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The BEATLES (1957-1969)
The Beatles were formed and named in Liverpool in 1957 by John Lennon with Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Names such as the Quarrymen, Wump and the Werbles, the Rainbows, John and the Moondogs and the Silver Beatles were used before settling with the Beatles. Their early work included songs from Elvis, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins and Gene Vincent. They started out playing in Liverpool at the Casbah and the Cavern clubs, before being invited to play in Hamburg in 1960 at the Indra club. They stayed in Hamburg for six months between August and November and played six nights a week, sometimes from seven o'clock in the evening until three o'clock the following morning.
The band gained two extra members in Stuart Sutcliffe on electric bass guitar and Pete Best on drums. At this point in time, the Beatles had a rough image and George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Pete Best all got deported from Germany. It was left to John Lennon to bring back all the equipment on his own. Stuart Sutcliffe died in 1962 and Pete Best was replaced by Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey).
After playing gigs in Hamburg and Liverpool, the Beatles produced a raw sound as exciting as their rhythm and blues forebears. Brian Epstein became their manager in 1962 and he changed their image into a suit wearing band. The main song writers were John Lennon and Paul McCartney and their first album was "Please Please Me" which took one day to record. It included the hits "Love me do", " Please please me" and "Twist and Shout" which was a cover of the Isley Brothers US hit.
Highly successful tours of the United States followed in 1964, 1965 and 1966. Over ten thousand fans greeted them at Kennedy airport in 1964, even before they had touched ground. The term "Beatlemania" was used to describe the adulation directed at the band from their fans. They soon became prisoners of their own fame however and the feature film "A Hard Day's Night" captured the essence of their lifestyle in early 1964.
The album "Beatles For Sale" (Dec 1964) included the tracks "Baby's in Black" and "I'm a Loser". Their next film "Help" was made in 1965 and during the same year the album "Rubber Soul" was released which signified a change in their recording technique. Other hits followed including "Yesterday" which started out with the title "scrambled eggs", "Eleanor Rigby", "Yellow Submarine" and "Hey Jude". In June 1965, the band members gained an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.
On the eve of their fourth N. American concert tour in 1966, John Lennon declared that the band was "bigger than Jesus Christ". Some American groups reacted badly and John Lennon described them as "middle aged DJs and twelve year olds burning a pile of LP covers". From 1966 onwards, they stopped touring and concentrated on recording. "Revolver" followed in 1966, using Geoff Emerick as sound engineer and George Martin as producer.
In 1965 the Beatles began to get interested in the drug LSD and they met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in August 1967. George Harrison became interested in Eastern music and religion and through his influence, they all attended Transcendental Meditation courses and travelled to India in February 1968.
The Beatles proved that talent can progress and grow as shown when they released "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band" (1967). They finished recording the "Sergeant Pepper's" album during the same weekend as the Monterey festival after nine months of being in the studio. "Strawberry Fields Forever" was released as a single in February 1967 with McCartney's "Penny Lane" on the flip side. The same year also saw "I am the Walrus" released which had "Hello Goodbye" on the flip side. The Beatles recorded "All You Need Is Love" in June 1967 to support the peace movement against the Vietnam war.
Brian Epstein died in 1967, the same year that Apple Records was established. The Beatles remained without a manager until 1969. Lennon wanted Allen Klein."The White Album" was recorded in 1968 and relationships within the Beatles became tense and Ringo actually quit temporarily. "Let it Be" was released in 1969 and contained the single "Get Back" (April 1969).
The band ceased performing together in 1969 and the partnership was later legally dissolved in 1970. John Lennon moved to the U.S.A, Paul McCartney formed the band Wings, George Harrison pursued a solo career and Ringo Starr took semi-retirement from the music industry.
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