The Beatles
1957
United Kingdom
Music group
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 change the name to "The Quarry Men". Their gigs were mostly neighborhood events.

July 6, 1957, John Lennon along with "The Quarry Men" had just finished performing at St. Peter's Parish Church in Woolton, Liverpool when fellow group member and childhood friend Ivan Vaughn introduced him to a guitarist named James Paul McCartney who played "Twenty Flight Rock" for John. A recording was made of the Quarry Men's performance by Bob Molyneux, a member of St Peter's Youth Club. Paul was asked by Pete Shotten to join the band, during a chance encounter on July 20. On Oct 18, Paul made his debut performance.

In September John entered "The Liverpool College of Art". Paul and George Harrison were students at "Liverpool Institute High School for Boys". During their daily hour-long bus commute, they became friends discovering a mutual interest in music.

On Feb 6, 1958, Paul introduced George to John. George persisted over time to convinced a reluctant John to allow him to join The Quarry Men-even following him on his dates with his future wife Cynthia Powell.
on Aug. 29th, 1958, John accepted George into The Quarry Men, which would then grow into seven members, before disbanding in 1959 due to lack of gigs.

George joined another group which disbanded, then he and fellow group member Ken Brown united with John and Paul for seven Saturday performances at the new Casbah Club, from Aug 29, 1959 until Oct 10 when a financial dispute ended their relationships with the club and Ken Brown. The trio continued as "Johnny and the Moondogs" with Paul on drums. Ken formed a group with Pete Best, the son of the Casbah's club owner and continued performing there.

In Jan. 1960, John invited a fellow art student Stu Sutcliff to join the group on the condition he got his own bass. In May They renamed themselves The "Beetles" (as a tribute to Stu's favorite band "Buddy Holly & The Crickets", then, The"Silver Beetles". Allan Williams became their manager. In June, they modified their name to the "Silver Beatles".

In early May a 25 year old drummer - Tommy Moore - joined them. On May 18th they began a nine day tour in Scotland backing performer Johnny Gentle. Tommy left the group afterwards due to financial obligations.

In July 1960 they discover a drummer - Norman Chapman - who joined them until he was called for national service duty.

On Aug 6th, 1960, they invited their friend Pete Best to become their permanent drummer after having played together several times during their performances at the Casbah club

Their manager Alan Williams, having been told about the vivid night-life and the love of rock and roll in Hamburg Germany, arrainged gigs for some of the groups he managed. On Aug 18th, 1960, posing as students, The Beatles began a series of gigs in Hamburg, and John renamed the group The Beatles. They initially stayed in Hamburg until Dec 1st. The atmosphere was filled with promiscuity, booze and pills. They would return periodically until Feb, 1962.

The line-up of The Beatles now comprised John Lennon (rhythm/ vocals), Paul McCartney (rhythm/vocals), George Harrison (lead/ vocals), Stuart Sutcliffe (bass/vocals) and Pete Best (drums).

After their first Hamburg tour ended (George was deported for being underage, and their dispute with their current boss lead to a police complaint about an attempted fire to his premises. - resulting in the arrest or Pete and Paul) Stu left the group after becoming engaged to photographer Astrid Kirchherr who was partially responsible for The Beatles' "Mop Tops") the beatles broke up for about a month, and Paul was urged by his father to get a job in a factory.

Pete Best became the sex symbol of The Beatles, and his distinctive drumming style was nicknamed by the press the "atom beat". However, his popularity caused jealousy among the rest of the Beatles.

On Feb 9th 1961, The Beatles first performed at the Cavern Club; Pete's mother -Mona- assisted in getting them this booking. They returned to Hamburg Apr 1st1961, to work at the "Top Ten" club until Jul 2nd. A dispute started by John over discontinuing the paying of percentages to their manager Alan Williams for that gig, lead to Alan terminating his relationship with The Beatles.

The Beatles were approached by Producer Bert Kampfert ("Wonderland By Night") at the Top Ten Club and asked if they would be willing to record with Tony Sheridan. The Beatles were soon signed to a Polydor recording contract as the Beat Brothers, and from June 22nd to 23rd they recorded "My Bonnie", "In the School Hall", "Cry for A Shadow" and "Ain't She Sweet".

Saturday Oct 28th. 1961, Brian Epstein, received three requests at his record store for "My Bonnie" by The Beatles. You was informed that they were currently performing at The Cavern Club. After watching the beatles perform at the Cavern Club in Liverpool He introduced himself. Later, he consulted with his friend Alan - who was then still bitter about their disloyalty - about his wishes to Manage them. He took over their management at a 25% percentage.

On New Year's Day 1962, the group was granted an audition with Decca's A&R department, headed by Dick Rowe with his assistant Mike Smith. Mike liked them, as well as The Tremeloes who were also auditioning that day, but was forced to select only one by Dick. Brian Poole And The Tremeloes were selected because of their superior performance (The Beatles has partied until 4:30 am that morning-and were tired), and because The Tremoloes lived just a mile away and would cost the company less in travel expenses.

On Jan 24th, the band signed a management contract with Brian Epstein. April 10 th, Stu Sutcliff died of a brain hemorrhage; he had been complaining of headaches ever since their first Hamburg tour.
June 4th, The Beatles auditioned for George Martin and EMI/Parlophone Records, and was offered a contract, however, George expressed concern about the drumming skills of Pete Best, asking them to bring in a session drummer.

Ringo Starr had been playing with The Beatles on several dates when Pete Best was sick. George began urging the others to replace Pete - who was perceived to have prompted jealousy among the other members because of his good looks and sex-appeal.

Enter Ringo Starr
Aug 16th, The Beatles persuaded Brian Epstein to fire Best; Jimmy Hutchinson was first offered the drumming spot but declined, and Ringo Star was hired, due in part because of his superior drumming, and his more compatible personality. Although, he had an offer from Gerry and the Pacemakers, he finaly settled on The Beatles because they had gotten a record contract.

Sept 4th,Producers George Martin and Ron Richards began their first Beatles recording session in which "Love Me Do" -written by Paul in 1958- was recorded in Mono on a two-track tape, with Ringo on Drums. Martin complained about Ringo's timing to John, Paul and George, and indicated that he would hire a session drummer, and suggested that John include the harmonica solo.
"How Do You Do It" was Martin's choice for their first single, however "Love Me Do" won out and "How Do You Do It" was offerred to Gerry and the Pacemakers. This lineup was on the initial Parlophone 45 release of October 5, 1962.

Sept 11th, A new Mono recording session for "Love Me Do" & "PS I Love You" with Session Drummer Andy White, and Ringo on the Tamborine and Maracas. This lineup was on the album version, and the U.S. release on April 27, 1964 on Tollie Records. "Please Please Me" was originally planned for the B-side, however George Martin insisted it's pace was too slow. Although The Beatles attempted a faster-paced version, they were not satisfied with the results, and put off re-recording their first number 1 song until Feb 11th 1963.

EMI, approached Vee Jay Records in the Summer of 1962, after Capitol Records turned down their U.S. option for the distribution of "I Remember You", by Frank Ifield, and The Beatles' releases. Vee Jay released the single Please Please Me b/w Ask Me Why in the US, on 25 February 1963 (VJ 498) under the name "Beattles".

The Beatles next U.S. release, on May 27 1963 - Vee Jay (VJ522)- "From Me To You" b/w Thank You Girl peaked at #116 on Billboard, August 10th, 1963. Their U.S.next release "She Loves You" - Sept.16, 1963 , failed to chart at all it's first time. It entered the charts on Jan 25th, 1964 and reached #1.

During Oct. '62, The Beatles performed in England on the bill with Little Richard - who was backed on organ by sixteen-year-old Billy Preston.
They again performed with them in Hamburg during Nov and Dec '62.

In February of 1963 the Beatles returned to the studio to record 10 songs (in one day!) for their first album, Please Please Please Me, which was released the following month. It became an instant hit, staying at No. 1 in Britain for 30 weeks and by October, female fans were screaming at their performances -- the start of "Beatlemania." Following an early November performance before the royal family, Parlophone released a second Beatles album, With The Beatles. By the end of the year the group had sold over 2.5 million albums in Britain, and had a string of million-selling singles.

Naturally, word about this amazing new act soon spread to America. Yet, ignoring the British success of the Fab Four, EMI's U.S. partner, Capitol, declined to issue the first few Beatles singles, which were instead picked up by the Chicago-based indie label Vee Jay Records. Vee Jay packaged the early singles as Introducing the Beatles, their first U.S. LP. During the second half of 1963 it was the only Beatles material available in America, and sold incredibly well; by 1964 a court awarded the rights to all Beatles recordings to EMI/Capitol, and the record went out of print, only to become one of the most counterfeited albums in music history.

In January of 1964 Capitol released their first U.S. Beatles LP, Meet the Beatles, containing remixed material from their two British albums. Following a landmark three- weekend stint on the Ed Sullivan show in February of 1964 (viewed by over 73 million people), the Beatles were the biggest band in America - "Beatlemania" had taken hold of the U.S., also paving the way for other "British Invasion" groups. To capitalize on their incredible popularity, the Fab Four were made the stars of a comedy film, A Hard Days Night, which, surprisingly, earned good reviews and, not surprisingly, spawned a hit soundtrack album.

Following the release of the movie in July, the band embarked on their first North American tour, performing 25 stadium dates in the U.S. and Canada. By the end of the year Beatles For Sale was in British stores, part of EMI's plan to have a new Beatles album out every six months, while their previous albums and singles still clogged the U.S. and U.K Top 10. In 1965 the band appeared in a second movie, the James Bond spoof Help!,which also spawned a soundtrack album. Another huge U.S. tour followed.

Not content with their unprecedented commercial success, the Beatles began to take their music more seriously, shifting from covers and upbeat pop love songs to more introspective, experimental material, highlighted on December 1965's Rubber Soul. The next U.S. Beatles album, Yesterday...And Today, was released on June 15, 1966 and featured a shocking cover featuring the handsome Fab Four surrounded by raw meat and butchered baby dolls, a protest against Capitol's "butchery" of their albums in the U.S. market. Complaints from retailers immediately rolled in, and the album was withdrawn, reissued the following week with a new, mundane cover of a steamer trunk. (Today copies of the album with the original cover are worth thousands of dollars.)

Further controversy plagued the group when John Lennon claimed in a newspaper interview that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus." Many radio stations stopped playing their songs, and protesters appeared outside their concerts. Meanwhile the group was increasingly under the influence of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an Indian guru; this flirtation with Eastern religion soon became common among '60s rock stars, and, more interestingly, lead the Beatles to experiment with Indian sitar music on their next few albums. The band also began using copious amounts of psychedelic drugs, foreshadowing the "flower children" of the next few years.

Following the release of Revolver, their most mature effort to date, in August 1966, the Beatles embarked on their final U.S. tour, playing their last live show at San Francisco's Candlestick Park on August 29th. Henceforth, the band announced, they were going to eschew live performances to concentrate on more elaborate studio recordings. Rumors of a breakup were spread in the media as the band disappeared from the public.

The Beatles spent much of early 1967 in the studio, recording their magnum opus, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. This groundbreaking concept album completely changed the way rock albums created: it used numerous studio effects, placed the emphasis on the album as a whole rather than on singles, and rewrote the standard for cover art with its famous mannequin-based photo collage.Sgt. Pepper's later won four Grammys, including Best Album.

On August 27, 1967 Beatles manger Brian Epstein was found dead of a drug overdose, possibly intentional. The band was shaken, but decided not to hire a new manager, assuming complete control over their own career. Their first project without Epstein's guidance, the concept album and BBC TV special Magical Mystery Tour, was attacked by critics, and perhaps was the beginning of the end for the Beatles.

By 1968 the group had formed its own record label, Apple, and was recording tracks for a new double album. Sessions were filled with tension as members of the group stormed out periodically and often failed to record together, turning in tracks recorded independently. The often bizarre result, popularly referred to as The White Album but officially called The Beatles, was released in November of 1968, and featured a guest appearance by Eric Clapton on the single "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."

That same month John Lennon released a solo album recorded with his controversial new lover, Japanese-American artist Yoko Ono, entitled Unfinished Music No. 1 - Two Virgins.Late in 1968 an animated film inspired by the song "Yellow Submarine" was released in theaters. Despite the cheery tone of the film, created with little band involvement, the real Beatles were hardly speaking, spending more time on their personal lives and own musical projects than on the group.

In January 1969 the weary band began preparing to record a new album live in the studio, without any overdubs, tentatively entitled Get Back. For an accompanying film, the Beatles performed on the roof of their studio, their last public appearance ever. While preparing the album, the group began to fight over creative issues, and the project was shelved amid many bad feelings. On March 12, McCartney married American photographer Linda Eastman; several days later Lennon formally married Yoko Ono.

By May the Beatles' situation worsened when the group appointed Allen Klein as their new business manager, despite objections by Paul McCartney, who wanted to give the job to his new father-in-law. Though conflict continued to plague the group, the Beatles returned one last time to EMI Studios to record Abbey Road with George Martin, an amazingly cohesive album. By early 1970 each of the four Beatles was working on a solo album, but each publicly denied rumors of a split. In September 1969, Lennon told his bandmates that he wanted to quit, but because the group was renegotiating with EMI at the time, the breakup was temporarily put aside.

Meanwhile, rampant rumors spread across America that Paul McCartney had died in an auto accident several years earlier and had been secretly replaced by a look-alike; the alleged "clues" hidden in lyrics and cover art were quickly proved to be the product of overactive imaginations.

Sadly, internal tension resurfaced in the Beatles when Allen Klein brought in Phil Spector to produce and overdub Get Back (released in May 1970 as Let It Be) against Paul's wishes, also demanding that Paul delay the release of McCartney, his solo debut, in order to avoid detracting from sales of Let It Be.

In anger, McCartney released his album in April, before Let It Be, and publicly announced that he was quitting the group. On December 31, 1970 McCartney filed suit against Klein to break up the Beatles, which upset the other three, who had considered periodically recording as a group while continuing their solo careers - now any chance of a reunion was gone, at least for quite a while. Apple Records became a financial and legal mess.

During the 1970s each of the Beatles released solo albums. Though all four Beatles did contribute to the 1973 Ring Starr song "I'm the Greatest," no genuine reunion ever took place. On December 8, 1980 all chances of that happening were ended when deranged fan Mark David Chapman shot and killed John Lennon outside his New York apartment.

Although the Beatles had not released any new albums since 1970, interest in the group remained high into the '90s, their backcatalog selling millions of copies a year and providing Capitol with a large percentage of its annual income. Though Capitol issued singles/out-takes compilations such as Past Masters and Rarities,a lot more unreleased material remained unavailable due to ongoing legal problems, and ended up on illegal bootlegs.

By the early '90s Paul, George, Ringo and Yoko Ono settled their contractual disagreements, permitting the re-release of long unavailable recordings. In 1994 Capitol issued a double CD of early Beatles recordings for the BBC. Phenomenal sales of Live at the BBC inspired more exploitation of the Beatles legacy.

In 1995 the surviving Beatles came together to contribute to a TV documentary about the group and select material for a planned rarities anthology of out-takes and demos.

While together, Paul, George and Ringo laid down music for two John Lennon demo out-takes, "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love." Though the sound quality was often abysmal, the material inferior, and the surrounding hype insulting, America's aging populace ate up the three 1996 double-album releases, Beatles Anthology 1, 2, and 3, which sold over 15 million copies in less than a year.
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