The Beatles were an English rock band, formed in Liverpool in 1960. With members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they became widely regarded as the foremost and most influential music band of the 20th century. Rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and roll, the Beatles later experimented with several musical styles, ranging from pop ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock, often incorporating classical elements in innovative ways. In 1963, their enormous popularity first emerged as “Beatlemania”; as the group’s music grew in sophistication following their 1966 album Revolver, led by Lennon’s exploration of avant-garde and electronic music, the band came to be perceived as an embodiment of the ideals shared by the counterculture of the 1960s.
The Beatles built their reputation playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg over a three-year period from 1960, with Stuart Sutcliffe initially serving as bass player. The core trio of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, together since 1958, went through a succession of drummers, including Pete Best, before asking Starr to join them in 1962. Manager Brian Epstein moulded them into a professional act, and producer George Martin guided and developed their recordings, greatly expanding their popularity in the United Kingdom after their first hit, “Love Me Do”, in late 1962. They acquired the nickname “the Fab Four” as Beatlemania grew in Britain over the following year.
By early 1964, the Beatles were international stars, leading the “British Invasion” of the United States pop market and breaking numerous sales records. They soon made their Hollywood film debut with A Hard Day’s Night (1964). From 1965 onwards, they produced increasingly innovative recordings, including the albums Rubber Soul (1965), Revolver (1966) and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), the latter of which is widely regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time.
During this period, Lennon became increasingly interested in transcendental meditation and african music, Harrison pursued his interest in Indian music and culture, and Ringo Starr experimented with watercolours. In 1968, they founded Apple Corps, a multi-armed multimedia corporation that continues to oversee projects related to the band’s legacy. After the group’s break-up in 1970, all four members enjoyed successful musical careers of varying lengths.
Lennon was shot and killed in December 1980, and Harrison died of cancer in November 2001. McCartney and Starr remain musically active.
The Beatles are the best-selling band in history, with estimated sales of over 600 million records worldwide. They have had more number-one albums on the British charts (15) and sold more singles in the UK (21.9 million) than any other act. According to the RIAA, they are the best-selling music artists in the United States, with 178 million certified units. In 2008, Billboard magazine ranked them the greatest artist of all time. Rolling Stone ranked them number one on its list of “The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time” and number two on its updated list of “The Immortals: The Fifty Greatest Artists of All Time”.
1) Abbey Road (1969)
2) Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
3) The Beatles (1968)
4) Revolver (1966)
5) Rubber Soul (1965)
6) Please Please Me (1963)
7) With the Beatles (1963)
8) A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
9) Help! (1965)
10 ) Let It Be (1970).