The Beatles read music? Never in your life, and we’re serious too. They really couldn’t read music, yet they were, and still remain one of the biggest, best and most successful bands of all time. Even some of the techniques they used have influenced other massive music industry bands and individuals.
Although all of the band members could play instruments and write their own songs, none of them ever learned how to read sheet music. But they weren’t utterly illiterate when it came to music. If they were they wouldn’t have become the success they had. They knew chords, and where middle C was on a piano. That was really the extent of their knowledge, but they let pure talent fill the spaces, which worked wonderfully well.
Did any of the Beatles read music at all?
Paul McCartney attempted to learn once, from his girlfriends mother. It was a short lived experience, as he didn’t have the time or the patience to finish his lessons. But he was the only one. None of the others even tried at all.
In a 1980 interview with Playboy, John Lennon revealed that none of the band members could read or write music, but they were as talented as any other musician in the industry.
I think Paul and Ringo stand up with any of the rock musicians. Not technically great — none of us are technical musicians. None of us could read music. None of us can write it. But as pure musicians, as inspired humans to make the noise, they are as good as anybody. ~ John Lennon, Playboy, 1980.
It really goes to show the power of talent over skill and training.