loved the later (relatively speaking!) stuff.
Question: Any special Beatles memory?
Larry Miller: Katie Johnson, one of the KMPX 'chick' engineers did a tape edit of Norwegian Wood where she transposed the verses and mixed them all up. It took her hours and hours, splicing and editing tape with a razor blade, and the result was perfect. Woodwegian Nor...

About Elvis Presley...
Scaruffi calls Elvis " the ultimate white robber of black hits." Since Elvis never held a gun to the head of any black songwriter, I assume the act of singing the songs constitutes theft in Scaruffi's mind. That's a tough position to take. It opens the door for a lot of criticism toward both white and black singers.

The Orioles' Crying in the Chapel (1953), the first black hit to top the white pop charts, was a cover of a white-composed song.

Chuck Berry's first, and biggest, hit Maybellene was a reworking of the white country classic Ida Red.

Fats Domino's biggest hit Blueberry Hill was white-composed and first recorded in 1941 by 'The Singing Cowboy' Gene Autry for the movie The Singing Hill.

Ray Charles' most popular hit Georgia On My Mind was white-composed and was first recorded in 1930. One of his most critically acclaimed albums (#104/Rolling Stone magazine 500 Greatest Albums of All Time) is Modern Sounds In Country and Western Music, a collection of mostly white-composed hits that include two Hank Williams songs and three songs that were top ten hits for Ray; Eddy Arnold's You Don't Know Me, Frankie Brown's Born To Lose and Don Gibson's I Can't Stop Loving You which won Ray a Grammy Award for Best R&B Male Vocal Performance.

This is just the tip of an iceberg of a list of blacks performing white-composed music that goes on and on and includes Little Richard and other rockers, Nat King Cole and other pop singers, Doo-wop artists, opera singers, classical musicians, etc..

Should any music critic be calling any of them black robbers of white hits?
How bizarre would it be if any discussion of jazz was prefaced with a statement that the black man's contribution to this music would not be possible if not for the theft of white-invented instrumets... the guitar, the saxophone, the trumpet, the piano, etc.?
How bizarre would it be if any discussion of professional sports was prefaced with a criticism of black athletes for stealing the white-created games of baseball, basketball, football, golf, tennis, etc.?
Instead of buying into all this 'he stole this' and 'they stole that' nonsense, consider what these guys had to say...

"There's no such thing as black man's music and white man's music, as far as I'm concerned. It's all music daddy. Now that's putting it in black and white. It's all music. It's all about love." -- Louis Armstrong (after recording an album featuring country songs and a country back-up band.)

"The black man, white man, has got no music of their own. Music belongs to the universe." -- Rufus Thomas, the legendary Stax singer.

"Rock 'n' Roll is not black or white, but American music." -- Bill Haley, early rocker who Scaruffi credits with putting together the first rock 'n' roll band.

Consider also that Elvis didn't copy anyone.

"Presley's version didn't have much of a resemblance to the gritty original. The young singer had put a hillbilly-styled vocal on top of the tune and strummed on his acoustic guitar with an abandon that moved to its own jolting rhythm." -- From an Associated Press article discussing That's All Right.

"When the producer of The Louisiana Hayride first heard Presley's tape, he pointedly asked the talent manager who'd brought it if the singer was white or black. 'Oh, he's white all right,' the manager replied, 'He's just got a different sound, that's all.' That different sound came to be called 'Rockabilly,' a true mutt of music -- a blend of everything from bluegrass to western swing to pop crooning... hillbilly in R&B time." -- From the Rockabilly Hall of Fame

"Elvis Presley helped form the beginnings of The Sun Sound by infusing Country music with R&B." -- From Sun Record Company's "Sun History"

"The minute I heard the guy sing... he had a unique voice. Now there's very few things I'm gonna say are unique, that there's nothing else like them." Sam Phillips, Sun Records founder.

"He was a unique artist - an original in an area of imitators." -- Mick Jagger

"Ain't nobody like Elvis. Never was." -- Johnny Cash

"Elvis, he was unique." -- B.B.King

To satisfy anybody's curiosity, let's take a look at the racial pedigree of Elvis' Sun music and #1 RCA hits. A 1976 release, The Sun Sessions is a compilation album of 1954 and 1955 music. It has 16 songs on it... 10 of them were composed by white songwriters and 6 by black songwriters. Of his 18 #1 hits from Billboard's Hot 100 Chart, 15 of them were composed by white songwriters... the first being 1956's Heartbreak Hotel... and 3 were by black songwriters. Of the additional 13 songs on Elvis 30 #1 Hits, 11 were composed by white songwriters and 2 by black songwriters.

Hee is an excerpt from an August 2003 interview with black songwriter Winfield Scott. Scott co-wrote Return To Sender.
Question: How did you end up writing for Elvis?
Scott: (black) Songwriter Otis Blackwell was a good friend of mine and convinced me to... Otis had written several songs for Elvis including classics like Don't Be Cruel and All Shook Up, and he learned just how much more rewarding it was to write for a star like Elvis.

Scaruffi calls Elvis a "white idol." I assume the implication is that Elvis didn't mean much to blacks. Is that really the case? Let's go back to a 1956 concert. The performers included Ray Charles, B. B. King, Rufus Thomas and Elvis.
Rufus Thomas, who I quoted earlier, was also a disc jockey at WDIA, a black-controlled radio station. These stations had black disc jockeys and played music for a black audience. Billboard's Rhythm and Blues Chart reflected the popularity and record sales of music played on them. Before his death, Thomas reminisced about those days. He said that he played Elvis' tunes on the radio until the program manager told him to stop because black people didn't want to hear them. Then Elvis showed up at a WDIA fund-raising event for black-handicapped children. "When Elvis wiggled that leg, the crowd went nuts. He walked right off the stage and people were storming that stage. The next day I started back to playing Elvis again. Goes to show you that no person can tell you what another group might like."

The Pittsburgh Courier described the reaction that night as, "A thousand black, brown and beige teen-age girls in the audience blended their alto and soprano voices in one wild crescendo of sound that rent the rafters and took off like scalded cats in the direction of Elvis Presley."

Was this a fluke?
What you haven't heard from Scaruffi is that Elvis Presley was very popular on black radio and holds the number 2 position of the Top 17 R&B Artists of the 1950s. From 1949-1959 only one artist, Fats Domino, had more #1 hits on the R&B chart. Fats had 9 and Elvis had 6. Only two artists had more Top 10 hits, Fats had 34, Ruth Brown had 20 and Elvis had 19. (Of note is that Fats made his first Top 10 appearance in 1952 and Ruth Brown made hers in 1949 and they were active through 1959. Elvis, on the other hand, had his Top 10 hits 1956-1959 and during that period he tied with Fats for the most #1 hits... 6).
For comparison sake... Chuck Berry, #12 position, had 3 #1 hits and 13 top 10 hits, and Little Richard, #17 position, had 3 #1 hits and 14 top 10 hits. The only other white artist who made this R&B Top 17 list was Johnny Otis performing with (black) Little Esther in the #15 position.

Scaruffi writes that Sam Phillips "proceeded to market him (Elvis) as the juvenile delinquent that he was not."
It's true Elvis wasn't a juvenile delinquent. The rest is not true.

"One thing I always enjoyed about Sam (Phillips) is he would let the artists and the musicians do their thing. He didn't guide you in any direction." -- Scotty Moore, lead guitarist for Elvis.

"There never was anything false about him (Elvis)." -- Johnny Burnette, early rocker of such hits as Dreaming and You're Sixteen.

Scaruffi doesn't put Elvis on his list of influential artists.
Here are just some of the people who would disagree.

Black artists...

"Describe Elvis Presley? He was the greatest who ever was, is, or will ever be." -- Chuck Berry

"Elvis was God-given, there's no other explanation. A Messiah comes around every few thousand years, and Elvis was it this time." -- Little Richard

"Elvis had an influence on everybody with his musical approach. He broke the ice for all of us." -- Al Green

"Elvis was a giant and influenced everybody in the business." -- Isacc Hayes

"Almost every black solo entertainer copied his stage mannerisms from Elvis." -- Jackie Wilson

"His phraseology, his way of looking at a song was as unique as Sinatra's. I was a tremendous fan." -- B. B. King

"I wasn't just a fan, I was his brother... There'll never be another like that soul brother." -- James Brown

White artists...

"When I first heard Elvis' voice, I just knew that I wasn't going to work for anybody, and nobody was going to be my boss. He is the deity supreme of rock and roll religion as it exists in today's form. Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail. I thank God for Elvis Presley." -- Bob Dylan

"Elvis is the best ever, the most original. He started the ball rolling for us all. He deserves the recognition." -- Jim Morrison

"No-one, but no-one, is his equal, or ever will be. He was, and is supreme." -- Mick Jagger

"Nothing really affected me until I heard Elvis. If there hadn't been an Elvis, there wouldn't have been the Beatles." -- John Lennon

"I don't think there is a musician today that hasn't been affected by Elvis' music. His definitive years, 1954-57, can only be described as rock's cornerstone." -- Brian Setzer

"Ask anyone. If it hadn't been for Elvis, I don't know where popular music would be. He was the one that started it all off, and he was definitely the start of it for me." -- Elton John

"That Elvis, man, he is all there is. There ain't no more. Everything starts and ends with him. He wrote the book." -- Bruce Springsteen

There's a drawing of Elvis Presley and his guitar in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and Museum that was drawn by a black 15-year-old in November 1957. He did it to commemorate a concert he attended two months earlier and to accompany a list he made at the concert of every song Elvis sang that night. That song list is in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and Museum too.
Elvis was the kid's idol: He used to imagine himself a rock and roller while practicing to Elvis's records, using a broom as a guitar. As an adult, he continued to revere Elvis: He credited a 1968 viewing of Elvis's movie King Creole with giving him the extra strength and inspiration he needed to further his own career.
His name is familiar to most fans of rock music... Jimi Hendrix.

"My favorite artists have always been Elvis and the Beatles and they still are!" -- Johnny Ramone

Excellent work!

Scaruffi clearly presents a biased history of rock. But that doesn't change that I generally agree with his big-picture criticism, even if I disagree with many details. And he's still by far my most-trusted music critic.

I've never liked Presley much, and The Beatles are dull to me now. Anthony Braxton is the shit.

Great article. What a joke Scaruffi is. How can you possibly defend Scaruffi when he makes such patently idiotic, *blanket* statements such as that other musicians didn't respect the Beatles.

If you think other bands are underappreciated, great, say that.

Most trusted? Hahahahhaa. Seriously, that's ridiculous. If he hadn't disparaged the Beatles at length noone would even know who he was (althhough his site is fairly cool, overall).

I enjoyed reading this. It is a very well presented argument against Piero Scaruffi's views on The Beatles and Elvis, which are much more a reflection of his own distaste of the two rather than historically accurate. I've always felt he tended to skew his version towards his own justification of criticism towards them (whether he realizes or not).

Still, I don't give a lick. I find the Beatles and Elvis' music vastly inferior to the albums listed on my greatest albums list, regardless of what history says about them, and regardless of
who's correct about what.

I think most of Scaruffi's points against The Beatles have some truth to them, but tend to be generalized further than reality in what I feel is an overreaching effort by him to make various points on the artists' merits (or lack thereof).

For instance, he argues that none of their contemporary musicians could understand why they were so popular and didn't respect the Beatles. This is clearly untrue and is exactly what I mean by "overreaching". Still, I would bet Scaruffi is thinking more along the lines of The Velvet Underground, Capt Beefheart, Cream, Zeppelin, Red Crayola, Frank Zappa, Soft Machine, The Doors, and so forth, when making his generalization.

All in all, a very good argument and I do think that Scaruffi should edit his statements so they are more exacting and can hold up to close scrutiny. When someone states the things he does as absolute facts (when most of them are actually opinion-based), there should be care taken to ensure they hold up!

Don't be too quick to assume any of the groups you named can be used to back-up Scaruffi.

Please go see the long Article I wrote on this site debunking Scaruffi's totally inaccurate ignorant claims about The Beatles. The wikipedia online free encyclopedia says Scaruffi's reviews are conterversial especially about The Beatles because most rock critics world wide don't agree with him! The Beatles are rightfully the # 1 music artists on acclaimedmusic.net which is all of the reviews by different rock music critics from over decades. You think award winning music professor and composer Dr.Glenn Gass would be teaching a course on The Beatles and rock music since 1982 at Indiana University if what Scaruffi says has *any* truth to it?! NO! On Dr.Gass's web site for his Beatles course it says the main purpose of the course is to get students to have a better appreciation of this amazing group and their extraordinary recordings. And there are many other music professors teaching Beatles courses at good universities. Dr.Gary Kendal's Beatles course is the most requested course at North Western University. There is also a Beatles course taught at University of California and a music professor with the last name of Heinoen at JYVASKYLA university in Finland also teaches a Beatles course.

Even Ozzy Osbourne has been a huge Beatles fan since he was a teenager and She Loves You is one of his favorite songs. He said in a 2002 online Bender Magazine interview that Paul McCartney is a genuis And The Beatles Are The Greatest Band To Ever Walk The Earth! He also says not loving The Beatles is like not loving oxogen.

I suggest you go to a library and take out the excellent thorough book,The Beatles Recording Sessions by Mark Lewisohn. It's a detailed music diary of The Beatles remarkable 8 year recording career. In it their recording engineers Geoff Emerick,Norman Smith who went on to work Pink Floyd and Ken Scott who went on to work with David Bowie,and Alan Parsons a highly impressed Beatles fan was one of their engineers on their last 2 albums Abbey Road and Let it Be,and other tape operators and engineers,all describe in details how truly innovative,creative and inventive especially John and Paul were in the recording studio.

The Rolling Stones were also good friends with and big fans of The Beatles and Mick Jagger was at 4 Beatles recording sessions and Keith Richards was at 2 of them with him! The Beatles even wrote one of The Rolling Stones first real hits with the song,I Wanna Be You're Man in early 1964. Mick Jagger even stood on the sideline and came just to watch and listen to them record,Baby You're A Rich Man in May 1967 and his name is even included on the tape box because he might have sang at the end verses. There is a big picture in The Beatles Recording Sessions of Mick Jagger sitting between John and Paul in The Beatles recording console room during the recording of Revolver.

Also to debunk more inaccurate crap Scaruffi says, Eric Clapton said George Harrison was a fantastic slide guitar player when he and George were interviewd on their 1992 tour of Japan and were asked what they admired about eachother.Eric Clapton also said that John was a very good guitar player and would know since he played live in concert with John as a member of his 1969 Plastic Ono Band .And there is an excellent web site,The Evolution of Rock Bass Playing McCartney Style by Denis Alstrand. In it Stanley Clarke,Will Lee,Billy Sheehan and Sting all say what a great,melodic influential bass player Paul has always been. The 1992 Rolling Stone Album Guide also calls Paul a remarkable bass player and rightfully calls John and Paul the 2 greatest song writers in the history of rock. The All Music Guide says the same things about them as well as that John and Paul as singers were among the best and most expressive in rock.

Jimi Hendrix played Day Tripper Live in concert and he also played Sgt.Pepper live only 2 days after it came out. Pete Townsend,John Paul Jones and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin all played on two songs on Paul's last Wings album,Back To The Egg in 1979. And they all also played in the last Wings concert in December 1979. Pete Townsend also played on two songs on Paul's 1986 Press To Play album so did Phil Collins who has always been a big Beatles fan since he was in the concert audience at the age of 13 in the film A Hard Day's Night.

Brian Wilson said on a 1995 Nightline Beatles tribute show, that Sgt.Pepper is the greatest single album he ever heard! He played With A Little Help From Friends on the piano and he said he just loves this song. He said he feels that John and Paul were the 2 greatest song composers of the 20th century.He said that when he first heard their brilliant album Rubber Soul,he was blown away by it and he said all of the songs flowed together and it was pop music but folk rock at the same time and this is what he couldn't believe. On this tribute show there were all different music artists from all types of music black and white young and old including a young black jazz musician,a black middle aged opera singer,Steve Winwood said how great they were,Meatloaf,and classical violinist Isach Pearlman who said he plays his children Beethoven and The Beatles.

On a 1991 CBS news morning show Elton John was asked who he musically admires,and he said you can talk about your Rogers and Hammerstein but for the quanity of quality songs Lennon and McCartney wrote in such a short period of time,they were the two greatest song composers of the 20th century.Classical composer and conducter Leonard Bernstein said the same things about them! Most music artists want to believe and want everyone else to believe that *they* are the greatest so when they say other music artists are the greatest it's a very big deal!

I emailed Scaruffi back in the Fall of 2001 and he wrote me back 3 ignorant responses so I gave up trying to get through to him. He told me in one of the emails that I was the most intelligent Beatles fan he ever communicated with because I didn't mention The Beatles huge record sales as an example of why they were great. He claims that most Beatles fans only mention their huge record sales but I really don't belive thats all they mention he just doesn't listen to anything else that proves him wrong! He claimed that he wanted solid information to make the case of why The Beatles were great not just their huge record sales and I gave it to him, I asked him to go read The Beatles Recording Sesions but he *still* didn't get it!

In the Fall of 2001 I also emailed a rock radio DJ who is a huge Beatles fan and expert and who hosts a two hour radio show Breakfast With The Beatles every Sunday on my local classic rock station and I told him about Scaruffi's web site and the totally ignorant inaccurate thigs he says about The Beatles. He emailed me back and said this bozo gave higher ratings to The Fugs who I never even heard of. The Beatles are the # 1 acclaimed music artists on acclaimedmusic.net which is all of the music reviews by different rock critics from decades. So thank God Scaruffi is not in the majority!

Bob Dylan said that The Beatles in even their early songs like She Loves You and I Want To Hold Your Hand their chords were outrageous,and they were doing things nobody had done before and that their melodies and harmonies made it all valid.Music critics seriously studied their music from their early days and The Sunday London Times music critic William Mann pointed out how in She Loves You and I Want To Hold Your Hand and others they used clever sublties and interesting,unusual and unique chords as Bob Dylan said too. And these early songs are not as simple as they seem even though their middle and later music was more innovative and complex. In December 1963 The London Times music critic Richard Buckle said John and Paul were the greatest composers since Beethoven after he reviewed music John and Paul had composed for a ballet Mods and Rockers. It was very unheard of and unusual for any music critic to compare young rock artists to Beethoven! It's still not common today!

It's really funny how Scaruffi likes The Doors though. They were good but they didn't have innovative,creative and great singer song writers like Johh and Paul were and they didn't even have a bass player! Let alone such a great one who was also a great singer and music composer as Paul. I have read on more than a few web sites and message boards people saying they think The Doors suck and that they are overrated pretentious crap and were not good musicians. Elvis was a good talented singer but he never even wrote one note of music.

Frank Marino who is the guitarist for the hard rock group Mahogany Rush says in two online interviews that he hates The Rolling Stones but he likes and still listens to Jimi Hendrix,The Beatles etc. And Nick Navarro of Jane's Addiction says in Guitar World in 1991 and 1996 that he has always hated The Rolling Stones and he always will.

It's very obvious to me that Scaruffi is really mad that his favorite groups are not the most popular and acclaimed but The Beatles are and so he has this inaccurate irrational thing against them!

I don't think it's even that he "doesn't like" the beatles, it's that pages and pages of nonsense (such as this page) are written about them while other musicians who made far more interesting music are forgotten or ignored

He does recommend four beatles albums, fwiw. They're the same four that most critics seem to favour (sgt pepper, abbey r, white, mmt)

The only one missing is Revolver

it's the intro i mostly objected to.

there are some good points raised further on. a few of his sentences should probably be rewritten.

To answer your first post...
I would have done the same for any musicians... forgotten, ignored or world famous... who were being belittled with a lie.

You need to reread Scaruffi's comments. He indeed says he doesn't really like them and essentially gives them mediocre ratings for their albums. By his ratings, they are an average rock band. Only SPLHCB got a 7/10, most are 5/10 or less.

The other section i never agreed with was this

"In 1968 Great Britain became infected by the concept album/rock opera bug, mostly realized by Beatles contemporaries: Tommy by the Who, The Village Green Preservation Society by the Kinks, Ogden's Nut Gone Flake by the Small Faces, Odyssey and Oracle by the Zombies, etc. So, with the usual delay, a year later the Beatles gave it a try."

There wasn't a delay. They had already done it (Sgt Pepper)

Hard to believe that error.
That's the thing about prejudice... a person with it can't see what's right in front of him and obvious to others.

Great article.


Very nice article. I think all the Scaruffi-ites that have both agreed with the delusional views of the Beatles and parroted Scaruffi's views and lists should have a look. And, really, it's only the tip of the iceberg of Scaruffi's Beatle ignorance.

The final quote on his Beatles page (and a quite fictional, erroneous and jaded page it is), written with a finger pointed directly at the Fab Four was this:

They had nothing to say and that's why they didn't say it.

If maybe Scaruffi had even the slightest hint of actual musical knowledge (not a critic's ego and poison pen or a supposed historians sense of music, but ACTUAL MUSIC THEORY and the ABILITY to PLAY an instrument or WRITE a song) he would realize that the other four fingers are pointing back at a man who created nothing whatsoever but an avant-garde elitist list.

Zappa once said:

"But as for the sucker who will write a review.
If his mind is prehensile he'll put down his pencil and have himself a squat on the cosmic utensil"

And he couldn't have been motre right about Piero Scaruffi on The Beatles.

Thanks for writing. I enjoyed reading your comments.

I took a class in music and one of the topics was Scaruffi take on the Beatles. The teacher disected and debunked everything he said.

On 03/18/08 at 5:30 PM, sydfloyd wrote:
In 1968 Great Britain became infected by the concept album/rock opera bug, mostly realized by Beatles contemporaries: Tommy by the Who, The Village Green Preservation Society by the Kinks, Ogden's Nut Gone Flake by the Small Faces, Odyssey and Oracle by the Zombies, etc. So, with the usual delay, a year later the Beatles gave it a try."

Was that another of Scaruffi ignorant comments. I think he forgot to mention that Sgt. Pepper predated all those albums

This another joke. Sgt. Pepper is the album of a band that sensed change in the making, and was adapting its style to the taste of the hippies. It came in last (in June), after Velvet Underground & Nico (January), The Doors (also January), the Byrds' Younger Than Yesterday (february), and the Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow (February) to signal the end of an era, after others had forever changed the history of rock music.

1. Sgt Pepper was released before those albums.
2. Abbey Road is not a theme or a narrative album like Tommy
3. Albums like Pet Sounds or Freak Out are not structured at all like Sgt Pepper.
4. Sgt Pepper is a loosely themed album with songs connected to each other with a rerpise
5. Sgt Pepper is basically a hybrid of albums like Pet Sounds and what came later like Tommy.
6. The Beatles already wrote a hippie type song in the Word.
7. Revolver came out before Velvet Underground, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane and Younger Than Yesterday.
8. So when came to writing hippie songs or making psychedelic music they were not even close to being last. They were actually early. It's arguable the Beatles beat the Byrds on Rubber Soul

These were Scaruffi comments either he is wrong or he biased against the Beatles. He is obviuosly wrong.

There are others like Gerry Pacemakers popularizing Merseybeat. The Beatles first big hit Please Please Me number one on some charts was before Gerry and The Pacemakers. Oh by the way Led Zeppelin did release singles on their first four albums and Whole Lotta Love was a top ten song. So they were not some underground band. They started off calling themselves the New Yardbirds. On contrast the Beatles Sgt Pepper and the White Album had no singles released.

I took a class in music and one of the topics was Scaruffi take on the Beatles. The teacher disected and debunked everything he said.


This another joke. Sgt. Pepper is the album of a band that sensed change in the making, and was adapting its style to the taste of the hippies. It came in last (in June), after Velvet Underground & Nico (January), The Doors (also January), the Byrds' Younger Than Yesterday (february), and the Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow (February) to signal the end of an era, after others had forever changed the history of rock music.

it did come in last.. that's a fact do you even own a calendar? January is the first month of the year when the doors came out and vu and nico

Recorded April 1966, Scepter Studios, New York City, New York, United States; May 1966, T.T.G. Studios, Hollywood, California, United States; November 1966, Mayfair Studios, New York City.

Did you forget the Beatles recorded Revolver in which many of the tracks were already finished before the Velvet Underground? Did you forget the Beatles recorded Rubber Soul in 1965 or "Stawberry Fields Forever" in late 1966. Both of those album already experimental and psychedelic. The Velvet Undergroun used well established things in rock music like feedback, drone, some distortion and made their own sound. The Beatles were using sources hardly used or never used in rock music.

Sgt Pepper is a progression from those two albums with one major difference. Sgt. Peppers structure was different and it's concept was copied by basically everyone in rock music.The "overture","reprise" and then the finale "A Day in the Life" at the end, the connecting of songs with noises that are looped just like what Pink Floyd would do later do on "Dark Side of the Moon.. The album ending features a hidden track. It's different from the Ventures."Sgt Pepper" structure was closer to future progressive rock albums. The closest to it in structure is Frank Zappa "Absolutely Free" but the only thing it has in common is the songs are connected and that's it really

how did he debunk his opinions like they were mediocre musicians you cant debunk someones opinion.

and Frank Zappa actually influenced the Beatles to do sgt pepper. and yes it a concept album even the ventures had sort of concept albums in 1961.

Sgt Pepper is a progression from those two albums with one major difference. Sgt. Sgt Peppers structure was different and it's concept was copied by basically everyone in rock music.The "overture","reprise" and then the finale "A Day in the Life" at the end, the connecting of songs with noises that are looped just like what Pink Floyd would do later do on "Dark Side of the Moon.. The album ending features a hidden track. It's different from the Ventures."Sgt Pepper" structure was closer to future progressive rock albums. The closest to it in structure is Frank Zappa "Absolutely Free" but the only thing it has in common is the songs are connected and that's it really.

Ok let's crush Frank Zappa because Frank Sinatra did a concept album before him also. Scaruffi is the same person who said the Beatles wrote simple three minute songs when compared to previous rock & roll and blue music it was miles more complicated.

avant-garde elitist list. Bruce Springsteen isn't Avant Grade

I loved all the quotes about Elvis and the Beatles that came straight out of the mouths of the musicians themselves. Here's a few more Beatle related quotes:

But times changed, and I changed, and I didn't feel that way anymore. The Beatles were happening. I think that was probably the main thing. The Beatles just changed the whole world of music.
Barry McGuire

The Beatles are second to none in all departments. I don't think there has ever been a better song written than 'Eleanor Rigby.'
Jerry Leiber

Almost everything The Beatles did was great, and it's hard to improve on. They were our Bach.
T-Bone Burnett

I don't think anybody comes close to The Beatles.
Brian May

Coltie you have not made one valid point in your anti-Beatles nonsense. Sgt Pepper was so different than what most rock musicians were putting out in 1967. You should get your facts straight when print rubbish about someone. The Beatles already put out Revolver and "Tomorrow Never Knows" and "Love You To" are even more experimental than any song that's on Velvet Underground debut album. Then again how do you compare "Strawberry Fields Forever" or the key changes on "Penny Lane" to anything on the Monks or the Velvet Underground. The Beatles were much more complex musicially than both bands combined.

I think the Beatles popularity and their influence is getting to you. It's just music just chill and get a life.

"I think the Beatles popularity and their influence is getting to you. It's just music just chill and get a life."

Now, can we please move on. Both sides. This argument, sorry debate ran out of loose ends a few months ago.

You have some guy printing rubbish about the Beatles. To be honest some of us who know better are tired of the constant bashing and rubbish printed about the Beatles. The Beatles are popular and influential. Sorry that some band or artist that sold barely a handful of records did not get the attention the Beatles got. It's not the Beatles fault they worked hard and they released records that millions of people bought and thousands of musicians covering their songs. Deal with it loser.

Hey, I like the Beatles. Look at my Great albums list if you want proof. And immature insults really isn't the way to convince me, especially since i'm a Beatles fan. So lets just leave it. The Beatles are a good band. So are so-called 'scaruffi bands'. And other bands which aren't in either of those two categories are good bands. Lets leave this discussion on that note, please.

Look that was meant for Coltie. I am tired of the unfair bashing the Beatles get by some people here on Listology. It's one thing not to like the Beatles but the absolute rubbish printed on here about the Beatles is immature. The comments on Sgt Pepper alone tells me Scaruffi followers know nothing about the Beatles and their music. Geez, Sgt Pepper was a continuation of Rubber Soul, Revolver, and "Strawberry Fields Forever".

No no no all I meant was Velvet Underground and Nico was recorded before Sgt. Pepper that's it...

I heard that Stravinsky was influenced by The Beatles in the making of Le Sacre Du Printemps, as they taught him how to use tape loops and collage effects. They also taught Beethoven how to harmonise and use unusual chord structures.

Their influence was so wide reaching in fact, that they taught Joyce how to write, Dali how to paint and Jesus to preach. Paul was such a fucking good bass player that Flea and Cliff Burton get hardons upon hearing his name, even beyond the grave for Cliff (Paul's that good).

Scaruffi was secretly denied backstage passes to a Beatles concert in his youth and thus has always resented them afterwards, never getting that autograph he always wanted. This is also why he likes Eminem, Stan speaks to his heart (as does Kim, Scaruffi being a wife beater and hater of all good things).

Sometimes, I wonder if I would exist if it wasn't for their overly poppy, happy, bland style of music. They proved you can make music as good as Schubert (that one really made me laugh), while still in a three-minute time frame - except for Revolution No. 9, which isn't a failed avant-garde 'suite' from the eternally useless Lennon at all. I care for his loss nearly as much as for Michael, rest his soul in Heaven.

Without the Beatles, you couldn't have actual Beatles. No, seriously. They owe it all to them. The Beatles owe nothing to anybody, they just worked so hard at being great people that Epstein didn't have to market them! He did though, just to be safe.


kwestchon hu actuaaly lissens tu Pear Ooboo and Currrnel Porkliver? I haf lissenened tooo all Scaruffi alboms all rtha wey fru and i cud no0t efen sit fru faif secons of Jon Hasels Malaay dream so bad so so bad has he efen herd of revolver Por Grammer grate spelinng maeks for gud text tu reed

PERSON: Okay, so you've told us all what rock you like and we disagree, but let's put that behind us and discuss your jazz, at least to fulfill your namesake. Albums/artists you like?

JAZZ99: NO! If you cannot understand the brilliance of the fabfour then there is no way you can understand Jazz, imbecile.

PERSON: Please, let's just talk about jazz. Gillespie, Davis, 'Trane? Thoughts?

JAZZ99: Who is train? Stick to the point: Beatles are most important.

PERSON: Do you listen to jazz?

JAZZ99: Beatles.

Need I go on? At least us 'Scaruffites' are copies of something that can speak with eloquence and accept subjective opinions as just that. Fanofthefabfour, it's time to go to English class rather than music class, mkay?

I pray one day Piero will come to power and force 'fan' and 'revolver' to listen to Barbed Wire Maggots eight times in a row followed by Somnium and then Metal Machine Music. I hope your ears bleed from real avant garde music.

I will piss off a lot of people whom I actually respect on this site who like the Beatles (AJ, for instance), and for that I am sorry, but I feel I will regret it if I do not post this. On my head be it.

I love the Beatles so I'm very offended by this post

I'm most offended that you forgot to mention the time the Beatles convinced Prometheus to bring us the gift of fire. That's right, they're brilliant enough to break into ancient mythology

Why do Beatles fans bother you guys? Any one who thinks the Beatles wrote simple songs are musical knobheads. The amount of musicians who love the Beatles musically or were influenced by them carries a lot more weight than Scaruffi. The Beatles wrote some of the most popular tunes in the rock era. "A Day in the Life" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" betters or matches anything that Dylan, The Byrds, or the Velvet Underground ever did. In many ways the compositions go way beyond the normal three minute song. I hate revisionist history and Neptune the Beatles will be discussed in 100 years from now while most rock artists will long be in the dust bin.

"I hate revisionist history" I don't want to start an argument but what exactly do you mean by this.

I love how the new site makes it so much easier for me to ignore these conversations.