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The impact of the Beatles - not only on rock & roll but on all of Western culture - is simply incalculable. As musicians, the Beatles proved that rock & roll could embrace a limitless variety of harmonies, structures, and sounds; virtually every rock experiment has some precedent on Beatles records. As a unit the Beatles were a musically synergistic combination: Paul McCartney's melodic bass lines, Ringo Starr's slaphappy no-rolls drumming, George Harrison's rockabilly-style guitar leads, John Lennon's assertive rhythm guitar - and their four fervent voices. One of the first rock groups to write most of its own material, the Beatles inaugurated the era of self-contained bands and forever centralized pop. And as personalities, they defined and incarnated '60s style: smart, idealistic, playful, irreverent, eclectic. Their music, from the not-so-simple love songs they started with to their later perfectionistic studio extravaganzas, set new standards for both commercial and artistic success in pop. Although many of their sales and attendance records have since been surpassed, no group has so radically transformed the sound and significance of rock & roll. At the dawn of the 21st century, a chart-topping collection of the Beatles #1 hits, 1, was well on its way to becoming one of the best-selling albums of all time.
  
'''The Beatles''' were a [[pop music|pop]] and [[rock music|rock]] group from [[Liverpool]], [[England]]. They are one of<!--Keep in mind that they are not THE most critically acclaimed band of all time, because there are MILLIONS of reviews for HUNDREDS UPON THOUSANDS of bands, and NO ONE has seen every single review. Therefore, one CANNOT say that The Beatles are the MOST critically acclaimed. This is, and will always be, a matter of taste. --> the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed bands in the [[history of music|history of popular music]].<ref name="RS"> {{cite web|url=http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/thebeatles/biography |title=The Beatles: Biography |accessdate=2007-03-29 |work=Rolling Stone |publisher=rollingstone.com }}</ref>  The band's principal members were [[John Lennon]], [[Paul McCartney]], [[George Harrison]], and [[Ringo Starr]].
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Lennon was performing with his amateur skiffle group the Quarrymen at a church picnic on July 6, 1957, in the Liverpool suburb of Woolton when he met McCartney, whom he later invited to join his group; soon they were writing songs together, such as "The One After 909." By the year's end McCartney had convinced Lennon to let Harrison join their group, the name of which was changed to Johnny and the Moondogs in 1958. In 1960 an art-school friend of Lennon's, Stu Sutcliffe, became their bassist. Sutcliffe couldn't play a note but had recently sold one of his paintings for a considerable sum, which the group, now rechristened the Silver Beetles (from which "Silver" was dropped a few months later, and "Beetles" amended to "Beatles"), used to upgrade its equipment. Tommy Moore was their drummer until Pete Best replaced him in August 1960. Once Best had joined, the band made its first of four trips to Hamburg, Germany. In December Harrison was deported back to England for being underage and lacking a work permit, but by then their 30-set weeks on the stages of Hamburg beer houses had honed and strengthened their repertoire (mostly Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Carl Perkins, and Buddy Holly covers), and on February 21, 1961, they debuted at the Cavern club on Mathew Street in Liverpool, beginning a string of nearly 300 performances there over the next couple of years.
  
{{cquote|I'm a freaky monkey...}}
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In April 1961 they again went to Hamburg, where Sutcliffe (the first of the Beatles to wear his hair in the long, shaggy style that came to be known as the Beatle haircut) left the group to become a painter, while McCartney switched from rhythm guitar to bass. The Beatles returned to Liverpool as a quartet in July. Sutcliffe died from a brain hemorrhage in Hamburg less than a year later.
  
In the [[United Kingdom]], The Beatles released more than 40 different [[The Beatles discography#Singles|singles]], [[The Beatles discography|albums]], and [[The Beatles discography#Extended plays (EPs)|EPs]] that reached [[UK Singles Chart|number one]]. This commercial success was repeated in many other countries; their record company, [[EMI]], estimated that by 1985 they had sold over one billion records worldwide.<ref> {{cite web|url=http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1397313/bio |title=The Beatles - Biography |accessdate=2007-04-06 |last=Shelokhonov |first=Steve |publisher=IMDB.com }}</ref> The Beatles are the best-selling [[musical ensemble|musical act]] of all time in the [[United States]], according to the [[Recording Industry Association of America]].<ref name="riaa">{{cite web |url=http://www.riaa.com/newsitem.php?news_year_filter=1999&resultpage=2&id=3ABF3EC8-EF5B-58F9-E949-3B57F5E313DF |title=The American Recording Industry Announces its Artists of the Century |publisher=Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) |date=1999-11-10 |accessdate=2007-06-26}}</ref>
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The Beatles had been playing regularly to packed houses at the Cavern when they were spotted on November 9 by Brian Epstein (b. Sep. 19, 1934, Liverpool). After being discharged from the British Army on medical grounds, Epstein had attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London for a year before returning to Liverpool to manage his father's record store.
  
In 2004, ''[[Rolling Stone]]'' magazine ranked The Beatles #1 on its list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.<ref>{{cite web| title = The Immortals: The First Fifty| work = Rolling Stone Issue 946| publisher = Rolling Stone| url =http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/5939214/the_immortals_the_first_fifty}}</ref> According to that same magazine, their innovative music and cultural impact helped define the 1960s<ref name="RS"/> and their influence on pop culture is still evident today.
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The request he received for a German import single entitled "My Bonnie" (which the Beatles had recorded a few months earlier in Hamburg, backing singer Tony Sheridan and billed as the Beat Boys) convinced him to check out the group. Epstein was surprised to discover not only that the Beatles weren't German but that they were one of the most popular local bands in Liverpool. Within two months he became their manager. Epstein cleaned up their act, eventually replacing black leather jackets, tight jeans, and pompadours with collarless gray Pierre Cardin suits and mildly androgynous haircuts.
  
The Beatles led the mid-1960s musical "[[British Invasion]]" into the United States. Although their initial musical style was rooted in 1950s [[rock and roll]] and homegrown [[skiffle]], the group explored [[music genre|genres]] ranging from [[Tin Pan Alley]] to [[psychedelic rock]]. Their clothes, styles, and statements made them trend-setters, while their growing social awareness saw their influence extend into the social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s.
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Epstein tried landing the Beatles a record contract, but nearly every label in Europe rejected the group. In May 1962, however, producer George Martin (b. Jan. 3, 1926, North London, Eng.) signed the group to EMI's Parlophone subsidiary. Pete Best, then considered the group's undisputed sex symbol, was asked to leave the group on August 16, 1962, and Ringo Starr, drummer with a popular Liverpool group, Rory Storme and the Hurricanes, was added, just in time for the group's first recording session. On September 11 the Beatles cut two originals, "Love Me Do" b/w "P.S. I Love You," which became their first U.K. Top 20 hit in October. In early 1963 "Please Please Me" went to #2, and they recorded an album of the same name in one 10-hour session on February 11, 1963. With the success of their third English single, "From Me to You" (#1), the British record industry coined the term "Merseybeat" (after the river that runs through Liverpool) for groups such as the Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, and the Searchers. By mid-year the Beatles were given billing over Roy Orbison on a national tour, and the hysterical outbreaks of Beatlemania had begun. Following their first tour of Europe in October, they moved to London with Epstein. Constantly mobbed by screaming fans, the Beatles required police protection almost any time they were seen in public. Late in the year "She Loves You" became the biggest-selling single in British history (in the years since, only six other singles have sold more copies there). In November 1963 the group performed before the Queen Mother at the Royal Command Variety Performance.
  
==1957–60: Formation==
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EMI's American label, Capitol, had not released the group's 1963 records (which Martin licensed to independents like Vee-Jay and Swan with little success) but was finally persuaded to release its fourth single, "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and Meet the Beatles (identical to the Beatles' second British album, With the Beatles) in January 1964 and to invest $50,000 in promotion for the then unknown British act. The album and the single became the Beatles' first U.S. chart-toppers. On February 7 screaming mobs met them at New York City's Kennedy Airport, and more than 70 million people watched each of their appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9 and 16. In April 1964 "Can't Buy Me Love" became the first record to top American and British charts simultaneously, and that same month the Beatles held the top five positions on Billboard singles chart ("Can't Buy Me Love," "Twist and Shout," "She Loves You," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "Please Please Me").
{{main|The Quarrymen}}
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In March 1957, while attending Quarry Bank Grammar School in [[Liverpool]], John Lennon formed a [[skiffle]] group called [[The Quarrymen]].<ref>[http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:995j8qmtbtn4 AMG biography] Retrieved: 29 January 2007 </ref> Lennon and the Quarrymen met guitarist Paul McCartney at the [[Woolton]] Garden Fête held at St. Peter's Church on [[6 July]] [[1957]] and added him to the group a few days later.<ref name="SpitzPage93"> Spitz 2005. p93</ref> On [[6 February]] [[1958]], the young guitarist George Harrison was invited to watch the group (who played under a variety of names) at Wilson Hall, Garston, Liverpool.<ref>Ray O'Brien, ''There are Places I'll Remember: Volume 1'', 2001</ref> McCartney had become acquainted with Harrison on the morning school bus ride to the [[Liverpool Institute]], as they both lived in [[Speke]]. At McCartney's insistence, Harrison joined the Quarrymen as [[lead guitarist]], after a rehearsal in March 1958, overcoming Lennon's initial reluctance because of Harrison's young age.<ref name="MilesPage47"> Miles 1998. p47</ref><ref name=" SpitzPage126-127"> Spitz 2005. pp126–127</ref> Lennon and McCartney both played [[rhythm guitar]] during that period, and had a high turnover of drummers.  
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The Quarrymen went through a progression of names — "Johnny and the Moondogs" and "Long John and the Beatles". Lennon's [[art school]] friend [[Stuart Sutcliffe]] joined on [[Bass guitar|bass]] in January 1960, when they were called "The Silver Beetles" (derived from [[Larry Parnes]]' suggestion of "Long John and the Silver Beetles") — before settling on "The Beatles" in August 1960. Sutcliffe suggested 'The Beetles' as a tribute to [[Buddy Holly]] and [[The Crickets]], which he and Lennon then thought of changing to 'The Beatals'. They changed their name again to the 'Silver Beats', [[The Silver Beetles]], and the 'Silver Beatles', but Lennon shortened it to The Beatles, to avoid being introduced as "Long John Silver of the Silver Beatles", which was too similar to 'Johnny and the Moondogs'. After a tour with [[Larry Parnes|Johnny Gentle]] in [[Scotland]], they changed their name to the 'Beatles'.<ref>Coleman, Ray (1984). ''Lennon: The Definitive Biography''. [[Pan Books]]. p212.</ref><ref name="CynthiaJohnp66"> Cynthia Lennon – “John”. p66.</ref> [[Cynthia Lennon]] suggests that Lennon came up with the name Beatles at a "brainstorming session over a beer-soaked table in the Renshaw Hall bar."<ref name=" CynthiaJohnp65"> Cynthia Lennon – “John” 2006. p65</ref> Lennon, who was well known for giving multiple versions of the same story, joked in a 1961 ''[[Mersey Beat]]'' magazine article that "It came in a vision — a man appeared on a flaming pie and said unto them, 'From this day on you are Beatles with an A'".<ref>[[Hunter Davies|Davies, Hunter]]. ''The Beatles'' (1981 edition)</ref> During an interview in 2001, Paul McCartney took credit for the peculiar spelling of the name, saying that "John had the idea of calling us the Beetles, I said, 'how about the ''Beatles''; you know, like the beat of the drum?' At the time, everyone was stoned enough to find it hilarious. It's funny how history is made."<ref name=" OBrienp22"> Ray O'Brien – ''There Are Places I'll Remember: The "Beatles" Early Venues in and Around Merseyside'' London, 2001. p22</ref>
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In May 1960, the Silver Beetles toured northeast Scotland as a back-up band with singer Johnny Gentle.<ref>Coleman, Ray (1984). ''Lennon: The Definitive Biography''. [[Pan Books]]. p212</ref> They met Gentle an hour before their first gig, and McCartney referred to the tour as a great experience for the band.<ref name="SpitzPage188-193"> Spitz 2005. pp188–193</ref> For the tour the often drummerless group secured the services of Tommy Moore, who was considerably older than the others.<ref name="Lewisohn92">Lewisohn, Mark (1992). ''The Complete Beatles Chronicle''. Chancellor Press. ISBN 1-85152-975-6</ref>
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Their first movie, A Hard Day's Night (directed by Richard Lester), opened in America in August; it grossed $1.3 million in its first week. The band was aggressively merchandised - Beatle wigs, Beatle clothes, Beatle dolls, lunch boxes, a cartoon series -from which, because of Epstein's ineptitude at business, the band made surprisingly little money. The Beatles also opened the American market to such British Invasion groups as the Dave Clark Five, the Rolling Stones, and the Kinks.
Moore left the band soon after the tour and went back to work in a bottling factory as a [[forklift truck]] driver.<ref name="Coleman213">Coleman, Ray (1984). ''Lennon: The Definitive Biography''. [[Pan Books]]. p213</ref> Norman Chapman was the band's next drummer, but was called up for [[National Service]] a few weeks later. His departure posed a serious problem as the group's unofficial manager, [[Allan Williams]], had arranged for them to perform in clubs on the [[Reeperbahn]] in [[Hamburg, Germany]].<ref name="LewisohnChronicles">Lewisohn, Mark (1996). ''The Complete Beatles Chronicle''. Chancellor Press. ISBN 1-85152-975-6</ref>
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==Musical influences==
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By 1965 Lennon and McCartney rarely wrote songs together, although by contractual and personal agreement songs by either of them were credited to both. The Beatles toured Europe, North America, the Far East, and Australia that year. Their second movie, Help! (also directed by Lester), was filmed in England, Austria, and the Bahamas in the spring and opened in the U.S. in August. On August 15 they performed to 55,600 fans at New York's Shea Stadium, setting a record for largest concert audience. McCartney's "Yesterday" (#1, 1965) would become one of the most often covered songs ever written. In June the Queen of England had announced that the Beatles would be awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). The announcement sparked some controvers - some MBE holders returned their medal - but on October 26, 1965, the ceremony took place at Buckingham Palace. (Lennon returned his medal in 1969 as an antiwar gesture. Interestingly, even though he rejected the medal, the honor itself cannot be returned; Lennon technically remained an MBE.)
John Lennon said: "It was [[Elvis Presley|Elvis]] who really got me buying records. I thought that early stuff of his was great. The [[Bill Haley]] era passed me by, in a way. When his records came on the wireless, my mother used to hear them, but they didn’t do anything for me. It was Elvis who got me hooked on beat music. When I heard '[[Heartbreak Hotel]]', I thought ‘this is it’ and I started to grow sideboards and all that gear...."<ref>[http://web.archive.org/web/20070605023653/http://features.absoluteelsewhere.net/ZeKingandI/ze_king_and_i.html Ze King and I]. Retrieved 2007-06-05</ref>
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He also commented: "Nothing really affected me until I heard Elvis. If there hadn't been an Elvis, there wouldn't have been a Beatles."<ref>Quoted in: Cook, ''Graceland National Historic Landmark Nomination'', p35</ref>  (See also [[The Beatles#Musical evolution|the Beatles musical evolution]], below.)
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==1960–70: The Beatles==
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With 1965's Rubber Soul, the Beatles' ambitions began to extend beyond love songs and pop formulas. Their success led adults to consider them, along with Bob Dylan, spokesmen for youth culture, and their lyrics grew more poetic and somewhat more political. In summer 1966 controversy erupted when a remark Lennon had made to a British newspaper reporter months before was widely reported in the U.S. The quote - "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now" - incited denunciations and Beatles record bonfires. The anti-Beatles backlash was particularly intense in the U.S., where the group was set to begin a tour just two weeks after the controversy erupted, and included death threats against the group. Largely out of concern for the safety of his fellow band members, Lennon apologized at a Chicago press conference.
===Hamburg===
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Finding themselves drummerless before their upcoming engagement in Hamburg, on [[12 August]] [[1960]] the group invited [[Pete Best]] to become their drummer. Best had played with The Blackjacks in [[The Casbah Coffee Club]], owned by Pete's mother, [[Mona Best]].<ref>{{cite web|url=http://abbeyrd.best.vwh.net/namec.htm|title=From Blackjacks to Beatles: How the Fab Four Evolved|accessdate=2006-06-21}} From Blackjacks to Beatles Retrieved: 29 January 2007 </ref> This was a cellar club in [[West Derby]], Liverpool, where The Beatles played and often visited.<ref>[http://maxwelledison.blogspot.com/2005_10_16_maxwelledison_archive.html Casbah Club] Retrieved: 29 January 2007 </ref> In the documentary ''[[The Compleat <!--(sic)-->Beatles]]'', Williams said that Best "played not too cleverly, but passable".
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Four days after hiring Best, the group left for Hamburg. The Beatles began playing in Hamburg at the Indra Club and moved on [[4 October]] [[1960]] to the [[Kaiserkeller]]. They were required to play six or seven hours a night, seven nights a week. On [[21 November]] [[1960]], Harrison was deported for having lied to the German authorities about his age.<ref name="CynthiaLennonJohnPage93"> Cynthia Lennon “John” 2006. p93</ref> A week later, having started a small fire at their living quarters while vacating it for more luxurious rooms, McCartney and Best were arrested, charged with arson, and deported.<ref> Lewisohn. p24</ref> Lennon followed the others to Liverpool in mid-December while Sutcliffe stayed behind in Hamburg with his new German fiancée [[Astrid Kirchherr]]. The reunited group played an engagement on [[17 December]] [[1960]] at the Casbah Club (with [[Chas Newby]] substituting for Sutcliffe).<ref name="Spitzp4-5"> Spitz 2005 pp4-5</ref>
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The Beatles gave up touring after an August 29, 1966, concert at San Francisco's Candlestick Park and made the rest of their music in the studio, where they had begun to experiment with exotic instrumentation ("Norwegian Wood," 1965, had featured sitar) and tape abstractions such as the reversed tracks on "Rain." "Strawberry Fields Forever," part of a double-sided single released in February 1967 to fill the unusually long gap between albums, featured an astonishing display of electronically altered sounds and hinted at what was to come. With "Taxman" and "Love You To" on Revolver, Harrison began to emerge as a songwriter.
[[Image:Indra-Club-Hamburg.png|left|thumb|The Indra Club, where the Beatles first played on arriving in Hamburg, as it appears today.]]
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The Beatles returned to Hamburg in April 1961, performing at the "[[Top Ten Club]]".<ref name="HamburgBeatleClubs">Photos of Clubs in Hamburg[http://webs.wichita.edu/mschneegurt/hamburg/hamburg.html]  Retrieved: 29 January 2007 </ref> While playing at the Top Ten Club they were recruited by singer [[Tony Sheridan]] to act as his [[Backup band|backing band]] on a series of recordings for the German [[Polydor Records]] label,<ref name="CynthiaLennonJohnp97"> Cynthia Lennon “John” 2006. p97</ref> produced by famed bandleader [[Bert Kaempfert]].<ref name="LewisohnChronicles">null</ref> Kaempfert signed the group to its own Polydor contract at the first session on [[22 June]] [[1961]]. On [[31 October]] Polydor released the recording "[[My Bonnie]] (Mein Herz ist bei dir nur)", which appeared on the German charts under the name "Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers", a generic name used for whoever happened to be in Sheridan's backup band.<ref> Spitz 2005. p250</ref> In addition to the legend that this record led to the group's eventual meeting with [[Brian Epstein]], it also resulted in their first mention in the American press.
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Around the beginning of 1962, ''[[Cashbox]]'' mentioned "My Bonnie" as the debut of a "new rock and roll team, Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers". A few copies were also pressed  under the Decca label for U.S. disc jockeys, as American Decca had a distribution deal with Polydor parent [[Deutsche Grammophon]].<ref>Palowski, Gareth L. ''How They Became The Beatles''.  Plume. ISBN 978-0452265066</ref>  When the group returned to Liverpool, Sutcliffe stayed on in Hamburg with Kirchherr.<ref> Lewisohn. p25</ref> By then McCartney had taken over [[bass guitar|bass]] duties.<ref name="MilesPage74"> Miles 1998. p74. It was Astrid Kirchherr who shot the famous black and white headshots, but contrary to popular belief, did not invent the distinctive haircut of the group</ref>
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It took four months and $75,000 to record Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band using a then state-of-the-art four-track tape recorder and building each cut layer by layer. Released in June 1967, it was hailed as serious art for its "concept" and its range of styles and sounds, a lexicon of pop and electronic noises; such songs as "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" and "A Day in the Life" were carefully examined for hidden meanings. The album spent 15 weeks at #1 (longer than any of their others) and has sold over 8 million copies. On June 25, 1967, the Beatles recorded their new single, "All You Need Is Love," before an international television audience of 400 million, as part of a broadcast called Our World. On August 27, 1967 - while the four were in Wales beginning their six-month involvement with Transcendental Meditation and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (which took them to India for two months in early 1968) - Epstein died alone in his London flat from an overdose of sleeping pills, later ruled accidental. Shaken by Epstein's death, the Beatles retrenched under McCartney's leadership in the fall and filmed Magical Mystery Tour, which was aired by BBC-TV on December 26, 1967, and later released in the U.S. as a feature film. Although the telefilm was panned by British critics, fans, and Queen Elizabeth herself, the soundtrack album contained their most cryptic work yet in "I Am the Walrus," a Lennon composition.
  
In a meeting with the group at NEMS on [[10 December]] [[1961]], Epstein proposed the idea of managing the group.<ref name="MilesPage85"> Miles 1997  p85</ref> The Beatles signed a five-year contract with Epstein on [[24 January]] [[1962]].<ref name="MilesPage88"> Miles 1997  p88</ref> Epstein led The Beatles' quest for a British [[recording contract]]. Epstein had been manager of the record department at North End Music Store (NEMS), an offshoot of his family's furniture store. He played on the status of NEMS as a major record dealer to gain access to producers and recording company executives. In a now-famous exchange, [[Decca Records]] [[A&R]] executive [[Dick Rowe]] turned Epstein down flat, informing him that "Guitar groups are on the way out, Mr. Epstein."<ref>The Beatles. ''The Beatles Anthology''. Chronicle Books, LLC, 2000</ref> (''See [[The Decca audition]].'') While Epstein was negotiating with Decca, he also approached EMI marketing executive Ron White.<ref>Coleman pp88–89</ref> White (who was not himself a record producer) in turn contacted EMI producers [[Norrie Paramor]], Walter Ridley, and Norman Newell, all of whom declined to record The Beatles.<ref>Coleman p93</ref> White did not approach EMI's fourth staff producer&mdash;[[George Martin]]&mdash;who was on holiday at the time.<ref>Coleman pp93–94</ref>
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As the Beatles' late-1967 single "Hello Goodbye" went to #1 in both the U.S. and Britain, the group launched the Apple clothes boutique in London. McCartney called the retail effort "Western communism"; the boutique closed in July 1968. Like their next effort, Apple Corps Ltd. (formed in January 1968 and including Apple Records, which signed James Taylor, Mary Hopkin, and Badfinger), it was plagued by mismanagement. In July the group faced its last hysterical crowds at the premiere of Yellow Submarine, an animated film by Czech avant-garde designer and artist Heinz Edelmann featuring four new Beatles songs; a revised soundtrack featuring nine extra songs was released in 1999 (#15). In August they released McCartney's "Hey Jude" (#1), backed by Lennon's "Revolution" (#12), which sold over 6 million copies before the end of 1968 - their most popular single. Meanwhile, the group had been working on the double album The Beatles (frequently called the White Album), which showed their divergent directions. The rifts were artistic - Lennon moving toward brutal confessionals, McCartney leaning toward pop melodies, Harrison immersed in Eastern spirituality - and personal, as Lennon drew closer to his wife-to-be, Yoko Ono. Lennon and Ono's Two Virgins (with its full frontal and back nude cover photos) was released the same month as The Beatles and stirred up so much outrage that the LP had to be sold wrapped in brown paper. (The Beatles, went to #1, Two Virgins peaked at #124.)
  
Their third stay in Hamburg was from [[13 April]] to [[31 May]] [[1962]], when they opened The [[Star-Club|Star Club]].<ref name="LewisohnChronicles">null</ref> Upon their arrival, they were informed of Sutcliffe's death from a [[brain haemorrhage]].<ref name="CynthiaLennonJohnp109"> Cynthia Lennon “John” 2006. p109</ref>
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The Beatles attempted to smooth over their differences in early 1969 at filmed recording sessions. When the project fell apart hundreds of hours of studio time later, no one could face editing the tapes (a project that eventually fell to record producer Phil Spector), and "Get Back" (#1, 1969) was the only immediate release. Released in spring 1970, Let It Be is essentially a documentary of their breakup, including an impromptu January 30, 1969, rooftop concert at Apple Corps headquarters, their last public performance as the Beatles.
  
===Record contract===
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By spring 1969 Apple was losing thousands of pounds each week. Over McCartney's objections, the other three brought in manager Allen Klein to straighten things out; one of his first actions was to package nonalbum singles as Hey Jude. With money matters temporarily out of mind, the four joined forces in July and August 1969 to record Abbey Road, featuring an extended suite as well as more hits, including Harrison's much-covered "Something" (#3, 1969). While its release that fall spurred a "Paul Is Dead" rumor based on clues supposedly left throughout their work, Abbey Road became the Beatles' best-selling album, at 9 million copies. Meanwhile, internal bickering persisted. In September Lennon told the others, "I'm leaving the group. I've had enough. I want a divorce." But he was persuaded to keep quiet while their business affairs were untangled. On April 10, 1970, McCartney released his first solo album and publicly announced the end of the Beatles. At the same time, Let It Be finally surfaced, becoming the group's 14th #1 album (a postbreakup compilation would become their 15th in 1973) and yielding the Beatles' 18th and 19th chart-topping singles, "Let It Be" and "The Long and Winding Road."
[[Image:Beatles Telegram.jpg|thumb|right|200px|The telegram that Epstein sent to [[Mersey Beat]] magazine to announce that he had secured The Beatles their first recording contract.]]
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After failing to impress Decca Records, Epstein went to the [[HMV]] store on [[Oxford Street]] in [[London]] to transfer the Decca tapes to discs. There, recording engineer Jim Foy referred him to Sid Coleman, who ran EMI's publishing arm. When Coleman heard the demo tapes he suggested taking the tapes to George Martin, who, Coleman explained, "does comedy records" and headed the [[Parlophone]] label at EMI. Epstein eventually met with Martin, who signed the group to EMI on a one-year renewable contract and scheduled their first recording session on [[6 June]] [[1962]] at EMI's [[Abbey Road Studios]] in north London.<ref>[[Hunter Davies|Davies, Hunter]]. ''The Beatles'' (1981 edition). pp 178</ref> Martin had not been particularly impressed by the band's demo recordings,<ref name="Spitzp318"> Spitz 2005. p318</ref> but he instantly liked them as people when he met them. He concluded that they had raw musical talent, but said (in later interviews) that what made the difference for him was their wit and humour.<ref name="Spitzp318-319"> Spitz 2005. pp318-319</ref>
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Martin did have a problem with Pete Best,<ref name="Spitzp318"> Spitz, Bob 2005. p318</ref> whom he criticised for not being able to keep time. He privately suggested to Epstein that the band use another drummer in the studio. There was speculation by some that Best's popularity<ref name="Spitzp322"> Spitz 2005. p322</ref> with fans was another source of friction. In addition, Epstein had become exasperated with his refusal to adopt the distinctive hairstyle as part of their unified look. Best also had missed a number of engagements because of illness. The three founding members enlisted Epstein to dismiss Best, which he did on [[16 August]] [[1962]].<ref name="Spitzp330"> Spitz 2005. p330</ref> They asked [[Ringo Starr]] (born Richard Starkey), the drummer for one of the top [[Merseybeat]] groups, [[Rory Storm and the Hurricanes]], to join the band; Starr had performed occasionally with The Beatles in Hamburg.<ref name="Spitzp328"> Spitz 2005. p328</ref> The first recordings of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr together were made as early as [[15 October]] [[1960]], in a series of demonstration records privately recorded in Hamburg while acting as the backing group for singer Lu Walters.<ref>[http://www.beatlesource.com/bs/ao-smrtime.html Lu Walters' recording session] Retrieved: 29 January 2007 </ref> Starr played on The Beatles' second EMI recording session on [[4 September]] [[1962]], but Martin hired session drummer [[Andy White (drummer)|Andy White]] for their next session on [[11 September]].<ref name="Spitzp353"> Spitz 2005. p353</ref> White's only released performances were recordings of [[Love Me Do]] and [[P.S. I Love You (The Beatles song)|P.S. I Love You]], found on The Beatles' [[Please Please Me|first album]].
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Throughout the '70s, as repackages of Beatles music continued to sell, the four were hounded by bids and pleas for a reunion. Lennon's murder by a mentally disturbed fan on December 8, 1980, ended those speculations. In 1988 the Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. McCartney, citing business conflicts with the two other surviving members, did not attend. Relations between him and Harrison, in particular, had been strained for some time.
[[Image:Martin McCartney and Lennon.JPG|thumb|left|250px|[[George Martin]] previewing a song by McCartney and Lennon in 1963.]]
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Their recording contract paid them one [[British one penny coin (pre-decimal)| penny]] for each single sold, which was split amongst the four Beatles — one [[British Farthing coin|farthing]] per group member.<ref name="History62">[http://plzdontshoot.us/beatles-discography-1962.html] Mirror of "Beatles History: 1962"  at ''Beatles Discography''. Retrieved: 29 January 2007 </ref> This royalty rate was further reduced for singles sold outside the UK, on which they received half of one penny (again split between the whole band) per single. Martin said later that it was a "pretty awful" contract.<ref name="History62" />
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The Beatles' first EMI session on [[6 June]] [[1962]] did not yield any recordings considered worthy of release, but the September sessions a few months later produced a minor UK hit, "[[Love Me Do]]", which peaked on the charts at number 17.<ref> [http://oldies.about.com/od/britishinvasion/a/lovemedo.htm Love Me Do] Retrieved: 29 January 2007 </ref> ("Love Me Do" reached the top of the U.S. singles chart over 18 months later in May 1964.) On [[26 November]] [[1962]], they recorded their second single "[[Please Please Me (song)|Please Please Me]]", which reached number two on the official UK charts and number one on the [[NME]] chart. Three months later, they recorded their first album (also titled ''[[Please Please Me]]''). The band's first televised performance was on the ''People and Places'' programme, transmitted live from [[Manchester]] by [[Granada Television]] on [[17 October]] [[1962]].<ref> Bill Harry ''The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia'' p516 </ref> As The Beatles' fame spread, the frenzied adulation of the group, predominantly from teenage female fans, was dubbed ''[[Beatlemania]]''.
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In January 1994 Goldmine magazine reported that McCartney, Harrison, and Starr had begun recording music for a long-rumored Beatles documentary the previous August, with more secret sessions scheduled. There were other signs that the three band members were on the mend - when Lennon was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist in 1994, for instance, McCartney did the honors (McCartney himself was inducted in 1999). Later in 1994 Live at the BBC was released, featuring 56 songs the Beatles performed on the British radio between 1962 and 1965. It debuted at #1 in the U.K.; in the U.S., it debuted and peaked at #3.
  
The band also began to be noticed by serious music critics. On [[23 December]] [[1963]], ''[[The Times]]'' music critic William Mann published an essay extolling The Beatles' compositions&mdash;their "fresh and euphonious" guitars in "[[Till There Was You]]", their "submediant switches from C major into A flat major", and the "octave ascent" in "[[I Want to Hold Your Hand]]", for example. The Beatles themselves were perplexed by this analysis by Mann: "...one gets the impression that they think simultaneously of harmony and melody, so firmly are the major tonic sevenths and ninths built into their tunes, and the flat-submediant key-switches, so natural is the [[Aeolian mode|Aeolian]] cadence at the end of '[[Not a Second Time]]' (the chord progression which ends [[Gustav Mahler|Mahler]]'s '[[Das Lied von der Erde|Song of the Earth]]')."<ref name="pedler">{{cite book|last=Pedler|first=Dominic|title=The Songwriting Secrets of The Beatles|year=2003|publisher=Omnibus Press|isbn=0-7119-8167-1|pages=pp. 122–3|chapter='Exotic birds'... and the Great Aeolian Cadence Mystery|chapterurl= |quote= }}</ref> In 1980, Lennon commented, "To this day I don't have ''any'' idea what [Aeolian cadences] are. They sound like exotic birds."<ref name="pedler"/>
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The Beatles Anthology, the long-awaited six-hour television special, was broadcast over three nights in November 1995, coinciding with the release of the George Martin-compiled double-CD Anthology 1 (#1), which featured alternate takes, demos, and rare tracks, and premiered the first new song by John, Paul, George, and Ringo since 1970. "Free as a Bird" (#6, 1995), a demo recorded by Lennon in 1977, was completed by the other three and produced by Jeff Lynne; it became the Beatles 34th Top 10 single. Lennon's lyrics didn't extend much beyond the title, and so Harrison and McCartney collaborated on lyrics for a new bridge. Two additional double CDs, Anthology 2 and 3 (both #1), followed in 1996, as well as an extended videotape version of the documentary. Anthology 2's "Real Love" (again a Lennon demo, from 1979, with modern additions by the others) reached #11 and became the group's 23rd gold single (the most of any group).
  
===America===
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The Liverpool juggernaut continued to roll on in 2000: the Beatles became the highest certified act of all time, with over 113 million albums sold; a coffeetable book, The Beatles Anthology, topped the New York Times bestseller list; and 1, a collection of the band's #1 hit songs, became its 19th chart-topping album. By early 2001, it had sold over 20 million copies worldwide, vying for the greatest-selling album of all time. [See also: George Harrison; John Lennon and Yoko Ono; Paul McCartney; Ringo Starr.]
Although the band experienced huge popularity on the UK record charts in early 1963, EMI's American operation, [[Capitol Records]], declined to issue the singles "[[Please Please Me (song)|Please Please Me]]" and "[[From Me to You]]" (their first official number one hit in the UK).<ref>[http://www.jpgr.co.uk/r5015.html JPGR] Retrieved: 29 January 2007 </ref> [[Vee-Jay Records]], a small [[Chicago]] label, issued the singles as part of a deal for the rights to another performer's masters. Art Roberts, music director of popular Chicago radio station [[WLS (AM)|WLS]], placed "Please Please Me" into radio rotation in late February 1963, arguably the first time a Beatles record was heard on American radio. Vee-Jay's rights to The Beatles were later cancelled for non-payment of royalties.<ref>{{cite web|url = http://www.dermon.com/Beatles/Veejay.htm | title = The Beatles on Vee Jay Records | accessmonthday = August 19 | accessyear = 2006}} Retrieved: 29 January 2007 </ref>
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[[Image:Beatles-singles-iwanttoholdyourhand-1.jpg|thumb|left|"I Want to Hold Your Hand"]]
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from The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Simon & Schuster, 2001)
In August 1963, Philadelphia-based [[Swan Records]] released "[[She Loves You]]", which also failed to receive airplay. A testing of the song on [[Dick Clark]]'s TV show ''[[American Bandstand]]'' produced laughter from American teenagers when they saw the group's [[Beatle haircut|distinctive hairstyles]].<ref name="Spitzp461"> Spitz 2005. p461</ref> In early November 1963, Brian Epstein persuaded [[Ed Sullivan]] to present The Beatles on three editions of his show in February, and parlayed this guaranteed exposure into a record deal with Capitol Records. Capitol committed to a mid-January release for "[[I Want to Hold Your Hand]]".<ref>[http://www.jpgr.co.uk/r5084.html JPGR I Want to Hold Your Hand release]Retrieved: 29 January 2007</ref> On [[10 December]] [[1963]], a 5-minute story shot in England about the phenomenon of Beatlemania was shown on the [[CBS Evening News]]. (The segment first aired on the [[CBS Morning News]] on [[22 November]] and had originally been scheduled to be repeated on that day's Evening News, but regular programming was cancelled following the assassination of [[John F. Kennedy]] that day.) The segment inspired a teenage girl named Marsha Albert living in [[Silver Spring, Maryland|Silver Spring]], [[Maryland]] to write to Carroll James, a disc jockey at Washington DC's WWDC radio station, requesting that he play records by The Beatles. Carroll James had seen the same news story and arranged through a friend to have a copy of The Beatles' new single "I Want to Hold Your Hand" sent over to him in [[Washington DC]].  Immediately after debuting the record on December 17, the station received overwhelming positive audience reaction and the station escalated airplay of the record.  Made aware of the overwhelming listener response, Capitol Records president Alan Livingston decided a few days later to take advantage of the response and rush-release the already-prepared single three weeks ahead of schedule on [[26 December]] [[1963]].<ref>[http://oldies.about.com/od/britishinvasion/a/holdyourhand.htm I Want to Hold Your Hand] Retrieved: 29 January 2007 </ref>
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Photo
  
Several New York radio stations&mdash;first [[WMCA]], then [[WINS (AM)|WINS]] and [[WABC (AM)|WABC]]&mdash;began playing "I Want to Hold Your Hand" on its release day. The positive response to the record that had started in Washington was duplicated in New York and quickly spread to other markets. The record sold one million copies in just ten days, and by [[16 January]] [[1964]], ''[[Cashbox]]'' magazine had certified the record number one (in the edition datelined [[23 January]]). Aware that the [[Ed Sullivan Show]] was scheduled to present The Beatles live in early February, the ''[[Jack Paar]] Show'' licensed a film clip of The Beatles performing "She Loves You" from Britain's BBC and aired the footage on [[3 January]] [[1964]], enabling Paar to claim that he had beaten his rival Sullivan to showing The Beatles on a network TV show.
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===Beatlemania crosses the Atlantic===
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On [[7 February]] [[1964]], a crowd of four thousand fans at [[Heathrow Airport]] waved to The Beatles as they took off for their first trip to the [[United States]] as a group.<ref name="Spitzp457"> Spitz 2005. p457</ref> They were accompanied by photographers, journalists (including [[Maureen Cleave]]), and [[Phil Spector]], who had booked himself on the same flight.<ref name="Spitzp458"> Spitz 2006. p458</ref> The pilot had radioed ahead, and as they prepared to land, he was told, "Tell the boys there's a big crowd waiting for them." New York's newly-renamed [[John F. Kennedy International Airport|JFK Airport]] had never experienced such a crowd, estimated at about 3,000 screaming fans.<ref name="Spitzp459"> Spitz 2005. p459</ref> After a [[press conference]] (where they first met [[Murray the K]]) they were put into limousines and driven to [[New York City]]. On the way, McCartney turned on a radio and listened to a running commentary: "They [The Beatles] have just left the airport and are coming to New York City...".<ref name="Spitzp462"> Spitz 2005. p462</ref> After reaching the Plaza Hotel, they were besieged by fans and reporters. Harrison had a fever of {{convert|102|°F|°C|abbr=on}} the next day and was ordered to stay in bed, so [[Neil Aspinall]] replaced him for the first television rehearsal.<ref name="Spitzp464"> Spitz 2005. p464</ref> 
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Their first live American television appearance was on the ''[[The Ed Sullivan Show]]'' on [[9 February]] [[1964]]. The next morning many newspapers wrote that The Beatles were nothing more than a "fad", and "could not carry a tune across the [[Atlantic]]".<ref name="Spitzp473"> Spitz 2005. p473</ref> Their first American concert appearance was at [[Washington Coliseum]] in Washington, D.C. on [[11 February]] [[1964]].<ref name="harryp1134">{{cite book |first=Bill |last=Harry |title=The Beatles Encyclopedia: Revised and Updated |year=2000 |}}</ref>
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After The Beatles' huge success in 1964, [[Vee-Jay Records]] and [[Swan Records]] took advantage of their previously secured rights to the group's early recordings and reissued the songs, all of which reached the top ten the second time around. (MGM and Atco also secured rights to The Beatles' early Tony Sheridan-era recordings and had minor hits with "[[My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean|My Bonnie]]" and "[[Ain't She Sweet]]", the latter featuring John Lennon on lead vocal.) In addition to ''[[Introducing... The Beatles]]'', which was essentially The Beatles' debut British album with some minor alterations, Vee-Jay also issued an unusual LP called ''The Beatles Vs The Four Seasons''. This 2-LP set paired ''Introducing... The Beatles'' and ''The Golden Hits Of The Four Seasons'', another successful act that Vee-Jay had under contract, in a 'contest' (the back cover featured a 'score card'). Another unusual release was the ''Hear The Beatles Tell All'' album, which consisted of two lengthy interviews with Los Angeles radio disc jockeys (side one was titled "Dave Hull interviews John Lennon", while side two was titled "Jim Steck interviews John, Paul, George, Ringo"). No Beatles music was included on this interview album, which turned out to be the only Vee-Jay Beatles album Capitol Records could not reclaim.
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The Vee-Jay/Swan-issued recordings eventually ended up with Capitol, which issued most of the Vee-Jay material on the American-only Capitol release ''[[The Early Beatles]]'', with three songs left off this final US version of the album. ("I Saw Her Standing There" was issued as the American B-side of "I Want to Hold Your Hand", and also appeared on the Capitol Records album ''Meet The Beatles''. "Misery" and "There's a Place" were issued as a Capitol "Starline" reissue single in 1964, and reappeared on Capitol's 1980 US version of the ''[[Rarities (American Beatles compilation)|Rarities]]'' compilation album.) The early Vee-Jay and Swan Beatles records command a high price on the record collectors' market, and all have been copiously bootlegged.<ref>[http://www.rarebeatles.com/photospg/vj581.htm Rare Beatles] Retrieved: 29 January 2007 </ref> The Swan tracks ("She Loves You" and "I'll Get You") were issued on the Capitol LP ''[[The Beatles' Second Album]]''. (Swan also issued the German-language version of "She Loves You", called "Sie Liebt Dich". This song later appeared (in stereo) on Capitol's ''Rarities'' album.)
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[[Image:Buckingham Palace 2007 2.jpg|thumb|right|225px|The Beatles received their MBEs at Buckingham Palace.]]
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In mid-1964 the band undertook their first appearances outside of [[Europe]] and [[North America]], touring [[Australia]] without [[Ringo Starr]], who was suffering from tonsillitis and was temporarily replaced by session drummer [[Jimmy Nicol]]. In [[Adelaide]] they were greeted by over 300,000 people who turned out at [[Adelaide Town Hall]].<ref name=vintage>{{Cite book| author=Ficher, P. and Seamark, K. H.| title=Vintage Adelaide| publisher=East Street Publications| date=2005| pages=70–71| id =ISBN 1-921037-06-7}}</ref> Ringo had rejoined by the time they arrived in [[New Zealand]] on [[21 June]] [[1964]].<ref>[http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/beatles Beatles in New Zealand] Retrieved: 11 July 2007</ref>
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In June 1965, [[Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom|Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II]] appointed the four Beatles Members of the Order of the British Empire, [[Member of the Order of the British Empire|MBE]]. The band members were nominated by Prime Minister [[Harold Wilson]] (who also was the [[Member of Parliament|M.P.]] for [[Huyton]], [[Liverpool]]).<ref name="Spitzp556"> Spitz 2005. p556</ref> The appointment &ndash; at that time primarily bestowed upon military veterans and civic leaders &ndash; sparked some conservative MBE recipients to return their insignia in protest.<ref name="Spitzp557"> Spitz 2005. p557</ref> The first two were returned on [[14 June]] [[1965]], before The Beatles received theirs on [[26 October]].<ref>[http://www.napierchronicles.co.uk/1965.htm Napier Chronicles] Retrieved: 29 January 2007</ref>
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On [[15 August]] [[1965]], the Beatles performed the first major stadium concert in the history of rock 'n' roll at [[Shea Stadium]] in New York to a crowd of 55,600.<ref> ''The Beatles Off The Record''. London: Omnibus Press p193. ISBN 0-7119-798-5-5</ref>  Their sixth album, ''[[Rubber Soul]]'', was released in early December 1965. It was hailed as a major leap forward in the maturity and complexity of the band's music.<ref>{{cite web | url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=Ajex1z82ajyv8 | title=Allmusic Rubber Soul review | accessdate=2007-06-14}}</ref>
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===Backlash and controversy===
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In July 1966, when The Beatles toured the [[Philippines]], they unintentionally snubbed the nation's first lady, [[Imelda Marcos]], who had expected the group to attend a breakfast reception at the Presidential Palace.<ref name="Spitzp619"> Spitz 2005. p619</ref> When presented with the invitation, [[Brian Epstein]] politely declined on behalf of the group, as it had never been the group's policy to accept such "official" invitations.<ref name="Spitzp620"> Spitz 2005. p620</ref> The group soon found that the Marcos regime was unaccustomed to accepting "no" for an answer. After the 'snub' was broadcast on Philippine television and radio, all of The Beatles' police protection disappeared. The group and their entourage had to make their way to Manila airport on their own. At the airport, road manager [[Mal Evans]] was beaten and kicked, and the band members were pushed and jostled about by a hostile crowd.<ref name="Spitzp623"> Spitz 2005. p623</ref> Once the group boarded the plane, Epstein and Evans were ordered off, and Evans said, "Tell my wife that I love her."<ref name="Spitzp624"> Spitz 2005. p624</ref> Epstein was forced to give back all the money that the band had earned while they were there before being allowed back on the plane.<ref name="Spitzp625"> Spitz 2005. p625</ref>
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Almost as soon as they returned from the Philippines, an earlier comment by Lennon made in March that year launched a backlash against The Beatles from religious and social conservatives in the United States. In an interview with British reporter [[Maureen Cleave]],<ref>[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2005/10/05/bmlennon05.xml "The John Lennon I Knew"] from ''The Telegraph'', [[5 October]] [[2006]]. Retrieved: 29 January 2007 </ref> Lennon had offered his opinion that [[Christianity]] was dying and that The Beatles were "more popular than [[Jesus]] now".<ref>Cleave, Maureen (1966). [http://www.geocities.com/nastymcquickly/articles/standard.html "How Does a Beatle Live? John Lennon Lives Like This"]. London ''[[Evening Standard]]'' [[4 March]] [[1966]]. Retrieved: 29 January 2007 </ref> Afterwards, a radio station in [[Birmingham, Alabama]], ran a story on burning Beatles records, in what was considered to be a joke. However, many people affiliated with rural churches in the [[American South]] started taking the suggestion seriously.  Towns across the [[United States]] and  [[South Africa]] started to burn Beatles records in protest.
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Attempting to make light of the incident, Harrison said, "They've got to buy them before they can burn them."<ref>{{cite book |title= Taboo Tunes: A History of Banned Bands & Censored Songs|last= Blecha|first= Peter|authorlink= |coauthors= |year= 2004|publisher= Backbeat|location= |isbn= 0-087930-792-7|pages= 181}}</ref>
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Under tremendous pressure from the American media, Lennon apologised for his remarks at a press conference in [[Chicago]] on [[11 August]] [[1966]], the eve of the first performance of what turned out to be their final tour.<ref name="MilesPage293-295"> Miles 1998. pp293-295</ref>
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The group's two-year series of Capitol compilations also took a strange twist in the United States when one of their publicity shots, used for a ''[[Yesterday and Today]]'' album and a poster promoting the UK release of "Paperback Writer", created an uproar, as it featured the band dressed in butchers' overalls, draped in meat and plastic dolls. A popular, though apocryphal, rumour said that this was meant as a response to the way Capitol had "butchered" their albums.<ref>[http://www.beatlesstory.com/ The Beatles Story], Liverpool. But see also http://www.eskimo.com/~bpentium/whobutch.html</ref>  Thousands of copies of the album had a new cover pasted over. Years later, a commentator linked the cover shot with the group's interest in German expressionism.<ref name="MilesPage293-295"> Miles 1998. pp293-295.</ref> Uncensored copies of ''Yesterday and Today'' command a high price today, with one copy selling for $10,500 at a December 2005 auction.<ref>{{Citation |last=Gaffney |first=Dennis |title=The Beatles' "Butcher" Cover |url=http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/roadshow/series/highlights/2004/chicago/follow1_2.html |accessdate=2007-09-06}}</ref>
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[[Elvis Presley]] disapproved of The Beatles's anti-war activism and open use of drugs, later asking [[Richard Nixon|President Richard Nixon]] to ban all four members of the group from entering the United States. [[Peter Guralnick]] writes, "The Beatles, Elvis said, [...] had been a focal point for anti-Americanism. They had come to this country, made their money, then gone back to England where they fomented anti-American feeling."<ref>Peter Guralnick, ''Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley'', p420.</ref> Guralnick adds, "Presley indicated that he is of the opinion that The Beatles laid the groundwork for many of the problems we are having with young people by their filthy unkempt appearances and suggestive music while entertaining in this country during the early and middle 1960s."<ref>Guralnick, ''Careless Love'', p426. On Presley badmouthing The Beatles to President Nixon, see also Geoffrey Giuliano and Vmda Devi, ''Glass Onion: The Beatles in Their Own Words-Exclusive Interviews With John, Paul, George, Ringo and Their Inner Circle'' (1999)</ref> Despite Presley's remarks, Lennon still had some positive feelings towards him: "Before Elvis, there was nothing."<ref> CNN.com ''Elvis is still everywhere'' [[August 16]], [[2002]]. [http://edition.cnn.com/2002/SHOWBIZ/Music/08/08/ep.overview/]</ref>
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In contrast, [[Bob Dylan]] recognised the Beatles' contribution, stating: "America should put up statues to The Beatles. They helped give this country's pride back to it."<ref>Sounes, Howard, ''Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan'' (Doubleday 2001; ISBN 0-55299929-6) p203</ref>
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===Studio years===
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In April 1966, the group began recording what would be their most ambitious album to date, ''[[Revolver (album)|Revolver]]''. During the recording sessions for the album, tape looping and early sampling were introduced in a complex mix of ballad, R&B, soul, and world music.
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The Beatles performed their last concert before paying fans at [[Candlestick Park]] in [[San Francisco]] on [[29 August]] [[1966]].<ref name="MilesPage293-295"> Miles 1998. pp293-295</ref><ref name=”TheBeatlesAnthologyDVD”> ”The Beatles Anthology” DVD 2003 (Episode 6 - 0:21:34) McCartney  talking about Candlestick Park.</ref> McCartney asked [[Tony Barrow]] to tape the event, but the 30-minute tape he used ran out halfway through the last song. The concert lasted a little under 35 minutes.<ref>Barrow, Tony. ''John, Paul, George, Ringo & Me''. ISBN 1-86200-238-X</ref>
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From then on, The Beatles concentrated on recording.  Less than seven months after recording ''Revolver'', The Beatles returned to [[Abbey Road Studios]] on [[24 November]] [[1966]] to begin the 129-day recording sessions for their eighth album, ''[[Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band]]'', released on [[1 June]] [[1967]].
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On [[25 June]] [[1967]], The Beatles became the first band globally transmitted on television, before an estimated 400 million people worldwide. The band appeared in a segment within the first-ever worldwide television [[satellite]] hook-up, a show titled ''[[Our World]]''. The Beatles were transmitted live from [[Abbey Road Studios]], and their new song "[[All You Need Is Love]]" was recorded live during the show, albeit to the accompaniment of a backing track they had spent five days recording and mixing in the studio prior to the broadcast.<ref>Miles p354</ref>
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The band's business affairs began to unravel after manager [[Brian Epstein]] died of an accidental prescription [[drug overdose]] on [[27 August]] [[1967]] at the age of 32. At the end of 1967, they received their first major negative press in the UK with disparaging reviews of their surrealistic TV film ''[[Magical Mystery Tour (film)|Magical Mystery Tour]]''.<ref>[http://web.archive.org/web/20070702052257/http://www.marmalade-skies.co.uk/beatles-magical.htm Magical Mystery Tour] Retrieved: 2 July 2007 </ref> Part of the criticism arose because colour was an integral part of the film, but in 1967 few viewers in the UK had colour televisions. The [[Magical Mystery Tour (album)|film's soundtrack]], which features one of The Beatles' few instrumental tracks ("[[Flying (song)|Flying]]"), was released in the United Kingdom as a [[double EP]], and in the United States as a full LP (the LP is now the official version).
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The group spent the early part of 1968 in [[Rishikesh]], [[Uttar Pradesh]], [[India]], studying [[transcendental meditation]] with the [[Maharishi Mahesh Yogi]].<ref name="MilesPage397"> Miles 1998. p397</ref> Upon their return, Lennon and McCartney went to New York to announce the formation of [[Apple Corps]]. The middle of 1968 saw the band busy recording the double album ''[[The Beatles (album)|The Beatles]]'', popularly known as ''The White Album'' because of its plain white cover. These sessions saw deep divisions opening within the band, with Starr temporarily walking out. The band carried on, with McCartney recording the drums on the songs "[[Martha My Dear]]", "[[Wild Honey Pie]]", "[[Dear Prudence]]" and "[[Back in the USSR]]". Among the other causes of dissension were that Lennon's new girlfriend, [[Yoko Ono]], was at his side through almost all of the sessions, and that the others felt that McCartney was becoming too domineering.<ref>Spitz 2005. pp777–779</ref> Internal divisions had been a small but growing problem in the band; most notably, this was reflected in the difficulty that Harrison experienced in getting his songs onto Beatles albums.
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On the business side, McCartney wanted [[Lee Eastman]], the father of his then-girlfriend [[Linda Eastman]], to manage The Beatles, but the other members wanted New York manager [[Allen Klein]]. All past Beatles decisions had been unanimous, but this time the four could not agree. Lennon, Harrison and Starr felt the Eastmans would put McCartney's interests before those of the group. In 1971, it was discovered that Klein, who had been appointed manager, had stolen £5 million from The Beatles' holdings. Years later, during the ''Anthology'' interviews, McCartney said of this time, "Looking back, I can understand why they would feel that he [Lee Eastman] was biased for me and against them."
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===Breakup: Let It Be===
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{{main|The Beatles' breakup|Let It Be (film)|Let It Be (album)}}
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[[Image:3 Savile Row.jpg|thumb|3 Savile Row in 2007.]]
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Their final live performance was [[Let It Be (film)#The rooftop performance|on the rooftop]] of the Apple building at 3 [[Savile Row]], London, on [[30 January]] [[1969]], the next-to-last day of the difficult sessions for what eventually became the ''[[Let It Be (album)|Let It Be]]'' album, along with assistant engineer [[Alan Parsons]].<ref>[http://www.alanparsonsmusic.com/bio.php Alan Parsons - Bio FAQ Discography<!-- Bot generated title -->]</ref> Most of the performance was filmed and later included in the film ''[[Let It Be (film)|Let It Be]]''. While the band was playing, the local police were called because of complaints about the noise. Although the group was simply asked to end their performance, the band members later remarked in the ''Anthology'' video that they were disappointed they were not arrested &ndash; pointing out that the police hauling the band members off in [[handcuffs]] would have been "an appropriate ending" for the film.
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The Beatles recorded their final album, ''[[Abbey Road (album)|Abbey Road]]'', in the summer of 1969. The completion of the song "[[I Want You (She's So Heavy)]]" for the album on [[20 August]] [[1969]] was the last time all four Beatles were together in the same studio. Lennon announced his departure to the rest of the group on [[20 September]] [[1969]], but agreed that no announcement was to be publicly made until a number of legal matters were resolved. Their final new song was Harrison's "[[I Me Mine]]", recorded [[3 January]] [[1970]] and released on the ''Let It Be'' album. It was recorded without Lennon, who was in Denmark at the time.<ref>[[Mark Lewisohn]]. [[The Beatles Box Set]] booklet</ref>
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In March 1970, the ''Get Back'' session tapes were given to American producer [[Phil Spector]], who had produced Lennon's solo single "[[Instant Karma!]]". Spector's ''[[Wall of Sound]]'' production values went against the original intent of the record, which had been to record a stripped-down live performance. McCartney was deeply dissatisfied with Spector's treatment of "[[The Long and Winding Road]]" and unsuccessfully attempted to halt release of Spector's version of the song. McCartney publicly announced the break-up on [[10 April]] [[1970]], a week before releasing his first solo album, ''[[McCartney (album)|McCartney]]''. Pre-release copies included a press release with a self-written interview explaining the end of The Beatles and his hopes for the future.<ref name="Spitzp853"> Spitz 2005. p853</ref> On [[8 May]] [[1970]], the Spector-produced version of ''Get Back'' was released as ''[[Let It Be (album)|Let It Be]]'', followed by the documentary film of the same name. The Beatles' partnership was finally dissolved in 1975.<ref>[http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4496861.stm The Beatles' partnership was legally dissolved in 1975] bbc.co.uk Retrieved: 26 January 2007 </ref>
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==1970–present: After The Beatles==
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Shortly before and after the official dissolution of the group, all four Beatles released solo albums, including Lennon's ''[[John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band]]'', McCartney's ''[[McCartney (album)|McCartney]]'', Starr's ''[[Sentimental Journey (Ringo Starr album)|Sentimental Journey]]'', and Harrison's ''[[All Things Must Pass]]''. Some of their albums featured contributions by other former Beatles; Starr's ''[[Ringo (album)|Ringo]]'' (1973) was the only one to include compositions and performances by all four, albeit on separate songs. Harrison showed his socio-political consciousness and earned respect for his contribution for arranging the [[Concert For Bangladesh]] in [[New York City]] in August 1971 along with sitar maestro [[Ravi Shankar]]. Other than an unreleased jam session in 1974 (later bootlegged as ''[[A Toot and a Snore in '74]]''), Lennon and McCartney never recorded together again.
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[[Image:BanglaDeshCover.jpg|left|thumb|The Concert for Bangladesh]]
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In the wake of the expiration in 1975 of The Beatles' contract with EMI-Capitol, the American Capitol label, rushing to cash in on its vast Beatles holdings and freed from the group's creative control, released five LPs: ''[[Rock 'n' Roll Music (The Beatles album)|Rock 'n' Roll Music]]'' (a compilation of their more uptempo numbers), ''[[The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl]]'' (containing portions of two unreleased shows at the Hollywood Bowl), ''[[Love Songs (The Beatles album)|Love Songs]]'' (a compilation of their slower numbers), ''[[Rarities (American Beatles compilation)|Rarities]]'' (a compilation of tracks that either had never been released in the U.S. or had gone out of print), and ''[[Reel Music]]'' (a compilation of songs from their films). There was also a non-Capitol-EMI release entitled ''[[Live! at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962]]'', which was a recording of a show from the group's early days at the Star Club in Hamburg captured on a poor-quality tape. Of all these post-breakup LPs, only the Hollywood Bowl LP had the approval of the group members. Upon the American release of the original British CDs in 1986, these post-breakup Capitol American compilation LPs were deleted from the Capitol catalogue.
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John Lennon was shot and killed by [[Mark David Chapman]] on [[8 December]] [[1980]] in New York City. In May 1981, George Harrison released "[[All Those Years Ago]]"; a single written about Harrison's time with The Beatles. It was recorded the month before Lennon's death, with Starr on drums, and was later overdubbed with new lyrics as a tribute to Lennon. Paul and [[Linda McCartney]] later contributed backing vocals to the track.<ref>{{ cite book | last=Badman | first=Keith | title=The Beatles After the Breakup 1970-2000: A day-by-day diary | pages=284 | year=1999 | publisher=Omnibus Press | location=London | isbn=0-7119-7520-5 }}</ref>
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The [[BBC]] has a large collection of Beatles recordings, mostly comprising original studio sessions from 1963 to 1968. Much of this material formed the basis for a 1988 [[radio]] [[radio documentary|documentary]] series ''[[The Beeb's Lost Beatles Tapes]]''.  In 1989, many outtakes from The Beatles sessions appeared on the radio series ''The Lost Lennon Tapes''.  Later, in 1994, the best of the BBC sessions were given an official EMI release on ''[[Live at the BBC (The Beatles album)|Live at the BBC]]''.
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In 1988, The Beatles were [[List of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees|inducted]] into the [[Rock and Roll Hall of Fame]] as a group during their first year of eligibility.<ref>[http://www.rockhall.com/hof/allinductees.asp Hall of Fame] Retrieved: 29 January 2007 </ref>  On the night of their induction, Harrison and Starr appeared to accept their award along with Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and his two sons. McCartney stayed away, issuing a press release citing "unresolved difficulties" with Harrison, Starr, and Lennon's estate. Solo Beatles later inducted were Lennon in 1994, McCartney in 1999 and Harrison in 2004.
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In February 1994, the three surviving Beatles reunited to produce and record additional music for a few of Lennon's home recordings.  "[[Free as a Bird]]" premiered as part of ''[[The Beatles Anthology]]'' series of television documentaries and was released as a [[Single (music)|single]] in December 1995, with "[[Real Love (The Beatles song)|Real Love]]" following in March 1996. These songs were also included in the three ''Anthology'' collections of CDs released in 1995 and 1996, each of which consisted of two CDs of never-before-released Beatles material. [[Klaus Voormann]], who had known The Beatles since their Hamburg days and had previously illustrated the ''[[Revolver (album)|Revolver]]'' album cover, directed the ''Anthology'' cover concept. 450,000 copies of ''[[Anthology 1]]'' were sold on its first day of release. In 2000, the compilation album ''[[1 (album)|1]]'' was released, containing almost every number-one single released by the band from 1962 to 1970. The collection sold 3.6 million copies in its first week (selling 3 copies a second) and more than 12 million in three weeks worldwide. The collection also reached number one in the United States and 33 other countries, and had sold 25 million copies by 2005 (about the ninth best selling album of all time).
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In the late 1990s, George Harrison was diagnosed with [[lung cancer]]. He succumbed to the disease on [[29 November]] [[2001]].
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In 2006, George Martin and his son [[Giles Martin]] remixed original Beatles recordings to create a [[Love (The Beatles album)|soundtrack]] to accompany [[Cirque du Soleil]]'s theatrical production ''[[Love (Cirque du Soleil)|Love]]''. In 2007, McCartney and Starr reunited for an interview on ''[[Larry King Live]]'' to discuss their thoughts on the show.  Beatles widows Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison also appeared with McCartney and Starr in Las Vegas for the one-year anniversary of ''Love''.
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Also in 2007, reports circulated<ref>[http://www.inthenews.co.uk/money/autocodes/world-cup-teams/angola/mccartney-plans-last-great-song-$1081041.htm  McCartney plans last "great" song]</ref> that McCartney was hoping to complete "[[Now and Then (song)|Now and Then]]", the third Lennon track the band worked on during the ''Anthology'' sessions, as a "Lennon/McCartney composition" by writing new verses, laying down a new drum track recorded by Starr, and utilizing archival recordings of Harrison's guitar work.
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Towards the end of 2007, the surviving members of The Beatles and relatives of John Lennon and George Harrison were asked to go to Israel and be part of  Israel's 60th anniversary celebration.  This was 43 years after the group was banned from performing there.<ref>[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7213105.stm Invitation to Israel]</ref>
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Lawyers for the Beatles sued on [[March 21]] [[2008]] to prevent the distribution of unreleased recordings purportedly made during [[Ringo Starr]]'s first performance with the group in [[1962]]. The dispute between [[Apple Corps|Apple Corps Ltd.]] and Fuego Entertainment Inc. of [[Miami Lakes]] stems from recordings apparently made during a performance at the [[Star Club]] in [[Hamburg]], [[Germany]].<ref>[http://edition.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Music/03/21/beatles.lawsuit.ap/index.html Early Beatles recordings trigger legal fight - CNN.com<!-- Bot generated title -->]</ref>
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==Musical evolution==
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: ''See also: [[The Beatles' influence on music recording]]''
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The Beatles' constant demands to create new sounds on every new recording, combined with George Martin's arranging abilities and the studio expertise of EMI staff engineers such as [[Norman Smith]], [[Ken Townsend]] and [[Geoff Emerick]], all played significant parts in the innovative sounds of the albums ''[[Rubber Soul]]'' (1965), ''[[Revolver (album)|Revolver]]'' (1966) and ''[[Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band]]'' (1967).
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The Beatles continued to absorb influences long after their initial success, often finding new musical and lyrical avenues by listening to their contemporaries. Among those influences were [[Bob Dylan]], who influenced songs such as "[[You've Got to Hide Your Love Away]]" and "[[Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)]]".<ref>[http://www.geocities.com/paul_82_allen/beatles Geocities] Retrieved: 29 January 2007 </ref> Other contemporary influences included [[the Byrds]] and [[the Beach Boys]], whose album ''[[Pet Sounds]]'' was a favourite of McCartney's.<ref name="Milesp280-281"> Miles 1998. pp280–281</ref> Beatles producer [[George Martin]] stated that "Without ''Pet Sounds'', ''Sgt. Pepper'' wouldn't have happened... ''Pepper'' was an attempt to equal ''Pet Sounds''."<ref name="quotes">[http://www.brianwilson.com/brian/quotes.html Brian Wilson :: Official Web Site<!-- Bot generated title -->]</ref> After ''Sgt. Pepper'' was released, Beach Boys' leader [[Brian Wilson]] was so despondent that he went to bed for months.<ref>[http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/release/f4w6/ Brian Wilson went to bed: bbc.co.uk]  Retrieved: 3 February 2007 </ref>
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Along with studio tricks such as [[sound effects]], unconventional microphone placements, [[tape loop]]s, [[double tracking]] and [[vari-speed]] recording, The Beatles began to augment their recordings with instruments that were unconventional for rock music at the time. These included string and brass ensembles as well as Indian instruments such as the [[sitar]] as in "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" and the [[swarmandel]] as in "[[Strawberry Fields Forever]]". They also used early electronic instruments such as the [[Mellotron]], with which McCartney supplied the [[flute]] voices on the intro to "Strawberry Fields Forever", and the [[ondioline]], an electronic keyboard that created the unusual oboe-like sound on "[[Baby You're a Rich Man]]".
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Beginning with the use of a string quartet (arranged by George Martin with input from McCartney) on "[[Yesterday (song)|Yesterday]]" in 1965, The Beatles pioneered a modern form of [[art rock|art song]], exemplified by the double-quartet string arrangement on "[[Eleanor Rigby]]" (1966), "[[Here, There and Everywhere]]" (1966) and "[[She's Leaving Home]]" (1967). A televised performance of [[Johann Sebastian Bach|Bach]]'s [[Brandenburg concertos#Brandenburg Concerto No.2 in F major.2C BWV 1047|Brandenburg Concerto No. 2]] directly inspired McCartney's use of a [[piccolo trumpet]] on the arrangement of "[[Penny Lane]]". The Beatles moved towards [[psychedelic rock|psychedelia]] with "[[Rain (The Beatles song)|Rain]]" and "[[Tomorrow Never Knows]]" from 1966, and "[[Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds]]", "[[Strawberry Fields Forever]]" and "[[I Am the Walrus]]" from 1967.
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==Achievements==
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{{Refimprovesect|date=December 2007}}<!-- and NPOV check, and consider splitting to a new list article-->
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Throughout their relatively short career, the Beatles set a number of world records&mdash; most of which have yet to be broken. The following is a partial list:
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===Albums===
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* The Beatles are the best-selling musical group of all time, estimated by [[EMI]] to have over one billion discs and tapes sold worldwide.<ref name = Shelokhonov> {{cite web|url=http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1397313/bio |title=The Beatles - Biography |accessdate=2007-04-06 |last=Shelokhonov |first=Steve |publisher=IMDB.com }}</ref>
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* The Beatles have notched up the most multi-platinum selling albums for any artist or musical group (thirteen in the U.S. alone).<ref name = Shelokhonov/>
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* The Beatles have a record six diamond-selling albums (10 million copies): ''[[Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band]]'', ''[[The Beatles (album)|The Beatles]]'', ''[[Abbey Road (album)|Abbey Road]]'', ''[[1962–1966|The Beatles: 1962-1966]]'', ''[[1967–1970|The Beatles: 1967-1970]]'', and [[1 (album)|The Beatles ''1'']].
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* The Beatles have had more number one albums than any other group (19 in the U.S. and 15 in the [[United Kingdom]]).
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* The Beatles spent the highest number of weeks at number one in the albums chart (174 in the UK and 132 in the U.S.).
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* The most successful first week of sales for a [[double album]] (''[[The Beatles Anthology]]'' Volume 1, which sold 855,473 copies in the U.S. from [[21 November]] to [[28 November]], [[1995]]).
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* The Beatles have the fastest selling [[CD]] of all time with ''1''. It sold over 13 million copies in four weeks.<ref name="beatles1"> {{cite web|url=http://www.fabfour.addr.com/one.htm |title=Beatles 1 is Fastest Selling CD of All Time |accessdate=2008-01-03 |work= |publisher=Off the Beatle Track }}</ref>
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===Singles===
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* The Beatles have had more number one singles than any other musical group (23 in Australia, 23 in The Netherlands, 22 in Canada, 21 in Norway, 20 in the U.S., and 18 in Sweden). Ironically, the Beatles could easily have had even more number ones, because they were often competing with their own singles. For example, the Beatles' "[[Penny Lane]]" and "[[Strawberry Fields Forever]]" were released as a "double A"-sided single, which caused sales and airplay to be divided between the two songs instead of being counted collectively. Even so, they reached number two with the singles. They even managed to hold separate releases by themselves off the top of the British chart in 1967 with "Hello Goodbye" at number 1 and the ''Magical Mystery Tour'' E.P at number 2.
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* In terms of charting positions, Lennon and McCartney are the most successful songwriters in history, with 32 number one singles in the U.S. for McCartney, and 26 for Lennon (23 of which were written together). Lennon was responsible for 29 Number One singles in the UK, and McCartney was responsible for 28 (25 of which were written together).
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* During the week of [[4 April]], [[1964]], The Beatles held twelve positions on [[Billboard Hot 100|''Billboard'' Hot 100]] singles chart, including the top five positions, which has never been accomplished by any other artist. The songs were "[[Can't Buy Me Love]]" ([[Capitol Records]]), "[[Twist and Shout]]" ([[Tollie Records]]), "[[She Loves You]]" ([[Swan Records]]), "[[I Want to Hold Your Hand]]" (Capitol), and "[[Please Please Me (song)|Please Please Me]]" (Vee-Jay).<ref name="Mojo book">DiMartino, Dave. "Hitsville USA". {{cite book
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| editor = Paul Trynka (ed.)
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| title = The Beatles: 10 Years That Shook the World
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| accessdate = 2008-01-06
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| year = 2004
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| publisher = [[Dorling Kindersley]]
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| location =London
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| isbn = 1-4053-0691-2
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| pages = pp. 123 }} Originally printed in ''[[Mojo (magazine)|Mojo]]'' magazine.</ref> In addition, seven other singles occupied lower places on the chart: "[[I Saw Her Standing There]]" (Capitol), "[[You Can't Do That]]" (Capitol), "[[All My Loving]]" ([[Capitol Records#Canada|Capitol of Canada]]), "[[Roll Over Beethoven]]" (Capitol of Canada), "[[From Me To You]]" (Vee-Jay), "[[Do You Want To Know A Secret]]" (Vee-Jay) and "[[Thank You Girl]]" (Vee-Jay).<ref name="Mojo book"/> Furthermore, two Beatles tribute records appeared on the chart: "[[We Love You Beatles]]" by [[The Carefrees]] (at #42), and "A Letter to the Beatles" by [[The Four Preps]] (#85).<ref name="Mojo book"/>
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* The next week, [[11 April]], [[1964]], the Beatles held fourteen positions on the Billboard Hot 100. Before the Beatles, the highest number of concurrent singles by one artist on the Hot 100 was nine (by [[Elvis Presley]], [[19 December]], [[1956]]).
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* The Beatles are the only artist to have 'back-to-back-to-back' number one singles on ''Billboard's'' Hot 100 in the modern chart era.  Their "Can't Buy Me Love" single supplanted "She Loves You", which had in turn taken the #1 spot from "I Want to Hold Your Hand."  [[Boyz II Men]], [[Nelly]] and [[Outkast]] have directly succeeded themselves atop the chart, but the Beatles are the only artist to 'three-peat'. (In 2004, [[Usher discography|Usher]] came within a week of matching this feat, with three of his singles ("Yeah!" "Burn" and "Confessions") holding the top spot for 21 of 22 weeks; only a one-week interruption between "Burn"s 7th and 8th weeks atop the chart by [[American Idol]] singer Fantasia broke the streak.  Billboard's current version of the "Hot 100" chart is considered to have begun in August 1958; before that, artists such as [[Elvis Presley]], [[Glenn Miller]], [[Jimmy Dorsey]], and [[Bing Crosby]] had also had three consecutive #1 hits, but on earlier Billboard charts that preceded the "Hot 100".)
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* The Beatles' "[[Yesterday (song)|Yesterday]]" is the most [[Cover version|covered song]] in history, appearing in the [[Guinness Book of Records]] with over three thousand recorded versions. It is also the most played song in the history of international radio.
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* The Beatles had the fastest selling single of all time with "[[I Want to Hold Your Hand]]". The song sold 250,000 units within three days in the U.S., one million in 2 weeks. (Additionally, it sold 10,000 copies per hour in [[New York City]] alone for the first 20 days.)
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* The largest number of advance orders for a single, at 2.1 million copies in the U.S. for "Can't Buy Me Love" (it sold 940,225 copies on its first day of release in the U.S. alone).
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* The Beatles appear five times in the top 100 best-selling singles in the UK. No other group appears more than twice.
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===Performances===
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* With their performance at [[Shea Stadium]] in 1965, The Beatles set new world records for concert attendance (55,600) and revenue. This was the first time in the history of popular music anyone had played in a proper stadium as opposed to a theatre or concert hall.
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* The Beatles broke television ratings records in the U.S. with their first appearance on ''The Ed Sullivan Show'' with over 70 million people viewing. Crime reportedly fell by a third during the duration of the transmission, although this eventually turned out to be false.
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* On [[30 June]], [[1966]], the Beatles became the first musical group to perform at the [[Nippon Budokan Hall]] in [[Tokyo]]. They performed five times in three days gathering audiences of about 10,000 per performance.
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==Influence on popular culture==
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{{main|The Beatles' influence on popular culture}}
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===Radio===
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The arrival of the Beatles is seen in radio as a touchstone in music signalling an end to the rock-and-roll era of the 1950s.  Program Directors like [[Rick Sklar]] of [[WABC]] in New York went as far as forbidding DJs from playing any "pre-Beatles" music.<ref>{{cite book | last = Fisher | first = Marc | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Something in the Air | publisher = Random House | date = | location = | pages = 198| url = | doi = | id = | isbn = 978-0-375-50907-0 }}</ref>
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===Recreational drug use===
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In Hamburg, The Beatles used "prellies" ([[Preludin]]) both recreationally and to maintain their energy through all-night performances.<ref name="MilesPage66-67"> Miles 1998. pp66–67</ref> McCartney would usually take one, but Lennon would often take four or five.<ref name="MilesPage66-67"/>  [[Bob Dylan]] introduced them to [[cannabis (drug)|cannabis]] during a 1964 visit to [[New York]].<ref name="MilesPage185"> Miles 1998. p185</ref> McCartney remembered them all getting "very high" and giggling.<ref name="MilesPage188-189"> Miles 1998. pp188–189</ref> The Beatles occasionally smoked a [[Joint (cannabis)|joint]] in the car on the way to the studio during the filming of ''[[Help! (film)|Help!]]'', which often made them forget their lines.<ref name="Milesp198"> Miles 1998. p198</ref>
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In April 1965, Lennon and Harrison were introduced to [[LSD]] by an acquaintance, dentist John Riley, who slipped some into their [[coffee]]s.<ref>[http://web.archive.org/web/20070308161210/http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/music/news/article1431116.ece Independent.co.uk] Retrieved: 08 March 2007</ref> Lennon in particular became an avid "tripper", claiming in a 1970 interview in ''Rolling Stone'' to have taken LSD hundreds of times. McCartney was more reluctant to try the drug, but finally did so in 1966 and was the first Beatle to talk about it in the press, saying in June 1967 that he took it four times.
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The Beatles added their names to an [[advertisement]] in ''[[The Times]]'', on [[24 July]] [[1967]], which asked for the legalisation of cannabis, the release of all prisoners imprisoned because of possession, and research into marijuana's medical uses. The advertisement was sponsored by a group called Soma, and was signed by 65 people, including [[Brian Epstein]], [[Graham Greene]], [[Ronald David Laing|R.D. Laing]], 15 doctors, and two [[Member of Parliament|MPs]].<ref name="Tokyo">[http://www.taima.org/en/hemplib3.htm Paul McCartney’s arrest in Japan] Retrieved: 29 January 2007 </ref>
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===Meditation===
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On [[24 August]] [[1967]], The Beatles met the [[Maharishi Mahesh Yogi]] at the London [[Hilton Hotels|Hilton]]. A few days later they went to [[Bangor, Wales|Bangor]], in North [[Wales]], to attend a weekend 'initiation' conference.<ref>[http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/walesonair/database/beatles.shtml Beatles in Bangor] bbc.co.uk 16 November, 2006. Retrieved: 29 January 2007  </ref> There, the Maharishi gave each of them a [[mantra]].<ref name="MilesPage396"> Miles 1998. p396</ref> The Beatles learned of the death of [[Brian Epstein]] while in Bangor with the Maharishi. Their time in early 1968 at the Maharishi's [[ashram]] in [[India]] was highly productive from a musical standpoint, as many of the songs that would later be recorded for ''The Beatles'' (White Album) and ''Abbey Road'' were composed there by Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison.<ref name="MilesPage397"> Miles 1998. p397</ref>
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==Discography==
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{{main|The Beatles discography}}
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{{see|List of Beatles songs by singer|The Beatles record sales, worldwide charts|The Beatles bootlegs}}
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===Studio albums===
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* ''[[Please Please Me]]'' (Parlophone, 1963)
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* ''[[With the Beatles]]'' (Parlophone, 1963)
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* ''[[A Hard Day's Night (album)|A Hard Day's Night]]'' (Parlophone, 1964)
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* ''[[Beatles for Sale]]'' (Parlophone, 1964)
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* ''[[Help! (album)|Help!]]'' (Parlophone, 1965)
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* ''[[Rubber Soul]]'' (Parlophone, 1965)
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* ''[[Revolver (album)|Revolver]]'' (Parlophone, 1966)
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* ''[[Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band]]'' (Parlophone, 1967)
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* ''[[Magical Mystery Tour (album)|Magical Mystery Tour]]'' (U.S. only. Released as a Double EP in the UK) (Capitol, 1967)
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* ''[[The Beatles (album)|The Beatles]]'' ("The White Album") (Apple, 1968)
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* ''[[Yellow Submarine (album)|Yellow Submarine]]'' (Apple, 1969)
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* ''[[Abbey Road (album)|Abbey Road]]'' (Apple, 1969)
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* ''[[Let It Be]]'' (Apple, 1970)
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===CD releases===
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In 1987, EMI released all of The Beatles' [[The_Beatles_discography#Official_canon|studio albums]] on [[CD]] worldwide. Apple Corps decided to standardize The Beatles catalogue throughout the world. They chose to release the twelve original studio albums as released in the United Kingdom, as well as the ''Magical Mystery Tour'' U.S. album, which had been released as a shorter Double EP in the UK.  All of the remaining Beatles material from the singles and EPs from 1962–1970 which had not been issued on the original British studio albums were gathered on the ''Past Masters'' double album compilation:
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* ''[[Past Masters, Volume One]]'' - [[7 March]] [[1988]]
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* ''[[Past Masters, Volume Two]]'' - [[7 March]] [[1988]]
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The U.S. album configurations from 1964-65 were released as a box sets in 2004 and 2006 (''The Capitol Albums'' ''[[The Capitol Albums, Volume 1|Volume 1]]'' and ''[[The Capitol Albums, Volume 2|Volume 2]]'' respectively); these included both stereo and mono versions based on the mixes that were prepared for vinyl at the time of their original 1960s releases in the United States.
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===Song catalogue===
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{{main|Northern Songs}}
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In 1963 Lennon and McCartney agreed to assign their song publishing rights to [[Northern Songs]], a company created by music publisher [[Dick James]]. The company was administered by James' own company [[Dick James Music]]. Northern Songs went public in 1965, with Lennon and McCartney each holding 15% of the company's shares  Dick James and the company's chairman, Charles Silver, held a controlling 37.5%. In 1969, following a failed attempt by Lennon and McCartney to buy the company, James and Silver sold Northern Songs to British TV company [[Associated TeleVision]] (ATV), from which Lennon and McCartney received stock.
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In 1985, after a short period in which the parent company was owned by Australian business magnate [[Robert Holmes à Court]], [[ATV Music]] was sold to [[Michael Jackson]] for a reported $47 million (trumping a joint bid by McCartney and [[Yoko Ono]]), including the publishing rights to over 200 songs composed by Lennon and McCartney.
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A decade later Jackson and [[Sony]] merged its music publishing businesses. Since 1995, Jackson and [[Sony/ATV Music Publishing]] have jointly owned most of the Lennon-McCartney songs recorded by The Beatles. Meanwhile, Lennon's estate and McCartney still receive their respective songwriter shares of the royalties. (Despite his ownership of most of the Lennon-McCartney publishing, Jackson has only recorded one Lennon-McCartney composition himself, "[[Come Together]]" which was featured in his film ''[[Moonwalker]]'' and [[HIStory]] album)
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Although the Jackson-Sony catalogue includes most of The Beatles' greatest hits, four of their earliest songs had been published by one of [[EMI]]'s publishing companies prior to Lennon and McCartney signing with Dick James — and McCartney later succeeded in personally acquiring the publishing rights to "[[Love Me Do]]", "[[Please Please Me]]", "[[P.S. I Love You (1962 song)|P.S. I Love You]]" and "[[Ask Me Why]]" from EMI.
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Harrison and Starr did not renew their songwriting contracts with Northern Songs in 1968, signing with [[Apple Publishing]] instead. Harrison later created [[Harrisongs]], which still owns the rights to his post-1967 songs such as "[[While My Guitar Gently Weeps]]" and "[[Something]]". Starr also created his own company, called [[Startling Music]]. It holds the rights to his two post-1967 songs recorded by The Beatles, "[[Don't Pass Me By]]" and "[[Octopus's Garden]]".
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The Beatles are one of the few major artists who have not released their recorded catalogue through online music services (for example, [[iTunes Store|iTunes]] and [[Napster]]).  [[Apple Corps v. Apple Computer|Apple Corp's dispute with Apple, Inc.]] (the owners of iTunes) over the use of the name "Apple" has played a particular part in this.  An uneasy truce between the two companies broke when Apple Computers opened the [[iTunes Store]], after which Apple Corp sued Apple, Inc.  This was resolved in February 2007, with Apple Computer owning the Apple name but licensing it back to Apple Records.  Following the resolution, several solo albums by Lennon and McCartney were released to the iTunes Music Store. As of November 2007, all of the band members' solo catalogues have been released on iTunes.
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==On film==
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{{main|The Beatles in film}}
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The Beatles appeared in several [[films]], all of which featured associated [[soundtrack album]]s.
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The band played themselves in two films directed by [[Richard Lester]], ''[[A Hard Day's Night (film)|A Hard Day's Night]]'' (1964) and ''[[Help! (film)|Help!]]'' (1965). The group produced and starred in the hour-long [[television movie]] ''[[Magical Mystery Tour (film)|Magical Mystery Tour]]'' (1967), while the documentary ''[[Let It Be (film)|Let It Be]]'' (released 1970) followed the rehearsals and recording sessions for the early 1969 ''[[Let It Be (album)|Get Back]]'' project and won the [[Academy Award]] in 1971 for Best Original Song Score. In addition, the psychedelic [[Animation|animated film]] ''[[Yellow Submarine (film)|Yellow Submarine]]'' (1968) followed the adventures of a cartoon version of the band; the members did not provide their own voices, appearing only in a brief live-action epilogue.
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During 1965-1969, the Beatles were the subject of a Saturday morning cartoon series, ''[[The Beatles (TV series)|The Beatles]]'', which loosely continued the kind of slapstick antics of ''A Hard Day's Night''. Two Beatles songs were played in each half-hour show, with the Beatles' cartoon counterparts "lip-synching" the actual Beatles recordings. Some of the song performances, such as those from ''A Hard Day's Night'', appeared to have been [[Rotoscoping|rotoscoped]]. The regular speaking voices of the characters were not supplied by the Beatles themselves, but rather by voice artists [[Paul Frees]] and [[Lance Percival]]. (Alex McNeil, ''Total Television'', 1996, Penguin Books, p.82)
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==Other projects==
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===''Anthology''===
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{{main|The Beatles Anthology}}
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''The Beatles Anthology'' was a project by Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Yoko Ono that was comprised of an eight-part [[The Beatles Anthology#Documentary series|documentary]] that aired in 1995, three [[The Beatles Anthology#Albums|albums]] of rarities, unreleased tracks, and two new songs released from 1995-1996, and a book of interviews and photographs, released in 2000.
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===''Let It Be... Naked''===
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{{main|Let It Be... Naked}}
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''Let it Be... Naked'', released in 2003, is a [[remix]]ed and [[remaster]]ed variation of the original ''[[Let It Be (album)|Let It Be]]'' album. It excludes "[[Maggie Mae]]" and "[[Dig It]]" from the original album and adds "[[Don't Let Me Down (The Beatles song)|Don't Let Me Down]]". It also includes "[[Across the Universe]]" at its original speed and an alternate take of "[[The Long and Winding Road]]". A bonus "Fly on the Wall" disc contains 22 minutes of additional clips from the "[[Let It Be (album)#The "Get Back"/"Let It Be" sessions|Get Back]]" sessions.
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===''Love''===
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{{main|Love (Cirque du Soleil)}}
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''Love'' is a joint venture between [[Cirque du Soleil]] and The Beatles' Apple Corps Ltd. It debuted at [[The Mirage]] in [[Las Vegas, Nevada|Las Vegas]] on June 30, 2006. The show features reproduced and reimagined music by the Beatles under the musical direction of Sir [[George Martin]] and his son, [[Giles Martin]].
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==Instrumentation==
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{{main|The Beatles' instrumentation}}
+
 
+
* [[Rickenbacker]], [[Gretsch]], [[Framus]], [[Epiphone]], [[Gibson Guitar Corporation|Gibson]], [[Fender Musical Instruments Corporation|Fender]], and [[C.F. Martin & Company|Martin]] guitars
+
* [[Höfner]], [[Fender Musical Instruments Corporation|Fender]] and [[Rickenbacker]] basses
+
* [[Vox (musical equipment)|Vox]], [[Fender Musical Instruments Corporation|Fender]], and [[The Selmer Company|Selmer]] amplifiers
+
* [[Premier Percussion|Premier]] and [[Ludwig-Musser|Ludwig]] drums
+
* [[Zildjian]], and [[Paiste]] cymbals
+
* [[Steinway]], and [[Blüthner]] pianos at the [[Abbey Road Studios]]
+
* [[C. Bechstein Pianofortefabrik|C. Bechstein]] concert grand piano for recording [[Hey Jude]] and the ''[[The Beatles (album)|White Album]]'' tracks ''[[Dear Prudence]], [[Honey Pie]], [[Savoy Truffle]] and [[Martha My Dear]], [[I Want You (She's So Heavy)]] for the album [[Abbey Road (album)|Abbey Road]]'', all at the [[Trident Studios]].
+
* [[Hammond organ|Hammond]], [http://www.lowrey.com/organs.aspx Lowrey], and Vox electric organs
+
* [[Leslie speaker]] organ amplification system
+
* [[Fender Rhodes]] and [[Hohner]] [[Pianet]] electric pianos
+
* [[Moog synthesizer|Moog]] modular synthesiser
+
* [[Mellotron]] polyphonic tape-playback keyboard
+
* [[Clavioline]] electronic keyboard
+
* [[Georg Neumann GmbH|Neumann]], [[AKG Acoustics|AKG]], and  [[Standard Telephones and Cables|STC]] microphones
+
* [[Studer]],  [[3M]], [[British Tape Recorders]], and  [[Ampex]] tape machines
+
* [[Fairchild]] limiters
+
* [[Telefunken]] microphone preamps
+
* [[EMI]] custom built consoles
+
 
+
==Notes==
+
{{reflist|3}}
+
 
+
==References==
+
* {{cite book |last=Coleman |first=Ray |title=Brian Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles |publisher=Viking |year=1989 |isbn=0-670-81474-1 }}
+
* {{cite book |last=Davies |first=Hunter |authorlink=Hunter Davies |title=The Beatles |publisher=[[McGraw-Hill]] |year=1985 |isbn=0-07-015463-5 }}
+
* {{cite book |last=Lennon |first=Cynthia |authorlink=Cynthia Lennon |title=John |publisher=[[Hodder & Stoughton]] |year=2006 |isbn=0-340-89828-3}}
+
* {{cite book |last=Lewisohn |first=Mark |authorlink=Mark Lewisohn |title=The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years |publisher=Hamlyn |year=1990 |isbn=0-681-03189-1}}
+
* {{cite book |last=Miles |first=Barry |authorlink=Barry Miles |title=[[Many Years from Now]] |publisher=[[Vintage (publisher)|Vintage]]-[[Random House]] |year=1998 |isbn=0-7493-8658-4}}
+
* {{cite book |last=Spitz |first=Bob |title=The Beatles |publisher=Little Brown |year=2005 |isbn=0-316-80352-9}}
+
* {{cite book |author=The Beatles |title=[[The Beatles Anthology]] (DVD) |publisher=[[Apple records]] |year=2003 |id=ASIN: B00008GKEG (Bar Code: 24349 29699)}}
+
* {{cite web |title=The Beatles |last=Costello |first=Elvis |authorlink=Elvis Costello |date=2004-04-15 |work=Rolling Store Issue 946 |publisher=Rolling Stone |url=http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/5939206/the_immortals_br1_the_beatles}}
+
* {{cite web |title=The Immortals: The First Fifty |date=2004-04-15 |work=Rolling Stone Issue 946 |publisher=Rolling Stone |url=http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/5939214/the_immortals_the_first_fifty}}
+
 
+
==Further reading==
+
* {{cite book |author=Astley, John |title=Why Don't We Do It In The Road? The Beatles Phenomenon |publisher=The Company of Writers |year=2006 |id=ISBN 0-9551834-7-2}}
+
* {{cite book | author=Bramwell, Tony |title=Magical Mystery Tours |publisher=[[St. Martin's Press]] |year=2005 |isbn=0-312-33043-X }}
+
* {{cite book |author=Braun, Michael |title=Love Me Do: The Beatles' Progress | location=London | publisher=[[Penguin Books]] |year=1964 |edition=1995 Reprint |id=ISBN 0-14-002278-3}}
+
* {{cite book |last=Carr |first=Roy |coauthors=Tyler, Tony |title=The Beatles: An Illustrated Record |publisher=Harmony Books |year=1975 |isbn=0-517-52045-1}}
+
* {{cite book |last=Cross |first=Craig | title=The Beatles: Day by Day, Song by Song, Record by Record | publisher=iUniverse |year=2005 | isbn=0-595-34663-4}}
+
* {{cite book |last=Dimery |first=Martin |title=Being John Lennon |publisher=SAF books |year=2002 |isbn=0-946719-43-8}}
+
* {{cite book |last=Emerick |first=Geoff |coauthors=Massey, Howard Chiu | authorlink=Geoff Emerick |title=Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles |publisher=Gotham Books |year=2006 |isbn=1-59240-179-1}}
+
* {{cite book |first=Astrid |last=Kirchherr |authorlink=Astrid Kirchherr |coauthors=[[Klaus Voormann|Voorman, Klaus]] |title=Hamburg Days |publisher=[[Genesis Publications]] |year=1999 |isbn=0-904351-73-4}} Chronicles The Beatles early years spent performing at Hamburg's Kaiserkeller, Top Ten Club, and the Star Club, 1960-1962. With Foreword by [[George Harrison]] and Afterword by [[Paul McCartney]].
+
* {{cite book |last=MacDonald |first=Ian |authorlink=Ian MacDonald |title=Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties |publisher=Vintage |year=1995 |isbn=0-7126-6697-4}}
+
* {{cite book |author=Mansfield, Ken | authorlink=Ken Mansfield | title=[http://www.fabwhitebook.com The White Book] | publisher=Thomas Nelson |year=2007 |isbn=1-5955-5101-6}}
+
* {{cite book |last=Martin |first=George |authorlink=George Martin |title=Summer of Love: The Making of Sgt. Pepper |publisher=Macmillan |year=1994 |isbn=0-333-60398-2}}
+
* {{cite book |author=Norman, Philip |title=Shout: The Beatles in Their Generation |publisher=MJF Books |year=1997 |isbn=1-56731-087-7}}
+
* {{cite book |first=Alan J |last=Porter |authorlink=Alan J. Porter |title=Before They Were Beatles: The Early Years 1956–1960 |publisher=Xlibris |year=2003 |isbn=1-4134-3056-2}}
+
* {{cite book |last=Ryan |first=Kevin |coauthors=[[Brian Kehew|Kehew, Brian]] |title=Recording The Beatles: The Studio Equipment and Techniques Used to Create Their Classic Albums |location=Houston |publisher=Curvebender Publishing |year=2006 |isbn=0-9785200-0-9}}
+
* {{cite book | last=Schaffner |first=Nicholas | title=The Beatles Forever |publisher=Cameron House |year=1977 | isbn=0-8117-0225-1}}
+
* {{cite book | last=Spitz |first=Bob | title=The Beatles: The Biography | publisher=Little Brown |year=2005 |isbn=0-316-80352-9}}
+
* {{cite book |first=Steve |last=Turner |authorlink=Steve Turner (writer) |title=A Hard Day's Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song |edition=3rd ed. |publisher=Harper Paperbacks |location=New York |year=2005 |isbn=0-06-084409-4 }} Discusses the inspiration for or interprets every Beatles song.
+
 
+
==See also==
+
{{Portal}}
+
* [[The Beatles' line-ups]]
+
* [[The Beatles' London]]
+
* [[The Beatles' influence on music recording]]
+
* [[The Beatles' influence on popular culture]]
+
* [[The Beatles' instrumentation]]
+
* [[The Beatles' characters]]
+
* [[List of best-selling music artists]]
+
* [[List of artists who have covered the Beatles]]
+
* [[Popular beat combo]]
+
* [[The Rutles]]
+
 
+
==External links==
+
{{wikiquote|The Beatles|Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and The Beatles}}
+
{{commons|The Beatles}}
+
* [http://www.beatles.com/ The Beatles Official site]
+
* [http://www.geocities.com/~beatleboy1/ The Beatles Interviews Database]
+
* {{Last.fm|the+beatles|The Beatles}}
+
* [http://tsort.info/music/6hsv00.htm The Beatles songs in the Charts]
+
* [http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/beatles The Beatles in New Zealand]
+
*{{MusicBrainz artist|id=b10bbbfc-cf9e-42e0-be17-e2c3e1d2600d}}
+
{{The Beatles}}
+

Revision as of 15:52, 18 April 2008

The impact of the Beatles - not only on rock & roll but on all of Western culture - is simply incalculable. As musicians, the Beatles proved that rock & roll could embrace a limitless variety of harmonies, structures, and sounds; virtually every rock experiment has some precedent on Beatles records. As a unit the Beatles were a musically synergistic combination: Paul McCartney's melodic bass lines, Ringo Starr's slaphappy no-rolls drumming, George Harrison's rockabilly-style guitar leads, John Lennon's assertive rhythm guitar - and their four fervent voices. One of the first rock groups to write most of its own material, the Beatles inaugurated the era of self-contained bands and forever centralized pop. And as personalities, they defined and incarnated '60s style: smart, idealistic, playful, irreverent, eclectic. Their music, from the not-so-simple love songs they started with to their later perfectionistic studio extravaganzas, set new standards for both commercial and artistic success in pop. Although many of their sales and attendance records have since been surpassed, no group has so radically transformed the sound and significance of rock & roll. At the dawn of the 21st century, a chart-topping collection of the Beatles #1 hits, 1, was well on its way to becoming one of the best-selling albums of all time.

Lennon was performing with his amateur skiffle group the Quarrymen at a church picnic on July 6, 1957, in the Liverpool suburb of Woolton when he met McCartney, whom he later invited to join his group; soon they were writing songs together, such as "The One After 909." By the year's end McCartney had convinced Lennon to let Harrison join their group, the name of which was changed to Johnny and the Moondogs in 1958. In 1960 an art-school friend of Lennon's, Stu Sutcliffe, became their bassist. Sutcliffe couldn't play a note but had recently sold one of his paintings for a considerable sum, which the group, now rechristened the Silver Beetles (from which "Silver" was dropped a few months later, and "Beetles" amended to "Beatles"), used to upgrade its equipment. Tommy Moore was their drummer until Pete Best replaced him in August 1960. Once Best had joined, the band made its first of four trips to Hamburg, Germany. In December Harrison was deported back to England for being underage and lacking a work permit, but by then their 30-set weeks on the stages of Hamburg beer houses had honed and strengthened their repertoire (mostly Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Carl Perkins, and Buddy Holly covers), and on February 21, 1961, they debuted at the Cavern club on Mathew Street in Liverpool, beginning a string of nearly 300 performances there over the next couple of years.

In April 1961 they again went to Hamburg, where Sutcliffe (the first of the Beatles to wear his hair in the long, shaggy style that came to be known as the Beatle haircut) left the group to become a painter, while McCartney switched from rhythm guitar to bass. The Beatles returned to Liverpool as a quartet in July. Sutcliffe died from a brain hemorrhage in Hamburg less than a year later.

The Beatles had been playing regularly to packed houses at the Cavern when they were spotted on November 9 by Brian Epstein (b. Sep. 19, 1934, Liverpool). After being discharged from the British Army on medical grounds, Epstein had attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London for a year before returning to Liverpool to manage his father's record store.

The request he received for a German import single entitled "My Bonnie" (which the Beatles had recorded a few months earlier in Hamburg, backing singer Tony Sheridan and billed as the Beat Boys) convinced him to check out the group. Epstein was surprised to discover not only that the Beatles weren't German but that they were one of the most popular local bands in Liverpool. Within two months he became their manager. Epstein cleaned up their act, eventually replacing black leather jackets, tight jeans, and pompadours with collarless gray Pierre Cardin suits and mildly androgynous haircuts.

Epstein tried landing the Beatles a record contract, but nearly every label in Europe rejected the group. In May 1962, however, producer George Martin (b. Jan. 3, 1926, North London, Eng.) signed the group to EMI's Parlophone subsidiary. Pete Best, then considered the group's undisputed sex symbol, was asked to leave the group on August 16, 1962, and Ringo Starr, drummer with a popular Liverpool group, Rory Storme and the Hurricanes, was added, just in time for the group's first recording session. On September 11 the Beatles cut two originals, "Love Me Do" b/w "P.S. I Love You," which became their first U.K. Top 20 hit in October. In early 1963 "Please Please Me" went to #2, and they recorded an album of the same name in one 10-hour session on February 11, 1963. With the success of their third English single, "From Me to You" (#1), the British record industry coined the term "Merseybeat" (after the river that runs through Liverpool) for groups such as the Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, and the Searchers. By mid-year the Beatles were given billing over Roy Orbison on a national tour, and the hysterical outbreaks of Beatlemania had begun. Following their first tour of Europe in October, they moved to London with Epstein. Constantly mobbed by screaming fans, the Beatles required police protection almost any time they were seen in public. Late in the year "She Loves You" became the biggest-selling single in British history (in the years since, only six other singles have sold more copies there). In November 1963 the group performed before the Queen Mother at the Royal Command Variety Performance.

EMI's American label, Capitol, had not released the group's 1963 records (which Martin licensed to independents like Vee-Jay and Swan with little success) but was finally persuaded to release its fourth single, "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and Meet the Beatles (identical to the Beatles' second British album, With the Beatles) in January 1964 and to invest $50,000 in promotion for the then unknown British act. The album and the single became the Beatles' first U.S. chart-toppers. On February 7 screaming mobs met them at New York City's Kennedy Airport, and more than 70 million people watched each of their appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9 and 16. In April 1964 "Can't Buy Me Love" became the first record to top American and British charts simultaneously, and that same month the Beatles held the top five positions on Billboard singles chart ("Can't Buy Me Love," "Twist and Shout," "She Loves You," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "Please Please Me").

Their first movie, A Hard Day's Night (directed by Richard Lester), opened in America in August; it grossed $1.3 million in its first week. The band was aggressively merchandised - Beatle wigs, Beatle clothes, Beatle dolls, lunch boxes, a cartoon series -from which, because of Epstein's ineptitude at business, the band made surprisingly little money. The Beatles also opened the American market to such British Invasion groups as the Dave Clark Five, the Rolling Stones, and the Kinks.

By 1965 Lennon and McCartney rarely wrote songs together, although by contractual and personal agreement songs by either of them were credited to both. The Beatles toured Europe, North America, the Far East, and Australia that year. Their second movie, Help! (also directed by Lester), was filmed in England, Austria, and the Bahamas in the spring and opened in the U.S. in August. On August 15 they performed to 55,600 fans at New York's Shea Stadium, setting a record for largest concert audience. McCartney's "Yesterday" (#1, 1965) would become one of the most often covered songs ever written. In June the Queen of England had announced that the Beatles would be awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). The announcement sparked some controvers - some MBE holders returned their medal - but on October 26, 1965, the ceremony took place at Buckingham Palace. (Lennon returned his medal in 1969 as an antiwar gesture. Interestingly, even though he rejected the medal, the honor itself cannot be returned; Lennon technically remained an MBE.)

With 1965's Rubber Soul, the Beatles' ambitions began to extend beyond love songs and pop formulas. Their success led adults to consider them, along with Bob Dylan, spokesmen for youth culture, and their lyrics grew more poetic and somewhat more political. In summer 1966 controversy erupted when a remark Lennon had made to a British newspaper reporter months before was widely reported in the U.S. The quote - "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now" - incited denunciations and Beatles record bonfires. The anti-Beatles backlash was particularly intense in the U.S., where the group was set to begin a tour just two weeks after the controversy erupted, and included death threats against the group. Largely out of concern for the safety of his fellow band members, Lennon apologized at a Chicago press conference.

The Beatles gave up touring after an August 29, 1966, concert at San Francisco's Candlestick Park and made the rest of their music in the studio, where they had begun to experiment with exotic instrumentation ("Norwegian Wood," 1965, had featured sitar) and tape abstractions such as the reversed tracks on "Rain." "Strawberry Fields Forever," part of a double-sided single released in February 1967 to fill the unusually long gap between albums, featured an astonishing display of electronically altered sounds and hinted at what was to come. With "Taxman" and "Love You To" on Revolver, Harrison began to emerge as a songwriter.

It took four months and $75,000 to record Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band using a then state-of-the-art four-track tape recorder and building each cut layer by layer. Released in June 1967, it was hailed as serious art for its "concept" and its range of styles and sounds, a lexicon of pop and electronic noises; such songs as "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" and "A Day in the Life" were carefully examined for hidden meanings. The album spent 15 weeks at #1 (longer than any of their others) and has sold over 8 million copies. On June 25, 1967, the Beatles recorded their new single, "All You Need Is Love," before an international television audience of 400 million, as part of a broadcast called Our World. On August 27, 1967 - while the four were in Wales beginning their six-month involvement with Transcendental Meditation and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (which took them to India for two months in early 1968) - Epstein died alone in his London flat from an overdose of sleeping pills, later ruled accidental. Shaken by Epstein's death, the Beatles retrenched under McCartney's leadership in the fall and filmed Magical Mystery Tour, which was aired by BBC-TV on December 26, 1967, and later released in the U.S. as a feature film. Although the telefilm was panned by British critics, fans, and Queen Elizabeth herself, the soundtrack album contained their most cryptic work yet in "I Am the Walrus," a Lennon composition.

As the Beatles' late-1967 single "Hello Goodbye" went to #1 in both the U.S. and Britain, the group launched the Apple clothes boutique in London. McCartney called the retail effort "Western communism"; the boutique closed in July 1968. Like their next effort, Apple Corps Ltd. (formed in January 1968 and including Apple Records, which signed James Taylor, Mary Hopkin, and Badfinger), it was plagued by mismanagement. In July the group faced its last hysterical crowds at the premiere of Yellow Submarine, an animated film by Czech avant-garde designer and artist Heinz Edelmann featuring four new Beatles songs; a revised soundtrack featuring nine extra songs was released in 1999 (#15). In August they released McCartney's "Hey Jude" (#1), backed by Lennon's "Revolution" (#12), which sold over 6 million copies before the end of 1968 - their most popular single. Meanwhile, the group had been working on the double album The Beatles (frequently called the White Album), which showed their divergent directions. The rifts were artistic - Lennon moving toward brutal confessionals, McCartney leaning toward pop melodies, Harrison immersed in Eastern spirituality - and personal, as Lennon drew closer to his wife-to-be, Yoko Ono. Lennon and Ono's Two Virgins (with its full frontal and back nude cover photos) was released the same month as The Beatles and stirred up so much outrage that the LP had to be sold wrapped in brown paper. (The Beatles, went to #1, Two Virgins peaked at #124.)

The Beatles attempted to smooth over their differences in early 1969 at filmed recording sessions. When the project fell apart hundreds of hours of studio time later, no one could face editing the tapes (a project that eventually fell to record producer Phil Spector), and "Get Back" (#1, 1969) was the only immediate release. Released in spring 1970, Let It Be is essentially a documentary of their breakup, including an impromptu January 30, 1969, rooftop concert at Apple Corps headquarters, their last public performance as the Beatles.

By spring 1969 Apple was losing thousands of pounds each week. Over McCartney's objections, the other three brought in manager Allen Klein to straighten things out; one of his first actions was to package nonalbum singles as Hey Jude. With money matters temporarily out of mind, the four joined forces in July and August 1969 to record Abbey Road, featuring an extended suite as well as more hits, including Harrison's much-covered "Something" (#3, 1969). While its release that fall spurred a "Paul Is Dead" rumor based on clues supposedly left throughout their work, Abbey Road became the Beatles' best-selling album, at 9 million copies. Meanwhile, internal bickering persisted. In September Lennon told the others, "I'm leaving the group. I've had enough. I want a divorce." But he was persuaded to keep quiet while their business affairs were untangled. On April 10, 1970, McCartney released his first solo album and publicly announced the end of the Beatles. At the same time, Let It Be finally surfaced, becoming the group's 14th #1 album (a postbreakup compilation would become their 15th in 1973) and yielding the Beatles' 18th and 19th chart-topping singles, "Let It Be" and "The Long and Winding Road."

Throughout the '70s, as repackages of Beatles music continued to sell, the four were hounded by bids and pleas for a reunion. Lennon's murder by a mentally disturbed fan on December 8, 1980, ended those speculations. In 1988 the Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. McCartney, citing business conflicts with the two other surviving members, did not attend. Relations between him and Harrison, in particular, had been strained for some time.

In January 1994 Goldmine magazine reported that McCartney, Harrison, and Starr had begun recording music for a long-rumored Beatles documentary the previous August, with more secret sessions scheduled. There were other signs that the three band members were on the mend - when Lennon was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist in 1994, for instance, McCartney did the honors (McCartney himself was inducted in 1999). Later in 1994 Live at the BBC was released, featuring 56 songs the Beatles performed on the British radio between 1962 and 1965. It debuted at #1 in the U.K.; in the U.S., it debuted and peaked at #3.

The Beatles Anthology, the long-awaited six-hour television special, was broadcast over three nights in November 1995, coinciding with the release of the George Martin-compiled double-CD Anthology 1 (#1), which featured alternate takes, demos, and rare tracks, and premiered the first new song by John, Paul, George, and Ringo since 1970. "Free as a Bird" (#6, 1995), a demo recorded by Lennon in 1977, was completed by the other three and produced by Jeff Lynne; it became the Beatles 34th Top 10 single. Lennon's lyrics didn't extend much beyond the title, and so Harrison and McCartney collaborated on lyrics for a new bridge. Two additional double CDs, Anthology 2 and 3 (both #1), followed in 1996, as well as an extended videotape version of the documentary. Anthology 2's "Real Love" (again a Lennon demo, from 1979, with modern additions by the others) reached #11 and became the group's 23rd gold single (the most of any group).

The Liverpool juggernaut continued to roll on in 2000: the Beatles became the highest certified act of all time, with over 113 million albums sold; a coffeetable book, The Beatles Anthology, topped the New York Times bestseller list; and 1, a collection of the band's #1 hit songs, became its 19th chart-topping album. By early 2001, it had sold over 20 million copies worldwide, vying for the greatest-selling album of all time. [See also: George Harrison; John Lennon and Yoko Ono; Paul McCartney; Ringo Starr.]

from The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Simon & Schuster, 2001) Photo

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