The Beatles was an English rock band formed in the late 1950s. The members were John Lennon, who played the guitar and the harmonica, Paul McCartney, who played the guitar and the piano, George Harrison, who played the guitar and the sitar, and Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey), on the drums. They were born in Liverpool, England. They were influenced by American performers such as Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Elvis Presley. The Beatles became popular icons and started a phenomena known as Beatlemania in the 1960ís in England and America.
The band went through several name changes from The Quarry Men, Johnny and the Moondogs, the Beatals, the Silver Beetles, the Silver Beatles, and finally to The Beatles. The name was a tribute to Buddy Hollyís band, The Crickets, combined with beat music, a common British term for rock and roll at the time. The lyrics and music for most of their songs were written by Lennon and McCartney.
The group marked their place on the international rock music scene in 1961. Their initial appeal derived as much from their wit, Edwardian clothes, and moplike haircuts as from their music. By 1963 they were the objects of wild adoration and screaming teenage girls followed them constantly.
The Beatles' first single, "Love Me Do", was released on October 5, 1962. The song did not become a big hit. The Beatles recorded their first full length album, often "live" in the studio, on February 11, 1963 in one 12 hour session; it was released as Please, Please Me in March. On February 22, 1963, the Beatles' second single, "Please Please Me" went straight to No. 2 in the U.K. "From Me to You" and "She Loves You" followed to the top of the U.K. charts.
A cultural phenomenon known as Beatlemania began in Britain on October 13, 1963 with a televised appearance at the London Palladium. Beatlemania exploded in England in late 1963 after The Beatles had their national TV appearances. Crowds screaming hysterically, especially teenage girls, at the bandís public appearances. Beatlemania had also gone commercial with The Beatles shirts, sweaters, and even Beatle wigs.
Meet the Beatles, the first Beatles album in the United States, was released on January 20, 1964. On February 7, 1964 The Beatles traveled to New York for a number of U.S. television appearances and performances. Upon arriving at JFK airport, five thousand screaming women and hundreds of newsmen were waiting for their arrival. They thought that there must have been someone important on the plane with them and were a bit surprised to learn that the crowds were actually there for them.
On February 9, 1964 The Beatles performed on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time. Their appearance made their popularity explode across the country. To this day it remains one of the highest rated television programs of all time, with 73 million people tuning in. The Beatles made four more live appearances on the show in months to come. Two days later, on February 11 in the Washington Coliseum. The Beatles made their first live stage appearance in the United States.
On April 4, 1964, The Beatles set a record that has yet to be broken when they occupied all five top positions on Billboard's Hot 100. Their single "Can't Buy Me Love" was at number one. In August of that year, The Beatles' first motion picture was released, A Hard Dayís Night. They started filming their second film, Help! on February 23, 1965 in the Bahamas.
By the late 1960s, Beatlemania had somewhat receded. The band members went on their separate ways and broke up in 1970. The Beatles reached their global sales with 1.3 billion albums as of 2004. They had become international superstars and have created one of the most incredible phenomenas the world has ever seen.