Gen Z Beatles fans Christopher Evan Greek, of Stony Brook, and Andrew James Ardizzone, of Syosset, perform "She Loves You" as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of  the Fab Four's arrival in the U.S. Credit: Rick Kopstein; Photo Credit: PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive/Alamy Stock Photo; AP Photo/Eddie Adams, Dan Grossi

When Beatles fans began buzzing last October about a “new” Beatles song, Kristen Pittaro was among the first to hear about it. The 21-year-old Stony Brook University student from New Hyde Park happens to follow Paul McCartney’s Instagram page, but that’s not how she heard the news, she says. Instead, her phone lit up with texts from other fans who correctly guessed that the new single would be titled “Now and Then.”

“We have a text thread where we’ll battle each other about who has more Beatles knowledge,” says Pittaro. She adds of the band: “It feels like they never broke up, like they’ve never not been around.”

Clockwise: The Beatles arrive at JFK Airport on Feb. 7,...

Clockwise: The Beatles arrive at JFK Airport on Feb. 7, 1964; "Meet the Beatles" LP; two photos from their first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on Feb. 9, 1964.

It was 60 years ago this month that the Beatles first visited America, landing at JFK International Airport on Feb. 7, 1964, to perform on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” The Beatles would become the unrivaled cultural leaders of the Baby Boom generation and classic rock touchstones for Generation X. But even as both those cohorts have gone gray, a new one, Gen Z — that extremely online demographic born between the late 1990s and the very early 2010s — has continued carrying the torch for a band that split up more than half a century ago.

“Every generation finds a way to embrace the Beatles, and right now it’s Gen Z’s turn,” says Rob Leonard, host of the long-running radio show “Beatlesongs” at Nassau Community College’s WHPC/90.3 FM. “At the radio station I work at there are people who like the Beatles — and it’s a college station,” he adds. “They wear the T-shirt and they actually understand the band.”

That’s partly a testament to The Beatles’ enduring musical output, from 1962's “Love Me Do” to 1970's “Let it Be” — nearly all of it some kind of landmark or milestone. It’s partly a tribute to the indelible personalities of the individual Fab Four: charming bassist McCartney, rebellious rhythm guitarist John Lennon, thoughtful lead guitarist George Harrison and fun-loving drummer Ringo Starr. Their ever-replenishing fan base is also proof that The Beatles’ marketing machine has done its job, keeping the band alive with a decadeslong stream of archival material, remastered classics and new compilations.

Beatles fan since he was a toddler

Beatles fan Brandon Gurba, of St. James, inside his home...

Beatles fan Brandon Gurba, of St. James, inside his home recording studio. The "newest" Beatle song "Now and Then" is "absolutely emotional." Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

“I would say that the first album for me, honestly, was the ‘1’ compilation album,” says 25-year-old singer-songwriter Brandon Gurba, citing the collection of No. 1 singles that was released in 2000. “ 'Love Me Do’ is the first song on there,” Gurba recalls. “That couldn’t have been the first time I ever heard harmonies, but it was just amazing.”

Gurba, who lives in St. James, says he became a Beatles fan as a toddler and a collector as a kindergartner, acquiring Beatles posters, a “Yellow Submarine” lunchbox (“my prize possession,” he notes) and even figurines from The Beatles’ Saturday morning cartoon series. These days, Gurba says, his energy is more likely to go into Beatles research online.

“With the internet, I’m finding new information on The Beatles seemingly every week,” Gurba says. “It’s either a photograph I’ve never seen or a story behind a song that I hadn’t heard before. And whenever I need to seek something out — like, who engineered this particular record — it’s at the tip of my fingers.”

As for “Now and Then” — a home demo from Lennon augmented with archival guitar parts from Harrison and new contributions from surviving Beatles McCartney and Starr — Gurba calls it “absolutely emotional.”

“It’s all them,” he adds. “I felt that as a listener, as a fan.”

'The Beatles were our No. 1 influence'

Christopher Evan Greek, left and Andrew James Ardizzone perform Beatles...

Christopher Evan Greek, left and Andrew James Ardizzone perform Beatles music professionally under the name Evan & James. Credit: Rick Kopstein

Christopher Evan Greek, 24, of Stony Brook, and Andrew James Ardizzone, 25, of Syosset, met when each posted on Reddit in search of fellow musicians. The two began rehearsing at each other’s homes and eventually hit upon the stage names Evan and James. “We both had the ambition to follow the people we were inspired by,” says Ardizzone. “And luckily for us, The Beatles were our No. 1 influence.”

In the summer of 2022, Evan and James began posting to Instagram and TikTok videos of themselves playing Beatles tunes, often dressed in suits and sometimes shot in black-and-white. At one point, says Ardizzone, they were posting up to four Beatles covers a week.

Greek says his ear tends to be drawn to the Beatles’ harmonies, while Ardizzone says he’s impressed by the band’s canny commercial instincts. He points to “Help!,” originally conceived by Lennon as a plaintive ballad before his bandmates transformed it into a fast-paced pop-rock gem. “They were very intelligent from the business side,” Ardizzone says.

Evan and James’ cover song output has dwindled recently as they’ve begun working on original material. Their instruction manual: “The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present,” McCartney’s personal history of his best-known songs. “We’ve been reading it together every day and trying to improve our own songwriting,” Greek says. “No matter what music we release, there will always be some kind of Beatles element in the back of our minds.”

The next generation: A 14-year-old fan

Gen Z surely won’t be the last generation to love the Fab Four. Isabella Viana, who at 14 falls roughly into the even younger cohort of Generation Alpha, says she’s been gravitating toward The Beatles since her middle school choral teacher introduced her to “Here Comes the Sun.” Now a freshman at Lynbrook High School, Viana says she listens to Beatles podcasts and shops for Beatles vinyl at her local record store, though she also listens to contemporary acts like the emo band Car Seat Headrest and the pop duo Twenty One Pilots.

“A lot of kids are very into modern music, and The Beatles definitely can be a part of that,” she says. “The Beatles are so popular that no matter where you go, you’ll always find someone who knows a few of their songs.”

Stream the Beatles

There’s no shortage of movies and series about the Beatles, though not all of them are easy to find. “The Beatles at Shea Stadium,” a nearly hourlong film of their 1965 concert — one of the band’s most iconic — was never widely released on home video and remains mostly a bootleg item. “Let it Be,” the 1970 documentary that captured the band’s final days, isn’t available on streaming, either, perhaps because — according to unnamed “insiders” quoted in the U.K. publication Express — Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr don’t want it to be seen. At any rate, here are seven Beatles movies and docs you can stream right now.


Here are the Beatles as everlasting icons of youth-culture: besuited, Chelsea-booted, full of springy energy and cracking inside jokes (the title is a Ringoism), all while fleeing from mobs of screaming girls. This phase of the band was short-lived — but, oh, so glorious. (Max, Prime Video, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play Movies, Apple TV)

HELP! (1965) Conventional wisdom says this caper comedy is a strained effort from four Mop Tops who were growing into real artists (“Rubber Soul” came out later that year; “Revolver” was a year away). It’s still breezy fun, with a support cast that includes the great Eleanor Bron (“Bedazzled) and Leo McKern. (Apple TV)

MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR (1967) The Beatles fully entered their hippie phase with this made-for-BBC feature inspired by Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters. A string of surrealist-comic vignettes loosely connected by a tour bus, it met with dismal reviews from just about everyone, including the Beatles themselves. Fantastic album, though. (Apple TV)

YELLOW SUBMARINE (1968) The open secret of this animated classic is that it’s barely even a Beatles film: The Fabs are played by voice-actors and appear only in a brief scene at the end. Still, it gets an A+ for its psychedelic visuals, inventive use of Beatles tracks (from “Nowhere Man” to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”) and a lovely orchestral score by producer George Martin. (Apple TV)

THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK — THE TOURING YEARS (2016) Ron Howard’s documentary zeros in on the band’s decision to quit playing live just as they were becoming global superstars. New footage unearthed by fans and little-seen clips from shows in places like Tokyo help explain why the Beatles so quickly fled the insanity of the stage for the safety of the studio. (Hulu, Apple TV)

McCARTNEY 3, 2, 1 (2021) The Nice One sits down with super-producer Rick Rubin for a six-part discussion about the making of some legendary music. Rubin gets McCartney to share some trivia (care to guess who inspired “Dear Prudence”?) and uses a mixing board to take apart classic tracks like “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” It’s like discovering your favorite songs all over again. (Hulu)

THE BEATLES: GET BACK (2021) Peter Jackson spent years restoring and recutting the raw footage for “Let it Be” into what might be the ultimate in Beatlelology: a three-part, eight-hour immersion into the band’s final recording sessions. You also get an up-close seat for the band’s last public performance — in its entirety — on the rooftop of Apple Corps studios with Billy Preston on keyboards. Hard work for casual fans, perhaps, but a holy experience for true believers. (Disney+) — RAFER GUZMÁN

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