I truly believe bands like The Beatles are a once-in-three-lifetimes thing. As one of the most influential bands in history, the Fab Four of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr were responsible for churning out some of the catchiest – and most timeless – pop hits to have ever graced our ears.
Beyond radio-targeted pop, Beatles’ albums such as Sgt. Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour, and other later-era studio releases still evoke warm feelings of trippy-hippy magic. These were the records that truly catapulted the band from passing icons to enduring music legends.
As a long-time Beatlemaniac, I’ve decided to put together a list of 10 old and new bands like The Beatles that fellow fans are likely to enjoy. Unlike other ‘similar to’ music lists, my picks aren’t auto-generated by mind-maps or AI algorithms. As such, this list is really a matter of personal opinion – which hopefully matches yours! Maybe you’ll discover new acts worth checking out!
If you have the time, feel free to browse some of my other similar music suggestion lists!
Disclaimer: By saying the following bands kinda sound like The Beatles, I’m not suggesting any of them are straight-up imitators. Only that they occasionally share similarities to the Fab Four, music-wise.
Bands That Sound (Kinda) like The Beatles
In a sad post-Beatles world, along came an anonymously released album by Klaatu, straight outta nowhere. Ambiguously titled 3:47 EST, their debut EP was quietly dropped into the world with little fanfare – at least, initially.
However, when music journalist Steve Smith serendipitously picked up Klaatu’s album, he noticed many striking song similarities with the Beatles. He was convinced he was hearing uncanny echoes of Harrison / Lennon’s guitar work, Ringo’s signature fills, and McCartney’s vocal styling.
Steve decided to publish an article, expressing his hunches. Coupled with Klaatu’s enigmatic status, this soon triggered many people to speculate if the band was in fact a secretly-reformed Beatles. Ridiculous, I know. But this conspiracy theory actually gathered quite a bit of traction back in the day.
Of course, it turns out Klaatu was really a band in their own right – not The Beatles at all. Originally formed by Canadians John Woloschuk and Dee Long, the act went on to achieve sizable cult status, evolving far beyond their early Beatlesque sound.
Despite earning their own merits, I’m pretty sure Klaatu deserves a mention in my list of old / new bands like The Beatles. Just take a listen to Sub-Rosa Subway for starters – a song that fits right in with the rest of Magical Mystery Tour!
2. Tame Impala
These days, Tame Impala songs don’t quite sound like The Beatles. However, I believe many of their earlier songs bore a strong similarity to many of John Lennon’s contributions. So much so that Sean Lennon himself – son of John – has publicly likened singer Kevin Parker’s voice to his late dad’s. In addition, I hear a lot of Ringo-ish drumming in other songs like Mind Mischief. Take a listen to those fills!
Overall, Tame Impala is surely a new-ish band with some releases that sound like The Beatles. Plus, a tinge of Pink Floyd, too.
3. The Olivia Tremor Control
One listen to Jumping Fences is enough to reveal The Olivia Tremor Control’s Rubber Soul-style harmonies, jangling guitar rhythms, and melodic hooks.
Similar to The Beatles, OTC are masters at creating lush, experimental soundscapes with minimal studio equipment. Their first album in particular was also created mostly on a 4-track, yet packs tons of hypnotic Beatlesque pop sensibility.
Even their indie demos sound a little like The Beatles’ Anthology jams!
While we’re at it, you can also check out the divine Elephant 6 playlist. A very Beatles-like collection of awesome bands and songs!
4. The Redwalls
Personally, I don’t think The Redwalls sound quite as close to the Fab Four as other bands mentioned here. However, it’s hard to deny that singer Logan Baren sounds a tinge like George Harrison (more so than Lennon, as some claim). You’ll also hear that the intro chord progression of Thank‘You resembles Harrison’s Something, played to a different timing.
‘Built A Bridge’, too, echos some of The Beatles’ more uplifting numbers – notably, With a Little Help from my Friends. Not to mention Font Page, that just screams Sgt. Pepper.
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5. Panic! At The Disco (only the Pretty, Odd album)
From its orchestration to the song-to-song flow, Pretty, Odd mirrors a lot of The Beatles’ later psychedelic traits. This album marked Panic!’s effort to break free from the dead weight of second-wave emo. As a result, many of their original fans felt angered and betrayed.
However, I for one enjoyed good chunks of this (somewhat) Beatles-sounding record. I especially enjoyed the carnival-like theme of Nine in the Afternoon‘s music video, which seems to pay visual homage to Magical Mystery Tour / Sgt. Pepper.
I admit I kinda wish this Pretty, Odd era of the band had lasted a little longer. The album isn’t a classic by any stretch, but is still worth a listen for any curious Beatlemaniac.
6. The Spongetones
Sitting between old and new, The Spongetones’ 1982 ‘Beat Music’ is an straight-up embracing of early-era Beatles. Pretty cool, given that the album was released amid the dominance of (now retro) dance pop.
This power-pop act really has a knack for writing hook-filled pop tunes. I dare say even The Beatles would have approved of wildly catchy songs like (My Girl) Maryanne and You’re the One.
7. Michael Mazzarella
At times, Michael’s voice easily sounds similar to Lennon’s melancholic, dreamier moments. This indie artist’s songs also seem to channel the broodier bits of tracks like Because and Sun King.
Michael’s online bio doesn’t directly cite The Beatles as an influence. Nonetheless, in my opinion, it’s hard to deny the lingering impact of the Fab Four on his music styling.
And, yes, I know he’s not a ‘band’ per se!
Ooooh, I like this! Very Revolver / Rubber Soul sounding indeed. Complete with 60s guitar riffs, drum fills, and reverb-soaked vocals, Temples is a new act that sits comfortably among other bands like The Beatles. Don’t believe me? Have a listen to Shelter Song.
Of course, saying that might get me in trouble with bassist Tom Walmsley, given that he’s not a fan of outright Beatles comparisons. In fairness, most of their music sounds more like a fresh fusion of Beatles / later-day Brit rock, rather than a blatant imitation of the former.
9. Elliott Smith
I really think Elliott Smith is a true artistic genius in his own right. However, many Beatlemaniacs on Reddit do clump together his songs with those of other bands like The Beatles.
Baby Britain, for instance, shares a similar arrangement to I’m Only Sleeping. In addition, I think parts of Figure 8 are mildly alike to songs from The Beatles’ middle-to-later years (e.g. stuff from The White Album).
Elliott himself has not shied away from doing full-on Beatles covers, which further reveals his inspiration.
Badfinger was once hailed as ‘the next Fab Four’. However, this extremely talented band was sadly hit by immense tragedy, ending with two members committing suicide.
Public comparison to The Beatles was inevitable. This was partly due to the fact that Paul McCartney himself took Badfinger under his Wing (ha, see what I did there?), signing them to Apple. I mean the label, not Steve Jobs.
I really think Badfinger deserves their own standalone legacy, freed from The Beatles. Still, there are obvious stylistic semblances between the two bands. Take Rock of All Ages for example, which carries a similar rock swag to Back in the USSR. Come and Get It (above) was also a song written by McCartney, among other direct Beatles contributions.
Do yourself a favor and start digging deeper into Badfinger’s oeuvre! They’re easily one of the best older bands akin to The Beatles – but are also so much more! Be sure to check out Day After Day. Masterful!
Beatlemaniacs might also enjoy…
Other Bands Like The Beatles!
Just for kicks, let’s give a little love to other old and new bands like The Beatles from different parts of the world! Because, why not?
Los Shakes (Uruguay)
Got a suggestion for other Beatles-like bands / singers? Leave your comment below and I’ll add it to the list!