The Beatles are internationally acclaimed the 'Greatest Artists of All Time', and their innovative music and impact on youth culture is evident even today. With the musical British Invasion, they established a musical style that was a perfect blend of rock and roll, skiffle, and contemporary group explored genres.
In 1957, John Lennon's skiffle group called Quarrymen took on the expertise of guitarist Paul McCartney. Another young guitarist, George Harrison was invited to join the group, amidst hesitation that came up because of his young age. The group adopted other names, including 'Johnny and the Moondogs' and 'Long John and the Beatles'.
The name 'Beatles' came from the admiration for Buddy Holly and The Crickets. Lennon came up with the band name Beatles at the Renshaw Hall Bar, over a couple of beers. However, down the years, both John Lennon and Paul McCartney claim credit for the name Beatles with an 'A.
The group was often without a drummer, and experimented with Tommy Moore, Norman Chapman, and Pete Best. In 1960, George Harrison was deported for bluffing his age to the German authorities, while Best and McCartney were arrested and deported, charged with 'arson'. Lennon found a romantic interest in Hamburg, Astrid Kirchherr.
In Hamburg, the group reunited and were recruited by singer Sheridan. A Polydor contract released 'Mein Herz ist bei dir nur' or 'My Bonnie' recorded by the group, under the name of Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers.
They went on to sign a five-year contract with Epstein, in their quest for a British recording contract. However, the North End Music Store and even the Decca Records turned the group down, stating that guitar groups were considered on the way out!
Recording engineer Jim Foy referred the group to Sid Coleman, who subsequently directed them towards George Martin. The group finally bagged an EMI one-year renewable contract. In 1962, the group asked Richard Starkey or Ringo Starr to join them, and the rest is history!
Their hits included Love Me Do, Please Please Me, Till There Was You, I Want to Hold Your Hand, Not a Second Time, From Me to You, and She Loves You. The fame of the band spread internationally, and this was the onset of Beatlemania. Serious music critics dubbed them as 'fresh and euphonious' for their ability to switch from C major to A flat major.
Several radio stations like WMCA, WINS, and WABC cashed in on the positive response to the Beatles' singles. Fans, photographers, and journalists, everyone took to the Beatles, and the result was hysteria. They received MBEs at none other than the Buckingham Palace!
In July 1966, when they declined an official invitation from the House of the Marcos, the 'snub' resulted in a backlash against the group from conservatives in the United States. Lennon's statement that the group were more popular than Jesus, had rural churches revolting.
'Revolver', the most ambitious Beatles album to date, recorded in 1966, is on record as the best sample of a perfect blend of ballad, R&B, and soul. The Beatles performed their last concert in San Francisco, in August 1966. The group broke up due to a number of deep divisions between the members.
The media hyped the causes of dissension as Lennon's girlfriend and McCartney's dominating nature. Their final song was Harrison's 'I, Me, Mine', recorded without Lennon. Lennon was shot in 1980, and the three surviving members reunited to produce a few of Lennon's home recordings in 1994.