It’s quite incredible when a band can produce enough material, let alone be popular enough, to spawn dedicated radio stations that are still attracting listeners – an incredible fifty years after said band formed.
But the Beatles have somehow managed it, and there are at least two radio stations (Beatles-A-Rama and Beatles Radio) fuelling a diet of pure Fab Four music 24 hours a day, eight days a week, and those are just the ones we managed to find! There are also countless Beatles day shows, weekly shows, playlists and tribute bands on air at any one time.
I spoke to Pat Matthews, the lifelong Beatles fan who founded internet radio station beatlesarama.com back in 2001. It plays a never ending stream of songs from the band’s glory days as well as cover versions, other British Invasion tunes and songs from the solo careers of John, Paul, George and Ringo.
‘We have over 200,000 unique listeners per month and growing,’ Pat told me. ‘Our listeners come from all over the world. In fact, I can tell you with accuracy that 45% of our listeners tune in from the U.S., 11% from Japan, 7% from Canada, 6% from Mexico, 3% from Brazil and a paltry 2% from England!’
It’s certainly quite astonishing to think that a Beatles-exclusive station also boasts a demographic of listeners which transcends the linguistic boundaries of the music. The Beatles have spread across the world, becoming some of the greatest disseminators of the English language since Shakespeare and, dare I say it, Christianity.
Beatles Radio, which also sells a whole host of band merchandise on its website, is based in San Francisco and operated by ‘Gareth, AKA Doctor Robert’, who emigrated from Wales in 1983. Its Facebook page has almost 180,000 Likes, and like Beatles-A-Rama, much of its fan base is from Mexico (29.6%), the U.S.A. (16.7%) and Brazil (15.6%).
The Beatles officially released an incredible 301 songs, and ‘Yesterday’, as the most covered song in the world, has been played over 7 million times on U.S. radio stations. Their songs somehow still manage to sound fresh today, despite primitive recording technology.
The band captured the ears of the Earth and the zeitgeist of a revolutionary era, and faithful fans have not forgotten. Five decades on, the world is still mad for them – a fact clearly shown by the listeners indulging their appetites on Beatles radio stations.