The Beatles are widely considered one of the greatest and most influential bands in music history. However, not everyone is a fan. In fact, some musicians have gone on record saying they really hated The Beatles. Here are famous musicians who fall into that category.
Trent Reznor, the leader of Nine Inch Nails and an Academy Award-winning composer, had a difficult relationship with The Beatles for many years. In his youth, he despised the band and its fans. He expressed his hatred towards them in a 1994 interview with Plazm Magazine, stating that he hated people who were always talking about The Beatles and that he wanted them out of his sight.
“I hate to think in a retro mindset. You know, ‘The Beatles were the best thing…’. Fuck The Beatles, I hated people who were always going on about the fuckin’ Beatles. They’re dead. They’re ugly now. Get them out of my sight.”
However, Reznor’s opinion changed over time. In a 2011 interview with Rolling Stone, he acknowledged The Beatles as geniuses and expressed regret for his earlier comments. He attributed his previous dislike for the band to his aversion to their fans, but after listening to their White Album-era music, he began to appreciate their talent and influence. Reznor declared that The Beatles were far ahead of their time and that he now recognized their importance.
“It’s so obvious, but The Beatles,” he said. “When I was growing up, the people who liked The Beatles, I didn’t like, so I didn’t pay attention to them. Around The Downward Spiral, I really started digging White Album-era Beatles, and it expanded outward from there. They were so far ahead of the game, it’s just not fair.”
Julian Casablancas, the lead vocalist of The Strokes, has never taken an interest in exploring The Beatles’ music, and he believes that this has helped him stand out as an artist. Casablancas stated in a 2018 interview with Rolling Stone that he considers it an advantage that he did not listen to The Beatles, as it allowed him to branch out from the 98% of artists that are influenced by them.
“I have that maybe advantage that I didn’t like or listen to the Beatles. I feel like that’s almost like the branch of, like, 98% of stuff you hear. … But then there’s the Velvet Underground. I know Lou Reed hated the Beatles.”
Instead, he found inspiration in other artists like the Velvet Underground. Casablancas believed that the internet and platforms like YouTube would allow for a more diverse range of music to become popular, unlike the Beatles’ monopoly on the industry.
“I really thought at the beginning of the internet, too — well, not the beginning but YouTube or whatever, five to ten years ago, I really felt like, Oh, man, you can hear anything, any style of music from any country. And I really thought, man, music’s going to get crazy and there’s going to be all this stuff that just totally did not happen.”
As noted by Casablancas, Lou Reed shared his dislike for The Beatles. During a televised PBS interview in 1987, Reed stated that he believed The Beatles were inferior and that his band, The Velvet Underground, operated at a higher intellectual level.
“No, no, I never liked the Beatles. I thought they were rubbish. “I know it sounds pretentious. The other stuff couldn’t come up to our ankles, not up to my kneecap, not up to my ankles, the level we were on, compared to everyone else.”
He continued to express his disdain for The Beatles in another interview with Joe Smith, stating that he thought they were garbage and had no respect for them. While Reed had occasionally made complimentary statements about The Beatles, his previous negative remarks about the band reveal his true feelings.
“The Beatles? I never liked The Beatles, I thought they were garbage. I don’t think Lennon did anything until he went solo. But then too, he was like trying to play catch up. He was getting involved in choruses and everything. I don’t want to come off as being snide, because I’m not being snide, what I’m doing is giving you a really frank answer, I have no respect for those people at all. I don’t listen to it at all, it’s absolute shit.”
Michael Stipe, the lead singer of R.E.M., has never been known for expressing negative opinions. However, he has never been a fan of The Beatles, despite their contribution to his earliest musical memories. Stipe acknowledges the Beatles’ genius but admits he is not personally drawn to their music, which has gotten him into trouble in the past.
“I’m not really a Beatles fan, though. I acknowledge their genius, but I’m just not the generation that grew up with them. It’s not something I’m personally drawn to, and that’s gotten me into a lot of trouble in the past.”
In a 1992 interview with Rolling Stone, Stipe expressed his dislike for The Beatles, claiming that they were like elevator music in his lifetime and that ‘Yummy Yummy Yummy (I’ve Got Love in My Tummy)’ had a greater impact on him.
“The Beatles were elevator music in my lifetime. ‘Yummy Yummy Yummy (I’ve Got Love in My Tummy)’ had more impact on me.”
Quincy Jones caused a stir in 2018 when he criticized The Beatles, calling them “the worst musicians in the world” and Paul McCartney “the worst bass player”. McCartney later confirmed that Jones had apologized for his comments and that he respected him despite his “crazy” behavior.
“They were the worst musicians in the world,” he said. “They were no-playing motherfuckers. Paul [McCartney] was the worst bass player I ever heard.”
McCartney said in an interview with GQ that Jones apologized to him after his critical remarks about The Beatles were published. McCartney didn’t take offense and stated that he loves Jones, even after the incident. McCartney added that he respects Jones for the good things he has done and that he didn’t care about the remarks as he was at home relaxing with a drink when Jones called him.
“He’s totally out of his tree,” McCartney said. “But the great thing was, he rang me after this. I’d only heard about it and I’d thought, ‘I’m not sure it’s true.’”
“The joke is, I love Quincy, even after this. He’s a crazy motherfucker. But I respect him, he’s done a lot of very good things. So he rang me, and I’m at home on my own. And I’d finished work, so I had a drink, and now I’m grooving at home, I’m cooking, I’ve got a little bit of wine going, I’m in a good mood, and I don’t give a shit.”