A Visualization Analysis of the Beatles

Adam McCann, super interactive graphic maker, decided to take advantage of the The Beatles' discography making it's way to the streaming services.  These services offer direct access to their data streams through application programming interfaces.  This means that he had access to all of the data, including lyrics, release dates, chart toppers, and more.  Anything he didn't have he was able to collect from other sources.

With all this information in hand, he hunkered down and created this colorful and tastefully designed graphic: (Note, the picture below is purposefully small and static.  You need to visit his site so you can actually interact with the full-sized chart.  Totally worth it.)

an analysis of the beatles

To give you an idea of what to expect, he covers every song from 1964 up to 1970.  That means of their total 310 songs as a group, he covers 175 of them, or 56.5% of their discography.  He's excluding any covers they did in the early days and any compilations and solo work that came out after Let It Be.  We're looking at only the core Beatles work here.  We're definitely not including Klaatu...

This includes 18 of The Beatles' albums though, all the way from their first and earliest release but especially the most popular ones that came later that made the biggest impact on the music industry and the world as a whole.

You'll see interactive, searchable, and hoverable data on topics including but not limited to:

  • Their Biggest Hits
  • Who Wrote Each Song
  • The Overarching Topics They Use
  • Which Beatle Had the Largest Vocabulary
  • And a lot more...

Without even looking at the data, we can all guess that Lennon and McCartney, together and separately, by far wrote the most hits, but when Harrison or Ringo had their hits, they were insanely popular (I mean, Octopus's Garden and While My Guitar Gently Weeps are two of their biggest hits ever).  We also know that the large majority of their songs were directly or indirectly about romance and love, even later when the topics became more cosmic, spiritual, and political. As far as their vocabularies go, I'm sure they were nearly even, except Ringo who wrote and sung so few songs.  They all kept it pretty simple, which is what helped them have such a wide appeal.

What I'd have liked to see is more information about the instruments they played.  They were all capable of rotating and playing all of the roles, and they definitely did that a bit.  Even though Paul stuck to piano and bass most of the time, we know he can pick a mean guitar.  Same goes with the other fellows.  They all know how to play the guitar far beyond a beginner level.

Yaaaaaay, The Beatles! *leaps in the air*  Everyone loves the Beatles except those goofy kids who pretend they don't because it makes them seem different.  They'll get over it after high school.

the beatles analysis

Anyways, click the link above to go play with the interactive infographic on Adam McCann's site.  It's totally worth the look, if only to see how cool the coding work was.