The Beatles History
The Beatles are celebrated as one of the greatest rock bands of the ages. Their beginnings go back to Liverpool, England, where in 1957 John Lennon and Paul McCartney formed the core of their first band, the Quarrymen. Guitarist George Harrison joined the group shortly thereafter. The band’s bass player, Stuart Sutcliffe, came up with the suggestion for the band’s famous name. The Beatles travelled often to Hamburg, Germany to play gigs with Pete Best on the drums. Sutcliff was to tragically die two years later of brain bleeding.
Ringo Starr became drummer in June 1962. The Beatle’s songs started gaining a following. Three early chart hits were “P.S. I Love You”, “Love Me Do” and “Please Please Me”, which was also the name of their premier album. Sales of the album began 11 year’s worth of lunacy known early on as “Beatlemania”. Soon, Beatle tunes were topping the British charts, including “She Love You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand”. Crowds grew wild as the band was met everywhere by enthusiastic, excited fans.
The band toured Sweden for five days in 1963 and returned to boisterous crowds at Heathrow Airport. In Britain, their second album, With The Beatles, was released in November 1963 to great acclaim. At the time, The Beatles had been enduring business problems in the U.S. with Capitol Records, which somewhat delayed their success. By December 1963, sales were picking up, which led to the “Fab Four” making their first nationwide appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in February 1964 before 74 million viewers. They appeared a second time within the same month, and dominated the Billboard charts with 12 songs in the top 100.
Over the next two years, The Beatles made the movies, A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, both wildly successful. Help! featured many songs sung and written by John Lennon. By December 1965, the band entered a new, drug-taking, Indian-influenced phase with the release of Rubber Soul containing “Norwegian Wood” featuring George Harrison on the sitar. The years 1966 through 1970 marked the band’s retreat into only studio work. Their music evolved in complexity as many innovative albums were released, such as Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club’s Band, and Let It Be. Tensions among the band members and families grew, and the band split up for good in 1970. John Lennon was assassinated on December 8, 1980, and George Harrison died of lung cancer in 2001. John Lennon memorabilia is especially popular today, thirty years after his death.