Legend has it that The Beatles were first introduced to LSD one evening in 1965, while enjoying a casual dinner with their wives and George Harrison’s dentist.
When fans gush about the Beatles being The Best Band Ever, they typically gush about a few things in particular. The songs. The singing. The style. Even the slightly ridiculous hair. But the most distinctive of the group’s many gifts may have been its sense of timing. The recording of Sgt. Pepper began as early as November 1966, but the LP itself didn’t land in stores until June 1, 1967: opening day, it just so happens, of the Summer of Love, a season it would instantly and forever define. The last album they recorded, Abbey Road, materialized a month after Woodstock (August 1969) and two months before Altamont (December)—the exact moment, in other words, that the Sixties were ending. And so on. To say that the Beatles anticipated, absorbed and altered the culture in ways that no other band has equaled, or will ever equal, isn’t hyperbole. They wouldn’t have existed without their times, nor their times without them. That’s what sets them apart.