Posted by: cannedcumulus | January 11, 2009

The Beatles- Costumed Metal Grandaddies?

Many music connoisseurs and Beatles fanatics will tell you that the song “Helter Skelter” off of disk two of the White Album was the closest the Beatles ever came to creating a metal song.  The heavily distorted guitar wailing from power chords to wild solos, the crunching overdriven bass line, the drums utilizing elaborate drum fills as well as pervasive crash cymbals and Paul’s wild wail of chaos and anarchy all point to the beginnings of punk and metal and a wild step away from the traditional Beatles songs.  In fact, even John Lennon said that “Helter Skelter” was “Paul’s completely … It has nothing to do with anything, and least of all to do with me,” distancing himself from the wild chaos ride of the song.  The Beatles sound to many was all about bubblegum pop blossoming into an immensely diverse sound that explored the boundaries of music at the time, but “Helter Skelter” was the only song really ever tied to punk/metal.  However, if one looks at the album Magical Mystery Tour, and specifically the song “I Am The Walrus,” another striking evolutionary step towards the creation of metal can be found.

Watching The Beatles in their movie, The Magical Mystery Tour, really lets you see this interesting similarity firsthand (First glimpse at 1:00):

magical mystery tour album cover

Magical Mystery Tour album cover

Now take a look at some modern “metal” bands:

Les Claypool of Primus

Les Claypool of Primus





The similarities are incredible; the Beatles created a template for the look of future hair metal and heavy metal bands, before metal was even an idea or sound.  Although “Helter Skelter” is most widely regarded as the Beatle’s predecessor  to the “metal” sound, who would have thought back in 1967 that “I am the Walrus” and the psychadelic Magical Mystery Tour would breed the future fashion statements of all metal heads?  Unfortunately, many young metal enthusiasts don’t believe that the Beatles really had anything worth listening to and prefer to idolize Insane Clown Posse instead, as demonstrated in some of the responses on this message board.  A true metal fan today would be well inclined to appreciate  a wider array of music and perhaps respect his distantly aged elders, as well as his more recent ones.

“I got blisters on my fingers!”



  1. Very good post, I never really noticed that in magical mystery tour. I did always think that Helter Skelter was a precursor to metal/punk, and I know that Claypool has mentioned the Beatles as an influence many times.

    You have good taste my friend

  2. Thought provoking from a Beatle Fan!

  3. Wow – great thought process..listening to Walrus again – and yes, I can totally see that…already thought that about Helter

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