The Beatles

The Beatles
The Beatles were an highly influential rock and pop band in the 1960s. They were from Liverpool, England. The members of the band were John Lennon (rhythm guitar, keyboards), Paul McCartney (bass guitar, keyboards), George Harrison (lead guitar, sitar) and Ringo Starr (drums, percussion).
The Beatles formed in 1958, but did not have their first hit until 1962. In November 1962 their song, 'Please Please Me', hit the number 1 position on the British hit parade. This was the first of a record 15 British number 1 singles. They first came to the United States in 1964, being greeted at the airport by thousands of screaming American teenagers. The Beatles were so popular they were mobbed by screaming fans everywhere they went around the world. The effect they had on their fans came to be known as 'Beatlemania'. The Beatles made their first live American television appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on 9 February 1964. Approximately 74 million viewers ' about half of the American population ' watched the group perform on the show. Beatles songs soon filled the top 5 places on the American top 40 chart - a record that has never been matched.
The Beatles becoming so popular in America led to other British bands, such as the Rolling Stones, the Animals, the Kinks and Gerry and the Pacemakers having hits their as well. So many British bands became popular following the Beatles success this period became known in America as the "British Invasion".
Towards the mid 60s, The Beatles became more experimental with their music, leading to a series of albums that are still regarded as some of the best of all time. This largely started in 1965, with the release of the album "Rubber Soul", and hit a peak in 1967 with the release of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", which was recently named as the greatest album of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine. They were also named the most influential artists of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, due to their music, dress and attitudes having shaped much of what was popular among young people in the 60s.
The Beatles became so popular that no regular concert venue was big enough for their concerts. This led to them playing the first ever stadium rock concert at Shea Stadium in America to around 50 000 people. The Beatles stopped touring and playing live music in 1965 because they were sick of audiences screaming so loudly that their music couldn't be heard. They were also sick of the pressures of touring. Among other things, they were so popular that thousands of people would gather outside the hotels they stayed in day and night meaning that they could never leave their rooms apart from when they played a show.
The Beatles broke up in 1970 due to the pressures of fame and each member becoming more independent both in their personal lives and musically. In 1973 the two-disc sets "1962-1966" (the "Red Album") and "1967-1970" "(the "Blue Album") were released. These were both re-released on CD in 1993.
The band remained very popular all over the world after their break up, according to the "Guinness Book of World Records", they are the highest-selling recording artists of all time, and have sold over one billion records, including albums and singles. Their music remains important, and influences many musicians to this day. Musicians today perform cover versions of their songs, and people everywhere still listen to their music. Their song 'Yesterday' is the most covered song in the history of popular music, as well as being the most played song on radio in history. Recently an album titled "1", a collection of their number 1 hits, became the 8th highest selling album of all time.
Brian Epstein was their manager. Sir George Martin produced all of their albums and singles except for the album "Let it Be", which was produced by the famous 60s producer Phil Spector. Almost all of their music was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London.
The Beatles made thirteen albums and twenty-six singles together. They also started their own record label, Apple Records. They made two movies, "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!", where they appeared as actors. Later they made "Magical Mystery Tour", a television special. "Yellow Submarine" was a cartoon movie based on their music. "Let It Be" showed them working on a new album.
After the Beatles broke up in 1969, all four members started their own solo careers.
John Lennon became a very famous peace activist in the late 60s and early 70s, writing very successful songs including "Give Peace a Chance", "Imagine", and "Happy Christmas (War is Over)" which has become one of the world's most well known Christmas songs.
Paul McCartney went on to form the band "Wings" with his wife Linda, which became one of the biggest bands of the 70s. In 1977 his song, "Mull of Kintyre", became the biggest selling single in British history, outselling even the Beatles singles.
George Harrison and Ringo Starr had early success as solo artists but were less successful later on. George formed the super group "The Travelling Wilburys" in the 80s with fellow rock legends Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne. Ringo still tours the world with his "All Starr Band".
John Lennon was murdered on December 8, 1980 outside his home in New York. Part of Central Park in New York and an airport in London are named in his honour.
The other three Beatles got together in the 1990s to make two new records. They used demo recordings of two John Lennon songs, and added their own new parts with the help of producer Jeff Lynne, so all four members could appear on the songs. The songs were "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love" which were both top 5 hits in the U.K. in 1995/96.
Paul McCartney was knighted in 1997, as was producer George Martin in 1996. George Harrison died of cancer on November 29, 2001. Ringo Starr & Paul McCartney are (out of the "classic" line-up) the only living members left.
The Beatles have had number 1 records in England and America in every decade since the 60s.
They also sold many singles (45's).

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