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Complete History of the Beatles Phenomenon

Complete History of the Beatles Phenomenon

Probably the most popular, influential and enduring rock group of all time, the Beatles almost single-handedly reshaped rock 'n' roll from a genre of throwaway singles by faceless stars to an artistic medium with recognizable images and idols. The Beatles placed the emphasis on a group, rather than a single individual. They also set an example for all rock acts to follow with their strong sense of self-determination, going against their record company and management on many issues, even refusing to tour at the height of their popularity. Of course, their countless hit singles have become modern-day folk songs, covered by hundreds of individuals and groups and inspiring countless more, and have sold more copies than those of any other band in history.

The roots of the Beatles date back to Liverpool, England in the late 1950s. Inspired by the growing British skiffle craze, John Lennon bought a guitar in March 1957and formed a skiffle group called the Quarrymen, named after his high school, Quarry Bank. The lineup changed frequently, but by October 1959 it consisted of Lennon, his younger classmate Paul McCartney, George Harrison and drummer Colin Hanton. By March of 1960, Lennon's art school classmate Stuart Sutcliffe joined the band on bass and suggested the name the Beetles, a response to Buddy Holly's group the Crickets. By that August, they decided on the Beatles, after Lennon had a dream that “a man in a flaming pie came to him and said, ‘you shall be the Beatles with an A’.”

That month the Beatles departed for Hamburg, West Germany, with their new drummer Pete Best, to try to establish themselves in Europe. The band became a popular local act, performing at various clubs until they were expelled from the country in November because George Harrison was underage. Meanwhile Sutcliffe had left the band to pursue his art career, with McCartney taking over on bass; Sutcliffe died of a brain hemorrhage the following year.

Throughout 1961 the Beatles played clubs in Britain, becoming an underground sensation; they were particularly famous at the Cavern Club in their native city of Liverpool. Though they played mostly covers, Lennon and McCartney began writing original songs together, agreeing to forever share songwriting credits, even though they only co-wrote a handful of tunes during their entire career as the Beatles. By the end the year, Liverpool record store owner Brian Epstein had...

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