9. Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus is considered one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time. Unfortunately for him, the mainstream popularity of jazz was in steep decline at the same time as The Beatles were shooting to fame.
As a super talented black artist whose commercial appeal was limited by both his musical genre and his race, it would be easy to become cynical about young white guys taking black musical forms and selling them back to mainstream America. In the early Seventies, Mingus unleashed an epic rant about The Beatles and their assimilation of black American sounds.
“For The Beatles to be able to come here and take all the millions of dollars away from this country by copying our own music and composers, selling it back to ’em and nobody even suing ’em yet! These people said, “Look here, man, we’ll take four bars of ‘Stardust,’ turn the first two bars around backwards.”
Then he took things even further by suggesting that The Beatles didn’t even write their own songs, instead being controlled by some sort of consortium of UK pop masterminds.
“They stole what we call rock, studied it — not the Beatles did it but some great classical minds from England…And they built the Beatles and the Beatles were a machine, and they promised these kids so much money, and they trained them. They were not musicians when they came. They even became musicians in four-five years, they learned.”