History of The Beatles

Introduction to the Beatles which were a hugely successful band, consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey). Consideration of the particularities their creation and the most popular songs of the band.

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History of The Beatles

Pikhtin Sergey

9 «B»


1) John Lennon

2) Paul McCartney

3) George Harrison

4) Ringo Starr

5) Early beginnings

6) The Beatlemania years

7) The psychedelic years

8) The studio years

9) Breakup

10) The end of touring

11) Brian Epstein's death

12) Beatles Ltd

13) The Get Back Sessions

14) Neglect of George Harrison's songs

15) After the breakup

16) Personnel

1. John Lennon

The Beatles were a hugely successful band, consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey), with global sales exceeding 1.3 billion albums (as of 2004). This article covers The Beatles' extensive history from their earliest beginnings in the 1950s until their breakup and beyond.

John Lennon was born on October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, England, to Alfred Lennon and Julia Stanley Lennon. His full name was John Winston Ono Lennon. Early in his life he suffered the loss of both his parents, when his father left the family to become a seaman, and his mother, unable to care for a child on her own, decided to leave him in the hands of his aunt, Mimi. This early feeling of abandonment was to mark John for the rest of his life, and his fear of rejection can be heard in his lyrics, from his early work with The Beatles, all the way up to his pleading 1970's track "Mother. (John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band).

With his aunt, Lennon experienced a quiet and undisturbed working class upbringing that left him with many happy memories. Some of these would later result in some of his best work. (Strawberry fields forever, the masterpiece single released before Sgt. Pepper was based upon his childhood recollections of happiness). Ever since his early childhood his artistic side found a way up to the surface of his personality and young Lennon began to express himself through sketches and artwork. A few of his teachers were impressed with his work, and suggested The Liverpool art school for the boy. Although John Lennon was (even by his own admission) a "child genius", he decided for this option, over a regular academic schedule. During this period, at fifteen years of age, John met Paul McCartney, at a Wooten Parish Garden Fete. The result of their conjoined musical talents was a band called "The Quarrymen", named after Quarry Banks, the school that they attended. Years later this band would become the greatest musical influence of recent recording history, and would define an entire generation. This would be under another name, though:: The Beatles.

At age 18, John's life underwent a drastic change, when, shortly after having reunited with his son, Julia Stanley Lennon, died. She was hit by a bus driven by an off -duty policeman in Liverpool. Lennon never fully recovered from the loss of his mother, and he continued to seek for her love in most of the women he met, finally finding comfort in the person of Yoko Ono, many years later. In the meantime, he met a fellow student, Cynthia Powell, and in spite of their many differences, they soon became romantically involved. In 1959, he left his natal Liverpool for Hamburg, Germany, along with Paul McCartney, guitarist George Harrison, longtime friend Stuart Sutcliffe and drummer Pete Best. Their objective was to have a shot at fame and fortune in Hamburg's music scene. It was during this trip that he and his fellow bandmasters met Astrid Kilcher and Klaus Voorman; she, a visionary photographer who would document The Beatles' transition from Liverpool lads to full grown musicians, and would suggest the now legendary "mop top" image. The later, was to become John's close friend, and later play bass on many of his solo projects. Their trip ended when George was deported back to England for being a minor, by which time they had already achieved a certain amount of popularity. Lennon also lost Sutcliffe, his best friend. At the time, Stuart had become a celebrated artist who died in Hamburg, after a short marriage to Astrid Kilcher.

Back in Liverpool, The Beatles were hired to play the "lunch shift" on a little club, "The Cavern". Brian Epstein, a local record store owner and business man, decided to hear them, after their records were requested several times. It didn't take him much to realize the potential of the group. For the rest of his life he would make it his mission to see the boys succeed, and his first step was to get them a recording contract with EMI records. In 1962, The Beatles released "Love me Do" Their first single, and started on the road of musical history.

In August 23, 1962, shortly after the Beatles' Big break, John married longtime girlfriend Cynthia Powell, and she soon gave birth to their son Julian. (April 8th, 1963): Because of the group's increasing popularity in both Britain and the U.S, his marriage was kept secret for a relatively long time. It was Brian Epstein's (the Beatles manager) idea that a married "mop top" would surely be less appealing to their targeted audience: mostly screaming teenage girls. John would later admit to being a failure both as a husband to Powell and as a father to Julian, mostly due to the war that he was still waging with his inner demons, which continue to haunt him, in spite of his success.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney close songwriting collaboration was clearly always the driving force of the Beatles' success. They also had very definite roles within the group. John always wrote songs or contributed with lyrics that highlighted his strong rock and roll roots and surfaced his feelings and raw emotions. He was the strong minded and outspoken genius. Paul was the directing part of the duo. He orchestrated the signature catchy tunes that placed the band in the charts. Although they differed vastly in their points of view, their songwriting efforts produced more hit singles (59) and innumerable masterpieces than any other musical partnership in recording history, left as an enduring legacy of their work.

For the next seven years, John got caught up on a ongoing cycle of bliss, fame, controversy, drugs and rock and roll that ultimately led him nowhere. In 1964 the Beatles were awarded the MBE (members of the British Empire) title by Queen Elizabeth, honor which infuriated some, but mostly amused both their fans and the group itself. Years later Lennon would return his MBE, citing Britain's involvement in the Vietnam War as reason. Unfortunately, he also mentioned his first solo single "cold turkey" falling off from the charts, a comment that widely cheapened the gesture.

John's disappointment with the music business can be witnessed by listening to some of the songs he contributed to the Beatles's albums released in the period. After a the first fecund years of boundary-pushing lyrics and melodies he stopped challenging his own songwriting capabilities and simply gave up. Shortly after Sgt. Pepper, his songs clearly reflect how much of his early enthusiasm was gone, specially his contributions to the Yellow Submarine soundtrack and The White album, although it contains some of his best compositions ever.

In the mist of the sixties' psychedelic, and after a great disillusion with the spiritual world, John met the woman who was to become his life partner: Yoko Ono. She was an avant-garde, Japanese American artist, six years his senior. Soon after they met, and in spite of public outrage they were inseparable. John decided to leave his wife and marry Yoko, who was being dubbed by the press as "the dragon lady", the woman who had cast a spell on "prince charming". They didn't seem to care.

John married Yoko in March 20th 1969. In Gibraltar in the years to come, she would be accused of creating tension between the Beatles, and ultimately forcing John away from the group, thus inciting to their 1970 break up. They became close collaborators, not only artistically or music, but also as peace promoters. They staged "bed-ins" during their honeymoon in Amsterdam; elaborate press conferences conducted from their honeymoon suite that centered on their peace efforts. Their marked eccentricities quickly alienated them with the British public opinion, and in the end they were force to seek refuge in America. And they fled for New York City.

John and Yoko settled in New York City, and he remained there for the rest of his life. There were clearly a great number of qualities in NYC that reminded John of his native Liverpool. He was also very attracted to the city's communication capabilities. In his opinion, New York was capital of the world. He even went as far as saying "If I'd lived in Roman times, I'd have lived in Rome. Where else? Today, America is the Roman Empire, and New York is Rome itself".

But as fond as John and Yoko were of New York City, not all New Yorkers were particularly fond of the Lennon's. Politicians and government organizations, specially, thought that they could only mean trouble. An exhaustive undercover prosecution campaign against John would later unveil the tight scrutiny they were under. The FBI went as far as tapping their telephone conversations, and having agents pose as groupies or fans, all in an effort to deport them. Between December 1971 and August 1972, John and Yoko collaborated with numerous protests and spoke out whenever they felt worthy a cause. Good examples of this are Benefit at Apollo, where they performed "Attica State", protesting in favor of the infamous upraising in the prison and the Geraldo Rivera One to one concert.

The pressures of their hectic lifestyles, combined with the ones of the outside world, finally affected the couple. After only three years of marriage, John and Yoko decided to take a brake from each other. That two year period would later be known as John's infamous "lost weekend". John took off May Pang, his assistant and with some of his old friends, feeling carefree for the first time since he was 20. He reunited with Ringo, and helped him work on his album, and also played with the likes of David Bowie and Elton John. He was a bachelor once again, but only enjoyed it for a short period, before he started to long for home.

Yoko Ono developed into her own person, after being criticized for so long, and being in the shadow of the genius of John. She became very active in the Avant-garde New York scene, regaining her place as an accomplished artist. She would often check in with May Pang, to catch up with his life without him finding out.

John's work during this 18 month period clearly reflect the pain that being away from his beloved Yoko caused him. "What you got" "Nobody loves you when you're down and out" and "Sweet bird of paradox" share the same theme: Fear of abandonment and isolation. Even «whatever» gets you through the night, the peppy single that propelled him back to the top of the charts, was based on the assumption that getting by alone is not easy. Soon it became clear to everyone who knew him that Yoko was not only the woman under John's shadow; she was also indispensable to him.

John and Yoko finally got back together in 1974, after being set up at an Elton John concert, where John was making a guest appearance. They would remain together for the rest of his life. In 1975, John retired from public life, after releasing his last album of new material. On October 9 of that same year, Yoko gave birth to Sean Lennon, after several miscarriages. John was delighted with his life as a "house husband" and decided to stay home, to take care of Sean, while Yoko took care of business. He felt no urge to record or release any music during the next five years, although he continued to write songs as always. From time to new he would release statements, or give interviews, but amazingly he managed to regain his private person status and his inner peace. Sean had given him a second chance at parenting just as Yoko had given him a second shot at love. He kept away from the same music business he had pursuit with so much enthusiasm before.

With the release of 1980's "Double Fantasy" John came back to the public eye. In this album, at the age of 40 he targeted audience had changed from screaming teenage girls to an entire generation: His generation, his age group. "How did things turn out for you" he seemed to asked the same persons he had moved to believe that "all you need is love" and to Imagine. The album was an immediate success, mainly because of the honesty of the songs it contained. The plans of a follow up album were cut drastically short, as so was his life. In December 8, 1980, in front of his NYC home, he was shot down by Mark David Chapman and died instantly. The unfinished "Milk and Honey" was released in 1984 by Yoko Ono.

John Lennon's legend lives on and will remain alive as long as his vision of peace and love keep inspiring new generations of dreamers - To Love and Imagine.

2. Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney was born in 1942 in Walton Hospital, which on the Rice Lane. His parents was Jim and Mary McCartney. 7 January 1944 was born his brother, called Pitter Michael McCartney. Together they recorded some good songs.

In 1957 Paul joined Quarrymen, in 1960 re-named in Beatles. There he was since 1970 with John Lennon, Gorge Harrison and Ringo Starr.

Out of all the former Beatles, Paul McCartney by far had the most successful solo career, maintaining a constant presence in the British and American charts during the '70s and '80s. In America alone, he had nine number one singles and seven number one albums during the first 12 years of his solo career. Although he sold records, McCartney never attained much critical respect, especially when compared to his former partner John Lennon.

Following his first marriage to Linda Eastman on March 12, 1969, Paul McCartney began working at his home studio on his first solo album. He released the record, "McCartney", in April 1970, two weeks before the Beatles' "Let It Be" was scheduled to hit the stores. Prior to the album's release, he announced that the Beatles were breaking-up, which was against the wishes of the other members. As a result, the tensions between him and the other three members, particularly George Harrison and John Lennon, increased and he earned the ill-will of many critics. Nevertheless, "McCartney" became a hit, spending three weeks at the top of the American charts. Early in 1971, he returned with "Another Day", which became his first hit single as a solo artist. It was followed several months later by "Ram", another home-made collection, this time featuring the contributions of his wife Linda.

He wanted to be in a rock band. Within a year after the Beatles' break-up, McCartney had formed Wings. In December 1971, Wings released their first album, "Wings Wild Life." However, the album was greeted with poor reviews and was a relative flop. After they released three singles: "Give Ireland Back to the Irish," "Mary Had A Little Lamb" and "Hi, Hi, Hi" in 1972, Paul McCartney & Wings released "Red Rose Speedway" in 1973. Regardless of weak reviews, the album became McCartney's second American number one album, and generated his number one hit single "My Love." That same year they scored another Top 10 hit with "Live and Let Die," the theme to the James Bond movie. In December 1973, Paul McCartney & Wings released their best-reviewed album "Band on the Run." The album became a number one hit in the US and UK, eventually going triple platinum.

Following the success of "Band on the Run," Wings released "Venus and Mars" in May 1975. The album also hit number one in the US and UK. As for 1976's "Wings at the Speed of Sound," the album became a number one hit in the US, and produced two Top 10 hits: "Silly Love Song" and "Let 'Am In." Following the release of those two albums, Wings embarked on their first international tour which broke many attendance records; their first US tour was captured on the 1976 live triple-album "Wings over America." The live album also became a Top 10 hit in the US and UK, regardless of the live triple-album.

After the world tour completed, Paul McCartney released "Thrilling ton," an instrumental version of "Ram," under the pseudonym of Percy "Thrills" Thrilling ton in 1977. Later that year, Wings released "Mull of Kindred," which became the biggest-selling British single of all time, selling over two million copies. It was followed several months later by the 1978 album "London Town," which became a Top 10 hit in the US and UK. Later that year, Wings released their first Greatest Hits album "Wings Greatest." After its release, Wings released "Back to the Egg" in 1979. But the album was a relative flop, though it became a Top 10 hit in the US and UK. Later in 1979, Wings embarked on their British tour; early in 1980, Wings intended to embark on their first Japanese tour; but McCartney was arrested for marijuana possession at Narita Airport; he was imprisoned for 10 days and then released, without any charges being pressed; but their first Japanese tour was cancelled.

In May 1980, Paul McCartney released "McCartney II," which was a one-man band effort like his solo debut. It was more successful than Wings' "Back to the Egg." Later that year, however, McCartney was thunderstruck at the news of John Lennon's assassination. The following year, he effectively broke up Wings. McCartney entered the studio with Beatles producer George Martin to make his solo album "Tug of War." In April 1982, he released "Tug of War." The album received the best reviews of any McCartney record since "Band On The Run," which became a number one hit in the US and UK. It also produced the number one single "Ebony and Ivory," a duet with Stevie Wonder that became McCartney's biggest American hit. Later that year, "The Girl Is Mine," a duet with Michael Jackson, was released as the first single from Michael Jackson's blockbuster album "Thriller"; the single became a Top 10 hit in the US and UK. In 1983, Paul released "Pipes Of Peace." Though the album was a relative flop, it spawned the number one single "Say -Say -Say," a duet with Michael Jackson that is currently the last number one single of his career in the US; it also generated another number one smash, "Pipes Of Peace," which is currently the last number one single of his career in the UK.

In 1984, McCartney released the soundtrack, "Give My Regards to Broad Street," which featured new songs and re-recorded Beatles tunes. Though McCartney's first feature film was a flop, the soundtrack became his British number one album, generating a Top 10 hit single "No More Lonely Nights." Later that year, Paul had another British Top 10 hit single "We All Stand Together," the theme to the video "Rupert and the Frog Song," under the name of Paul McCartney And The Frog Chorus. The following year, McCartney scored a Top 10 hit with "Spies like us," the theme to the film "Spies like us," which is currently his last American Top 10 single. With the release of "Press to Play" in 1986, his commercial fortunes started to slip somewhat; in fact, the album was a flop. In 1987, Paul released his second Greatest Hits album "All the Best!" It spawned the Top 10 single "Once upon a Long Ago," which is currently his last British Top 10 single. In 1988, McCartney recorded a collection of rock & roll oldies called "CHOBA B CCCP" for release in the USSR; it was given official release internationally in 1991. After he co-wrote several songs with Elvis Costello, Paul released "Flowers in the Dirt" in 1989. The album received the strongest reviews of any McCartney release since "Tug Of War," which became the British number one album. Later in 1989, Paul McCartney embarked on an extensive international tour, which was a considerable success. The "Get Back Tour" was captured on the 1990 live double-album "Tripping The Live Fantastic."

In 1991, McCartney released another live album in the form of "Unplugged," which was taken from his appearance on MTV's acoustic concert programme of the same name; it was the first "Unplugged" album to be released. Later that year, he unveiled his first classical work, "Liverpool Oratorio." Early in 1993, McCartney released "Off the Ground." Though the album was mauled by the critics and was a flop, he supported the album with his successful "New World Tour." Later that year, he released another live album "Paul Is Live"; he also released an ambient techno album, "strawberries oceans ships forest", under the pseudonym of the fireman. On March 23rd 1995, Paul premiered his classical piece for solo piano, "A Leaf," at St. James's Palace. In April 1995, he released the piece for solo piano in the UK. However, his primary activity in 1994, as well as 1995, was the Beatles' Anthology. After "Anthology" was completed, Paul McCartney released "Flaming Pie" in 1997. "Flaming Pie" received the strongest reviews of any McCartney release since "Flowers in the Dirt" and hit number two in the US and UK. It was nominated for a Grammy as "Album of the Year". Later that year, Paul McCartney unveiled his second large-scale classical work, the symphonic poem "Standing Stone" and became a number one hit classical work in the US and UK.

In April 1998 Paul McCartney was bereaved of his beloved wife Linda McCartney by reason of her disease: breast cancer. Later that year, however, McCartney unveiled his second ambient dance album, "Rushes," under the pseudonym of the Fireman. On the solo album from Linda McCartney, titled "Wide Prairie," he sings backing vocals and plays a variety of instruments; Paul produced the album as the definitive collection of all the songs recorded by Linda over the past 25 years. Beyond a total heartbreak, Paul McCartney is getting back to where he should belong.

Paul McCartney was honored on March 15, 1999 with an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In celebration, Capitol Records released the 25th Anniversary remastered, limited edition reissue of Paul McCartney & Wings' chart-topping, Grammy award-winning, and all time best-selling albums «Band on the Run» in the US.

Paul McCartney had done his first exhibit: the Painting of Paul McCartney in Siegen, Germany from 1st May until 25th July 1999.

In October, 1999, "Run Devil Run," Paul's first album since Linda's death in April 1998, was released worldwide. Recorded in two quick-burst sessions at Studio 2, Abbey Road, from 1 March to 5 May, 1999, the 15-track album includes his interpretations of 12 songs chosen not for musical merit but for reasons of pure nostalgia that were his favorite '50s rock'n'roll as a teenager, as well as three new songs Paul wrote in a '50s style. The hand-picked band was the classic rock'n'roll line-up of bass, guitar and drums. McCartney (bass, guitar, vocals) - accompanied by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour (guitar), Mick Green (guitar), Deep Purple's Iran Piece (drums), Pete Winfield (keyboards), Dave Mattacks (drums), Geraint Watkins (keyboard) and Chris Hall (Accordion) - recreated that golden age of rock'n'roll. Although recent Beatle myth has enshrined John Lennon as the Beatles' rocker and Paul McCartney as the Beatles' balladeer, "Run Devil Run" must remind you of Paul as the rocker. (You know Paul composed not only the best-known ballade such as "Yesterday" and "Let It Be" but punchy hard rock such as "I'm Down" and "Helter Skelter".)

On the other hand, Paul McCartney unveiled his third classical album, titled "Working Classical," in the UK on October 18, 1999. That's just two weeks after the release of "Run Devil Run." The album features McCartney's first foray into chamber music, including two pieces for small orchestra: "A Leaf" and "Spiral." The classical album became No.1 on the Billboard classical charts.

On Tuesday, December 14th, 1999, Sir Paul McCartney rocked the Cavern - the Liverpool club where he and the Beatles found stardom - for the first time in 36 years. The show - Paul's first at the Cavern Club since The Beatles last played there on August 3rd, 1963 - was his 281st show at The Cavern. His historic concert was a "one-off, end of the millennium tribute to rock and roll". Due to the expected demand for tickets, and in an attempt to be fair for all, however, tickets for "Paul at the Cavern" were available through a national (UK) raffle. Therefore, only 150 fans picked from an international ballot could pack the Cavern. But the concert was carried live in cyberspace too. As at least three million people across the globe watched his performance through a live web cast at one time, it set a new world record as the biggest musical gig in the history of the Internet. A further 15,000 fans gathered in wintry conditions in Liverpool's Chavasse Park, where a huge video screen showed the concert live. Thus, Paul and his band (Dave Gilmour and Mick Green on guitars, Iran Piece on drums, Pete Wingfield on keyboards and Chris Hall on Accordion) rocked out the end of the century. They "rocked Liverpool and the world bopped too." His 13-song performance lasted a little over 40 minutes and included "I Saw Her Standing There," a Beatles song from the Cavern years. But other songs were the classic rock and roll mostly from his album "Run Devil Run".

In February, 2000, "a Garland for Linda" was released; it features new choral works by the nine contemporary British composers: John Tavener, Michael Berkeley, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, Giles Swayne, John Rutter, Roxanna Panufnik, David Matthews, Judith Bingham and Sir Paul McCartney and "Silence and Music" originally composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams for "A Garland for the Queen," in which ten leading British composers contributed new works for a musical celebration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. The inspiration for "a Garland for Linda" was certainly "A Garland for the Queen"; the raison dieter for the disc is to commemorate the life of Linda McCartney and to promote The Garland Appeal to raise money for non-animal-tested cancer research and British music. Incidentally, Sir Paul McCartney's own piece for "a Garland for Linda" is entitled "Nova."

On August 21, 2000, "Liverpool Sound Collage" was released in the UK. McCartney created the piece at the request of Peter Blake, the artist who helped designed the Beatles' memorable cover for "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band," as the soundtrack for his show "About Collage," at Liverpool's Tate Gallery. Along with Super Furry Animals, producer/musician Youth also collaborated with McCartney on the project. But what's most likely to get people's attention was actually the inclusion of studio outtake clips from recordings McCartney made with The Beatles between 1965 and 1969. "Liverpool Sound Collage" was nominated for a Grammy as "Best Alternative Music Album."

On 19 March, 2001, Paul McCartney published a book of poetry, called "Blackbird Singing: Poems and Lyrics 1965-1999." It is McCartney's first anthology of poetry and lyrics. The book contains more than 100 poems written between 1965 and 1999 as well as some of his best-known song lyrics. "Blackbird Singing: Poems and Lyrics 1965-1999" has sold more than 55,000 copies in the UK and USA.

In May 2001, Paul McCartney released "WINGSPAN - Hits and History -," the 40-song collection from Paul McCartney and Wings. "Wingspan" is the soundtrack of a two-hour film of the same title that is a television documentary about the formation and history of the band Wings. The double-album not only made its debut at No.2 on the Billboard album charts as of May 26, 2001, but marked the fastest-selling release of the McCartney post-Beatles era; it went Gold, Platinum and double Platinum, earning Paul his 21st gold record. Later that year, he released "Driving Rain," the first studio album of new songs from Paul McCartney since 1997's "Flaming Pie." Though the album peaked at No.26 on the Billboard album charts, "Driving Rain" was certified gold on 29 April, 2002.

On April 1st, 2002, Paul McCartney kicked off DRIVING USA, a two-month concert tour of America and his first in almost 10 years. Following his second marriage to Heather Mills on June 11th, 2002, Paul McCartney returned to North America for further 23 concerts on the Back In The U.S. tour in late September and October. Following the second leg of the U.S. tour, Paul McCartney performed in November in Mexico City, Tokyo and, for the first time in Paul's career, Osaka. The "DRIVING USA" tour was captured on the 2002 live double-album "Back In The U.S. - Live 2002." The live double-album made its debut at No.8 on the Billboard album charts, eventually going platinum in the US. According to concert trade publication Pollstar, by the way, Paul McCartney is the runaway winner for biggest tour of the year. As Paul's tour grossed $103.3 million in 2002, Paul's tour now ranks as the all-time fourth biggest earner in the US and Canada, behind the Rolling Stones, U2 and Pink Floyd.

On March 25th, 2003, Paul McCartney kicked off the "Back in the World" tour, a three-month UK and European tour and his first in 10 years since his New World Tour of 1993. It coincided with the release on March 17th of the live double-album "Back in the World - Live" as a proper souvenir of the European tour. After touring through Europe, including Russia, Paul McCartney capped the tour with a hometown concert at Liverpool on June 1st, 2003.

On May 25th, 2004, Paul McCartney kicked off the all-stadium "04 Summer Tour." It was highlighted with 7 first-time performance visits as well as 5 concerts in cities that haven't rocked with him since 1989's "Get Back World Tour" or 1993's "New World Tour". After touring throughout Europe, including a special performance in St. Petersburg's Palace Square, Paul McCartney concluded the tour with a special appearance at The Glastonbury Festival on June 26th, 2004. That same year he released a selection of his Animated Films called "Paul McCartney: The Music And Animation Collection." On September 20, 2004, he released his first single for children in 20 years, "Tropic Island Hum," the title track of a new children's animation film featured on the collection. Later that year, he published a new book called "EACH ONE BELIEVING: ON STAGE, OFF STAGE AND BACKSTAGE", an account of life on the road with Paul McCartney during his recent Word Tour during which he played to over two million people - his most successful tour since The Beatles.

Anyway, I recommend "All the Best" or "WINGSPAN - Hits and History -" as a good introduction to Paul McCartney. Check it out!

3. George Harrison

The youngest of four children, George was born February 25, 1943 at 12:10 a.m. to Harold and Louise. George has a sister, Louise, and two brothers, Harold and Peter. The Harrisons lived at 12 Arnold Grove, Wavertree, Liverpool 15 until 1949 when the family moved to 25 Upton Green, near, Liverpool.

George began his education at Dove dale Primary. In September 1954, George began attending the Liverpool Institute where Paul McCartney was already a student. They often met on the bus going home and soon became friends.

Influenced by Carl Perkins, Lonnie Donegan and others, by age 13 George had developed a strong interest in music. His wonderfully supportive mother bought George a used guitar and encouraged him when he became frustrated learning to play the more difficult chords. Long before Paul met John Lennon, George and Paul spent many an afternoon going through George's chord manual together. In 1956, George, his brother and friends performed once as the Rebels. After that, George sat in on gigs with other groups, and worked Saturday mornings in a butcher shop. One of the butcher's assistants was in a group with whom George also played. Through this group, George met Pete Best, future drummer for the Beatles.

At this point, history gets a little shaky with contradictory accounts. Possibly upon Paul's suggestion, George saw the Quarrymen perform, and met John backstage. With the hope of joining the Quarrymen, George impressed John and Paul, who by now was also a member of the group, with his rendition of "Raunchy." John was unsure at first, George being three years younger than him. But George's ever-growing knowledge of chords inspired John and Paul's songwriting. By early 1958, in part possibly to irritate his Aunt Mimi who saw George as a bad influence, John relented and George became lead guitarist for the Quarrymen.

By August 1962, Pete Best was out, Ringo Starr was in, and the Beatles were born.

On February 7, 1964, the Beatles -- John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr -- arrived in America. Their music exhilarated while their wit charmed. George's often unsmiling, brooding demeanor earned him the nickname The Quiet One.

On March 2, 1964, on the set of "A Hard Day's Night," George met 19-year-old model, Patricia Anne Boyd. Though she initially rejected him, eventually they start dating. Just before Christmas of 1965, Patti accepted George's proposal of marriage, and they married on January 21, 1966.

It was Patti who opened George's heart and mind to "all things Indian" an ongoing passion that has not diminished for more than 30 years.

In summer 1966, George met classical guitarist Ravi Shankar. In September, George visited India to study sitar and Eastern philosophy with Ravi. To this day, George is the only Beatle who has studied music formally and can read music (Indian notation). While many believe Paul reads western musical notation, Paul himself has denied this many times in many interviews over the years, and most recently and clearly in the CD booklet accompanying his 1997 symphonic poem 'Paul McCartney's Standing Stone.'

The next year, at Patti's suggestion, the Beatles went to London to attend a lecture on Transcendental Meditation given by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The Beatles were so intrigued, the next day they left for Bangor, Wales to continue studying with the Maharishi. Their stay in Bangor was cut short by manager Brian Epstein's sudden death. In February 1968, the Beatles and their entourage spent several weeks at Rishikesh, India to begin a teacher's training course at the Maharishi's ashram. George continues to support the Maharishi, now 81 years old, and his Natural Law Party.

Late 1968 saw the release of the soundtrack to the film "Wonder wall," composed and produced by George. It was the first solo album by a Beatle, and the first album issued on the Beatles' Apple label. (While Paul helped write the soundtrack to the film "The Family Way" the year before, George Martin wrote the score. Paul wasn't as extensively involved in "The Family Way" as George Harrison was with "Wonder wall." However, the point is arguable :-))

Starting in 1968, George performed and recorded with friends he'd made while a Beatle. After years of being eclipsed by the brilliant genius of John and Paul, of having to fight for every song he wrote that was included on an album, superstars such as Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan treated George as an equal. No longer was second fiddle, George recognized as a great musician in his own right.

In 1970, George bought the gothic and ornate Friar Park, complete with a 120-room mansion, fantastical caverns (including a skeleton cave!), underground lakes, stone-carved gnomes and gargoyles, acres of meticulously cared-for gardens and some say even the ghost of Friar Park's designer, Sir Frankie Crisp.

At Friar Park, George discovered another passion: gardening. It's not unusual for George to be hip-deep in fertilizer tending to his beloved gardens.

How far George had come! The gawky 15-year-old who tagged along at the heels of his idol, John, was now master of Friar Park estate and a world-renowned rock star.

Long in coming, by April 1970 it was no longer a secret that the Beatles had broken up. Though legal entanglements would maintain the Beatles' existence on paper, they no longer functioned as a musically productive entity.

On July 7, 1970, George's mother died from brain cancer. A warm, loving, jovial woman, Louise Harrison enjoyed hearing from George's fans, corresponding with them and sometimes inviting them into her home. So dearly loved was George's mother, after her death a group of George's American fans started the Louise F. Harrison Memorial Cancer Fund.

1971 was George's year to shine! That year he was unquestionably the most successful Beatle. On August 1, The Concert for Bangladesh, organized by George and featuring an array of megastars, was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Perhaps spurred by his accomplishments and blooming self-confidence, George's creativity exploded like a supernova with the release of his first post-Beatles record. The triple-album set, "All Things Must Pass," flew to the Number One spot on American and European charts, and was hailed as a masterpiece.

In 1974, George went on a North American concert tour - the first Beatle to have done so. On a personal level, his marriage to Patti was at an all-time low. Years earlier, Eric Clapton had declared his love for Patti. At first Patti put him off, but in time came to return his love. On the plus side, George met his wife-to-be, Olivia Trinidad Arias, an employee at A&M Records, the distributor for George's Dark Horse Records.

With the 1976 release of "Thirty-three & 1/3," things started looking up. That is, until George lost his copyright infringement case over "My Sweet Lord." Its melody and chord structure were similar to the 1963 song "He's So Fine." George was found guilty of "subconscious plagiarism."

On June 9, 1977, George and Patti's divorce came through. Two years later, Patti married Eric Clapton. George, Paul and Ringo were among the guests/performers at the wedding celebration for George's ex-wife and his dearest friend.

In May 1978, George's father died from emphysema. As did his wife, Mr. Harrison enjoyed chatting with George's fans, and by all accounts was a delightful gentleman.

On August 1, 1978, George and Olivia's son, Danni (pronounced "DAH-nee") was born. On September 2, George and Olivia were married.

George's new career as a film producer came about as the result of generosity and friendship. In 1978, after the original backers backed out, Handmade Films was formed to fund Monty Python's movie "The Life Of Brian." Handmade Films made possible fascinating films that in time became cult classics, as well as popular films which, if not for George's farsightedness, might never have seen the light of day. Among them are "Time Bandits," "Nuns On The Run," and "Shanghai Surprise" starring then-husband and wife Madonna and Sean Penn. Altogether, Handmade Films produced about 26 movies. George made cameo appearances in and wrote the soundtracks or songs for a few. In the late 1980s, Handmade Films had a run of bad luck, and was acquired by Paragon Entertainment Corp. in May 1994. Eight months later, George sued his former business partner, Denis O'Brien, for $20 million for breach of contract and fiduciary duties, and disposition of assets. George was awarded $10.9 million by the court, but has yet to collect this money.

George's autobiography, "I Me Mine," was published on August 22, 1979, first as a leather-bound collector's edition, and later as a mass market hardcover. George dedicated it "to gardeners everywhere." Though not especially informative, George's conversational manner and Derek Taylor's side notes make "I Me Mine" a delightful read. George's commentaries on every song he composed up through 1978 make it "must reading" for all George fans.

On December 9, 1980, George was awakened by Olivia. John Lennon had been shot and killed. "All Those Years Ago" was George's musical tribute to John. (John died just after 11 p.m. on December 8 in New York City, which made it December 9 in Europe.)

In 1988, George formed the Traveling Wilbur's. The other Wilbur's were Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orison. Both albums were highly successful. "The Traveling Wilbur's, Vol. 1" went multi-platinum and won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance.

In 1990, Olivia founded the Romanian Angel Appeal to aid Romanian orphans. George and Olivia gave much of their time and money to this most worthy cause.

In late 1991, George and Eric Clapton embarked on a tour of Japan. In 1992, a recording of some performances, "Live In Japan" was released.

Because he released no solo albums during the 90s, fans have the false impression that, except for the Beatles' "Anthology," George was not active professionally. Not true! As he had since the Beatles were still together, George continued to work with many artists. All in all, George has produced and performed on more non-solo albums than any other Beatle. Between 1990 and 1999, George was involved with over two dozen albums and singles.
[Please click here for the Discography of George's work with other artists]

George survived a knife attack and three occurrences of cancer. In 2001, he and Olivia bought a villa near the ocean in the south of Switzerland.

George was in the final stages of recording a new solo album, as well as a box set of demos, outtakes and other unreleased material. Wait, there's more! Ownership of his solo Dark Horse 1976-92 catalogue and the two Traveling Wilbur's albums were to have reverted back to George, and he had been considering re-circulating these currently out-of-print CDs with possible bonus tracks. All of this is now in Olivia's (and maybe Danni's) more than capable hands.

On a U.S. morning news show aired June 12, 1997, George said, "For every human is a quest to find the answer to, why are we here? Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? That to me became the only important thing in my life. Everything else is secondary."

On November 29, 2001, after a long battle with cancer, surrounded by those he loved, George leaves his body and moves on to wherever his spiritual journal will lead him.

Gardener, musician, composer, film producer, record producer, philanthropist, car racing enthusiast, spiritual seeker and slide guitarist extraordinaire, the multi-faceted George Harrison continues to enrich our lives. His inner light will shine forever.

4. Ringo Starr

Richard Starkey Jr. was born in the front room of 9 Madrid Street in Liverpool's Dingle area on July 7, 1940. His parents were Elise and Richard Starkey Sr. Elise and Richard would soon divorce in 1943 and she and her son moved to 10 Admiral Grove. Richard attended St. Silas Infants' School where he began to suffer the first of many illnesses which seriously affected his education.

At the age of six he was taken to the Royal Children's Infirmary suffering from acute abdominal pains. A ruptured appendix was diagnosed and this led to an inflamed peritoneum and the first of several operations for the young Richard. He went into a coma for two months during which several more operations were made. Richard was known to be accident prone. After he woke up from the coma he tried to hand a toy bus to the boy in the next bed. Richard fell over head first onto the floor resulting in a concussion. He remained in the hospital for several more months.

When he finally returned to school, he found himself far behind in his school work which gave him an undeserved reputation of being stupid. In 1953, at the age of thirteen, Richard caught a cold which turned into chronic pleurisy necessitating another stay at Myrtle Street Hospital. The illness caused some lung complications which resulted in the youth being sent to Howell Children's Hospital where he remained until 1955.

By this time Elise had married Harry Graves, whom Richard referred to as his "step ladder". For a short time he had a job as delivery boy for British Rail. He next took on a job as barman on a ferry to New Brighton before becoming a trainee joiner at Henry Hunt and Sons. Richard's stepfather, Harry, bought him a secondhand drum kit and Richard showed promise of becoming a great musician.

Richard bounced around from band to band but he finally found a home with "Rory Storm & the Hurricanes". Rory Storm was a showman and he insisted that Richard add some flare to his act by renaming him Ringo Starr. To which he eventually legally change his name. The Hurricanes became one of the most popular groups in Liverpool and they topped the bill at Hamburg's Kaiser keller club, above The Beatles. Pete Best was not always the most reliable drummer so Ringo would occasionally fill in for Pete if he didn't show up.

The Hurricanes were by now being out shown by The Beatles and Gerry & the Pacemakers. Ringo had thought about leaving The Hurricanes and joining another group called "The Seniors". After a brief lull period, Ringo decided to fill the spot of drummer for The Hurricanes once again. Ringo, feeling like he was going nowhere thought about taking up his apprenticeship at Hunt's again, when fate stepped in.'

The Beatles were now the top band in Liverpool and throughout most of England. The Beatles had just signed with Parlophone and George Martin didn't like Pete as their drummer describing him bluntly as "not good". The new task was to find a replacement drummer. Many considered Johnny Hutchinson of "The Big Three" to be the best drummer in Liverpool but then the idea was put around to ask Ringo if he would like to fill the position.

When Ringo went to record with The Beatles for the first time George Martin had already hired a session drummer, Andy White. Ringo was devastated and the fact that at first the fans didn't take kindly to him didn't help matters either. When Ringo first appeared with The Beatles at The Cavern Club, the fans still upset over Pete getting fired, started shouting "Pete forever, Ringo never!"

As it turned out, Ringo was perfect for The Beatles and at one time was the most popular member of the group with American fans. He also proved to be more of a natural actor than any other members of the group and received favorable reviews for his performance in "A Hard Day's Night". Because of this, Ringo was placed in the center of the spotlight in The Beatles second film "HELP!".

Ringo married his long-time girlfriend Maureen Cox on February 11, 1965 and the couple were to have three children: Zack, Jason, and Lee. The couple would eventually divorce in July 1975 and Ringo was to marry Barbara Bach. Ringo at first had the same problem as George did which was getting his songs noticed. Mainly John and Paul would write a song or two for him to sing on a particular album. Such songs were: "Boys" on Please -Please Me, "I Want Be Your Man" on With The Beatles, "Honey Don't" on Beatles For Sale, "Act Naturally" on HELP!, "What Goes On" which was co-written by Starr on Rubber Soul, "Yellow Submarine" on Revolver and Yellow Submarine, and "A Little Help From My Friends" on Sgt. Pepper's.

While with The Beatles, Ringo had two songs that were "original Starr compositions". They were "Don't Pass Me By" on The White Album and probably his most famous one "Octopus's Garden" on Abbey Road. Following The Beatles break up, Ringo had a very successful solo career which consisted of eight albums and thirteen singles. Ringo also appeared in various TV shows, including his own special, "Ringo", and a TV mini-series "Princess Daisy", with his wife Barbara.

After many years out of the limelight, during which he did voice-overs for the children's TV series "Thomas The Tank Engine" and experienced drinking problems, which resulted in himself and Barbara attending a drying out clinic. He reappeared on the scene sober with an All-Starr Band to tour America and Japan.

This proved to be so successful that he formed another All-Starr Band in 1992, which began an American and European tour in June 1992. Members comprised his son Zack, guitarists Dave Edmunds, Nils Lofgren, Todd Rundgren and Joe Walsh, saxophonist Tim Cappello, bassist Timothy B. Schmit and keyboards player Burton Cummings.

5. Early beginnings

Lennon met McCartney on July 6, 1957 at the annual St. Peter's Woolton Parish Church Garden Fete. Lennon was in a skiffle group called The Quarry Men who were performing at the event. Lennon was impressed by McCartney as he knew the words to several rock 'n' roll songs (Lennon would just make his own words up), and because he taught him some guitar chords (Lennon only knew the banjo chords taught to him by his mother Julia). McCartney subsequently joined the band, and brought Harrison along soon after, on February 6, 1958. In 1958, The Quarry Men recorded a demo of two songs; the first was an original Harrison/McCartney tune called "In Spite Of All The Danger"; the other was a cover of Buddy Holly's "That'll Be The Day". A number of songs that were later recorded for Beatles records, were originally written at this time including "I'll Follow The Sun" (which McCartney had written independently), "When I'm Sixty-Four" and "One After 909".

After a brief split, the Quarry Men regrouped in 1960 as The Fabulous Silver Beatles, later shortened to The Beatles. The name was a tribute to Buddy Holly's band, The Crickets, combined with beat music, a common British term for rock and roll at the time. In another tribute, they had sometimes called themselves the Foreverly Brothers.

The reformed band consisted of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, plus Stuart Sutcliffe on bass. Allan Williams served as their first manager. They were offered a gig in Hamburg, West Germany, but they had no drummer. Pete Best, who had played occasionally with the Quarry Men, was auditioned on August 12th, 1960. Four days later, the group (with new member Pete Best) left for Hamburg. Hamburg was a wild place for the young men. They were featured at a small club and were playing to Germans who often didn't understand English. They were uninhibited on stage, drinking alcohol, sometimes goading the crowd and acting unruly, but such was the club's atmosphere. The Beatles playing together in Hamburg had the group becoming more tight-knit, better musicians and better showmen. When Harrison was deported for being underage, they returned to Liverpool.


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