One of the finest conspiracy theories concerning popular culture is the claim that Theodor Adorno, a main figure in what became known as the Frankfurt School — proponents of an obscure academic approach to cultural criticism later branded “cultural Marxism” by communists annoyed they were too arty and not sufficiently doctrinaire — secretly wrote all the Beatles’ songs.
This was, of course, in order to propagandise classical music back into popular culture, or perhaps instead to corrupt the moral fibre of the youth of America and their precious bodily fluids:
Adorno was part of a secret society who recognized his amazing skills in teaching/understanding classical music and put them to good use. Before his death in August 1969 (the very reason the Beatles disbanded, as their master composer was gone) Adorno wrote hundreds of songs to be distributed later (1969 – 1975) to various groups, that is why the early 70s music sounded so much better than the late 70s music, and the very reason why Led Zeppelin were musically dead after the last of the Adorno songs, KASHMIR, was included on Physical Graffiti.
Apparently it’s more plausible that someone else wrote in the styles Lennon and McCartney continued with in their later work than that musicians and particularly songwriters are magpies who will use anything they have on hand to try to do a good one this time around, or that creative individuals can learn and work without your particular favourite training, particularly when they have access to the explosion of records and books in the 1960s.
Adorno’s corruption spread far and wide through his chosen propaganda ensemble:
New words and new phrases–prepared by Tavistock(1)– were introduced to America along with the Beatles. Words such as “rock” in relation to music sounds, “teenager,” “cool,” “discovered” and “pop music” were a lexicon of disguised code words signifying the acceptance of drugs and arrived with and accompanied the Beatles wherever they went, to be “discovered” by “teenagers.” Incidentally, the word “teenagers” was never used until just before the Beatles arrived on the scene, courtesy of the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations.
I certainly didn’t know that before. In fact, I still don’t.
(That article, by the way, will link you to an article in the singular Metapedia, an “alternative encyclopedia” that blames Jews for everything wrong in the world and only coincidentally is full to the brim with neo-Nazis.)
The theory seems to have originated with The Committee of 300, a book by supposed ex-MI6 agent John Coleman. (Shorter writeup by Coleman.) This reveals how Adorno in fact masterminded the whole British Invasion of the 1960s, although apparently for that the Tavistock Institute (which Adorno had nothing to do with outside the works of conspiracists) was the work of Jesuits rather than Jews. Or perhaps, if you ask Henry Makow, the Illuminati.
I hope that’s all completely clear with everyone.
Later, of course, this important information was forgotten, and “Cultural Marxism”, the derogatory name for the obscure academic movement, was adopted by right-wing nutcases as a snarl word for everything they didn’t like in the world and considered more progressive than Edmund Burke. And was only slightly adapted from “Cultural Bolshevism”, a 1930s Nazi term positing it all as a Jewish plot. The following diagram, from 4chan’s alt-right (i.e., Nazis) /pol/ board, is my favourite conspiracy chart ever, even given its appalling lack of Beatles. (Click to expand.)
Where is Beatles band?
Back here in consensus reality, Adorno was a ranting opinionated music blogger of his day. He hated pop music and considered it all alienating manufactured rubbish he didn’t want anything to do with. He hated jazz too. What he was really into was Schoenberg’s twelve-tone stuff, which heavily influenced his own compositions. He also particularly disliked the Beatles:
What can be urged against the Beatles … is simply that what these people have to offer is … something that is retarded in terms of its own objective content. It can be shown that the means of expression that are employed and preserved here are in reality no more than traditional techniques in a degraded form.
Update, June 2018: I appeared on the Rock’n’Roll Twilight Zone podcast, talking about this conspiracy theory! Give it a listen.