, Research Paper
The Beatles. One of the most incredible musical talents in history, they also have one of the most intriguing backgrounds. From John Lennon?s early groups in the late fifties to his assassination in 1980, the Beatles had very full and eventful lives (Haber).
Some may believe that the ?Beatles Revolution? did not begin until the band arrived in the U.S. on February 7, 1964, but the beginnings of their legacy can be traced much further back (Haber). John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, the ?Fab Four? as they were called were each born in the early forties in Liverpool, England. These were the four ?permanent? members of what we know as the Beatles today, however when John was first starting out in the music industry, the members in his several different bands changed many times (Markowski).
One of John?s first and biggest steps toward becoming the amazing musician that he would later become was his first guitar, a gift from his aunt at age sixteen. John soon formed his own musical group that he titled the Quarrymen, after the school that he attended. During a performance at the Woolton Parish Church in Liverpool, future member Paul McCartney is invited to join the group. Several months following Paul?s enrollment in the group, George Harrison is invited to join as well. Finally, in mid 1960, the group titles itself the Beatles, with five total members. These members included John, Paul, George, Stu Sutcliffe, a bass player with little musical talent, and Pete Best on drums. They made their debut later that year on August 1 in Hamburg, West Germany (Rock).
The Beatles? next big performance was on January 1, 1961 at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. In April of that year, Stu left the band and Paul took over playing bass. While playing at the Cavern Club, they were discovered by a local record merchant and entrepreneur, Brian Epstein. One month later, in December of 1961, Epstein signed on as the Beatles? manager. Unfortunately, the next month they were rejected by Decca Records, which they were hoping to join. In spite of this, they got the opportunity to impress George Martin, producer at EMI-Parlophone records, and signed with them in April 1962 (Steinberg). In August of that year, the group finally became complete when drummer Ringo Starr replaced Pete Best. Starr had previously been playing with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, and was eager to join the booming group. One of their largest and still early steps was their radio debut in which they performed three songs, including Roy Orbison?s ?Dream Baby,? on the BBC on March 7 (Beatles Online). However, their biggest steps were yet to come, for instance hitting number two on the British charts with the song ?Please Please Me?. They had recorded their first two albums at EMI Studios in September of 1962, and began a chart-topping reign that would last for years afterwards (Beatles Beatles).
The next and biggest stage was their infamous trip to America, but not before topping the U.S. charts with the single ?I Want to Hold Your Hand? prior to having even arrived. This single, the first of the Beatles? American singles, was released on Capitol Records, which was EMI?s American counterpart. The Beatles’ conquest of America early in 1964 launched the British Invasion, as a flood of rock and roll bands from Britain overtook the pop charts. This event was possibly the single most important event in the history of the Beatles, if not in the entire history of pop music, because it marked a literal invasion of a completely new and fresh style of music. This style of music was, at the time, just what the U.S. needed, due to the recent assassination of its president. During the week of April 4, 1964, two months after their arrival in the U.S., the Beatles set a record that is likely never to be broken when they occupied all five of the top positions on Billboard’s Top Pop Singles chart, with “Can’t Buy Me Love? at Number One. Their popularity soared still further with the release of their playfully rebellious documentary film, A Hard Day’s Night, in August 1964 (Rock). They had more hits still, such as ?She Loves you?, ?Can?t Buy me Love?, ?Love Me Do?, ?A Hard Day?s Night?, ?I Feel Fine?, all of which were among the astonishing twenty songs that made it to number one on the charts; this number was not even topped by ?The King? himself, Elvis Presley, who only sent 17 songs to number one (Markowski). In fact, later in 1965 the group actually spends an afternoon with Presley at his home, talking and playing music. In spite of the chart topping, the legacy of the Beatles is not at all solely about the numbers; the Beatles are famed for their sophisticated and deeply meaningful lyrics, such as those on albums ?Rubber Soul? and ?Revolver?. They were, needless to say, musical geniuses who changed the world of music forever (Haber).
Despite all of their fantastic accomplishments, For various reasons, ranging from safety concerns to frustration that no one could hear or was listening, the Beatles retired from touring after a San Francisco concert on August 29, 1966. They became worried about the safety and well being of their fans as well as themselves when they began to realize how wild their concerts really were. This was hardly a setback for the band, however (Beatles Online). Just ten months later, they released one of their most famous and brilliant, not to mention comical albums ever ? Sgt. Pepper?s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This album has almost universally been cited as the creative peak of rock and roll, a defining moment in which rock became “serious art” without losing its sense of humor (or sense of the absurd). It was a completely self-contained album meant to be played and experienced from start to finish. It is said that anyone who was alive in the summer of 1967 can remember the pleasant shock of hearing it and the reverberations it sent outward into the world of rock and roll and beyond (Haber).
In January of 1968, Apple Corps, Ltd. was started, and the Beatles were signed on. Initially, Apple helped the Beatles through a maze of money troubles that they were trapped in, but everything soon began to go downhill. Even the Beatles? last film and album, both titled Let It Be followed and essentially documented this depression. The downhill chain of events continued as bad feelings sprung up within the band for John?s new soon-to-be wife, Yoko Ono (Rock). This was just one of several things that contributed to the band?s slow dissolution and eventual breakup. Fortunately, though, the Beatles went out on somewhat of a high note in the summer of 1969 when they recorded their swan song, Abbey Road. But when Paul announced his departure from the group on April 10, 1970, the band quietly came to an end (Beatles Online). Throughout the seventies, while the four pursued solo careers in music, fans remained hopeful for an eventual reunion of the group. These hopes were tragically smashed, however, on December 8, 1980 when John Lennon was murdered in New York City (Steinberg).