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The Beatles (formed 1960 - 1969)
The Beatles are one of the most famous and successful bands in the history of pop music and have sold well over one billion records across the globe.
Formation: John Lennon met Paul McCartney in 1957 when he was playing in a skiffle group named The Quarrymen. He invited McCartney to join the group and later, George Harrison also joined. Stuart Sutcliffe then joined on bass. The band had a number of gigs lined up in Germany, but had no drummer. Eventually, Pete Best was invited to drum for the band. Upon their return to Liverpool in 1961, Brian Epstein saw the band for the first time, at the now-infamous Cavern Club in Liverpool. The band auditioned for Decca (The Rolling Stones' label) but failed the audition. Epstein took it upon himself to fire Pete Best from the band and they hired Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr). The band's debut single, 'Love Me Do' was released in June 1962. It reached number 17 in the UK singles cart.
Career: The Beatles' second single, 'Please Please Me' was released in November 1962 and went to number two in the UK charts. Their debut album, also entitled Please Please Me was recorded just a few months later. Even before the end of the year, the phrase 'Beatlemania' had been coined by the media, to describe the public frenzy surrounding the band. In the US, CBS aired a five minute film about the phenomenon of Beatlemania. It was scheduled for a repeat airing on the 22nd of November 1963, but following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the show was cancelled. When The Beatles finally travelled to the USA, in 1964, accompanied by Phil Spector and a number of journalists, they were greeted at the airport by 3,000 fans. In 1964, the band released their second LP, Introducing. The Beatles. When they undertook the promotional tour, Ringo Starr contracted tonsillitis and was briefly replaced by session drummer Jimmy Nicol. Later that year, The Beatles' first film, A Hard Day's Night was released, followed by their fourth studio album, Beatles For Sale. The Beatles were awarded an MBE in June 1965, after receiving a nomination from the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson. The following month, The Beatles released the album Help! Along with an accompanying film of the same name. In July, they played to an audience of 55,600 at the Shea Stadium in New York - the first major stadium music concert in modern history. The band met Elvis Presley in Bel Air that month and had a jam session, though sadly, it was not recorded. The Beatles' sixth album, Rubber Soul was considered a step forward in the maturity and progression of the band's sound. When they toured in the Philippines, Brian Epstein insulted the nation's first lady, Imelda Marcos, by refusing an official invitation. On returning to the UK, they were greeted by further controversy, thanks to John Lennon's earlier comments that The Beatles were "more popular than Jesus." Copies of The Beatles' next album, Yesterday and Today with the original artwork fetch thousands of pounds in auctions today. The Beatles' next two albums, Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band were both hugely successful and used new recording techniques such as sampling and tape looping. The Beatles' next film, Magical Mystery Tour received something of a backlash from the UK press. In 1968, The Beatles announced the formation of their own label, Apple Corps. Later that year, they released The White Album, which featured the tracks 'Dear Prudence' and 'Back in the USSR'. In January 1969, The Beatles performed their infamous rooftop gig on top of the Apple Building in Savile Row, London. The performance was filmed for their film Let It Be. In 1969, the band released Abbey Road, named after Abbey Road Studios, where they recorded much of their output. In 1970, the tapes for what would become the Let It Be album were given to Phil Spector, an American producer famed for his 'Wall Of Sound' production style. Despite Paul McCartney publicly denouncing Spector's production technique and despite the public break up of the band in April of that year, Spector's version of the album was released in May 1970. Following the break up of the band, several members of the band went on to release solo albums, including Paul McCartney's McCartney and Ringo Starr's Ringo. The Capitol record label made a number of hasty releases, including The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl, in an attempt to cash in on the band's demise and loss of creative control over the label's Beatles material. On 8th December 1980, John Lennon was shot dead in New York City by Mark David Chapman. Lennon was married to Yoko Ono at the time of his death. The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. George Harrison and Ringo Starr collected the award, along with Yoko Ono and Lennon's two sons, Julian and Sean Lennon. Paul McCartney refused to attend the ceremony. In 1994, once McCartney had resolved many of his issues with the remaining surviving Beatles, he got together with Harrison and Starr to compile The Beatles Anthology, which was released in February 1994. The song 'Free As A Bird' was released as a single to promote the collection. On 29th November 2001, George Harrison died of lung cancer. McCartney announced in November 2008 that he wishes to release an experimental recording made by The Beatles. In order to release the track, entitled 'Carnival Of Light', he will need to gain permission from Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, George's wife, as well as Ringo Starr. In April 2009, it was announced that all of The Beatles' original 13 UK studio albums would be released in newly remastered versions, named Past Masters, Volume One and Past Masters: Volume Two. The Mojo journalist Mat Snow was given the privilege of listening to the remastered version of The White Album and claimed that the new recordings were "better even than we'd hoped." It has been reported that Bob Dylan introduced The Beatles to cannabis in 1964, when the band were visiting New York. The next year, John Riley - an acquaintance of the band - introduced John Lennon and George Harrison to LSD. In 1967, The Beatles joined Graham Greene and R.D. Laing in signing an advert in The Times calling for the legalization of cannabis. In October, 1985, Michael Jackson finalised a deal in which he bought the Beatles' entire music catalogue for 47.5 million USD (106 million in 2013 USD). This was due to a contract McCartney and Lennon signed when the Beatles were founded, meaning that the rights to the songs did not belong to the song's creators. Between 2018 and 2026, the rights for each song will return to McCartney, as all song rights return to the creator after 56 years, due to a copyrights act from 1976.
Nature-inspired songs we just can't get enough of.
As much as the majority of us are quarantined within the confines of our home, we are, at least, allowed to go out from some fresh air and exercise. And it's important that you take advantage of that, provided, of course, that you don't flock to public spaces in droves. Find a quite space in nature to call your own and experience oneness with the world around you with these evocative songs.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell
Continue reading: Music To Inspire You To Experience Nature [Playlist]
Put these British films about music at the top of your watch list.
There's going to be a lot of movie nights over the coming weeks as the majority of us find ourselves lawfully confined to our homes. But with lists like this, we doubt you'll find too much to complain about...
1. Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
Continue reading: Seven Greatest British Music Films Of All Time
It's the 50th anniversary of the serial killer's debut album 'Lie: The Love and Terror Cult'.
We're taking a rather different approach to our 'Album of the Week' feature this week as we explore instead the power that serial killer and cult leader Charles Manson had on musical culture on this, the 50th anniversary of his album Lie: The Love and Terror Cult which was recorded between 1967 and 1969 and released during his trial in 1970.
Charles Manson, 1968 / Photo Credit: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
While there's arguably nothing especially remarkable about the album to note in terms of musical dexterity - at best, it's a mediocre folk record with disjointed lyrical themes - it does have a cult following thanks to the macabre history surrounding it. Artists like The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Neil Young are purported fans of the album, though whether they would still be if Manson hadn't incited his followers to commit nine murders during the summer of 1969 is another question.
Continue reading: Music And Murder: How Charles Manson Inspired A Generation Of Musicians
McCartney told BBC Radio Scotland that he often dreams that The Beatles got back together.
For those music fans among you who have dreamed that The Beatles got back together, you’re not alone: Sir Paul McCartney, in fact, often imagines what it would be like if he could reform the Fab Four.
The 76 year old bassist and singer, speaking to BBC Radio Scotland for a new interview, revealed that he has reunited with his former bandmates in his dreams.
The segment, lasting three hours, is due to be broadcast on December 29th, but a preview snippet reveals that McCartney tells interviewer Billy Sloan that it would have been “great to get The Beatles back together again”, adding: “But we can’t, so sadly, that’s not going to happen.”
Continue reading: Paul McCartney Has Reformed The Beatles - In His Dreams
A 93-minute blow-out of influences and disparate ideas, 'The White Album' is the Beatles record that's aged best.
It seems curiously fitting that, during the chaos and upheaval of 2018, we should be acknowledging the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ ninth, self-titled LP, immediately known in common parlance as ‘The White Album’.
An album released in late November 1968, the end of a year characterised by dread and bad vibes, which saw the tide of the Vietnam War turn against America, Black Power salutes at the Olympics, the death of Martin Luther King Jr. and the general death of the hippie philosophy, 'The White Album' perfectly captured the sense of its era.
Peculiarly, its themes still seem to stand up in 2018. At a time of Black Lives Matter, fake news, Donald Trump and the resurgence of the far-right in Western democracies, ‘The White Album’s darker moments still have the same resonance they did half a century ago.
Continue reading: The Beatles' 'The White Album' At 50 Years Old
A soundtrack for rainy days, washed out weekends and being huddled up indoors.
If there’s one thing that fundamentally defines the experience of living in Britain, it’s rain. Specifically, the curious ability to experience all four seasons in a day just by walking to the shops, but also the way in which rain – its absence, its imminence or its recent presence – constitutes such a significant topic of debate for the inhabitants of these dampened isles.
As the temperature drops and the days get shorter in the run-up to Christmas, we’ve listed ten songs about rainy days – but also about the autumn and winter, the cold and the wind, and being wrapped up in the warm as raindrops patter on the window. Some aren’t about weather at all, but simply about having to while away a day huddled in shelter from the elements.
The Doors – ‘Riders On The Storm’
Continue reading: A Rainy Day Playlist - Ten Songs For Wet Weather
Drake has now notched up 12 Billboard Hot 100 top ten hits in 2018 - the most for any artist in a single year.
The 32 year old’s guest spot on ‘MIA’ means that he’s now had 12 songs reach the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2018 – the most that any artist has had in a single year.
It meant that a chart record that had stood for 54 years, when The Beatles scored 11 top ten hits in 1964 when both ‘I Feel Fine’ and ‘She’s A Woman’ entered the charts in America on December 26th that year.
Continue reading: Drake Overhauls 54-Year Old Beatles Chart Record
Some of the greatest, saddest songs ever recorded.
It's an interesting facet of the human condition that we can find beauty and, in some cases, solace in misery and heartbreak. Indeed, musicians have been doing it for years and made a lot of money doing so, simply because we love to wallow in sadness as people. We've put together a dramatic playlist that will no doubt cause you to shed a few tears.
Nine Inch Nails performing at Rock im Park
1. Hurt - Nine Inch Nails
The Beatles' drummer finally receives his knighthood.
Ringo Starr becomes the second beatle to be knighted at Buckingham Palace as he is named Sir Richard Starkey by the Duke of Cambridge. It's a huge achievement for the drummer, though it's admittedly a long time coming. And he knows exactly when he'll be wearing his new medal.
Ringo Starr pictured with Paul McCartney
The 77-year-old Knight Bachelor was awarded one of the highest honours the UK has to offer its citizens for his services to music this week, having been informed of his recognition back in December as part of the 2018 New Year Honours.
Continue reading: Sir Ringo Starr Has A Nice Ring To It - And An Even Nicer Medal
He really doesn't have much time for rock music.
It doesn't matter that they are considered one of the most influential rock bands in history, Quincy Jones has nothing good to say about The Beatles - particularly Ringo Starr. Though, in all honesty, he has few positive things to say about the rock genre in general.
Quincy Jones at the premiere of 'Sandy Wexler'
In a recent interview with Vulture, the 84-year-old multi-Grammy winning record producer opened up about everything from managing Michael Jackson to dating Ivanka Trump. But perhaps one of the most inflammatory comments he made was in records to John Lennon and Paul McCartney's legendary group The Beatles.
Continue reading: Quincy Jones Confesses He Hates The Beatles' Music
The Beatles and Corn Maze - Beatles Tribute in Midst of Richardson Adventure Farm's Corn Fields. The corn maze was created in the iconic image of the world's most famous band, The Beatles. The Spring Grove farm is unveiling its tribute to the Beatles first album release 50 years ago with its 28-acre corn maze etched with the images of Beatles Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr along with guitars, drums and an LP record and musical score - Spring Grove, IL, United States - Friday 2nd August 2013
Kron Vollmer and Beatles - Kron Vollmer, Leslie Chase, Charlie Sands New York City, USA - The 2nd Annual Beatles Complete On Ukulele Festival Sunday 6th December 2009
Cynthia Lennon and Beatles Tuesday 16th June 2009 attends the opening of 'White Feather: The Spirit of Lennon' at the Liverpool Beatles Story at Pier Head Liverpool, England
Lina Axmacher, Beatles and Rolling Stones Tuesday 3rd March 2009 Opening of Not Fade Away Gallery and the premiere exhibition of 'The British Are Coming: The Beatles and The Rolling Stones 1964-66' New York City, USA
RT @PaulMcCartney: McCartney III. The new album, out December 11th 🎲 Pre-order: https://t.co/8UPtDg6THZ #McCartneyIII https://t.co/Gxu7s…
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"If you ask me to write a song for a movie or something, I can sit down and sort of make a song. I wouldn’t be thri… https://t.co/x0tQi9evDF
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RT @GeorgeHarrison: Traveling Wilburys ‘Vol. 1’ was released on this day, October 17th 1988. What’s your favorite track? Click here - http…
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John wrote Don’t Let Me Down to express his love for Yoko. “When it gets down to it, when you’re drowning, you don… https://t.co/hpeuTQz4Hx
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RT @PaulMcCartney: Paul's sixteenth solo studio album 'NEW' was released seven years ago this week! What's your favourite track on the albu…
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A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...
In 1962 The Beatles were signed to a management deal with a local record shop...
In 1964, black and white music comedy 'A Hard Day's Night' was released, starring the...