Beatles is one of the most important bands in the history of music.
The band was formed in 1960 in Liverpool, England. The main members
were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr.They
not only changed what rock 'n roll music was about but also help
change what society was going through in the insane sixties.
Beatles first really came about in 1955 when Paul McCartney joined
up with John Lennon's band, The Quarrymen. Lennon played lead
guitar, McCartney was on rhythm guitar with Stu Sutcliffe on bass
and several fill-in drummers. A short time later thirteen year
old George Harrison joined them and took over the lead guitar
job from Lennon. Peter Best became their regular drummer in 1960.
Also around this time they changed the band's name to "The
Silver Beatles", then shortly after that to just "The
first made their mark playing clubs night after night in Hamburg,
Germany. In 1961 Sutcliffe left the band and McCartney took over
the bass duties. Sutcliffe did contribute one very important thing
to The Beatles image before he left that would at first make them
stick out. His (what was then considered) long hair do, which
the rest of the band copied and would become know as "the
Beatle haircut" or "Beatles moptops". The long
do in turn would change how not only rockers, but most men in
at least the western world would look for years to come.(Sadly,
Sutcliffe would die of a brain hemorrhage in April 1962, before
his "new" look caught on).
it as local favorites in Hamburg, they returned home to Liverpool
to play The Cavern Club where they began to draw a big following.
It was there in November of '61 that their soon to be manger Brian
Epstein would first watch them play. In early 1962, Epstein had
them record a demo tape for Decca records, who would turned them
down, as did several other different record companies. Finally
in mid '62, he found producer George Martin of EMI records. Martin
liked what he heard. He signed them to EMI's Parlophone Records.
But one last change would be made. Martin didn't feel Best was
a good enough drummer and wanted a session drummer to fill in
for him when they recorded. As it turned out, the other Beatles
had the same feelings about Best's skills and decided to ax him
in favor of another Liverpoolian drummer named Ringo Starr (born
single, "Love Me Do"/"P.S. I Love You," was
recorded in September, 1962. The song was written by Lennon/McCartney,
something almost unheard of in rock at the time. Up till then
most rock bands only did cover songs. The song barely made the
British top 20. The Beatles phenomenon didn't truly kick in until
"Please Please Me" hit number one on the British charts
in early 1963. The Beatles music took off like a rocket after
that, their debut LP, Please Please Me, which was recorded in
just one day, topped the British charts for 30 weeks.
now the biggest rock act in the UK. Beatlemania would soon take
over America and the rest of the world. "I Want to Hold Your
Hand" their first official U.S. release went straight to
number one shortly after it's December 1963 release. After their
appearance on the The Ed Sullivan TV Show in February of 1964,
they had had the top five best selling singles in the U.S.; they
also had the number one and number two spots in the album charts,
as well as several other entries throughout the Top 100. No one
at that time (or anyone after) would dominated the market for
pop music like the Beatles did. Another very important thing was
that they opened the door for just about every other rock band
that followed them. They would continue to put out one after another
number one hits until their breakup in 1970.
sound did change somewhat in the mid sixties, around the time
of Rubber Soul's release. Their "good boy" image, pressed
upon them by Epstein, was now also a thing of the past. Drug intake
by the band members, which was always a part of their lives, was
no longer covered up, in fact, it would start to show up more
so than in the past in their song's lyrics. In 1967, the album
some claim to be rock's best ever, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Club
Band, was released. But not all good things would take place that
year. Epstein would die of a drug overdose and with that, the
Beatles were now truly on their own, as far as in who would lead
his death, they would overcome their only flop, the film project,
Magical Mystery Tour. Unlike their first two films, A Hard Day's
Night and Help! which were big hits, the "Tour" went
nowhere. But their two biggest albums yet, were still to come,
the double LP White Album and the part concept album Abbey Road.
Abbey Road was remarkable if for only the fact that they were
able to regroup after the problems that plagued the preceding
album sessions for the album Get Back, which would be shelved
then later renamed Let It Be and released after Abbey Road.
When the Beatles
did call it quits in 1970, Paul and John were no longer talking
to each other. John would be insulted by McCartney's solo Ram
album, that he claimed had bad references to him and his new wife
Yoko Ono. In turn he put out a song he wrote about Paul called
"How Do You Sleep" that had to go down as one of rock's
all time put downs songs. But in time, Lennon and McCartney did
make up and became friends again. Tragically, Lennon would later
be assassinated in New York City in December of 1980.
of course several sides to the Beatles. They not only changed
how music was written, put out and sounded, but lead the baby
boomers to social change and rebellion against the establishment.
They may not have started the hippie moment, but they did help
made it popular. They also were amongst the first to publicly
speak out about their drug use and question the stiff, unjust
drug laws. They would in turn pay the price for those views with
their own drug arrests. No question, the Beatles timing was right.
There will never again be a band that shapes the world the way
the Beatles did.
of the Beatles-as-unit, however, proved eternal. In part, this
is because the group's 1970 split effectively short-circuited
the prospects of artistic decline; the body of work that was preserved
was uniformly strong. However, it's also because, like any great
works of art, the Beatles' records carried an ageless magnificence
that continues to captivate new generations of listeners. So it
is that Beatles records continue to be heard on radio in heavy
rotation, continue to sell in massive quantities, and continue
to be covered and quoted by rock and pop artists through the present
at Apple prevented the official issue of previously unreleased
Beatle material for over two decades (although much of it was
frequently bootlegged). The situation finally changed in the 1990s,
after McCartney, Harrison, Starr, and Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono,
settled their principal business disagreements. In 1994, this
resulted in a double CD of BBC sessions from the early and mid-'60s.
The following year, a much more ambitious project was undertaken:
a multi-part film documentary, broadcast on network television
in 1995, and then released (with double the length) for the home
video market in 1996, with the active participation of the surviving
with the Anthology documentary, three double CDs of previously
unreleased/rare material were issued in 1995 and 1996. Additionally,
McCartney, Harrison, and Starr (with some assistance from Jeff
Lynne) embellished a couple of John Lennon demos from the 1970s
with overdubs to create two new tracks ("Free as a Bird"
and "Real Love") that were billed as actual Beatles
recordings. Whether this constitutes the actual long-awaited "reunion"
is the subject of much debate. Certainly these cuts were hardly
classics on par with the music the group made in the 1960s. Some
fans, even diehards, were inclined to view the whole Anthology
project as a distinctly 1990s marketing exercise that maximized
the mileage of whatever could be squeezed from the Beatles' vaults.
If nothing else, though, the massive commercial success of outtakes
that had, after all, been recorded 25 to 30 years ago, spoke volumes
about the unabated appeal and fascination the Beatles continue
to exert worldwide.