The Beatles were a rock ‘n’ roll group that came together in Liverpool, England, in the late Fifties and early Sixties. The group took final form in 1962 with bandmembers John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. Such was the national and then international enthusiasm for the group—their music and their personalities—the phenomenon was dubbed Beatlemania.
A new Beatles LP was always a massive event for Beatles' fans as it not only meant new songs, new instruments, new 'kinds' of music, but also, invariably, new ideas, new 'ways' of thinking—even new 'ways' of living.
In the UK—during the years 1962-1970—The Beatles released 12 studio albums, 13 EPs, and 22 singles. In their time, they not only changed the course of popular music, they also helped change the world and our perceptions of it as regards culture and society.
The group disbanded in 1970, but John, Paul, George, and Ringo all went on to forge very successful solo music careers. It's a commonly held belief that the musical works they produced individually never quite matched the sustained brilliance of what they'd achieved working together as a group, but—as with all great art—that should best remain a matter of personal opinion. What it seems most everyone will agree on is that The Beatles were the greatest and most influential beat group of all time.
Rhythm guitar, harmonica, vocals
1940-1980 Musician. Singer. Songwriter. Poet. Sometime Cartoonist. Sometime Actor. Sometime Political Activist. The 'Brainy One'. Always passionate, opinionated, acerbic, witty, wise, and—often—brilliant. The man who founded The Beatles. He invited Paul McCartney to join the band when they met at a church fete in Liverpool, in 1957. Soon after, the two started writing songs together. He proved to be a genius composer. His later solo work—with his wife Yoko Ono—produced some of his greatest ever songs‚ He was murdered by a deranged, supposed-former Beatles' fan outside his apartment in New York in December 1980.
Lead guitar, vocals
1943-2001 Musician. Singer. Songwriter. Sometime Actor. Sometime Film Producer. Sometime Charity Activist. The 'Quiet One'. It was George who drummed up support in 1962 for Ringo Starr to join the band so as to make The Beatles stronger, musically. Deeply spiritual, a lifelong seeker, it was George who introduced the Indian sitar into the group's music. After the group disbanded he went on to produce a superb body of work as both singer-songwriter—an undeniable third genius composer. The Concert For Bangladesh he arranged in New York—in 1971—with Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, and Ravi Shankar was the first such international charity event of its kind.
Bass guitar, vocals
Born 1942. Musician. Singer. Songwriter. Sometime Actor. Sometime Poet. Sometime Fine Artist. The 'Romantic One'. A hugely gifted musician and composer. His song-writing partnership with John Lennon helped power The Beatles to worldwide success. It was Paul who suggested that George Harrison—a schoolmate—join the band in 1958. After The Beatles disbanded, he formed the group, Wings—with his wife, Linda. It, too, went on to achieve worldwide success. His solo work—including an oratorio and a symphony—is much acclaimed. He still regularly tours the world with a band of handpicked musicians—always to sold-out performances.
Born 1940. Musician. Singer. Sometime songwriter. Actor. The 'Lovable One'. Widely considered to be the best drummer on Merseyside when asked to join The Beatles in 1962, Ringo (real name Richard Starkey) in many ways completed the group—helped to make it truly unique. His left-handed drumming style has always had a very distinct sound. And like George Harrison's guitar work, always seemed designed to fit the specific needs of a particular song and help make it into something uniquely memorable. After The Beatles disbanded he went on to act in a number of critically acclaimed films and to tour, worldwide, with his own big band. He lives in the US.
As musicians—and personalities—The Beatles seemed to blend with one another perfectly: a veritable Fire, Earth, Air, and Water. John Lennon's wonderfully assertive rhythm guitar, Paul McCartney's dramatically melodic bass guitar, George Harrison's bright rockabilly lead guitar, Ringo Starr's always distinctive drumming—all augmented by their unique voices and sublime harmonies—everything coming together to create extraordinary music that somehow always seemed to be new and exciting—even daring and challenging. Every new release was a moment of high expectation amongst their legions of fans.
The Beatles personified The Sixties—their songs and lifestyles perceived as embodying the decade’s emerging counter culture with its nascent—all too vulnerable—idealism. The Beatles were thought and style leaders: smart, witty, irreverent, idealistic, and playful. They appeared to question everything worth questioning in regards to life, love, society, politics—even spirituality. While, professionally, they pushed the boundaries of artistic endeavor—in terms of inventiveness and success—to its limits. No other band has influenced pop culture more—as is witnessed by the fact they are still much talked about—still much missed—and still very much loved.