As any rock & roll aficionado should know, forty-five years ago this month the Beatles exploded on the world stage, beginning with their first trip to America and their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Here's a video-clip of that performance.
Watching videos of the Beatles now, you might wonder what all the fuss was about. But if you were alive then you knew what they were displacing in the charts—Bobby Vinton, the Singing Nun (I'm not kidding), and Steve Lawrence.
The musical/cultural revolution called rock & roll had hit critical mass. (Notice from the previous video of Buddy Holly how far we'd come in six years.) The Beatles in the following six years turned pop music (and pop art) on its head. As Newsweek reminisced thirty years later: 'What the Beatles did in the '60s remains the most thrilling surge of creativity in the history of pop culture.'
I've always thought that organizations of all stripes have much to learn from this small business team—in terms of innovation, passion, vision, independent thinking, branding, and much more. (Yes, the four lads received brilliant assistance from record producer George Martin and business manager Brian Epstein, but the boys were well on their way before the suits stepped in.)
In the words of rock critic Dave Marsh: 'The Beatles were fundamentally disruptive… their irreducible insolence and contempt for convention suggested the power of rock.'
And the power of iconoclastic creativity! As Paul McCartney has said: 'Any rules we found ourselves making we would generally try and break. It always seemed an unsafe idea to try to be safe.'
Especially true in these economic times. Extinction looms for the faint-hearted.