I would also say the twenty-first, but since there is much of this particular century left, I won't. Their music inspired a generation- and that is influence— in both writing and music.
Of the hundreds of songs they sang (both covered and preformed and recorded), none have for influenced me, more than "The Long and Winding Road." It has possibly the best lines in it when it comes to dealing with my writing career- it's long and it's winding and at some point it's going to get me somewhere. Not to anyone's door, but maybe into their hearts and minds, because the type of influence a writer has is amazing, when they connect with a reader. It is only possible because a person took a leap of faith and carried on.
If the Beatles have this much influence, the question could be asked was it because of their songs or because of their personalities? I would argue it was their songs. Some of them are fun, the ones that you can sing along to, and just enjoy, but the reason this song resonates, is because it's a lonely song, it fits my career as a writer.
For a long time, I wanted to be a writer, but I also wanted to sing. Sadly, singing is not a gift I have, and most of my friends will attest to the fact that I can sing okay, but not well. My dreams of becoming a singer will not happen in the near future, but I still love music. The other want of becoming a writer has happened, but I'm thinking of the Beatles when it comes to writing. I can say I am a published author, but I am not as influential as I'd like to be. I have a lot to learn.
I suppose that like some of the Motown stars, I will keep going until I am older, but in a way, much of my influence will have already taken place. Then I think back to the Beatles. They had other more popular record albums, but the release of the 1970 album Let It Be proved their influence. This is the sort of influence a writer dreams of. It wasn't known at the time, but this would be the final album released by the band.
The writing in several songs spoke for themselves.
What does this all mean for a writer?
1) Influence takes time. The popularity of the Beatles wasn't over night, and because of this they weren't a one hit wonder.
2) Influence is blazing your own trail: Yes, they could have stayed together longer, made more records sold more and earned more money. They couldn't. It wasn't working for them. Although they all had later success, nothing came close to the magic that was the Beatles. Even knowing this, the men chose to run their own lives.
3) Influence is making connections: I wasn't alive when the Beatles were together as a band. I heard them being played over again, and their music connected with me. I loved the story behind the music and it meant something to me. As a writer this what needs to be planned- how can I make a connection to my reader.
4) Influence is knowing it isn't about you: That's the catch. This means not going out of your way to be "the writer" or "the bestselling author." Being you is much more important to your reader in the long run. Influence is like the Beatles- we remember them not for them, but for their music.
The long road is a good thing for a writer, it teaches you that influence is not something you can buy, but rather something that is earned over time.