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The Beatles

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The Beatles
Photo by Richard Avedon. Clockwise from top left: John, Paul, Ringo, George.
The Beatles in 1967
Top: John Lennon, Paul McCartney
Bottom: Ringo Starr, George Harrison
Background information
Origin Liverpool, England
Genres Rock, pop
Years active 1960 (1960)–1970 (1970)
Labels Parlophone, Capitol, Vee-Jay, United Artists, Apple
Associated acts The Quarrymen
Plastic Ono Band
John Lennon
Paul McCartney
George Harrison
Ringo Starr
Past members
Stuart Sutcliffe
Pete Best

Creation Myths

Many people ask what are Beatles? Why Beatles? Ugh, Beatles, how did the name arrive? So we will tell you. It came in a vision — a man appeared in a flaming pie and said unto them 'From this day on you are Beatles with an A.' 'Thank you, Mister Man,' they said, thanking him.

—John Lennon, Mersey Beat magazine, July 1961

At that time, Stuart [Sutcliffe] was into the Marlon Brando type of method acting. There has always been a big thing about who invented the name Beatles. John had said he invented it. But if you look at a movie called "The Wild One," you'll see a scene about bicycle gangs where Johnny's (played by Brando) gang is in a coffee bar and another gang led by Chino (Lee Marvin) pulls into town for a bit of aggro. The film dialogue printed here [Chino's gang is called the Beetles] shows how Stuart could have thought of the name Beatles.

—Derek Taylor, Beatles Publicist, in Fifty Years Adrift (In An Open-Necked Shirt), 1984

Stuart also dreamt up a new name for the group. Buddy Holly had his Crickets, and, on a forthcoming month-long tour of Britain, Gene Vincent was going to be backed by the Beat Boys. How about "The Beetles?" One of the motorbike gangs in "The Wild One" was called that too. A brainstorming session with John warped it eventually to "The Beatles" -- you know, like in 'beat music.'

—Pauline Sutcliffe, Backbeat, 1994

I thought we were the best fucking group in the goddamn world, and believing that is what made us what we were, whether you call it the best pop group or the best rock 'n' roll group or whatever. As far as we were concerned, we were the best, but we thought we were the best before anybody else had even heard of us, back in Hamburg and Liverpool. So in that respect I think the Beatles are the best thing that ever happened in pop music, but you play me those tracks and I want to remake every damn one of them.

—John Lennon, The Playboy Interviews, p.61-62, 1980

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