The Beatles were formed in Liverpool 1959 as the Quarrymen. The name was later changed to the Silver Beatles and then the Beatles after Buddy Holly's group, the Crickets.
The original group comprised John Lennon (born 10/1940, died 8/12/1980), Paul McCartney (born 18/6/1942), George Harrison (born 25/2/1943, died 30/11/2001), Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best. Stuart Sutcliffe left the group in 1961 (and died of a brain haemorrhage in 1962). Their first recordings were made in Germany in 1961 as the backing group for Tony Sheridan.
The group was "discovered" by Brian Epstein, a Liverpool record store manager, who got them a recording contract with Parlophone. Parlophone head, George Martin, suggested that Pete Best be replaced as drummer. Ringo Starr (real name Richard Starkey, born 7/7/1940) was recruited from Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.
Love Me Do, recorded in October 1962, was a minor UK hit. Their next record, Please Please Me, reached number one in the UK. Their fourth record, She Loves You, reached number one in Australia. Their fifth record, I Want to Hold Your Hand, was their first US number one. At one point in early 1964, the Beatles had twelve singles in the US top 100, including numbers 1,2,3,4 and 5; as well as the top two LPs. Despite the fame of Lennon and McCartney as songwriters, many of the Beatles earlier recordings which made them famous were actually of other artists songs.
The Beatles retained their popularity while their style evolved from simple rock to much more complex psychedelic music.
The Beatles formed their own recording company, Apple Corps, in 1969 but opposing musical and business interests led them to break up.
After the Beatles broke up, John Lennon formed the Plastic Ono Band with his wife, Yoko Ono, and various others. His recordings varied from obscure avant-garde LPs to hit singles. He gave up recording in 1974 but resumed in 1980. On 8 December that year he was murdered.
Paul McCartney formed a new group, Wings, with his wife Linda, Denny Laine and various others at different times. Wings had a string of hit records during the 1970s. Subsequently, Paul McCartney has made successful solo recordings and with other stars such as Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson.
George Harrison produced a number of strongly religious and Indian-influenced recordings, interspersed with a few hit singles. Since the mid-1970s, he became involved in motor racing and film production. In 1987, he produced the hit single, Got My Mind Set on You. The following year, he joined with Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne to form the Travelling Wilburys who had a major hit album. Following Roy Orbison's death late that year, the band broke up and George spent much of his time in the garden of his huge mansion outside London. He was stabbed when an intruder broke into his house in December 1999,
Ringo Starr continued to work with both John Lennon and George Harrison after the Beatles broke up, and to produce a number of solo LPs during the early 1970s. He has appeared in a number of movies, made American beer commercials and narrated the Thomas the Tank Engine animated TV series.
(Performing rights to the Beatles compositions are now owned by Michael Jackson, who purchased them from Australian, Robert Holmes a'Court, who had acquired the original owner, Northern Songs, in a corporate takeover.)
George Harrison died from cancer on 30 November 2001. He was 58. George was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 1997 and was treated for a brain tumour early in 2001. He is survived by his wife, Olivia, and son, Dhani.
Songs The Beatles CoveredIt is often forgotten that the Beatles started out as a cover band. These are the original versions of some of the songs with which the Beatles are associated:
- Anna - Arthur Alexander
- A Taste of Honey - instrumental: "A Teste of Honey" score; vocal Lenny Welch
- Baby It's You - Shirelles
- Boys - Shirelles
- Chains - Cookies
- Devil in Her Heart - Donays
- Honey Don't - Carl Perkins
- Long Tall Sally - Little Richard
- Matchbox - Carl Perkins
- Money - Barrett Strong
- Please, Mr Postman - Marvelettes
- Rock & Roll Music - Chuck Berry
- Roll over Beethoven - Chuck Berry
- Till There Was You - Music Man Cast/Anita Bryant
- Twist & Shout - Isley Brothers
- Words of Love - Buddy Holly
- You Really Got a Hold on Me - Miracles
Songs The Beatles Gave AwaySome songs written by the Beatles, but never recorded by them, were hita for other artists. These include:
- A World without Love (Lennon/McCartney) - Peter & Gordon (1964)
- Bad to Me (Lennon/McCartney) - Billy J Kramer (1963)
- Badge (George Harrison & Eric Clapton) - Cream (1969)
- Come & Get It (Paul McCartney) - Badfinger (1969)
- From a Window (Lennon/McCartney) - Billy J Kramer (1964)
- Hurdy Gurdy Man (George Harrison & Donovan Leitch) - Donovan (1990)
- I'll Keep You Satisfied (Lennon/McCartney)- Billy J Kramer (1963)
- It's for You (Lennon/McCartney) - Cilla Black (1964)
- I Wanna Be Your Man (Lennon/McCartney)- Rolling Stones (1963)
- Love of the Loved (Lennon/McCartney) - Cilla Black (1963)
- Nobody I Know (Lennon/McCartney) - Peter & Gordon (1964)
- Step inside Love (Lennon/McCartney) - Cilla Black (1967)
- Woman (Paul McCartney) - Peter & Gordon (1966)