I am amazed by the stupidity of people's efforts in trying to compare U2 with the Beatles. What we have here is an obvious case of apples and oranges. What the Beatles did two decades ago has no relevance to what U2 has done today.
The Beatles began in a period of time when little love songs (though some of the best love songs ever) were the order of the day. Their progression into the increasingly turmoiled '60s, led them on radical searches for self awareness through religion and drugs. How would a band who wrote about "marmalade skies" be taken today?
The fact is, U2 stands out among others because of their social conscience, personal and moral integrity, and risky creative development, unlike any other band of recent times. If anyone has seen U2 in concert, they would realize that they are something very different than the Beatles. U2 lifts your spirits and awareness and fills you with a sense of unity at their shows. U2 does not play to a throng of screaming and fainting girls.
No doubt the Beatles are "the classic rock band," but give U2 a couple of decades and these two standouts can sit together in anyone's Top 10 list.
And please, let's stop trying to compare fruits that are obviously growing on different trees.