John Lennon (1964) Paul McCartney (1964) George Harrison (1964) Ringo Starr (1964)

The Beatles

The Beatles

About The Beatles : The Fab FourThe Beatles (1964)

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The Beatles

The Beatles was a highly influential English rock 'n' roll band from Liverpool, Merseyside. They are the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful popular music band in history. The innovative music and style of John Lennon (19401980), Paul McCartney (b. 1942), George Harrison (19432001), and Ringo Starr (b. 1940) helped to define the 1960s, and they continue to be held in high regard for their artistic achievements, their huge commercial success, their role in the history of popular music, and their contributions to popular culture. Although The Beatles initial musical style was rooted in the sounds of 1950s rock and roll, the group explored a great variety of genres, ranging from Tin Pan Alley to psychedelic rock.

The Beatles were the best-selling popular musical act of the 20th century. In the United Kingdom alone, The Beatles released more than 40 different singles, albums, and EPs that reached number one. This commercial success was repeated in many other countries: EMI estimated that by 1985, the band had sold over one billion discs or tapes worldwide. The RIAA has certified The Beatles as the top selling artists of all time in America based on U.S. sales of singles and albums.

The Beatles were a major force behind the "British Invasion" of UK-based popular bands in the United States in the mid-1960s and they helped to pioneer more advanced, multi-layered arrangements in pop music. The Beatles' impact extended well beyond their music. Their clothes, hairstyles, and statements made them trend-setters from the 1960s to this day, while their growing social awareness reflected in the development of their music saw their influence extend into the social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s.

The Beatles The Fab Four

The Beatles: History

In March of 1957, John Lennon formed a skiffle group called The Quarrymen (fleetingly known as The Blackjacks). On July 6 of that year, Lennon met Paul McCartney while playing at the Woolton Parish Church Fete. On February 6 1958, the young guitarist George Harrison was invited to watch the group (then playing under a variety of names) perform at Wilson Hall, Garston, Liverpool and he was soon a regular player. Paul had become acquainted with George (a year younger) at school, the Liverpool Institute, and on the morning school bus-ride; they had also grown up in a common neighbourhood (Speke). A few primitive recordings of Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison from that era have survived. During this period, members continually joined and left the lineup; Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Stuart Sutcliffe (a classmate of Lennon at Liverpool Art College) emerged as the only constant members. Lennon and McCartney both played rhythm guitar, Harrison played lead guitar and Sutcliffe played bass. The group had a high turnover of drummers and McCartney played drums at gigs when they were drummerless.

The Quarrymen went through a progression of names Johnny and The Moondogs, Long John and The Beatles, The Silver Beetles (derived from Larry Williams's suggestion "Long John and the Silver Beetles") and eventually decided on 17 August 1960 on "The Beatles". There are many theories as to the origin of the name and its unusual spelling; it is usually credited to John Lennon, who said that the name was a combination word-play on the insects "beetles" (as a nod/compliment to Buddy Holly's band, The Crickets) and the word "beat". He also later said that it was a joke, meaning a pun on "Beat-less". Cynthia Lennon suggests that John came up with the name Beatles at a "...brainstorming session over a beer-soaked table in the Renshaw Hall bar...". In addition to being a fan of the Crickets, Lennon is paraphrased as having said: "If you turn it round it was 'les beat', which sounded French and cool." Lennon, who became famous for giving multiple versions of the same story, also joked in a tongue-in-cheek 1961 article in Mersey Beat magazine that "It came in a vision a man appeared on a flaming pie and said unto them, 'From this day on you are Beatles with an A'.". (This story was later the inspiration for the title of one of McCartney's solo albums, Flaming Pie.)

In May of 1960, The Beatles were hired to tour the north-east of Scotland as a back-up band with singer Johnny Gentle, who was signed to the Larry Parnes agency. They met Gentle an hour before their first gig, and McCartney referred to that short tour as a great experience for the band. For this tour the chronically drummerless group secured the services of Tommy Moore, who was considerably older than the others. The band's van (driven by Gentle) had a rear-end crash with a stationary vehicle on their way back from Scotland; Moore lost some teeth and had stitches after being hit in the mouth by a guitar. Nobody else was seriously injured. (Shortly afterwards, feeling the age gap was too great and following his girlfriend's advice Moore left the band and went back to work in a bottling factory as a fork-lift truck driver.)

The Beatles

The Beatles (1964)

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