The Beatles (formed 1960 - 1969)
The Beatles are one of the most famous and successful bands in the history of pop music and have sold well over one billion records across the globe.
Formation: John Lennon met Paul McCartney in 1957 when he was playing in a skiffle group named The Quarrymen. He invited McCartney to join the group and later, George Harrison also joined. Stuart Sutcliffe then joined on bass. The band had a number of gigs lined up in Germany, but had no drummer. Eventually, Pete Best was invited to drum for the band. Upon their return to Liverpool in 1961, Brian Epstein saw the band for the first time, at the now-infamous Cavern Club in Liverpool. The band auditioned for Decca (The Rolling Stones' label) but failed the audition. Epstein took it upon himself to fire Pete Best from the band and they hired Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr). The band's debut single, 'Love Me Do' was released in June 1962. It reached number 17 in the UK singles cart.
Career: The Beatles' second single, 'Please Please Me' was released in November 1962 and went to number two in the UK charts. Their debut album, also entitled Please Please Me was recorded just a few months later. Even before the end of the year, the phrase 'Beatlemania' had been coined by the media, to describe the public frenzy surrounding the band. In the US, CBS aired a five minute film about the phenomenon of Beatlemania. It was scheduled for a repeat airing on the 22nd of November 1963, but following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the show was cancelled. When The Beatles finally travelled to the USA, in 1964, accompanied by Phil Spector and a number of journalists, they were greeted at the airport by 3,000 fans. In 1964, the band released their second LP, Introducing. The Beatles. When they undertook the promotional tour, Ringo Starr contracted tonsillitis and was briefly replaced by session drummer Jimmy Nicol. Later that year, The Beatles' first film, A Hard Day's Night was released, followed by their fourth studio album, Beatles For Sale. The Beatles were awarded an MBE in June 1965, after receiving a nomination from the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson. The following month, The Beatles released the album Help! Along with an accompanying film of the same name. In July, they played to an audience of 55,600 at the Shea Stadium in New York - the first major stadium music concert in modern history. The band met Elvis Presley in Bel Air that month and had a jam session, though sadly, it was not recorded. The Beatles' sixth album, Rubber Soul was considered a step forward in the maturity and progression of the band's sound. When they toured in the Philippines, Brian Epstein insulted the nation's first lady, Imelda Marcos, by refusing an official invitation. On returning to the UK, they were greeted by further controversy, thanks to John Lennon's earlier comments that The Beatles were "more popular than Jesus." Copies of The Beatles' next album, Yesterday and Today with the original artwork fetch thousands of pounds in auctions today. The Beatles' next two albums, Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band were both hugely successful and used new recording techniques such as sampling and tape looping. The Beatles' next film, Magical Mystery Tour received something of a backlash from the UK press. In 1968, The Beatles announced the formation of their own label, Apple Corps. Later that year, they released The White Album, which featured the tracks 'Dear Prudence' and 'Back in the USSR'. In January 1969, The Beatles performed their infamous rooftop gig on top of the Apple Building in Savile Row, London. The performance was filmed for their film Let It Be. In 1969, the band released Abbey Road, named after Abbey Road Studios, where they recorded much of their output. In 1970, the tapes for what would become the Let It Be album were given to Phil Spector, an American producer famed for his 'Wall Of Sound' production style. Despite Paul McCartney publicly denouncing Spector's production technique and despite the public break up of the band in April of that year, Spector's version of the album was released in May 1970. Following the break up of the band, several members of the band went on to release solo albums, including Paul McCartney's McCartney and Ringo Starr's Ringo. The Capitol record label made a number of hasty releases, including The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl, in an attempt to cash in on the band's demise and loss of creative control over the label's Beatles material. On 8th December 1980, John Lennon was shot dead in New York City by Mark David Chapman. Lennon was married to Yoko Ono at the time of his death. The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. George Harrison and Ringo Starr collected the award, along with Yoko Ono and Lennon's two sons, Julian and Sean Lennon. Paul McCartney refused to attend the ceremony. In 1994, once McCartney had resolved many of his issues with the remaining surviving Beatles, he got together with Harrison and Starr to compile The Beatles Anthology, which was released in February 1994. The song 'Free As A Bird' was released as a single to promote the collection. On 29th November 2001, George Harrison died of lung cancer. McCartney announced in November 2008 that he wishes to release an experimental recording made by The Beatles. In order to release the track, entitled 'Carnival Of Light', he will need to gain permission from Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, George's wife, as well as Ringo Starr. In April 2009, it was announced that all of The Beatles' original 13 UK studio albums would be released in newly remastered versions, named Past Masters, Volume One and Past Masters: Volume Two. The Mojo journalist Mat Snow was given the privilege of listening to the remastered version of The White Album and claimed that the new recordings were "better even than we'd hoped." It has been reported that Bob Dylan introduced The Beatles to cannabis in 1964, when the band were visiting New York. The next year, John Riley - an acquaintance of the band - introduced John Lennon and George Harrison to LSD. In 1967, The Beatles joined Graham Greene and R.D. Laing in signing an advert in The Times calling for the legalization of cannabis. In October, 1985, Michael Jackson finalised a deal in which he bought the Beatles' entire music catalogue for 47.5 million USD (106 million in 2013 USD). This was due to a contract McCartney and Lennon signed when the Beatles were founded, meaning that the rights to the songs did not belong to the song's creators. Between 2018 and 2026, the rights for each song will return to McCartney, as all song rights return to the creator after 56 years, due to a copyrights act from 1976.
The document is expected to fetch around $150,000 when it goes on sale on September 19th.
A critical piece of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia is to go on sale next month, with the news that the first ever recording contract signed by The Beatles is to go under the hammer in New York.
The Associated Press reports that the contract, believed to have been signed when The Fab Four were in Hamburg, Germany in 1961 serving as backing band for Tony Sheridan on the song ‘My Bonnie’, will be up for auction alongside about 300 other pop music artefacts sold by the estate of Uwe Blaschke, a German record producer and graphic designer who died in 2010.
A fresh-faced Fab Four at the start of their career
The artwork was unveiled to remember Lennon, who was assassinated in New York in 1980, his struggles to gain citizenship, and the money his music has raised for Amnesty International since 2004.
A tribute to the late John Lennon was unveiled in New York on Wednesday, with a tapestry unveiled in a ceremony attended by a number of stars including Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono and U2 stars Bono and The Edge.
The cheeky artwork, which depicts Manhattan as a yellow submarine in a sea of blue, is on display at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. Lennon himself appears on the tapestry as the captain of the submarine and giving the peace sign. The piece was commissioned by an organisation called Art For Amnesty to thank Ono for diverting more than $5 million in royalties from the singer’s post-Beatles music to Amnesty International since 2004.
Yoko Ono unveiled the tapestry honouring her late husband John Lennon
Continue reading: Ono And Bono Unveil Tapestry In New York Honouring John Lennon
The British singer’s debut album has reached a milestone only previously managed by the Beatles.
British singer Sam Smith has secured his place in chart history, after achieving a record-breaking milestone previously managed only by the Beatles. The singer has become the only artist since the fab five to spend nearly a year in the top five with a debut album thanks to his massively successful, In The Lonely Hour.
Sam Smith has made chart history with In The Lonely Hour.
The singer’s debut album has so far spent 50 weeks in the top five of the UK album chart, according to the Official Charts Company. That’s only one week short of The Beatles’ record, as they managed 51 weeks on the chart with Please Please Me in 1963.
McCartney was also joined on stage by Foo Fighter Dave Grohl.
Paul McCartney performing at the 02 Arena in London.
The former Beatle played a career spanning three hour set for the enthusiastic crowd, opening with 1964’s ‘Eight Days A Week’. Macca then took the audience through his storied career playing classics from his Beatles’ days such as ‘Paperback Writer’, The Long and Winding Road, ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Lady Madonna’.
Continue reading: Paul McCartney Plays Hit Packed Three Hour Set At London's O2 Arena
'The Fifth Beatle', an adaptation of a graphic novel about the late Beatles manager, was announced at the Cannes Film Festival.
Simon Cowell is set to produce a movie biopic of the late Beatles manager Brian Epstein, which will be entitled The Fifth Beatle. It’s an adaptation of a graphic novel of the same name published in 2013 by Vivek J. Tiwary, and tells the story of how Epstein took the legendary group from local stardom to international success under his stewardship.
According to a report in Variety, Tiwary himself has written the screenplay and is also signed on to be a producer alongside the ‘X Factor’ judge. The project has also secured the rights to use the group’s music in the film, with a director set to unveiled in the near future.
Simon Cowell is set to co-produce a film about Brian Epstein, The Beatles' manager
Continue reading: Simon Cowell To Co Produce Biopic About Brian Epstein
The Beatles star's Maton Mastersound guitar fetches the highest bid at Julien's Auctions in New York.
The Fab Four may have once sung "Can't buy me love", but Friday's auction at the Hard Rock Cafe proved you can buy George Harrison's prized Maton Mastersound guitar - if you have almost half a million dollars handy.
George Harrison (far right) with the rest of the Fab Four
Rolling Stone reports that the instrument sold for $485,000, the top earner at Julien's Auctions in New York, which specialized in the sale of hundreds of rare items from the world of music.
Continue reading: George Harrison's Guitar Plucks $485,000 At Auction
The Beatles' masterpiece is to be included in an overhaul of the Music GCSE, starting in 2016.
It’s been 48 years since Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play, and now it appears that he’ll be helping a whole new generation about music too, with the news that The Beatles’ era-defining album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is to be taught to Music GCSE students.
The Independent reported on Wednesday that British exam board AQA is shaking up its Music curriculum for 13 to 16 year olds, and is set to make the iconic 1967 album one of the central themes of its course, which will be implemented for the start of the 2016 academic year.
The Beatles in 1967 circa 'Sgt. Pepper'
The study found there had been three music revolutions since the 1950s.
A study by the University of London and Imperial College has concluded that the emergence of hip hop has had the biggest impact on the charts of any genre since the 1950s. The study also found that the importance of The Beatles may have been overstated, suggesting that the fab five did not spark a musical revolution.
The Beatles may not have been that revolutionary
The study found there were three musical revolutions on the charts, the first being in 1964 with the rise of rock and roll bands such as The Beatles. The second was in the mid 80s with the use of synthesisers and drum machines, while the third came in 1991 when rap and hip-hop infiltrated the mainstream charts.
Continue reading: Scientific Study Concludes Hip Hop Was More Impactful Than The Beatles
People can look inside the legendary recording studio for the first time, thanks to an in-depth and interactive web app launched by Google.
London’s most famous recording studio Abbey Road has partnered with Google to offer a rare glimpse inside the hallowed building.
The likes of The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Stevie Wonder laid down some of their best material in the north London studio, but it has not been accessible to the public since it shut its doors to those not recording music in 1931, but now it’s being opened up via an incredibly detailed recreation by the tech giants.
Abbey Road studios in north London
Continue reading: Google Unveils App That Explores Abbey Road Studios
Fancy working at the Abbey Road zebra crossing?
A Westminster councillor is making plans to create a job opening for a lollipop lady or man to work at the famous 'Beatles' zebra crossing outside the Abbey Road studio. Hundreds of music fans visit the crossing in St John's Wood each day, slowing traffic by recreating the famous album cover.
The Beatles famously walked across the zebra crossing for the cover of their seminal 'Abbey Road' album cover
Business owners and local residents have complained about pedestrian safety, traffic issues and graffiti caused by the tourist destination. Councillor Lindsey Hall is looking to install a lollipop lady or man at the site, to act as the "eyes and ears" for the council when such issues arise.
Continue reading: Job Advert: Lollipop Lady, or Man, For 'Beatles' Abbey Road Crossing
The tree planted in tribute to the late George Harrison has sadly died.
A tree planted in tribute to former Beatles guitarist George Harrison has died after being infested by...beetles. The pine tree was planted in Los Angeles' Griffith Park in 2004, three years after the musician's death.
George Harrison in 1965 [Getty/Keystone]
Council officer Tom LaBonge told the Los Angeles Times that the tree had grown to more than 10 feet tall, but that an infestation of beetles had overwhelmed it. A new tree will be planted at a date yet to be announced.
Continue reading: Guess Which Insects Have Killed the George Harrison Memorial Tree?
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum announced today (18th July) it will be exhibiting a number of Beyoncé's famous outfits from such videos as 'Single Ladies' and from her appearances at events like the 2013 Super Bowl.
Beyoncé's fabulous collection of stage outfits in addition to some of her red carpet looks will be the focus of a new exhibition hosted at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum.
Beyonce's 'Single Ladies' outfit has been immortalised at Madame Tussauds.
Continue reading: Beyoncé "Honoured & Humbled" By Hall Of Fame Exhibition
Ron Howard may seem an unusual choice to direct documentary about The Beatles, but there are certainly some pretty good reasons why he's bound to make an excellent producer and director of the upcoming and unnamed film.
Ron Howard is set to direct a new documentary focussing on The Beatles' journey from The Cavern Club in Liverpool to their final performance in San Francisco in 1966. The documentary will use archive footage and recent interviews to trace the astronomic rise of Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon.
Ron Howard will direct the upcoming Beatles documentary.
Howard, a lifelong fan of the band, is relishing the opportunity
Ron Howard will direct and produce a fully authorized documentary on The Beatles touring years between 1960 and 1966, it has been confirmed. This is Howard’s second music documentary, following last year’s Jay-Z festival film 'Made in America.'
The Beatles are getting the Ron Howard treatment
With the full cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison, Apple Corps, White Horse Pictures and Howard’s Imagine Entertainment will produce the documentary. “I am excited and honored to be working with Apple and the White Horse team on this astounding story of these four young men who stormed the world in 1964,” Howard said. “Their impact on popular culture and the human experience cannot be exaggerated.”
Continue reading: Beatles Documentary In Safe Hands as Ron Howard Signs on to Direct
Howard's documentary will feature previously unseen archive footage, as well as new interviews with the surviving Beatles.
Big news, Beatles fans: a new authorised documentary on the rock icons is in the works, with Ron Howard slated to direct. The film will include new interviews with both surviving members, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison, the surviving wives of John Lennon and George Harrison. The production has been authorised by Apple Corps Ltd., the band's holding company.
Nearly 45 years after their break-up, fans of The Beatles are still hungry for more from the iconic band.
As for the subject matter, the as-of-yet-unnamed documentary is slated to focus on the band’s earliest years, between 1960 and 1966, during which the Liverpool foursome released 20 studio and live records in total, from their first record Please Please Me, released in ’63 to the 1966 landmark, Revolver.
28th August, 1960
28th August, 1970