The Beatles broke up the year before I was born.
Growing up in early '80s New England, they were just part of the social fabric- it was simply an accepted fact that the Beatles were the greatest band ever. I remember reading a mystery story in middle school, where the hero tricked the bad guy into a confession with a tape recording he later admitted was "just an old Beatles tape". I remember thinking it was sad that the author of the story was trying to seem "hip" by name dropping the Fab Four.
The Beatles was "safe" music your parents and teachers liked, Zeppelin, the Stones and the Who was music coming out of the cars in the back of the school parking lot where the stoners hung out. I gravitated towards the latter. When I wanted to listen to '60s British pop-rock, I listened to the Kinks and the Who. Then I discovered punk/indie/college "underground" music and the Beatles seemed too tame for my tastes.
A few years later a friend got the entire Beatles catalog on CD for Christmas, and one weekend I borrowed it and listened to it all, top to bottom. It blew me away. I didn't become an obsessive superfan, but I suddenly realized what all the fuss was about. Today I recognize the historical importance of the Beatles, how pioneering they were and how great a band they were. I don't often play their music, and when I do it's usually Revolver or the White Album.
I'm not going to watch Get Back. If it was two hours I probably would, but even as a studio rat and history nut, dedicating six hour to watching TV just doesn't sound like fun.
If it was about Who's Next or Exile On Main Street though, I definitely would.
While I did not see your early '80s experience of them being accepted as greatest band ever, I DID see what you said; that the Beatles was "safe music your parents and teachers liked or accepted". Maybe in some cases more like were not horrified by, as compared to the horror of kids using drugs and having sex.
I felt that in earlier years too, that right from Ed Sullivan era, conservatives and authority figures tolerated the Beatles and some even liked them. By the end of the '60s they were associated with and seeming leaders in kids using drugs which many assumed was equated with growing long hair. But parents were far more upset by their own kids long hair and possible drug use, than by some band.
I guess some older folks decided that one band caused their kids to go bad?
Pretty myopic, but you know what The Who said, hope I die before I get old!
I was told by some TDPRI'ers though that they saw their local older people hating the Beatles from the start.
Plus some early mainstream news music reviewers parody-like negative reviews.
So, regional I guess?