Referenced By / The Beatles

A list of references to a creative work by The Beatles. These references mostly will be to one of the group's songs but also includes their album covers and movies. It also encompasses the solo projects of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.

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  • Peter Sellers recited the lyrics of A Hard Day's Night in a Shakespearian voice, while wearing the outfit of Richard III. It was released as a single in 1965.

    Comic Books 
  • Astérix: In Asterix in Britain (1966) Asterix and Obelix visit Britannia, where they observe the four most popular bards of the country, all caricatures of The Beatles.
  • Marvel Comics' Rocket Racoon is a direct shoutout to "Rocky Racoon."
  • Vertigo Comics' Greatest Hits is about a Beatles-like band who also have superpowers.
  • According to this eight part blog post, DC Comics' "Scooter" is based directly on Paul McCartney.
  • Agent 327: One of the early stories, a short story, has Agent 327 escorting a pop group arriving on the airport who are obviously based on the Beatles. The story was made in the 1960s too.
  • Tom Poes: In Tom Poes en de Bombardonder Olivier B. Bommel blows a tuba which calls up a ghost. The ghost likes beautiful music and will ask people to play something for him. Whenever they play false notes or awful noise he gets mad and transforms into a demon. At one point in the story the tuba is used by a pop group who look suspisciously like The Beatles in their mob top period. When Tom Poes begs them to play beautiful melodies only they dismiss him with the line: Melodies? Man, you're years behind! This is the music of today, whereupon huge cacophonous pop music is played, making the ghost only angrier.
  • Suske en Wiske:
    • In De Apekermis Wiske hears that all apes have turned intelligent and starts laughing. Lambik tells her: Don't laugh, some of them are even able to talk. She keeps laughing and says: Yeah, sure, I also know some who can sing!, whereupon she lets her hair loose and starts playing guitar while singing: "Yeah, yeah, yeah!", obviously mimicking the Beatles, who were very popular when this story ran in the newspaper.
    • In De Kale Kermis Lambik meets three long haired troubadours from biblical times named Elvisius, Ringorius and Humperbrum.

    Comic Strips 
  • A 1967 cover of MAD Magazine shows the Beatles and the Maharishi hold up Alfred E. Neuman in the air as their guru.
  • Nero:
    • In De Paarse Futen Adhemar teaches at Oxford. The pupils in his class are caricatures of The Beatles.
    • In the album Arthur de Vetvogel (Arthur the Fatbird) Nero and his friends are in the jungle where they start singing All You Need Is Love to keep their spirit up. The song was in the hit parade when this story ran in the newspaper.
  • Zits Walt gets angry at a song Jeremy is listening to, resulting in this exchange,
    Walt: Did I hear what I think I just heard?!
    Jeremy: Dad, it's just a song lyric.
    Walt: Don't give me that! I'm sick of this new music that's nothing but drugs and sex!
    Jeremy: You mean like, "Lay Lady Lay", "Lucy in the Sky", "Purple Haze", "Brown Sugar"?
    Walt: Hey, that's different! Those are classics!
    Connie: Ouch. Score one for the teenager.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Rutles film All You Need Is Cash is a very detailed spoof of The Beatles' career, made by Eric Idle (Monty Python). George Harrison has a small cameo in it as a journalist interviewing Michael Palin. Harrison loved this movie so much that he frequently quoted lines from it during interviews and named it the most accurate cinematic depiction of The Beatles' lifestory ever made.
  • The opening of Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, with Austin running in the street followed by hundreds of screaming fans, is a direct reference to A Hard Day's Night.
  • The pivotal Crowd Song "Twist and Shout" in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
  • Hans Zimmer's film score to Inception features a composition titled "#9 Dream Within a Dream" which is a reference to John Lennon's "#9 Dream" from his Walls and Bridges album.
  • In Quantum of Solace, the first name of the doomed Agent Fields (which is only revealed in the closing credits) is Strawberry (a reference to "Strawberry Fields Forever").
  • In Independence Day someone asks Julius Levinson if they have everything they need to flee the city by plane. He answers: All you need is love. John Lennon. Smart man. Shot in the back, very sad.
  • Once Upon a Time in America has scenes taking place in the 1960s. An orchestral arrangement plays the melody of Yesterday to indicate the time change.
  • The AIP 1964 movie "Bikini Beach" has star Frankie Avalon in two roles, as his recurring character and as geeky British pop star Potato Bug.

    Films — Western Animation 
  • The Jungle Book: The four vultures are very obvious parodies of The Beatles, down to the mock British accents and harmonizing singing voices. Reportedly the studio had the idea of letting the band voice themselves, but they refused. So voice actors did the job instead.
  • Sausage Party has a one-off character called Sgt. Pepper

    Live-Action TV 

  • As early as 1964 the band The Young World Singers and also Rolf Harris recorded a single called Ringo for President.
  • The Saturn V recorded a song called "I Wanna Be A Beatle".
  • The Rolling Stones: After being saluted by the Beatles on the cover of their album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band the Rolling Stones made a similar salute on the cover of Their Satanic Majesties Request. However, during "Look What The Cat Dragged In" from A Bigger Bang they sing:
    You look like a tumble of spades
    It must get a horrible taste
    You look like a fucker, Sergeant Pepper
    Are you going to throw up all over my face?
  • Frank Zappa:
    You say that love is all we need
    You say with your love you can change all of the world, all of the hate
    If think you're probably Out To Lunch!.
    • Beatle boots are referenced during the title track of Joe's Garage:
    We got matchin' suits and Beatle boots.
    • In 1988 his band covered three Beatles songs, "Norwegian Wood", "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" but changed the lyrics to mock televangelist Jimmy Swaggart. Due to copyright issues these songs can only be heard on bootleg copies.
  • Captain Beefheart's song "Beatle Bones 'N' Smokin' Stones" from Strictly Personal is a parody of "Strawberry Fields Forever" that didn't amuse John Lennon, who had previously liked Beefheart's debut album Safe as Milk.
  • April Wine's song "I Like to Rock" includes the riff of The Beatles' "Day Tripper" along with The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction".
  • Elvis Costello's "The Other Side Of Summer" contains a Take That! reference to Lennon's "Imagine" ("Was it a millionaire who said 'Imagine no possessions'").
  • The verses in Def Leppard's "Rocket" contain references to the group along with The Rolling Stones, David Bowie (twice), Elton John (also twice), Thin Lizzy, Queen and others
  • Early in Flaming Lips' career, they made a habit of referencing The Beatles: "The Spontaneous Combustion Of John" quotes "The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill" ("Like the first time Captain Marvel zapped him right between the eyes"). Oh My Gawd!!! is book-ended with Beatles samples - opening track "Everything's Explodin'" starts with a Spoken Word In Music clip from "Revolution #9" ("Take this, brother, may it serve you well") and closer "Love Yer Brain" ends with a loop taken from "Tomorrow Never Knows". And "Out for a Walk" includes a clip of "La Marseillaise" that seems to be taken straight from the intro of "All You Need Is Love".
  • The parade theme adopted by My Chemical Romance during their performances of The Black Parade is an allusion to The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
  • Peter, Paul and Mary's "I Dig Rock-And-Roll Music" name-drops the group.
  • The Rutles career is basically an Affectionate Parody of the Beatles.
  • During Sugarloaf's "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You", the signature riff of "I Feel Fine" is heard when the song's lyrics mention "John, Paul and George".
  • Veruca Salt have made a number of Beatles shout outs.
    • Eight Arms To Hold You was a Working Title for the Beatles album that became became Help! instead.
    • Another Beatles reference, the bridge to "Volcano Girls" parodies "Glass Onion":
      Told you 'bout the Seether before
      You know the one who's neither or nor
      Well here's another clue if you please
      The seether's Louise
  • The line "how does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?" in Marilyn Manson's song Beautiful People from Antichrist Superstar is a reference to the song "Baby You're A Rich Man".
  • Gorillaz' album cover for Demon Days is a homage to the album cover of Let It Be. Inside the booklet the song Every planet we reach is dead has another shout-out in which the band members strike poses that mimick the album cover of Help!.
  • The Residents also spoofed the group a couple of times.
  • Daniel Johnston is a huge Beatles fan. He recorded a Homage called "The Beatles" on his album Yip/Jump Music and his song "Hey Joe" from his album Hi, How Are You, despite its title, borrows a line from "Hey Jude".
    Hey Jude, come on, Joe
    Don't make that sad song
    Any sadder than it already is
  • American Pie by Don McLean references The Beatles at least twice:
    And while Lenin (John Lennon) read a book on Marx
    While Sergeants (Sergeant Pepper) played a marching tune
  • The Animals' "The Story of Bo Diddley" references the Beatles (along with other early-1960s icons such as Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones). It even includes a snippet of "A Hard Day's Night".
  • The Beastie Boys referenced "Eight Days A Week" from Beatles for Sale during "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" from Licensed to Ill
    (...) Cause I'll be rocking this party eight days a week.
  • Roger Glover's "Love Is All" also has lyrical references to the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love".
  • "Breakdown" from I, Robot by The Alan Parsons Project makes a lyrical reference to "With A Little Help From My Friends" (Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band)
    Any time it happened, I'd get over it
    With a little help from all my friends
  • Nirvana: In the music video of "In Bloom", from Nevermind, the band mimicks the Beatles' performance during the Ed Sullivan Show, complete with the members dressed up in costumes (with Kurt Cobain wearing glasses), archive footage from American Band Stand and a TV presenter describing them as "fine, young men and decent fellows from Seattle."
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers: In the music video of "Dani California" from Stadium Arcadium the band dresses up as several rock bands, representing different music genres, one of them naturally being the Beatles.
  • Cheap Trick: there are numerous Beatles references throughout their music, including…
    • "Taxman, Mr Thief", an entire-song homage to The Beatles' "Taxman"
    • "Baby Loves to Rock" uses airplane sound effects over the line "not in Russia", a reference to "Back in the USSR", which opens with a verse about an airplane trip to Russia, and "World's Greatest Lover" has Robin Zander doing his best John Lennon impersonation. For bonus points, both songs are from the album All Shook Up, which was produced by "fifth Beatle" George Martin.
    • "If You Want My Love" is so Beatlesque that bassist Tom Petersson jokingly called it "the best Beatles song we've ever done."
    • "Miss Tomorrow", a Robin Zander solo song that eventually resurfaced on Cheap Trick's The Latest, quotes "All You Need is Love" and compares The Beatles and The Rolling Stones:
    Love, you said that love is all you need
    Cold, you taught The Beatles Let It Bleed

    Puppet Shows 
  • Spitting Image: Both Paul and Ringo were made into puppets, as were Yoko Ono and Linda McCartney.

    Video Games 

  • In The Crossoverlord, when the heroes meet the floating white mask, Dasien decides to call it Ringo.

    Western Animation 
  • The Beatles: A cheap 1960s animation series made to cash in on the band's success.
  • In the 1965 The Flintstones episode "The Hatrocks and the Gruesomes", a rock band playing "bug" music sing a song called "She Said Yeah Yeah", which sounds like "She Loves You", complete with Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty wearing black mop top wigs.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • The "Meet the Beat-Alls" episode is one long string of Beatles references. Just about every other sentence is a direct Beatles quote and evoked imagery.
    • In an earlier Powerpuff Girls episode, Princess lures the Girls to Mojo Jojo's lair by calling for help in a line that quotes the song "Help!" This line was later repeated almost word-for-word in "Meet The Beat-Alls" by Sgt Pepper.
  • The Simpsons have made countless Beatles references during their long run.
    • Ringo Starr was special guest voice in "Brush With Greatness" where he answers a fan letter Marge send him in 1966, encouraging her to take up painting again.
    • In the "Last Exit to Springfield" episode, Lisa's surreal dream under narcosis parodies Yellow Submarine.
    • Homer's flashback to his time in a barbershop quartet is basically a Whole Plot Reference to The Beatles' career - from their first album "Meet the B-Sharps" (one wonders if it was called "With the B-Sharps" in the United Kingdom) to the impromptu rooftop concert. It even has George Harrison as special guest voice.
    • In "Lisa the Vegetarian", Paul McCartney and his then wife, Linda, were special guest voices. They live above Apu's garden in the shades (a reference to "Octopus' Garden"). When Paul hears Lisa ran away from home he asks: "She's leaving home?", in reference to the eponymous song from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the title song which he also dances to when sang by Apu. Near the end McCartney's song "Maybe I'm Amazed" from his solo album McCartney is played, with a backwards text in which Apu reads a soup recipe and Paul adding: By the way, folks, I'm not dead, in reference to the Paul is Dead urban legend.
  • Spongebob Squarepants:
  • South Park:
  • Animaniacs: Wakko's voice was based on Ringo's.
  • Pinky and the Brain: In All You Need Is Narf, Pinky becomes a guru and meets a parody of The Beatles, in reference to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
  • Los Trotamúsicos: In the opening sequence, The Bremen Town Musicians at one point appear dressed up as The Beatles. Fittingly, Tonto plays the part of Ringo.
  • VeggieTales: In the episode "The Ballad of Little Joe", when Jude is introduced by the narrator, all of his brothers (sans Benjamin and Little Joe, since they weren't seen yet) say to him, "Hey, Jude!"

    Real Life 
  • In the 1970s the fossil of a prehistoric hominid was found in Africa. During the discovery the radio played "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", prompting the archaeologists to name the skeleton Lucy.