The Beatles In October of 1961, four young musicians were “discovered” by a businessman named Brian Epstein. Epstein quickly made friends with the long-haired, enthusiastic boys from Liverpool, England known as the Beatles. He became their manager and arranged record contracts and television appearances. The group consisted of John Lennon and George Harrison playing guitars, Paul McCartney playing the electric bass, and Ringo Starr on the drums. Paul and John were the main songwriters in the group. The Beatles were influenced by jazz music, rhythm and blues, and the Rock N Roll craze of the 1950’s that swept through America and Europe.
The Beatles music became popular in the United States before they ever actually performed here. They arrived in America in February of 1964. Every concert they gave was sold out. Many of their fans became hysterical when they saw the Beatles in person, and girls often passed out from the excitement. The Beatles appeared several times during the 1960’s on the popular television variety show hosted by Ed Sullivan. This brought their exciting music into the homes of America’s teenagers, increasing their popularity and making them the most successful rock group of all time. The Beatles were popular throughout the entire world. They made several movies, including “Help!” and “A Hard Day’s Night” . They set many records for selling huge numbers of albums. By 1966, they had sold over $500 million worth of records. Lennon and McCartney composed over forty #1 hits, more than any other pop or rock music group at that time.
Early in 1970, musical differences and money concerns caused the group to break up. Though they remained friends, the group once known as the “Fab Four” never performed together again. Tragically, John Lennon was killed in 1980 by a mentally ill fan. The other three Beatles continued making music in their own way. Ringo also acted as the original engineer on the childrens show Shining Time Station and narrating episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine. In the early 90’s, the remaining three members released older, previously unheard recordings of the early Beatles.
The Beatles not only influenced music but fashion and culture more profoundly than any other single music act in the history of music. Radio and television increased their exposure and fame, but it was the quality and scope of their musical efforts that made them a landmark in music history.