Who inspired The Beatles?

The Beatles grew up in post-war Liverpool, a busy shipping port on the west coast of England. Because of the shipping, sailors (known locally as Cunard Yanks) were constantly coming and going with goods they had brought home from, amongst other places, the USA. These goods were frequently American recordings of blues, jazz and rock and roll artists that were not available in England at the time, England still being in the grip of post-war rationing.

The US rock and roll imports had a great impact on the soon to be Beatles and they were listening to Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and others when the rest of the country was barely aware of their existence. Buddy Holly has also been cited as an early Beatles influence.

They found inspiration from their contemporaries as well. Bob Dylan heavily influenced Lennon during the 60's. Lennon often borrowed Dylan's songwriting formula, in which the songwriter writes very poetic, indirect lyrics, which leave the listener to interpret the true meaning of the song. Several Bob Dylan-influenced Beatles songs include "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" and "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away".

The Beach Boys also influenced the Beatles, especially Paul McCartney. The album Pet Sounds was a particular favorite of his.