Beatles song based on Beethoven?

The Beatles cheerfully sang 'Roll Over Beethoven' in their pre-fame stage show. The Chuck Berry anthem also appears on their second album. But if Ludwig was not safely out of copyright, his legal team would most likely have a solid royalties claim.

In one of his last interviews, John Lennon revealed how the great German composer provided direct inspiration:

I was lying on the sofa in our house, listening to Yoko play Beethoven's - Moonlight Sonata, on the piano. Suddenly I said, 'can you play those chords backwards'.

The Beatles version retains the key and key change, plus the pattern of arpeggios. Lennon also added some bass notes and of course and a lyric which he claimed was 'clear, no bullshit, no imagery, no obscure references.'

You won't find that kind of language in Fidelio but there is arguably a similarity of intent across the centuries.

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