The Beatles – Music band


The Beatles were an English rock band formed
in Liverpool in 1960. With a line-up comprising John Lennon, Paul
McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they are regarded as the most influential
band of all time. The group were integral to the development
of 1960s counterculture and popular music’s recognition as an art form. Rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and
roll, their sound incorporated elements of classical music and traditional pop in innovative
ways; the band later explored music styles ranging from ballads and Indian music to psychedelia
and hard rock. As pioneers in recording, songwriting and
artistic presentation, the group revolutionised many aspects of the music industry and were
often publicised as leaders of the era’s youth and sociocultural movements. Led by primary songwriters Lennon and McCartney,
the Beatles built their reputation playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg over three
years from 1960, initially with Stuart Sutcliffe playing bass. 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 domestic success after their first hit, “Love Me Do”, in late 1962. As their popularity grew into the intense
fan frenzy dubbed “Beatlemania”, the band acquired the nickname “the Fab Four”, with
Epstein, Martin and other members of the band’s entourage sometimes given the informal title
of “fifth Beatle”. 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 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), and
enjoyed further commercial success with The Beatles (also known as “the White Album”,
1968) and Abbey Road (1969). 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 success as solo artists. Lennon was shot and killed in December 1980,
and Harrison died of lung cancer in November 2001. McCartney and Starr remain musically active. The Beatles are the best-selling music act
of all time, with certified sales of over 183 million units in the US and estimated
sales of 600 million units worldwide. They hold the record for most number-one albums
on the UK Albums Chart, most number-one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and most singles
sold in the UK. The group were inducted into the Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, and all four main members were inducted individually between
1994 and 2015. In 2008, the group topped Billboard’s list
of the all-time most successful artists on the Billboard Hot 100. The band have received seven Grammy Awards,
four Brit Awards, an Academy Award (for Best Original Song Score for the 1970 film Let
It Be) and fifteen Ivor Novello Awards. Time named them among the 20th century’s 100
most important people. History. In March 1957, John Lennon, then aged sixteen,
formed a skiffle group with several friends from Quarry Bank High School in Liverpool. They briefly called themselves the Blackjacks,
before changing their name to the Quarrymen after discovering that another local group
was already using the name. Fifteen-year-old Paul McCartney joined them
as a rhythm guitarist shortly after he and Lennon met that July. In February 1958, McCartney invited his friend
George Harrison to watch the band. The fifteen-year-old auditioned for Lennon,
impressing him with his playing, but Lennon initially thought Harrison was too young for
the band. After a month of Harrison’s persistence, during
a second meeting (arranged by McCartney), he performed the lead guitar part of the instrumental
song “Raunchy” on the upper deck of a Liverpool bus, and they enlisted him as their lead guitarist. By January 1959, Lennon’s Quarry Bank friends
had left the group, and he began his studies at the Liverpool College of Art. The three guitarists, billing themselves as
Johnny and the Moondogs, were playing rock and roll whenever they could find a drummer. Lennon’s art school friend Stuart Sutcliffe,
who had just sold one of his paintings and was persuaded to purchase a bass guitar with
the proceeds, joined in January 1960, and it was he who suggested changing the band’s
name to Beatals, as a tribute to Buddy Holly and the Crickets. They used this name until May, when they became
the Silver Beetles, before undertaking a brief tour of Scotland as the backing group for
pop singer and fellow Liverpudlian Johnny Gentle. By early July, they had refashioned themselves
as the Silver Beatles, and by the middle of August shortened the name to The Beatles. Allan Williams, the Beatles’ unofficial manager,
arranged a residency for them in Hamburg, but lacking a full-time drummer they auditioned
and hired Pete Best in mid-August 1960. The band, now a five-piece, left four days
later, contracted to club owner Bruno Koschmider for what would be a 31⁄2-month residency. Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn writes: “They
pulled into Hamburg at dusk on 17 August, the time when the red-light area comes to
life … flashing neon lights screamed out the various entertainment on offer, while
scantily clad women sat unabashed in shop windows waiting for business opportunities.” Koschmider had converted a couple of strip
clubs in the district into music venues, and he initially placed the Beatles at the Indra
Club. After closing Indra due to noise complaints,
he moved them to the Kaiserkeller in October. When he learned they had been performing at
the rival Top Ten Club in breach of their contract, he gave the band one month’s termination
notice, and reported the underage Harrison, who had obtained permission to stay in Hamburg
by lying to the German authorities about his age. The authorities arranged for Harrison’s deportation
in late November. One week later, Koschmider had McCartney and
Best arrested for arson after they set fire to a condom in a concrete corridor; the authorities
deported them. Lennon returned to Liverpool in early December,
while Sutcliffe remained in Hamburg until late February with his German fiancée Astrid
Kirchherr, who took the first semi-professional photos of the Beatles. During the next two years, the Beatles were
resident for periods in Hamburg, where they used Preludin both recreationally and to maintain
their energy through all-night performances. In 1961, during their second Hamburg engagement,
Kirchherr cut Sutcliffe’s hair in the “exi” (existentialist) style, later adopted by the
other Beatles. When Sutcliffe decided to leave the band early
that year and resume his art studies in Germany, McCartney took up the bass. Producer Bert Kaempfert contracted what was
now a four-piece group until June 1962, and he used them as Tony Sheridan’s backing band
on a series of recordings for Polydor Records. As part of the sessions, the Beatles were
signed to Polydor for one year. Credited to “Tony Sheridan & the Beat Brothers”,
the single “My Bonnie”, recorded in June 1961 and released four months later, reached number
32 on the Musikmarkt chart. After the Beatles completed their second Hamburg
residency, they enjoyed increasing popularity in Liverpool with the growing Merseybeat movement. However, they were also growing tired of the
monotony of numerous appearances at the same clubs night after night. In November 1961, during one of the group’s
frequent performances at The Cavern Club, they encountered Brian Epstein, a local record-store
owner and music columnist. He later recalled: “I immediately liked what
I heard. They were fresh, and they were honest, and
they had what I thought was a sort of presence … star quality.” Epstein courted the band over the next couple
of months, and they appointed him as their manager in January 1962. Throughout early and mid-1962, Epstein sought
to free the Beatles from their contractual obligations to Bert Kaempfert Productions. He eventually negotiated a one-month-early
release from their contract in exchange for one last recording session in Hamburg. Tragedy greeted them on their return to Germany
in April, when a distraught Kirchherr met them at the airport with news of Sutcliffe’s
death the previous day from what was later determined as a brain haemorrhage. Epstein began negotiations with record labels
for a recording contract. To secure a UK record contract, Epstein negotiated
an early end to the band’s contract with Polydor, in exchange for more recordings backing Tony
Sheridan. After a New Year’s Day audition, Decca Records
rejected the band with the comment “Guitar groups are on the way out, Mr. Epstein.” However, three months later, producer George
Martin signed the Beatles to EMI’s Parlophone label. Martin’s first recording session with the
Beatles took place at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios in London on 6 June 1962. Martin immediately complained to Epstein about
Best’s poor drumming and suggested they use a session drummer in his place. Already contemplating Best’s dismissal, the
Beatles replaced him in mid-August with Ringo Starr, who left Rory Storm and the Hurricanes
to join them. A 4 September session at EMI yielded a recording
of “Love Me Do” featuring Starr on drums, but a dissatisfied Martin hired drummer Andy
White for the band’s third session a week later, which produced recordings of “Love
Me Do”, “Please Please Me” and “P.S. I Love You”. Martin initially selected the Starr version
of “Love Me Do” for the band’s first single, though subsequent re-pressings featured the
White version, with Starr on tambourine. Released in early October, “Love Me Do” peaked
at number seventeen on the Record Retailer chart. Their television debut came later that month
with a live performance on the regional news programme People and Places. After Martin suggested rerecording “Please
Please Me” at a faster tempo, a studio session in late November yielded that recording, of
which Martin accurately predicted, “You’ve just made your first No. 1.” In December 1962, the Beatles concluded their
fifth and final Hamburg residency. By 1963, they had agreed that all four band
members would contribute vocals to their albums – including Starr, despite his restricted
vocal range, to validate his standing in the group. Lennon and McCartney had established a songwriting
partnership, and as the band’s success grew, their dominant collaboration limited Harrison’s
opportunities as a lead vocalist. Epstein, to maximise the Beatles’ commercial
potential, encouraged them to adopt a professional approach to performing. Lennon recalled him saying, “Look, if you
really want to get in these bigger places, you’re going to have to change – stop eating
on stage, stop swearing, stop smoking ….” Lennon said: “We used to dress how we liked, on and
off stage. He’d tell us that jeans were not particularly
smart and could we possibly manage to wear proper trousers, but he didn’t want us suddenly
looking square. He’d let us have our own sense of individuality.” Please Please Me and With the Beatles. On 11 February 1963, the Beatles recorded
ten songs during a single studio session for their debut LP, Please Please Me. The album was supplemented by the four tracks
already released on their first two singles. Martin originally considered recording the
Beatles’ debut LP live at The Cavern Club, but after deciding that the building’s acoustics
were inadequate, he elected to simulate a “live” album with minimal production in “a
single marathon session at Abbey Road”. After the moderate success of “Love Me Do”,
the single “Please Please Me” met with a more emphatic reception. Released in January 1963, two months ahead
of the album of the same name, the song reached number one on every UK chart except Record
Retailer, where it peaked at number two. Recalling how the Beatles “rushed to deliver
a debut album, bashing out Please Please Me in a day”, AllMusic’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine
comments, “Decades after its release, the album still sounds fresh, precisely because
of its intense origins.” Lennon said little thought went into composition
at the time; he and McCartney were “just writing songs à la Everly Brothers, à la Buddy Holly,
pop songs with no more thought of them than that – to create a sound. And the words were almost irrelevant.” Released in March 1963, the album initiated
a run during which eleven of their twelve studio albums released in the United Kingdom
through to 1970 reached number one. The band’s third single, “From Me to You”,
came out in April and was also a chart-topping hit, starting an almost unbroken string of
seventeen British number-one singles for the Beatles, including all but one of the eighteen
they released over the next six years. Issued in August, the band’s fourth single,
“She Loves You”, achieved the fastest sales of any record in the UK up to that time, selling
three-quarters of a million copies in under four weeks. It became their first single to sell a million
copies, and remained the biggest-selling record in the UK until 1978. Their commercial success brought increased
media exposure, to which the Beatles responded with an irreverent and comical attitude that
defied the expectations of pop musicians at the time, inspiring even more interest. The band toured the UK three times in the
first half of the year: a four-week tour that began in February, the Beatles’ first nationwide,
preceded three-week tours in March and May–June. As their popularity spread, a frenzied adulation
of the group took hold. Greeted with riotous enthusiasm by screaming
fans, the press dubbed the phenomenon “Beatlemania”. Although not billed as tour leaders, the Beatles
overshadowed American acts Tommy Roe and Chris Montez during the February engagements and
assumed top billing “by audience demand”, something no British act had previously accomplished
while touring with artists from the US. A similar situation arose during their May–June
tour with Roy Orbison. In late October, the Beatles began a five-day
tour of Sweden, their first time abroad since the final Hamburg engagement of December 1962. On their return to the UK on 31 October, several
hundred screaming fans greeted them in heavy rain at Heathrow Airport. Around 50 to 100 journalists and photographers,
as well as representatives from the BBC, also joined the airport reception, the first of
more than 100 such events. The next day, the band began its fourth tour
of Britain within nine months, this one scheduled for six weeks. In mid-November, as Beatlemania intensified,
police resorted to using high-pressure water hoses to control the crowd before a concert
in Plymouth. Please Please Me maintained the top position
on the Record Retailer chart for 30 weeks, only to be displaced by its follow-up, With
the Beatles, which EMI released on 22 November to record advance orders of 270,000 copies. The LP topped a half-million albums sold in
one week. Recorded between July and October, With the
Beatles made better use of studio production techniques than its predecessor. It held the top spot for 21 weeks with a chart
life of 40 weeks. Erlewine described the LP as “a sequel of
the highest order – one that betters the original”. In a reversal of then standard practice, EMI
released the album ahead of the impending single “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, with the
song excluded to maximise the single’s sales. The album caught the attention of music critic
William Mann of The Times, who suggested that Lennon and McCartney were “the outstanding
English composers of 1963”. The newspaper published a series of articles
in which Mann offered detailed analyses of the music, lending it respectability. With the Beatles became the second album in
UK chart history to sell a million copies, a figure previously reached only by the 1958
South Pacific soundtrack. When writing the sleeve notes for the album,
the band’s press officer, Tony Barrow, used the superlative the “fabulous foursome”, which
the media widely adopted as “the Fab Four”. First visit to United States and British Invasion. EMI’s American subsidiary, Capitol Records,
hindered the Beatles’ releases in the United States for more than a year by initially declining
to issue their music, including their first three singles. Concurrent negotiations with the independent
US label Vee-Jay led to the release of some of the songs in 1963, but not all. Vee-Jay finished preparation for the album
Introducing… The Beatles, culled from most of the songs
of Parlophone’s Please Please Me, but a management shake-up led to the album not being released. Then when it surfaced that the label did not
report royalties on their sales, the licence Vee-Jay signed with EMI was voided. A new licence was granted to the Swan label
for the single “She Loves You”. The record received some airplay in the Tidewater
area of Virginia by Gene Loving of radio station WGH and was featured on the “Rate-a-Record”
segment of American Bandstand, but it failed to catch on nationally. Epstein arranged for a $40,000 US marketing
campaign. American chart success began after disc jockey
Carroll James of AM radio station WWDC, in Washington, DC, obtained a copy of the British
single “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in mid-December 1963 and began playing it on-air. Taped copies of the song soon circulated among
other radio stations throughout the US. This caused an increase in demand, leading
Capitol to bring forward the release of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by three weeks. Issued on 26 December, with the band’s previously
scheduled debut there just weeks away, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” sold a million copies,
becoming a number-one hit in the US by mid-January. In its wake, Vee-Jay released Introducing… The Beatles to go along with Capitol’s debut
album, Meet the Beatles!, while Swan reactivated production of “She Loves You”. On 7 February 1964, the Beatles left the United
Kingdom with an estimated 4,000 fans gathered at Heathrow, waving and screaming as the aircraft
took off. Upon landing at New York’s John F. Kennedy
Airport, an uproarious crowd estimated at 3,000 greeted them. They gave their first live US television performance
two days later on The Ed Sullivan Show, watched by approximately 73 million viewers in over
23 million households, or 34 percent of the American population. Biographer Jonathan Gould writes that, according
to the Nielsen rating service, it was “the largest audience that had ever been recorded
for an American television program”. The next morning, the Beatles awoke to a largely
negative critical consensus in the US, but a day later at their first US concert, Beatlemania
erupted at the Washington Coliseum. Back in New York the following day, the Beatles
met with another strong reception during two shows at Carnegie Hall. The band flew to Florida, where they appeared
on the weekly Ed Sullivan Show a second time, before another 70 million viewers, before
returning to the UK on 22 February. The Beatles’ first visit to the United States
took place when the nation was still mourning the assassination of President John F. Kennedy
the previous November. Commentators often suggest that for many,
particularly the young, the Beatles’ performances reignited the sense of excitement and possibility
that momentarily faded in the wake of the assassination, and helped make way for the
revolutionary social changes to come in the decade. Their hairstyle, unusually long for the era
and mocked by many adults, became an emblem of rebellion to the burgeoning youth culture. The group’s popularity generated unprecedented
interest in British music, and many other UK acts subsequently made their American debuts,
successfully touring over the next three years in what was termed the British Invasion. The Beatles’ success in the US opened the
door for a successive string of British beat groups and pop acts such as the Dave Clark
Five, the Animals, Petula Clark, the Kinks, and the Rolling Stones to achieve success
in America. During the week of 4 April 1964, the Beatles
held twelve positions on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, including the top five. A Hard Day’s Night. Capitol Records’ lack of interest throughout
1963 did not go unnoticed, and a competitor, United Artists Records, encouraged their film
division to offer the Beatles a three-motion-picture deal, primarily for the commercial potential
of the soundtracks in the US. Directed by Richard Lester, A Hard Day’s Night
involved the band for six weeks in March–April 1964 as they played themselves in a musical
comedy. The film premiered in London and New York
in July and August, respectively, and was an international success, with some critics
drawing a comparison with the Marx Brothers. United Artists released a full soundtrack
album for the North American market, combining Beatles songs and Martin’s orchestral score;
elsewhere, the group’s third studio LP, A Hard Day’s Night, contained songs from the
film on side one and other new recordings on side two. According to Erlewine, the album saw them
“truly coming into their own as a band. All of the disparate influences on their first
two albums coalesced into a bright, joyous, original sound, filled with ringing guitars
and irresistible melodies.” That “ringing guitar” sound was primarily
the product of Harrison’s 12-string electric Rickenbacker, a prototype given to him by
the manufacturer, which made its debut on the record. 1964 world tour, meeting Bob Dylan, and stand
on civil rights. Touring internationally in June and July,
the Beatles staged 37 shows over 27 days in Denmark, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Australia
and New Zealand. In August and September they returned to the
US, with a 30-concert tour of 23 cities. Generating intense interest once again, the
month-long tour attracted between 10,000 and 20,000 fans to each 30-minute performance
in cities from San Francisco to New York. In August, journalist Al Aronowitz arranged
for the Beatles to meet Bob Dylan. Visiting the band in their New York hotel
suite, Dylan introduced them to cannabis. Gould points out the musical and cultural
significance of this meeting, before which the musicians’ respective fanbases were “perceived
as inhabiting two separate subcultural worlds”: Dylan’s audience of “college kids with artistic
or intellectual leanings, a dawning political and social idealism, and a mildly bohemian
style” contrasted with their fans, “veritable ‘teenyboppers’ – kids in high school or
grade school whose lives were totally wrapped up in the commercialised popular culture of
television, radio, pop records, fan magazines, and teen fashion. To many of Dylan’s followers in the folk music
scene, the Beatles were seen as idolaters, not idealists.” Within six months of the meeting, according
to Gould, “Lennon would be making records on which he openly imitated Dylan’s nasal
drone, brittle strum, and introspective vocal persona”; and six months after that, Dylan
began performing with a backing band and electric instrumentation, and “dressed in the height
of Mod fashion”. As a result, Gould continues, the traditional
division between folk and rock enthusiasts “nearly evaporated”, as the Beatles’ fans
began to mature in their outlook and Dylan’s audience embraced the new, youth-driven pop
culture. During the 1964 US tour, the group were confronted
with racial segregation in the country at the time, particularly in the South. When informed that the venue for their 11
September concert, the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, was segregated, the Beatles said
they would refuse to perform unless the audience was integrated. Lennon stated: “We never play to segregated
audiences and we aren’t going to start now … I’d sooner lose our appearance money.” City officials relented and agreed to allow
an integrated show. The group also cancelled their reservations
at the whites-only Hotel George Washington in Jacksonville. For their subsequent US tours in 1965 and
1966, the Beatles included clauses in contracts stipulating that shows be integrated. Beatles for Sale, Help! and Rubber Soul
According to Gould, Beatles for Sale, the Beatles’ fourth studio LP, evidenced a growing
conflict between the commercial pressures of their global success and their creative
ambitions. They had intended the album, recorded between
August and October 1964, to continue the format established by A Hard Day’s Night which, unlike
their first two LPs, contained only original songs. They had nearly exhausted their backlog of
songs on the previous album, however, and given the challenges constant international
touring posed to their songwriting efforts, Lennon admitted, “Material’s becoming a hell
of a problem”. As a result, six covers from their extensive
repertoire were chosen to complete the album. Released in early December, its eight original
compositions stood out, demonstrating the growing maturity of the Lennon–McCartney
songwriting partnership. In early 1965, following a dinner with Lennon,
Harrison and their wives, Harrison’s dentist, John Riley, secretly added LSD to their coffee. Lennon described the experience: “It was just
terrifying, but it was fantastic. I was pretty stunned for a month or two.” He and Harrison subsequently became regular
users of the drug, joined by Starr on at least one occasion. Harrison’s use of psychedelic drugs encouraged
his path to meditation and Hinduism. He commented: “For me, it was like a flash. The first time I had acid, it just opened
up something in my head that was inside of me, and I realized a lot of things. I didn’t learn them because I already knew
them, but that happened to be the key that opened the door to reveal them. From the moment I had that, I wanted to have
it all the time – these thoughts about the yogis and the Himalayas, and Ravi’s music.” McCartney was initially reluctant to try it,
but eventually did so in late 1966. He became the first Beatle to discuss LSD
publicly, declaring in a magazine interview that “it opened my eyes” and “made me a better,
more honest, more tolerant member of society”. Controversy erupted in June 1965 when Queen
Elizabeth II appointed all four Beatles Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) after
Prime Minister Harold Wilson nominated them for the award. In protest – the honour was at that time
primarily bestowed upon military veterans and civic leaders – some conservative MBE
recipients returned their insignia. In July, the Beatles’ second film, Help!,
was released, again directed by Lester. Described as “mainly a relentless spoof of
Bond”, it inspired a mixed response among both reviewers and the band. McCartney said: “Help! was great but it wasn’t
our film – we were sort of guest stars. It was fun, but basically, as an idea for
a film, it was a bit wrong.” The soundtrack was dominated by Lennon, who
wrote and sang lead on most of its songs, including the two singles: “Help!” and “Ticket
to Ride”. The accompanying Help! album, the group’s
fifth studio LP, mirrored A Hard Day’s Night by featuring soundtrack songs on side one
and additional songs from the same sessions on side two. The LP contained all original material save
for two covers, “Act Naturally” and “Dizzy Miss Lizzy”; they were the last covers the
band would include on an album, except for Let It Be’s brief rendition of the traditional
Liverpool folk song “Maggie Mae”. The band expanded their use of vocal overdubs
on Help! and incorporated classical instruments into some arrangements, including a string
quartet on the pop ballad “Yesterday”. Composed by and sung by McCartney – none
of the other Beatles perform on the recording – “Yesterday” inspired the most cover versions
of any song ever written. With Help!, the Beatles became the first rock
group to be nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year. The group’s third US tour opened with a performance
before a world-record crowd of 55,600 at New York’s Shea Stadium on 15 August 1965 – “perhaps
the most famous of all Beatles’ concerts”, in Lewisohn’s description. A further nine successful concerts followed
in other American cities. At a show in Atlanta, the Beatles gave one
of the first live performances ever to make use of a foldback system of on-stage monitor
speakers. Towards the end of the tour, they met with
Elvis Presley, a foundational musical influence on the band, who invited them to his home
in Beverly Hills. September saw the launch of an American Saturday-morning
cartoon series, The Beatles, that echoed A Hard Day’s Night’s slapstick antics over its
two-year original run. The series was a historical milestone as the
first weekly television series to feature animated versions of real, living people. In mid-October 1965, the Beatles entered the
recording studio; for the first time when making an album, they had an extended period
without other major commitments. Until this time, according to George Martin,
“we had been making albums rather like a collection of singles. Now we were really beginning to think about
albums as a bit of art on their own.” Released in December, Rubber Soul was hailed
by critics as a major step forward in the maturity and complexity of the band’s music. Their thematic reach was beginning to expand
as they embraced deeper aspects of romance and philosophy. Biographers Peter Brown and Steven Gaines
attribute the new musical direction to “the Beatles’ now habitual use of marijuana”, an
assertion confirmed by the band – Lennon referred to it as “the pot album”, and Starr
said: “Grass was really influential in a lot of our changes, especially with the writers. And because they were writing different material,
we were playing differently.” After Help!’s foray into the world of classical
music with flutes and strings, Harrison’s introduction of a sitar on “Norwegian Wood
(This Bird Has Flown)” marked a further progression outside the traditional boundaries of popular
music. As their lyrics grew more artful, fans began
to study them for deeper meaning. Of “Norwegian Wood” Lennon commented: “I was
trying to be sophisticated in writing about an affair … but in such a smokescreen way
that you couldn’t tell.” While many of Rubber Soul’s prominent songs
were the product of Lennon and McCartney’s collaborative songwriting, it also featured
distinct compositions from each, though they continued to share official credit. The song “In My Life”, of which each later
claimed lead authorship, is considered a highlight of the entire Lennon–McCartney catalogue. Harrison called Rubber Soul his “favourite
album” and Starr referred to it as “the departure record”. McCartney has said, “We’d had our cute period,
and now it was time to expand.” However, recording engineer Norman Smith later
stated that the studio sessions revealed signs of growing conflict within the group – “the
clash between John and Paul was becoming obvious”, he wrote, and “as far as Paul was concerned,
George could do no right”. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked Rubber Soul
fifth among “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”, and AllMusic’s Richie Unterberger describes
it as “one of the classic folk-rock records”. Controversies, Revolver and final tour
Capitol Records, from December 1963 when it began issuing Beatles recordings for the US
market, exercised complete control over format, compiling distinct US albums from the band’s
recordings and issuing songs of their choosing as singles. In June 1966, Yesterday and Today, one of
Capitol’s compilation albums, caused an uproar with its cover, which portrayed the grinning
Beatles dressed in butcher’s overalls, accompanied by raw meat and mutilated plastic baby dolls. According to Beatles biographer Bill Harry,
it has been incorrectly suggested that this was meant as a satirical response to the way
Capitol had “butchered” the US versions of the band’s albums. Thousands of copies of the LP had a new cover
pasted over the original; an unpeeled “first-state” copy fetched $10,500 at a December 2005 auction. In England, meanwhile, Harrison met sitar
maestro Ravi Shankar, who agreed to train him on the instrument. During a tour of the Philippines the month
after the Yesterday and Today furore, the Beatles unintentionally snubbed the nation’s
first lady, Imelda Marcos, who had expected them to attend a breakfast reception at the
Presidential Palace. When presented with the invitation, Epstein
politely declined on the band members’ behalf, as it had never been his policy to accept
such official invitations. They soon found that the Marcos regime was
unaccustomed to taking no for an answer. The resulting riots endangered the group and
they escaped the country with difficulty. Immediately afterwards, the band members visited
India for the first time. Almost as soon as they returned home, the
Beatles faced a fierce backlash from US religious and social conservatives (as well as the Ku
Klux Klan) over a comment Lennon had made in a March interview with British reporter
Maureen Cleave. “Christianity will go,” Lennon had said. “It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and
I will be proved right. … Jesus was alright but his disciples were
thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.” The comment went virtually unnoticed in England,
but when US teenage fan magazine Datebook printed it five months later – on the eve
of the group’s August US tour – it sparked a controversy with Christians in America’s
conservative Bible Belt region. The Vatican issued a protest, and bans on
Beatles’ records were imposed by Spanish and Dutch stations and South Africa’s national
broadcasting service. Epstein accused Datebook of having taken Lennon’s
words out of context; at a press conference Lennon pointed out, “If I’d said television
was more popular than Jesus, I might have got away with it.” Lennon claimed that he was referring to how
other people viewed their success, but at the prompting of reporters, he concluded:
“If you want me to apologise, if that will make you happy, then okay, I’m sorry.” As preparations were made for the US tour,
the Beatles knew that their music would hardly be heard. Having originally used Vox AC30 amplifiers,
they later acquired more powerful 100-watt amplifiers, specially designed by Vox for
them as they moved into larger venues in 1964, but these were still inadequate. Struggling to compete with the volume of sound
generated by screaming fans, the band had grown increasingly bored with the routine
of performing live. Recognising that their shows were no longer
about the music, they decided to make the August tour their last. Rubber Soul had marked a major step forward;
Revolver, released in August 1966 a week before the Beatles’ final tour, marked another. Pitchfork’s Scott Plagenhoef identifies it
as “the sound of a band growing into supreme confidence” and “redefining what was expected
from popular music”. Revolver featured sophisticated songwriting,
studio experimentation, and a greatly expanded repertoire of musical styles, ranging from
innovative classical string arrangements to psychedelic rock. Abandoning the customary group photograph,
its cover – designed by Klaus Voormann, a friend of the band since their Hamburg days
– “was a stark, arty, black-and-white collage that caricatured the Beatles in a pen-and-ink
style beholden to Aubrey Beardsley”, in Gould’s description. The album was preceded by the single “Paperback
Writer”, backed by “Rain”. Short promotional films were made for both
songs; described by cultural historian Saul Austerlitz as “among the first true music
videos”, they aired on The Ed Sullivan Show and Top of the Pops in June 1966. Among the experimental songs that Revolver
featured was “Tomorrow Never Knows”, the lyrics for which Lennon drew from Timothy Leary’s
The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Its creation involved eight tape decks distributed
about the EMI building, each staffed by an engineer or band member, who randomly varied
the movement of a tape loop while Martin created a composite recording by sampling the incoming
data. McCartney’s “Eleanor Rigby” made prominent
use of a string octet; Gould describes it as “a true hybrid, conforming to no recognisable
style or genre of song”. Harrison was developing as a songwriter, and
three of his compositions earned a place on the record. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked Revolver as
the third greatest album of all time. During the US tour that followed Revolver’s
release, the band performed none of its songs. As Chris Ingham writes, they were very much
“studio creations … and there was no way a four-piece rock ‘n’ roll group could do
them justice, particularly through the desensitising wall of the fans’ screams. ‘Live Beatles’ and ‘Studio Beatles’ had become
entirely different beasts.” The band’s concert at San Francisco’s Candlestick
Park on 29 August was their last commercial concert. It marked the end of four years dominated
by almost nonstop touring that included over 1,400 concert appearances internationally. 1966–1970: Studio years. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Freed from the burden of touring, the Beatles
embraced an increasingly experimental approach as they recorded Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, beginning
in late November 1966. According to engineer Geoff Emerick, the album’s
recording took over 700 hours. He recalled the band’s insistence “that everything
on Sgt. Pepper had to be different. We had microphones right down in the bells
of brass instruments and headphones turned into microphones attached to violins. We used giant primitive oscillators to vary
the speed of instruments and vocals and we had tapes chopped to pieces and stuck together
upside down and the wrong way around.” Parts of “A Day in the Life” featured a 40-piece
orchestra. The sessions initially yielded the non-album
double A-side single “Strawberry Fields Forever”/”Penny Lane” in February 1967; the Sgt. Pepper LP followed with a rush-release in
May. The musical complexity of the records, created
using relatively primitive four-track recording technology, astounded contemporary artists. Among music critics, acclaim for the album
was virtually universal. Gould writes: The overwhelming consensus is that the Beatles
had created a popular masterpiece: a rich, sustained, and overflowing work of collaborative
genius whose bold ambition and startling originality dramatically enlarged the possibilities and
raised the expectations of what the experience of listening to popular music on record could
be. On the basis of this perception, Sgt. Pepper became the catalyst for an explosion
of mass enthusiasm for album-formatted rock that would revolutionise both the aesthetics
and the economics of the record business in ways that far outstripped the earlier pop
explosions triggered by the Elvis phenomenon of 1956 and the Beatlemania phenomenon of
1963. In the wake of Sgt. Pepper, the underground and mainstream press
widely publicised the Beatles as leaders of youth culture, as well as “lifestyle revolutionaries”. The album was the first major pop/rock LP
to include its complete lyrics, which appeared on the back cover. Those lyrics were the subject of critical
analysis; for instance, in late 1967 the album was the subject of a scholarly inquiry by
American literary critic and professor of English Richard Poirier, who observed that
his students were “listening to the group’s music with a degree of engagement that he,
as a teacher of literature, could only envy”. The elaborate cover also attracted considerable
interest and study. A collage designed by pop artists Peter Blake
and Jann Haworth, it depicted the group as the fictional band referred to in the album’s
title track standing in front of a crowd of famous people. The heavy moustaches worn by the group reflected
the growing influence of hippie style, while cultural historian Jonathan Harris describes
their “brightly coloured parodies of military uniforms” as a knowingly “anti-authoritarian
and anti-establishment” display. Sgt. Pepper topped the UK charts for 23 consecutive
weeks, with a further four weeks at number one in the period through to February 1968. With 2.5 million copies sold within three
months of its release, Sgt. Pepper’s initial commercial success exceeded
that of all previous Beatles albums. It sustained its immense popularity into the
21st century while breaking numerous sales records. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked Sgt. Pepper foremost on its list of the greatest
albums of all time. Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine. Two Beatles film projects were conceived within
weeks of completing Sgt. Pepper: Magical Mystery Tour, a one-hour television
film, and Yellow Submarine, an animated feature-length film produced by United Artists. The group began recording music for the former
in late April 1967, but the project then lay dormant as they focused on recording songs
for the latter. On 25 June, the Beatles performed their forthcoming
single “All You Need Is Love” to an estimated 350 million viewers on Our World, the first
live global television link. Released a week later, during the Summer of
Love, the song was adopted as a flower power anthem. The Beatles’ use of psychedelic drugs was
at its height during that summer. In July and August, the group pursued interests
related to similar utopian-based ideology, including a week-long investigation into the
possibility of starting an island-based commune off the coast of Greece. On 24 August, the group were introduced to
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in London. The next day, they travelled to Bangor for
his Transcendental Meditation retreat. On 27 August, their manager’s assistant, Peter
Brown, phoned to inform them that Epstein had died. The coroner ruled the death an accidental
carbitol overdose, although it was widely rumoured to be a suicide. His death left the group disoriented and fearful
about the future. Lennon recalled: “We collapsed. I knew that we were in trouble then. I didn’t really have any misconceptions about
our ability to do anything other than play music, and I was scared. I thought, ‘We’ve fuckin’ had it now.'” Harrison’s then-wife Pattie Boyd remembered
that “Paul and George were in complete shock. I don’t think it could have been worse if
they had heard that their own fathers had dropped dead.” During a band meeting in September, McCartney
recommended that the band proceed with Magical Mystery Tour. The Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack was released
in the UK as a six-track double extended play (EP) in early December 1967. It was the first example of a double EP in
the UK. The record carried on the psychedelic vein
of Sgt. Pepper, however, in line with the band’s wishes,
the packaging reinforced the idea that the release was a film soundtrack rather than
a follow-up to Sgt. Pepper. In the US, the soundtrack appeared as an identically
titled LP that also included five tracks from the band’s recent singles. In its first three weeks, the album set a
record for the highest initial sales of any Capitol LP, and it is the only Capitol compilation
later to be adopted in the band’s official canon of studio albums. First aired on Boxing Day to an audience of
approximately 15 million, the Magical Mystery Tour film brought the group their first critical
failure in the UK, largely directed by McCartney. It was dismissed as “blatant rubbish” by the
Daily Express; the Daily Mail called it “a colossal conceit”; and The Guardian labelled
the film “a kind of fantasy morality play about the grossness and warmth and stupidity
of the audience”. Gould describes it as “a great deal of raw
footage showing a group of people getting on, getting off, and riding on a bus”. Although the viewership figures were respectable,
its slating in the press led US television networks to lose interest in broadcasting
the film. The group were less involved with Yellow Submarine,
which only featured the band appearing as themselves for a short live-action segment. Premiering in July 1968, the film featured
cartoon versions of the band members and a soundtrack with eleven of their songs, including
four unreleased studio recordings that made their debut in the film. Critics praised the film for its music, humour
and innovative visual style. A soundtrack LP was issued seven months later;
it contained those four new songs, the title track (already issued on Revolver), “All You
Need Is Love” (already issued as a single and on the US Magical Mystery Tour LP) and
seven instrumental pieces composed by Martin. India retreat, Apple Corps and the White Album
In February 1968, the Beatles travelled to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in Rishikesh,
India, to take part in a three-month meditation “Guide Course”. Their time in India marked one of the band’s
most prolific periods, yielding numerous songs, including a majority of those on their next
album. However, Starr left after only ten days, unable
to stomach the food, and McCartney eventually grew bored and departed a month later. For Lennon and Harrison, creativity turned
to question when an electronics technician known as Magic Alex suggested that the Maharishi
was attempting to manipulate them. When he alleged that the Maharishi had made
sexual advances to women attendees, a persuaded Lennon left abruptly just two months into
the course, bringing an unconvinced Harrison and the remainder of the group’s entourage
with him. In anger, Lennon wrote a scathing song titled
“Maharishi”, renamed “Sexy Sadie” to avoid potential legal issues. McCartney said, “We made a mistake. We thought there was more to him than there
was.” In May, Lennon and McCartney traveled to New
York for the public unveiling of the Beatles’ new business venture, Apple Corps. It was initially formed several months earlier
as part of a plan to create a tax-effective business structure, but the band then desired
to extend the corporation to other pursuits, including record distribution, peace activism,
and education. McCartney described Apple as “rather like
a Western communism”. The enterprise drained the group financially
with a series of unsuccessful projects handled largely by members of the Beatles’ entourage,
who were given their jobs regardless of talent and experience. Among its numerous subsidiaries were Apple
Electronics, established to foster technological innovations with Magic Alex at the head, and
Apple Retailing, which opened the short-lived Apple Boutique in London. Harrison later said, “Basically, it was chaos
… John and Paul got carried away with the idea and blew millions, and Ringo and I just
had to go along with it.” From late May to mid-October 1968, the group
recorded what became The Beatles, a double LP commonly known as “the White Album” for
its virtually featureless cover. During this time, relations between the members
grew openly divisive. Starr quit for two weeks, leaving his bandmates
to record “Back in the U.S.S.R.” and “Dear Prudence” as a trio. Lennon had lost interest in collaborating
with McCartney, whose contribution “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” he scorned as “granny music shit”. Tensions were further aggravated by Lennon’s
romantic preoccupation with avant-garde artist Yoko Ono, whom he insisted on bringing to
the sessions despite the group’s well-established understanding that girlfriends were not allowed
in the studio. McCartney has recalled that the album “wasn’t
a pleasant one to make”. He and Lennon identified the sessions as the
start of the band’s break-up. With the record, the band executed a wider
range of musical styles and broke with their recent tradition of incorporating several
musical styles in one song by keeping each piece of music consistently faithful to a
select genre. During the sessions, the group upgraded to
an eight-track tape console, which made it easier for them to layer tracks piecemeal,
while the members often recorded independently of each other, affording the album a reputation
as a collection of solo recordings rather than a unified group effort. Describing the double album, Lennon later
said: “Every track is an individual track; there isn’t any Beatle music on it. [It’s] John and the band, Paul and the band,
George and the band.” The sessions also produced the Beatles’ longest
song yet, “Hey Jude”, released in August as a non-album single with “Revolution”. Issued in November, the White Album was the
band’s first Apple Records album release, although EMI continued to own their recordings. The record attracted more than 2 million advance
orders, selling nearly 4 million copies in the US in little over a month, and its tracks
dominated the playlists of American radio stations. Its lyric content was the focus of much analysis
by the counterculture. Despite its popularity, reviewers were largely
confused by the album’s content, and it failed to inspire the level of critical writing that
Sgt. Pepper had. General critical opinion eventually turned
in favour of the White Album, and in 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it as the tenth greatest
album of all time. Abbey Road, Let It Be and separation
Although Let It Be was the Beatles’ final album release, it was largely recorded before
Abbey Road. The project’s impetus came from an idea Martin
attributes to McCartney, who suggested they “record an album of new material and rehearse
it, then perform it before a live audience for the very first time – on record and
on film”. Originally intended for a one-hour television
programme to be called Beatles at Work, in the event much of the album’s content came
from studio work beginning in January 1969, many hours of which were captured on film
by director Michael Lindsay-Hogg. Martin said that the project was “not at all
a happy recording experience. It was a time when relations between the Beatles
were at their lowest ebb.” Lennon described the largely impromptu sessions
as “hell … the most miserable … on Earth”, and Harrison, “the low of all-time”. Irritated by McCartney and Lennon, Harrison
walked out for five days. Upon returning, he threatened to leave the
band unless they “abandon all talk of live performance” and instead focused on finishing
a new album, initially titled Get Back, using songs recorded for the TV special. He also demanded they cease work at Twickenham
Film Studios, where the sessions had begun, and relocate to the newly finished Apple Studio. His bandmates agreed, and it was decided to
salvage the footage shot for the TV production for use in a feature film. o alleviate tensions within the band and improve
the quality of their live sound, Harrison invited keyboardist Billy Preston to participate
in the last nine days of sessions. Preston received label billing on the “Get
Back” single – the only musician ever to receive that acknowledgment on an official
Beatles release. After the rehearsals, the band could not agree
on a location to film a concert, rejecting several ideas, including a boat at sea, a
lunatic asylum, the Tunisian desert, and the Colosseum. Ultimately, what would be their final live
performance was filmed on the rooftop of the Apple Corps building at 3 Savile Row, London,
on 30 January 1969. Five weeks later, engineer Glyn Johns, whom
Lewisohn describes as Get Back’s “uncredited producer”, began work assembling an album,
given “free rein” as the band “all but washed their hands of the entire project”. New strains developed between the band members
regarding the appointment of a financial adviser, the need for which had become evident without
Epstein to manage business affairs. Lennon, Harrison and Starr favoured Allen
Klein, who had managed the Rolling Stones and Sam Cooke; McCartney wanted Lee and John
Eastman – father and brother, respectively, of Linda Eastman, whom McCartney married on
12 March. Agreement could not be reached, so both Klein
and the Eastmans were temporarily appointed: Klein as the Beatles’ business manager and
the Eastmans as their lawyers. Further conflict ensued, however, and financial
opportunities were lost. On 8 May, Klein was named sole manager of
the band, the Eastmans having previously been dismissed as the Beatles’ lawyers. McCartney refused to sign the management contract
with Klein, but he was out-voted by the other Beatles. Martin stated that he was surprised when McCartney
asked him to produce another album, as the Get Back sessions had been “a miserable experience”
and he had “thought it was the end of the road for all of us”. The primary recording sessions for Abbey Road
began on 2 July. Lennon, who rejected Martin’s proposed format
of a “continuously moving piece of music”, wanted his and McCartney’s songs to occupy
separate sides of the album. The eventual format, with individually composed
songs on the first side and the second consisting largely of a medley, was McCartney’s suggested
compromise. Emerick noted that the replacement of the
studio’s valve mixing console with a transistorised one yielded a less punchy sound, leaving the
group frustrated at the thinner tone and lack of impact and contributing to its “kinder,
gentler” feel relative to their previous albums. On 4 July, the first solo single by a Beatle
was released: Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance”, credited to the Plastic Ono Band. The completion and mixing of “I Want You (She’s
So Heavy)” on 20 August was the last occasion on which all four Beatles were together in
the same studio. On 8 September, while Starr was in hospital,
the other band members met to discuss recording a new album. They considered a different approach to songwriting
by ending the Lennon–McCartney pretense and having four compositions apiece from Lennon,
McCartney and Harrison, with two from Starr and a lead single around Christmas. On 20 September, Lennon announced his departure
to the rest of the group but agreed to withhold a public announcement to avoid undermining
sales of the forthcoming album. Released on 26 September, Abbey Road sold
four million copies within three months and topped the UK charts for a total of seventeen
weeks. Its second track, the ballad “Something”,
was issued as a single – the only Harrison composition that appeared as a Beatles A-side. Abbey Road received mixed reviews, although
the medley met with general acclaim. Unterberger considers it “a fitting swan song
for the group”, containing “some of the greatest harmonies to be heard on any rock record”. Musicologist and author Ian MacDonald calls
the album “erratic and often hollow”, despite the “semblance of unity and coherence” offered
by the medley. Martin singled it out as his favourite Beatles
album; Lennon said it was “competent” but had “no life in it”. For the still unfinished Get Back album, one
last song, Harrison’s “I Me Mine”, was recorded on 3 January 1970. Lennon, in Denmark at the time, did not participate. In March, rejecting the work Johns had done
on the project, now retitled Let It Be, Klein gave the session tapes to American producer
Phil Spector, who had recently produced Lennon’s solo single “Instant Karma!” In addition to remixing the material, Spector
edited, spliced and overdubbed several of the recordings that had been intended as “live”. McCartney was unhappy with the producer’s
approach and particularly dissatisfied with the lavish orchestration on “The Long and
Winding Road”, which involved a fourteen-voice choir and 36-piece instrumental ensemble. McCartney’s demands that the alterations to
the song be reverted were ignored, and he publicly announced his departure from the
band on 10 April, a week before the release of his first, self-titled solo album. On 8 May 1970, Let It Be was released. Its accompanying single, “The Long and Winding
Road”, was the Beatles’ last; it was released in the US, but not in the UK. The Let It Be documentary film followed later
that month, and would win the 1970 Academy Award for Best Original Song Score. Sunday Telegraph critic Penelope Gilliatt
called it “a very bad film and a touching one … about the breaking apart of this reassuring,
geometrically perfect, once apparently ageless family of siblings”. Several reviewers stated that some of the
performances in the film sounded better than their analogous album tracks. Describing Let It Be as the “only Beatles
album to occasion negative, even hostile reviews”, Unterberger calls it “on the whole underrated”;
he singles out “some good moments of straight hard rock in ‘I’ve Got a Feeling’ and ‘Dig
a Pony'”, and praises “Let It Be”, “Get Back”, and “the folky ‘Two of Us’, with John and
Paul harmonising together”. McCartney filed suit for the dissolution of
the Beatles’ contractual partnership on 31 December 1970. Legal disputes continued long after their
break-up, and the dissolution was not formalised until 29 December 1974, when Lennon signed
the paperwork terminating the partnership while on vacation with his family at Walt
Disney World Resort in Florida. 1970–present: After the break-up. Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr all
released solo albums in 1970. Their solo records sometimes involved one
or more of the others; Starr’s Ringo (1973) was the only album to include compositions
and performances by all four ex-Beatles, albeit on separate songs. With Starr’s participation, Harrison staged
the Concert for Bangladesh in New York City in August 1971. Other than an unreleased jam session in 1974,
later bootlegged as A Toot and a Snore in ’74, Lennon and McCartney never recorded together
again. Two double-LP sets of the Beatles’ greatest
hits, compiled by Klein, 1962–1966 and 1967–1970, were released in 1973, at first under the
Apple Records imprint. Commonly known as the “Red Album” and “Blue
Album”, respectively, each has earned a Multi-Platinum certification in the United States and a Platinum
certification in the United Kingdom. Between 1976 and 1982, EMI/Capitol released
a wave of compilation albums without input from the ex-Beatles, starting with the double-disc
compilation Rock ‘n’ Roll Music. The only one to feature previously unreleased
material was The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl (1977); the first officially issued concert
recordings by the group, it contained selections from two shows they played during their 1964
and 1965 US tours. The music and enduring fame of the Beatles
were commercially exploited in various other ways, again often outside their creative control. In April 1974, the musical John, Paul, George,
Ringo … and Bert, written by Willy Russell and featuring singer Barbara Dickson, opened
in London. It included, with permission from Northern
Songs, eleven Lennon-McCartney compositions and one by Harrison, “Here Comes the Sun”. Displeased with the production’s use of his
song, Harrison withdrew his permission to use it. Later that year, the off-Broadway musical
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road
opened. All This and World War II (1976) was an unorthodox
nonfiction film that combined newsreel footage with covers of Beatles songs by performers
ranging from Elton John and Keith Moon to the London Symphony Orchestra. The Broadway musical Beatlemania, an unauthorised
nostalgia revue, opened in early 1977 and proved popular, spinning off five separate
touring productions. In 1979, the band sued the producers, settling
for several million dollars in damages. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978), a
musical film starring the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton, was a commercial failure and an
“artistic fiasco”, according to Ingham. Accompanying the wave of Beatles nostalgia
and persistent reunion rumours in the US during the 1970s, several entrepreneurs made public
offers to the Beatles for a reunion concert. Promoter Bill Sargent first offered the Beatles
$10 million for a reunion concert in 1974. He raised his offer to $30 million in January
1976 and then to $50 million the following month. On 24 April 1976, during a broadcast of Saturday
Night Live, producer Lorne Michaels offered the Beatles $3,000 to reunite on the show. Lennon and McCartney were watching the live
broadcast at Lennon’s apartment at the Dakota in New York, which was within driving distance
of the NBC studio where the show was being broadcast. The former bandmates briefly entertained the
idea of going to the studio and surprising Michaels by accepting his offer, but decided
not to. In December 1980, Lennon was shot and killed
outside his New York City apartment. Harrison rewrote the lyrics of his song “All
Those Years Ago” in Lennon’s honour. With Starr on drums and McCartney and his
wife, Linda, contributing backing vocals, the song was released as a single in May 1981. McCartney’s own tribute, “Here Today”, appeared
on his Tug of War album in April 1982. In 1987, Harrison’s Cloud Nine album included
“When We Was Fab”, a song about the Beatlemania era. When the Beatles’ studio albums were released
on CD by EMI and Apple Corps in 1987, their catalogue was standardised throughout the
world, establishing a canon of the twelve original studio LPs as issued in the UK plus
the US LP version of Magical Mystery Tour. All the remaining material from the singles
and EPs that had not appeared on these thirteen studio albums was gathered on the two-volume
compilation Past Masters (1988). Except for the Red and Blue albums, EMI deleted
all its other Beatles compilations – including the Hollywood Bowl record – from its catalogue. In 1988, the Beatles were inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, their first year of eligibility. Harrison and Starr attended the ceremony with
Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, and his two sons, Julian and Sean. McCartney declined to attend, citing unresolved
“business differences” that would make him “feel like a complete hypocrite waving and
smiling with them at a fake reunion”. The following year, EMI/Capitol settled a
decade-long lawsuit filed by the band over royalties, clearing the way to commercially
package previously unreleased material. Live at the BBC, the first official release
of unissued Beatles performances in seventeen years, appeared in 1994. That same year McCartney, Harrison and Starr
collaborated on the Anthology project. Anthology was the culmination of work begun
in 1970, when Apple Corps director Neil Aspinall, their former road manager and personal assistant,
had started to gather material for a documentary with the working title The Long and Winding
Road. Documenting their history in the band’s own
words, the Anthology project included the release of several unissued Beatles recordings. McCartney, Harrison and Starr also added new
instrumental and vocal parts to songs recorded as demos by Lennon in the late 1970s. During 1995–96, the project yielded a television
miniseries, an eight-volume video set, and three two-CD/three-LP box sets featuring artwork
by Klaus Voormann. Two songs based on Lennon demos, “Free as
a Bird” and “Real Love”, were issued as new Beatles singles. The releases were commercially successful
and the television series was viewed by an estimated 400 million people. In 1999, to coincide with the re-release of
the 1968 film Yellow Submarine, an expanded soundtrack album, Yellow Submarine Songtrack,
was issued. The Beatles’ 1, a compilation album of the
band’s British and American number-one hits, was released on 13 November 2000. It became the fastest-selling album of all
time, with 3.6 million sold in its first week and 13 million within a month. It topped albums charts in at least 28 countries. As of April 2009, the compilation had sold
31 million copies globally, and is the best-selling album of that decade in the United States. Harrison died from metastatic lung cancer
in November 2001. McCartney and Starr were among the musicians
who performed at the Concert for George, organised by Eric Clapton and Harrison’s widow, Olivia. The tribute event took place at the Royal
Albert Hall on the first anniversary of Harrison’s death. In 2003, Let It Be… Naked, a reconceived version of the Let It
Be album, with McCartney supervising production, was released. One of the main differences from the Spector-produced
version was the omission of the original string arrangements. It was a top ten hit in both Britain and America. The US album configurations from 1964 to 1965
were released as box sets in 2004 and 2006; The Capitol Albums, Volume 1 and Volume 2
included both stereo and mono versions based on the mixes that were prepared for vinyl
at the time of the music’s original American release. As a soundtrack for Cirque du Soleil’s Las
Vegas Beatles stage revue, Love, George Martin and his son Giles remixed and blended 130
of the band’s recordings to create what Martin called “a way of re-living the whole Beatles
musical lifespan in a very condensed period”. The show premiered in June 2006, and the Love
album was released that November. In April 2009, Starr performed three songs
with McCartney at a benefit concert held at New York’s Radio City Music Hall and organised
by McCartney. On 9 September 2009, the Beatles’ entire back
catalogue was reissued following an extensive digital remastering process that lasted four
years. Stereo editions of all twelve original UK
studio albums, along with Magical Mystery Tour and the Past Masters compilation, were
released on compact disc both individually and as a box set. A second collection, The Beatles in Mono,
included remastered versions of every Beatles album released in true mono along with the
original 1965 stereo mixes of Help! and Rubber Soul (both of which Martin had remixed for
the 1987 editions). The Beatles: Rock Band, a music video game
in the Rock Band series, was issued on the same day. In December 2009, the band’s catalogue was
officially released in FLAC and MP3 format in a limited edition of 30,000 USB flash drives. Owing to a long-running royalty disagreement,
the Beatles were among the last major artists to sign deals with online music services. Residual disagreement emanating from Apple
Corps’ dispute with Apple, Inc., iTunes’ owners, over the use of the name “Apple” was also
partly responsible for the delay, although in 2008, McCartney stated that the main obstacle
to making the Beatles’ catalogue available online was that EMI “want something we’re
not prepared to give them”. In 2010, the official canon of thirteen Beatles
studio albums, Past Masters, and the “Red” and “Blue” greatest-hits albums were made
available on iTunes. In 2012, EMI’s recorded music operations were
sold to Universal Music Group. In order for Universal Music to acquire EMI,
the European Union, for antitrust reasons, forced EMI to spin off assets including Parlophone. Universal was allowed to keep the Beatles’
recorded music catalogue, managed by Capitol Records under its Capitol Music Group division. The entire original Beatles album catalogue
was also reissued on vinyl in 2012; available either individually or as a box set. In 2013, a second volume of BBC recordings,
titled On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2, was released. That December saw the release of another 59
Beatles recordings on iTunes. The set, titled The Beatles Bootleg Recordings
1963, had the opportunity to gain a 70-year copyright extension conditional on the songs
being published at least once before the end of 2013. Apple Records released the recordings on 17
December to prevent them from going into the public domain and had them taken down from
iTunes later that same day. Fan reactions to the release were mixed, with
one blogger saying “the hardcore Beatles collectors who are trying to obtain everything will already
have these.” On 26 January 2014, McCartney and Starr performed
together at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The following day, The Night That Changed
America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles television special was taped in the Los Angeles Convention
Center’s West Hall. It aired on 9 February, the exact date of
– and at the same time, and on the same network as – the original broadcast of the
Beatles’ first US television appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, 50 years earlier. The special included performances of Beatles
songs by current artists as well as by McCartney and Starr, archival footage, and interviews
with the two surviving ex-Beatles carried out by David Letterman at the Ed Sullivan
Theater. In December 2015, the Beatles released their
catalogue for streaming on various streaming music services including Spotify and Apple
Music. In September 2016, the documentary film The
Beatles: Eight Days a Week was released. Directed by Ron Howard, it chronicled the
Beatles’ career during their touring years from 1962 to 1966, from their performances
in Liverpool’s the Cavern Club in 1961 to their final concert in San Francisco in 1966. The film was released theatrically on 15 September
2016 in the United Kingdom and the United States, and started streaming on Hulu on 17
September 2016. It received several awards and nominations,
including for Best Documentary at the 70th British Academy Film Awards and the Outstanding
Documentary or Nonfiction Special at the 69th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards. An expanded, remixed and remastered version
of the 1977 live album The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl was released on 9 September
2016, to coincide with the release of the film. On 18 May 2017, Sirius XM Radio launched a
24/7 radio channel, The Beatles Channel. A week later, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was reissued
with new stereo mixes and unreleased material for the album’s 50th anniversary. Similar box sets were released for The Beatles
in November 2018, and Abbey Road in September 2019. On the first week of October 2019, Abbey Road
returned to number one on the UK Albums Chart. The Beatles broke their own record for the
album with the longest gap between topping the charts as Abbey Road hit the top spot
50 years after its original release. Musical style and development. In Icons of Rock: An Encyclopedia of the Legends
Who Changed Music Forever, Scott Schinder and Andy Schwartz describe the Beatles’ musical
evolution: In their initial incarnation as cheerful,
wisecracking moptops, the Fab Four revolutionised the sound, style, and attitude of popular
music and opened rock and roll’s doors to a tidal wave of British rock acts. Their initial impact would have been enough
to establish the Beatles as one of their era’s most influential cultural forces, but they
didn’t stop there. Although their initial style was a highly
original, irresistibly catchy synthesis of early American rock and roll and R&B, the
Beatles spent the rest of the 1960s expanding rock’s stylistic frontiers, consistently staking
out new musical territory on each release. The band’s increasingly sophisticated experimentation
encompassed a variety of genres, including folk-rock, country, psychedelia, and baroque
pop, without sacrificing the effortless mass appeal of their early work. In The Beatles as Musicians, Walter Everett
describes Lennon and McCartney’s contrasting motivations and approaches to composition:
“McCartney may be said to have constantly developed – as a means to entertain – a
focused musical talent with an ear for counterpoint and other aspects of craft in the demonstration
of a universally agreed-upon common language that he did much to enrich. Conversely, Lennon’s mature music is best
appreciated as the daring product of a largely unconscious, searching but undisciplined artistic
sensibility.” Ian MacDonald describes McCartney as “a natural
melodist – a creator of tunes capable of existing apart from their harmony”. His melody lines are characterised as primarily
“vertical”, employing wide, consonant intervals which express his “extrovert energy and optimism”. Conversely, Lennon’s “sedentary, ironic personality”
is reflected in a “horizontal” approach featuring minimal, dissonant intervals and repetitive
melodies which rely on their harmonic accompaniment for interest: “Basically a realist, he instinctively
kept his melodies close to the rhythms and cadences of speech, colouring his lyrics with
bluesy tone and harmony rather than creating tunes that made striking shapes of their own.” MacDonald praises Harrison’s lead guitar work
for the role his “characterful lines and textural colourings” play in supporting Lennon and
McCartney’s parts, and describes Starr as “the father of modern pop/rock drumming”. Influences. The band’s earliest influences include Elvis
Presley, Carl Perkins, Little Richard and Chuck Berry. During the Beatles’ co-residency with Little
Richard at the Star-Club in Hamburg, from April to May 1962, he advised them on the
proper technique for performing his songs. Of Presley, Lennon said, “Nothing really affected
me until I heard Elvis. If there hadn’t been Elvis, there would not
have been the Beatles.” Other early influences include Buddy Holly,
Eddie Cochran, Roy Orbison and the Everly Brothers. The Beatles continued to absorb influences
long after their initial success, often finding new musical and lyrical avenues by listening
to their contemporaries, including Bob Dylan, the Who, Frank Zappa, the Lovin’ Spoonful,
the Byrds and the Beach Boys, whose 1966 album Pet Sounds amazed and inspired McCartney. Referring to the Beach Boys’ creative leader,
Martin later stated: “No one made a greater impact on the Beatles than Brian [Wilson].” Ravi Shankar, with whom Harrison studied for
six weeks in India in late 1966, had a significant effect on his musical development during the
band’s later years. Genres. Originating as a skiffle group, the Beatles
quickly embraced 1950s rock and roll and helped pioneer the Merseybeat genre, and their repertoire
ultimately expanded to include a broad variety of pop music. Reflecting the range of styles they explored,
Lennon said of Beatles for Sale, “You could call our new one a Beatles country-and-western
LP”, while Gould credits Rubber Soul as “the instrument by which legions of folk-music
enthusiasts were coaxed into the camp of pop”. Although the 1965 song “Yesterday” was not
the first pop record to employ orchestral strings, it marked the group’s first recorded
use of classical music elements. Gould observes: “The more traditional sound
of strings allowed for a fresh appreciation of their talent as composers by listeners
who were otherwise allergic to the din of drums and electric guitars.” They continued to experiment with string arrangements
to various effect; Sgt. Pepper’s “She’s Leaving Home”, for instance,
is “cast in the mold of a sentimental Victorian ballad”, Gould writes, “its words and music
filled with the clichés of musical melodrama”. The band’s stylistic range expanded in another
direction with their 1966 B-side “Rain”, described by Martin Strong as “the first overtly psychedelic
Beatles record”. Other psychedelic numbers followed, such as
“Tomorrow Never Knows” (recorded before “Rain”), “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Lucy in the
Sky with Diamonds” and “I Am the Walrus”. The influence of Indian classical music was
evident in Harrison’s “The Inner Light”, “Love You To” and “Within You Without You” – Gould
describes the latter two as attempts “to replicate the raga form in miniature”. Innovation was the most striking feature of
their creative evolution, according to music historian and pianist Michael Campbell: “‘A
Day in the Life’ encapsulates the art and achievement of the Beatles as well as any
single track can. It highlights key features of their music:
the sound imagination, the persistence of tuneful melody, and the close coordination
between words and music. It represents a new category of song – more
sophisticated than pop … and uniquely innovative. There literally had never before been a song
– classical or vernacular – that had blended so many disparate elements so imaginatively.” Philosophy professor Bruce Ellis Benson agrees:
“the Beatles … give us a wonderful example of how such far-ranging influences as Celtic
music, rhythm and blues, and country and western could be put together in a new way.” Author Dominic Pedler describes the way they
crossed musical styles: “Far from moving sequentially from one genre to another (as is sometimes
conveniently suggested) the group maintained in parallel their mastery of the traditional,
catchy chart hit while simultaneously forging rock and dabbling with a wide range of peripheral
influences from country to vaudeville. One of these threads was their take on folk
music, which would form such essential groundwork for their later collisions with Indian music
and philosophy.” As the personal relationships between the
band members grew increasingly strained, their individual tastes became more apparent. The minimalistic cover artwork for the White
Album contrasted with the complexity and diversity of its music, which encompassed Lennon’s “Revolution
9” (whose musique concrète approach was influenced by Yoko Ono), Starr’s country song “Don’t
Pass Me By”, Harrison’s rock ballad “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, and the “proto-metal
roar” of McCartney’s “Helter Skelter”. Contribution of George Martin. George Martin’s close involvement in his role
as producer made him one of the leading candidates for the informal title of the “fifth Beatle”. He applied his classical musical training
in various ways, and functioned as “an informal music teacher” to the progressing songwriters,
according to Gould. Martin suggested to a sceptical McCartney
that the arrangement of “Yesterday” should feature a string quartet accompaniment, thereby
introducing the Beatles to a “hitherto unsuspected world of classical instrumental colour”, in
MacDonald’s description. Their creative development was also facilitated
by Martin’s willingness to experiment in response to their suggestions, such as adding “something
baroque” to a particular recording. In addition to scoring orchestral arrangements
for recordings, Martin often performed on them, playing instruments including piano,
organ and brass. Collaborating with Lennon and McCartney required
Martin to adapt to their different approaches to songwriting and recording. MacDonald comments, “while worked more naturally
with the conventionally articulate McCartney, the challenge of catering to Lennon’s intuitive
approach generally spurred him to his more original arrangements, of which ‘Being for
the Benefit of Mr. Kite!’ is an outstanding example.” Martin said of the two composers’ distinct
songwriting styles and his stabilising influence: Compared with Paul’s songs, all of which seemed
to keep in some sort of touch with reality, John’s had a psychedelic, almost mystical
quality … John’s imagery is one of the best things about his work – ‘tangerine trees’,
‘marmalade skies’, ‘cellophane flowers’ … I always saw him as an aural Salvador Dalí,
rather than some drug-ridden record artist. On the other hand, I would be stupid to pretend
that drugs didn’t figure quite heavily in the Beatles’ lives at that time … they knew
that I, in my schoolmasterly role, didn’t approve … Not only was I not into it myself,
I couldn’t see the need for it; and there’s no doubt that, if I too had been on dope,
Pepper would never have been the album it was. Perhaps it was the combination of dope and
no dope that worked, who knows? Harrison echoed Martin’s description of his
stabilising role: “I think we just grew through those years together, him as the straight
man and us as the loonies; but he was always there for us to interpret our madness – we
used to be slightly avant-garde on certain days of the week, and he would be there as
the anchor person, to communicate that through the engineers and on to the tape.” In the studio. Making innovative use of technology while
expanding the possibilities of recorded music, the Beatles urged experimentation by Martin
and his recording engineers. Seeking ways to put chance occurrences to
creative use, accidental guitar feedback, a resonating glass bottle, a tape loaded the
wrong way round so that it played backwards – any of these might be incorporated into
their music. Their desire to create new sounds on every
new recording, combined with Martin’s arranging abilities and the studio expertise of EMI
staff engineers Norman Smith, Ken Townsend and Geoff Emerick, all contributed significantly
to their records from Rubber Soul and, especially, Revolver onwards. Along with innovative studio techniques such
as sound effects, unconventional microphone placements, tape loops, double tracking and
vari-speed recording, the Beatles augmented their songs with instruments that were unconventional
in rock music at the time. These included string and brass ensembles
as well as Indian instruments such as the sitar in “Norwegian Wood” and the swarmandal
in “Strawberry Fields Forever”. They also used novel electronic instruments
such as the Mellotron, with which McCartney supplied the flute voices on the “Strawberry
Fields Forever” intro, and the clavioline, an electronic keyboard that created the unusual
oboe-like sound on “Baby, You’re a Rich Man”. Legacy. Former Rolling Stone associate editor Robert
Greenfield compared the Beatles to Picasso, as “artists who broke through the constraints
of their time period to come up with something that was unique and original … n the form
of popular music, no one will ever be more revolutionary, more creative and more distinctive
…” The British poet Philip Larkin described their work as “an enchanting and intoxicating
hybrid of Negro rock-and-roll with their own adolescent romanticism”, and “the first advance
in popular music since the War”. They not only sparked the British Invasion
of the United States, they became a globally influential phenomenon as well. From the 1920s, the United States had dominated
popular entertainment culture throughout much of the world, via Hollywood films, jazz, the
music of Broadway and Tin Pan Alley and, later, the rock and roll that first emerged in Memphis,
Tennessee. The Beatles are regarded as British cultural
icons, with young adults from abroad naming the band among a group of people that they
most associated with UK culture. Their musical innovations and commercial success
inspired musicians worldwide. Many artists have acknowledged the Beatles’
influence and enjoyed chart success with covers of their songs. On radio, their arrival marked the beginning
of a new era; in 1968 the programme director of New York’s WABC radio station forbade his
DJs from playing any “pre-Beatles” music, marking the defining line of what would be
considered oldies on American radio. They helped to redefine the album as something
more than just a few hits padded out with “filler”, and they were primary innovators
of the modern music video. The Shea Stadium show with which they opened
their 1965 North American tour attracted an estimated 55,600 people, then the largest
audience in concert history; Spitz describes the event as a “major breakthrough … a giant
step toward reshaping the concert business”. Emulation of their clothing and especially
their hairstyles, which became a mark of rebellion, had a global impact on fashion. According to Gould, the Beatles changed the
way people listened to popular music and experienced its role in their lives. From what began as the Beatlemania fad, the
group’s popularity grew into what was seen as an embodiment of sociocultural movements
of the decade. As icons of the 1960s counterculture, Gould
continues, they became a catalyst for bohemianism and activism in various social and political
arenas, fuelling movements such as women’s liberation, gay liberation and environmentalism. According to Peter Lavezzoli, after the “more
popular than Jesus” controversy in 1966, the Beatles felt considerable pressure to say
the right things and “began a concerted effort to spread a message of wisdom and higher consciousness”. Other commentators such as Mikal Gilmore and
Todd Leopold have traced the inception of their socio-cultural impact earlier, interpreting
even the Beatlemania period, particularly on their first visit to the United States,
as a key moment in the development of generational awareness. Referring to their appearance on the Ed Sullivan
Show Leopold states: “In many ways, the Sullivan appearance marked the beginning of a cultural
revolution … The Beatles were like aliens dropped into the United States of 1964.” According to Gilmore: Elvis Presley had shown us how rebellion could
be fashioned into eye-opening style; the Beatles were showing us how style could have the impact
of cultural revelation – or at least how a pop vision might be forged into an unimpeachable
consensus. Awards and achievements. In 1965, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Lennon,
McCartney, Harrison and Starr Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). The Beatles won the 1971 Academy Award for
Best Original Song Score for the film Let It Be (1970). The recipients of seven Grammy Awards and
fifteen Ivor Novello Awards, the Beatles have six Diamond albums, as well as 20 Multi-Platinum
albums, 16 Platinum albums and six Gold albums in the United States. In the UK, the Beatles have four Multi-Platinum
albums, four Platinum albums, eight Gold albums and one Silver album. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame in 1988. The best-selling band in history, the Beatles
have sold more than 800 million physical and digital albums as of 2013. They have had more number-one albums on the
UK charts, fifteen, and sold more singles in the UK, 21.9 million, than any other act. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the Beatles
as the most significant and influential rock music artists of the last 50 years. They ranked number one on Billboard magazine’s
list of the all-time most successful Hot 100 artists, released in 2008 to celebrate the
US singles chart’s 50th anniversary. As of 2017, they hold the record for most
number-one hits on the Billboard Hot 100, with twenty. The Recording Industry Association of America
certifies that the Beatles have sold 178 million units in the US, more than any other artist. They were collectively included in Time magazine’s
compilation of the 20th century’s 100 most influential people. In 2014, they received the Grammy Lifetime
Achievement Award. On 16 January each year, beginning in 2001,
people celebrate World Beatles Day under UNESCO. This date has direct relation to the opening
of The Cavern Club in 1957. Five asteroids, 4147 Lennon, 4148 McCartney,
4149 Harrison, 4150 Starr and 8749 Beatles are named after the Beatles. Song catalogue. Through 1969, the Beatles’ catalogue was published
almost exclusively by Northern Songs Ltd, a company formed in February 1963 by music
publisher Dick James specifically for Lennon and McCartney, though it later acquired songs
by other artists. The company was organised with James and his
partner, Emmanuel Silver, owning a controlling interest, variously described as 51% or 50%
plus one share. McCartney had 20%. Reports again vary concerning Lennon’s portion
– 19 or 20% – and Brian Epstein’s – 9 or 10% – which he received in lieu of a
25% band management fee. In 1965, the company went public. Five million shares were created, of which
the original principals retained 3.75 million. James and Silver each received 937,500 shares
(18.75% of 5 million); Lennon and McCartney each received 750,000 shares (15%); and Epstein’s
management company, NEMS Enterprises, received 375,000 shares (7.5%). Of the 1.25 million shares put up for sale,
Harrison and Starr each acquired 40,000. At the time of the stock offering, Lennon
and McCartney renewed their three-year publishing contracts, binding them to Northern Songs
until 1973. Harrison created Harrisongs to represent his
Beatles compositions, but signed a three-year contract with Northern Songs that gave it
the copyright to his work through March 1968, which included “Taxman” and “Within You Without
You”. The songs on which Starr received co-writing
credit before 1968, such as “What Goes On” and “Flying”, were also Northern Songs copyrights. Harrison did not renew his contract with Northern
Songs when it ended, signing instead with Apple Publishing while retaining the copyright
to his work from that point on. Harrison thus owns the rights to his later
Beatles songs such as “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Something”. That year, as well, Starr created Startling
Music, which holds the rights to his Beatles compositions, “Don’t Pass Me By” and “Octopus’s
Garden”. In March 1969, James arranged to sell his
and his partner’s shares of Northern Songs to the British broadcasting company Associated
Television (ATV), founded by impresario Lew Grade, without first informing the Beatles. The band then made a bid to gain a controlling
interest by attempting to work out a deal with a consortium of London brokerage firms
that had accumulated a 14% holding. The deal collapsed over the objections of
Lennon, who declared, “I’m sick of being fucked about by men in suits sitting on their fat
arses in the City.” By the end of May, ATV had acquired a majority
stake in Northern Songs, controlling nearly the entire Lennon–McCartney catalogue, as
well as any future material until 1973. In frustration, Lennon and McCartney sold
their shares to ATV in late October 1969. In 1981, financial losses by ATV’s parent
company, Associated Communications Corporation (ACC), led it to attempt to sell its music
division. According to authors Brian Southall and Rupert
Perry, Grade contacted McCartney, offering ATV Music and Northern Songs for $30 million. According to an account McCartney gave in
1995, he met with Grade and explained he was interested solely in the Northern Songs catalogue
if Grade were ever willing to “separate off” that portion of ATV Music. Soon afterwards, Grade offered to sell him
Northern Songs for £20 million, giving the ex-Beatle “a week or so” to decide. By McCartney’s account, he and Ono countered
with a £5 million bid that was rejected. According to reports at the time, Grade refused
to separate Northern Songs and turned down an offer of £21–25 million from McCartney
and Ono for Northern Songs. In 1982, ACC was acquired in a takeover by
Australian business magnate Robert Holmes à Court for £60 million. In 1985, Michael Jackson purchased ATV for
a reported $47.5 million. The acquisition gave him control over the
publishing rights to more than 200 Beatles songs, as well as 40,000 other copyrights. In 1995, in a deal that earned him a reported
$110 million, Jackson merged his music publishing business with Sony, creating a new company,
Sony/ATV Music Publishing, in which he held a 50% stake. The merger made the new company, then valued
at over half a billion dollars, the third-largest music publisher in the world. In 2016, Sony acquired Jackson’s share of
Sony/ATV from the Jackson estate for $750 million. Despite the lack of publishing rights to most
of their songs, Lennon’s estate and McCartney continue to receive their respective shares
of the writers’ royalties, which together are 331⁄3% of total commercial proceeds
in the US and which vary elsewhere around the world between 50 and 55%. Two of Lennon and McCartney’s earliest songs
– “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” – were published by an EMI subsidiary,
Ardmore & Beechwood, before they signed with James. McCartney acquired their publishing rights
from Ardmore in 1978, and they are the only two Beatles songs owned by McCartney’s company
MPL Communications. On 18 January 2017, McCartney filed a suit
in the United States district court against Sony/ATV Music Publishing seeking to reclaim
ownership of his share of the Lennon–McCartney song catalogue beginning in 2018. Under US copyright law, for works published
before 1978 the author can reclaim copyrights assigned to a publisher after 56 years. McCartney and Sony agreed to a confidential
settlement in June 2017.

2 thoughts on “The Beatles – Music band

  1. Do you know that in Marvel comics, The Beatles are actually a group of rogue skrulls who came to Earth to invade it but decided that the money and power was better.

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