The Beatles

June 1, 2008
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The Beatles were the most successful pop/rock and roll band because of their record setting hit records. Between 1957 and 1970, they changed the world of music forever. The Beatles influenced bands, as well as listeners. Their team work in creating catchy tunes and excellent vocals is what put them at number one and made them famous so quickly. They are considered as the top group in rock and roll history. (I Am the Beatles)
The Beatles played together in Liverpool for five years before they became successful. John Lennon formed a band at his high school. Paul McCartney and George Harrison joined the band in 1957. John Lennon’s art college friend Stuart Sutcliffe joined on bass, and just before the band left for Hamburg, Germany, Pete Best joined in the summer of 1960. Playing at bars in Hamburg helped form them into a tight performing group. (Unterberger, Vh1)
The Beatles had constant performances when they returned to Liverpool. The group returned to Hamburg in 1961, and then Sutcliffe dropped out of the band to concentrate on his art school studies in Hamburg. Paul McCartney took over on bass, Harrison was the lead guitarist, Lennon was the rhythm guitar, and everyone sang. They made their first recordings in Germany as a backup group to a British rock guitarist/singer based in Hamburg, Tony Sheridan. (Unterberger, Vh1)

They were given a lunchtime residency at a club called the Cavern, where a local record merchant and entrepreneur, Brian Epstein, discovered them. Epstein became their manager in December 1961. He polished the group’s appearance by dressing them better and making them get rid of their leather jackets and trousers and replace them with suits and ties. The Beatles impressed producer George Martin and signed with EMI-Parlophone in April 1961. (Rockhall)

In 1962, Ringo Starr, who had been drumming with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, replaced Pete Best. Starr was in the band for a few weeks when they recorded The Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do/P.S. I Love You,” which made the U.K. Top Twenty in October 1962. This shows how the Beatles succeeded even with a new band member. (Rockhall)

After their first single, “Please Please Me” was released. The new single topped the British charts for a record-setting thirty weeks in 1963. It established the group as the most popular rock and roll act ever seen in the U.K. The single was followed by four constant chart-topping British singles: “From Me To You,” “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.” A classical music critic from the London Sunday Times declared the group as “the greatest composers since Beethoven.” “She Loves You” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand” established the group as something never before seen in the British entertainment business. Each single sold over a million copies in the U.K. They were well on their way to stardom. (Rockhall)
The Beatles’ stardom continued in the United States with their first single, “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” It stormed to the top of the U.S. charts within weeks of its release on December 26, 1963, and was followed by Top Forty hits over the next six years. (Rockhall)
The Beatles came to the U.S. on February 7, 1964. They created madness at all of their public appearances. Their TV appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in February 1964 began the so-called “Beatlemania” on a bigger scale than it had reached in Britain. In the first week of April 1964, they set another record by taking all five of the top positions on the Billboard’s Top Pop Singles chart. They also had the first two slots on the album charts, and others throughout the Billboard Top One Hundred. They continued to reach number one with most of their singles and albums until their breakup. (Unterberger Vh1)
In August 1964, the band’s popularity went further with their released documentary film, “A Hard Day’s Night.” It influenced the Byrds and folksingers to plunge all out into rock and roll. The Beatles had twenty number one chart-toppers in the U.S., which is greater than the runner-up, Elvis Presley, with seventeen. Some people had thought that the Beatles were going to be nothing more than a craze that would die out within months. However, the Beatles proved them wrong. (Unterberger, Vh1)

Between international tours in 1964 and 1965, they continued to make more chart-topping albums and singles. Their second film, “Help!” was a huge profit-making success. The album “Revolver” was released in the summer of 1966, which was a worldwide chart-topper. They retired from touring after a San Francisco concert on August 29, 1966, and they decided to concentrate on their studio recordings. The media thought they were breaking up because the band spent late 1966 separated. Then the single “Penny Lane” /“Strawberry Fields Forever” got rid of the concerns. In 1967, they released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

After their manager died due to overdose of sleeping pills, the Beatles released “The White Album,” in 1968, which was a success. “Hey Jude”/ “Revolution” came from the album, and became their most popular single. However, the group began to bicker more in the studio, and Ringo Starr quit for a couple of weeks during “The White Album” sessions. Lennon’s devotion with his new girlfriend (and soon to be wife) Yoko Ono distracted his attention from the Beatles. Their last live concert was on the rooftop of their Apple headquarters in London on January 30, 1969. “Get Back”/“Don’t Let Me Down” was issued as a single in the spring of 1969. (Unterberger, Vh1)
They came together in the summer of 1969 to record Abbey Road, which was one of their most unified efforts. It established Harrison as a composer of equal talent to Lennon and McCartney. Harrison wrote the album’s two most popular tunes: “Something” and “Here Comes The Sun.” Lennon began releasing solo singles and performing with friends as the Plastic Ono Band and threatened to resign in late 1969 as the group came to an end. The album and film “Let It Be,” documented the Beatles’ ending and breakup. (Rockhall)
On April 10, 1970, Paul McCartney announced his departure from the Beatles, and the group came to an end. In May 1970, the group split up, and each member took on different and separate roles. Their solo work couldn’t compare with what they created as a band, because when all four members’ separate talents came together, they created success. Fans hoped for a reunion throughout the seventies, until John Lennon was murdered in New York City on December 8, 1980. The Beatles were capable of recording hit singles even during harsh times. Their success still lives on today, and it will for many decades to come. (Rockhall)





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