Rock Through the Ages: The Beatles 1960-1970

"I am not the Beatles. I'm me., Paul isn't the Beatles...The Beatles are the Beatles. Separately, they are separate"-  John Lennon


Early Beatles photo before they went down Abby Road the Beatles were the Quarrey MenThe Beatles are the greatest popular group of all-time. Arguably the most successful entertainers of the 20th century, they contributed to music, film, literature, art, and fashion, made a continuous impact on popular culture and the lifestyle of several generations. Their songs and images carrying powerful ideas of love, peace, help, and imagination evoked creativity and liberation that outperformed the rusty Soviet propaganda and contributed to breaking walls in the minds of millions, thus making impact on human history. As musicians, the Beatles proved that rock & roll could embrace a limitless variety of harmonies, structures, and sounds; virtually every rock experiment has some precedent on Beatles records. As a unit the Beatles were a musically synergistic combination: Paul McCartney's melodic bass lines, Ringo Starr's slaphappy no-rolls drumming, George Harrison's rockabilly-style guitar leads, John Lennon's assertive rhythm guitar, and their four fervent voices. One of the first rock groups to write most of its own material, the Beatles inaugurated the era of self-contained bands and forever centralized pop.

The History of The Beatles can be traced back to March 1957, when John Lennon and his childhood friend, Pete Shotton started a group called "The Black Jacks" to play Skiffle and America Rock and Roll. They soon changed the name to "The Quarry Men". Their gigs were mostly neighborhood events. Paul was asked by Pete Shotten to join the band, later that year. Paul McCartney later met George Harrison while riding on the school bus together. When he found out they shared a love for music he introduced Harrison to the rest of the band. At only 15 George was younger than the rest and they were somewhat reluctant to have him join the group. On Aug. 29th, 1958, John accepted George into The Quarry Men, which would then grow into seven members. During that Summer of 1958, The Quarrey Men, with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison, playing guitars, John Lowe on piano, and Collin Hanton on drums, made two demo recordings: That'll Be The Day" and "In Spite Of All The Danger", the latter being a McCartney-Harrison composition. In 1959 they played regular gigs at a club called The Casbah. They were joined by vocalist Stuart Sutcliffe, and by drummer Peter Best, whose mother owned The Casbah club. John Lennon dreamed up the band's final name, The Beatles, a mix of beat with beetle.

love love me do we do love the BeatlesOnce Best had joined, the band made its first of four trips to Hamburg, Germany. In December Harrison was deported back to England for being underage and lacking a work permit, but by then their 30-set weeks on the stages of Hamburg beer houses had honed and strengthened their repertoire (mostly Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Carl Perkins, and Buddy Holly covers), and on February 21, 1961, they debuted at the Cavern club on Mathew Street in Liverpool, beginning a string of nearly 300 performances there over the next couple of years. In April 1961 they again went to Hamburg, where Sutcliffe (the first of the Beatles to wear his hair in the long, shaggy style that came to be known as the Beatle haircut) left the group to become a painter, while McCartney switched from rhythm guitar to bass. The Beatles returned to Liverpool as a quartet in July. Sutcliffe died from a brain hemorrhage in Hamburg less than a year later.

Brian Epstein was invited to be the manager of the Beatles in November 1961. A five year management contract was signed by four members at then-drummer Pete Best's home on January 24, 1962. Epstein did not put his signature on it, giving the musicians the freedom of choice. At that time McCartney and Harrison were under 21, so the paper wasn't technically legal. None of them realized this and it did not matter to them. What mattered was their genuine trust in Epstein. He changed their early image for the good. Brian Epstein made them wear suits and ties, classic shoes, and newer haircuts. During the year of 1962 Brian Epstein was persistent in trying to sign a record deal for the Beatles, even after being rejected by every major record label in England. On June 6, 1962, at the Abbey Road studios, the group passed their first audition, with the exception of Pete Best. George Martin liked them, but recommended the change of a drummer. Being asked by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison; Epstein fired Pete Best. After a mutual decision the band was completed with the session drummer, named Ringo Starr, who duly became the fourth Beatle. In September of 1962 The Beatles recorded their first hit Love Me Do, which charted in UK, and reached the top of the US singles chart in 1964. By mid-year the Beatles were given billing over Roy Orbison on a national tour, and the hysterical outbreaks of Beatlemania had begun. Following their first tour of Europe in October, they moved to London with Epstein.

The Beatles Fab Four sing Hey Jude in a yellow submarineRejected by Dick Clark, in early November 1963, Brian Epstein persuaded Ed Sullivan to present The Beatles on three editions of his show in February, and parlayed this guaranteed exposure into a record deal with Capitol Records. Approximately 74 million viewers — about half of the American population — watched the group perform on the show. Several New York radio stations began playing "I Want to Hold Your Hand" on its release day. The positive response to the record that had started in Washington was duplicated in New York and quickly spread to other markets. The record sold one million copies in just ten days. The Beatles endured several years of extremely intensive recording, filming, and touring. They stopped public performances after 1966, but continued their recording contracts. Music became their ticket to ride around the world. Beatlemania never really ended since its initiation. The Beatles' first two feature films, A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help (1965), were made in collaboration with an American director, Richard Lester. Their humorous, ironic, and farcical film performances are reminiscent of the Marx Brothers' comedies. Later The Beatles moved into the area of psychedelic innovations with the animated film Yellow Submarine (1966). Their surrealistic TV movie The Magical Mystery Tour (1967) became the cause for the first major criticism of their work in the British press. On June 25, 1967, The Beatles made history becoming the first band globally transmitted on TV to an estimated 400 million people worldwide. The Beatles were a segment in the first-ever worldwide satellite hook-up and their new song "All You Need Is Love" was broadcast live during the show.

While the Beatles worked on the double album The Beatles (frequently called the White Album), problems immerged. The rifts were artistic, Lennon was moving toward brutal confessionals, McCartney leaning toward pop melodies, and Harrison was immersed in Eastern spirituality. Lennon was also getting much closer to his wife-to-be, Yoko Ono. The four joined forces in July and August 1969 to record Abbey Road, featuring Harrison's much-covered "Something" .While its release that fall spurred a "Paul Is Dead" rumor based on clues supposedly left throughout their work, Abbey Road became the Beatles' best-selling album, at 9 million copies. Meanwhile, internal bickering persisted. In September Lennon told the others, "I'm leaving the group. I've had enough. I want a divorce." But he was persuaded to keep quiet while their business affairs were untangled. On April 10, 1970, McCartney released his first solo album and publicly announced the end of the Beatles. Released in the spring of 1970, Let It Be  is essentially a documentary of the groups breakup. The Beatles represent the collective consciousness of several generations. A brilliant blend of music and lyrics in their songs made influence on many minds by carrying messages like: give peace a chance and people working it out. A message more powerful than political control, it broke through second and third world censorship and regulations and set many millions free
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