“The Beatles never made anything you could play in a stadium”: Producer Steve Lillywhite on what makes a band one of the greats

He argues that Queen have had more stadium-worthy tunes.

[L-R] The Beatles and Queen

Credit: Getty Images

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What makes the greatest band of all time? Is it the most album sales, the most amount of world tours, or maybe the most awards?

Well, according to producer and engineer Steve Lillywhite, it comes down to which bands get the biggest audiences in the world moving.

“Always it’s been the Beatles when you talk about the greatest bands ever,” he says during an appearance on Warren Huart’s Produce Like A Pro. “But there’s an argument now that the Beatles never made anything you could play in a stadium. The Beatles never made anything you could play at a huge sporting event.

“So Queen, when you talk about the greatest bands ever… I would never say anyone is the greater than The Beatles, but there’s an argument right now that Queen, because of their ability to transcend stadiums, there’s an argument that they are more relevant today than the Beatles are.”

There’s a flaw to his argument of course, because Paul McCartney has gone on to perform Beatles’ tracks such as Hey Jude, Let It Be, Yesterday among others during stadium tours, which have worked well with huge crowds. However, the argument for Queen having the upper hand in that regard is certainly a fair point; We Will Rock You remains a sports stadium staple to this day.

On the subject of Paul McCartney, he recently announced the revival of his Got Back tour, with new dates in Australia. The new dates will take place from 18 October in Adelaide to 4 November on the Gold Coast.

For more information and tickets, you can head to Paul McCartney’s official website.

Elsewhere, Steve Lillywhite recently described powerchords, one of the most commonly used guitar techniques, as “laziness”.

“That’s sort of controversial in itself,” he acknowledged, “but square powerchords on every bar in the chorus, for me [that] is not art. You can get that power from something else.”

“Especially when two guitarists are doing it,” Lillywhite explained, noting that while there are “many successful bands who do that”, barely any are part of his discography as a producer.

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