Whilst by no means the first to do so (Buddy Holly composed his hits, for example), their example made self-composition the standard for rock bands then and since. Although they did not necessarily invent all the new ideas they incorporated in their music, they often competed with and played off of the developing ideas of other prominent acts of the period (such Bob Dylan, The Byrds, and the Beach Boys). As such, they spurred rock music, which hitherto had been largely looked down upon by older music fans, towards becoming an accepted art form. When the Sergeant Pepper album was released, it was hailed by music critics of the time as a major work of art, even compared favorably to classical musicians such as Schubert and Schuman. Within days of its release, the album's title song was being covered by artists like Jimi Hendrix.
It's been said that everyone that watched the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show immediately started a band. Since the 1960s when the band were still recording and performing to this very day, the Beatles have inspired and influenced musicians from one end of the musical spectrum to the other, including Everclear, The Brodsky Quartet[?], MxPx, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, King's X, Jerry Garcia, Elvis Costello, Brian Wilson, Neil Diamond, Rush, Jimi Hendrix, Skid Row, Buddy Miller, Alice Cooper, Jeff Lynne and ELO, Rich Mullins, Kiss, Nirvana, Los Lobos, Queensryche, Guns 'n Roses, Moxy Fruvous, and Run DMC.
In the studio, The Beatles were always experimenting with new recording techniques and even coined a few common studio phrases that are still in use today. For example, a common vocal or guitar effect where two copies of the same sound are overlapped is now known as a flanging[?], thanks to John Lennon who nicknamed the effect in the 1960s.
The Beatles use of various instruments is regarded as highly innovative. With the help of George Martin, they made wide use of string and brass overdubs for a variety of different musical effects, and experimented with some more unconventional instruments. An early example is the string arrangement on Yesterday; other notable examples include the use of the sitar on "Norwegian Wood", the exclusive accompaniment of a string quartet on "Elanor Rigby", and the amusing orchestral arrangement (with an initial reference to La Marsillaise[?]) of "Love is All You Need".
Prior to the Beatles, record albums were of secondary consideration to 45s in mass marketing. Albums largely contained filler material along with one or two worthwhile singles. The Beatles, with the ability to produce albums with consistently well-regarded material and the desire to rarely use singles as part of full albums, helped to define the album as the preferred mechanism for releasing popular music, which in turn resulted in the development of new FM radio formats such as "Album Oriented Rock" (AOR) in the 1970s. The Beatles' song "Hey Jude" was memorable in its time for helping to break down the barriers around pop music. Most, though not all, songs previously released as singles were about three minutes in length; "Hey Jude" clocked in at over seven minutes and helped make it acceptable for a single to be of longer than standard length. Even album covers changed during this period, becoming increasingly artistic--works of art in their own right (The Beatles seemed to rebel against this in 1968 when they released their plain white album The Beatles, known as the White Album). While they were not alone in promoting these developments, they were clearly at the forefront of them.
The Beatles' album covers themselves were well thought out designs that have been copied and imitated hundreds of times by everyone from The Simpsons and The Muppets to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. This has especially been the case with the covers of With the Beatles, which featured the four band members faces half darkened with shadows; The White Album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road. Abbey Road in London has become a popular tourist attraction with countless numbers of tourists taking their photo walking along the crosswalk in front of Abbey Road studios.
The Beatles' films also anticipated the music video, the essential promotional tool of later popular musicians. In fact, the Beatles themselves began filming promotional music videos for their songs in the early 1960s, mainly because they wanted to send them to television programs so they wouldn't have to appear in person. (George Harrison of the Beatles and Michael Nesmith of The Monkees went on to become pioneering music video directors.) Beatles promo videos include "Day Tripper," "Help!," "We Can Work It Out," "Ticket To Ride," "Paperback Writer," "Rain," "I Feel Fine," "Hello Goodbye," "Penny Lane," "A Day In The Life," "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Revolution," "Lady Madonna," "Hey Jude," "The Ballad of John and Yoko," and "Something."
The popularity of the individual Beatles combined with their considerable instrumental skills led to a better knowledge in the general public of the musical contributions made by lead guitar, rhythm guitar, drums, and particularly bass guitar. Paul was not only cute and loveable, he was also an excellent bassist and listeners learned to listen more carefully because of it. While not flashy, Ringo's drumming was tasteful, precise, and imaginative. The Beatles were legendarily rejected by Decca records because "guitar bands are passé", but Lennon and Harrison refuted that. Even the brand of instruments used by the band became more popular because of the band. Rickenbacher[?] guitars have been widely used by rock and roll bands since the mid 1960s, thanks in part to Lennon's heavy use of the guitar. The Hoffner[?] violin bass (or "Beatle Bass" as it would commonly be called nowadays) was used by a lot of bands playing around Germany in the early 1960s, largely because it was a cheap, inexpensive bass. McCartney's use of the instrument led bassists all over the world to buy Hoffners, in spite of the fact that at the time, it was generally not considered a high quality instrument and even had difficulty staying in tune. Even to this very day, it is quite common to see the Hoffner "Beatle Bass" being used by up and coming bands on MTV and in concert, which probably would not have happened without the Beatles.
Even decades after the band broke up, The Beatles have become a yardstick to which nearly all new rock and roll bands are compared. It is extremely common for new bands to be promoted as being "the next Beatles" or "the new fab four". It is also quite common for record reviewers and members of the media to refer to musical acts as being "Beatlesque" given the Beatles impact on Baby Boomer culture. To this day, no new artist or band has quite lived up to the hype of being compared to the Beatles. Inspiring the same degree of popularity as the Beatles may be unattainable now due to the splintering of popular tastes in music.
The influence of the Beatles even extended beyond their music. Perhaps the most notable was their influence on male fashion. Their relatively long hair, when they burst onto the scene in 1964, was a shocking fashion statement, one that was quickly adopted by other rock bands of the time, and by the 1970s, long hair became standard fashion for men. The hair styles even led toy manufactures to begin producing "Beatle Wigs". In the early Beatle-mania years, the Beatles would occasionally wear grey, collarless suits. These unusual suits eventually became extremely common for new bands after 1964. In fact, it was not unusual for bands to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show or another similar program wearing the suits made popular by the band.
Surprisingly for a band as controversial, prolific and as ubiquitous as the Beatles, there have been very few noteworthy parodies of their work and style although one exception is The Rutles, an outfit created by Eric Idle (of Monty Pythons Flying Circus fame) and Neil Innes, formerly of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and a frequent Python contributor. One notable parody was recorded by the Beatles themselves. George Harrison's "Only a Northern Song", named after a Lennon-McCartney publishing company, included many of the swirling studio effects identified with the psychedelic-era Beatles and ironic references to excessive dependency on the recording studio:
Some of the same psychedelic excesses were parodied on the 1969 single "Have You Heard the Word" credited to The Fut, but actually recorded by Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees and members of an Australian band called Tin Tin[?]. The parody was so exact that it has appeared on several Beatles bootlegs, and in 1985 Yoko Ono even applied for a copyright on it under John Lennon's name.  (http://www.jpgr.co.uk/fut)  (http://www.liquid2k.com/b-4/haveyou/kipner)