The Beatles' Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960 and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. The group's best-known lineup consisted of John Lennon (rhythm guitar, vocals), Paul McCartney (bass guitar, vocals), George Harrison (lead guitar, vocals) and Ringo Starr (drums, vocals). Rooted in skiffle and 1950s rock and roll, the group later worked in many genres ranging from pop ballads to psychedelic rock, often incorporating classical and other elements in innovative ways. Their enormous popularity first emerged as "Beatlemania"; as their songwriting grew in sophistication, by the late 1960s they came to be perceived by many fans and cultural observers as an embodiment of the ideals shared by the era's sociocultural revolutions.
As a five-piece line-up of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison on guitar and vocals, with Stuart Sutcliffe (bass) and Pete Best (drums), the band built their reputation playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg over a three-year period from 1960. Sutcliffe left the group in 1961, and Best was replaced by Starr the following year. Moulded into a professional act by manager Brian Epstein, their musical potential was enhanced by the creativity of producer George Martin. They gained popularity in the United Kingdom after their first single, "Love Me Do", became a modest hit in late 1962, and they acquired the nickname the "Fab Four" as Beatlemania grew in Britain over the following year. By early 1964 they had become international stars, leading the "British Invasion" of the United States pop market. The band toured extensively around the world until August 1966, when they performed their final commercial concert. From 1966 they produced what many critics consider to be some of their finest material, including the innovative and widely influential albums Revolver (1966), Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), The Beatles (1968) and Abbey Road (1969). After their break-up in 1970, the ex-Beatles each found success in individual musical careers. Lennon was murdered in 1980, and Harrison died of cancer in 2001. McCartney and Starr remain active.
- 'Geoff Emerick' (qv), a principal recording engineer on 'The Beatles' (qv)' classic "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (1967), estimates that the entire album took 700 hours to complete over a period of 129 days. First track to be recorded was "When I'm Sixty-Four" (December 6, 1966 at Abbey Road studio two).
- Both 'Ringo Starr' (qv) and 'George Harrison (I)' (qv) were singled out for praise for their performances in the first Beatles movie, _A Hard Day's Night (1964)_ (qv); manager (and former drama student) 'Brian Epstein (I)' (qv) predicted that Starr would turn out to have considerable acting ability. He did indeed begin a second career in movies as the Beatles broke up, while bandmate Harrison first befriended the Monty Python comedy troupe, then became a movie producer after he financed the Pythons' _Life of Brian (1979)_ (qv). ('John Lennon (I)' (qv) and 'Paul McCartney' (qv) had briefer movie careers, with Lennon appearing in _How I Won the War (1967)_ (qv) and McCartney making _Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984)_ (qv).)
- Ranked #25 on VH1's 100 Sexiest Artists.
- The Beatles were best known from early on for their stage performances, but they came to dislike performing live, as their popularity increased. They were used to playing whatever music they chose, but had to stick to their own songs to promote record sales. What had been an hour-plus show was cut to 20-30 minutes, not allowing the band their usual interaction or showmanship. Their stage amplifiers were suited to nightclubs and theaters, not the stadiums or amphitheaters public demand required, and it was impossible for the Beatles to hear each other onstage - even without the nonstop screaming from the crowds. (In-house sound systems were rare, primitive, and also lacking in volume.) Higher-powered amplifiers were not yet available. The music suffered under these conditions, and sometimes became a pantomime, with 'Ringo Starr' (qv) playing only every other beat, and the rest of the band trying to just start and end songs at the same time. The backstage atmosphere was usually a rowdy party scene, and lost its appeal over time. After the Beatles stopped touring in 1966, their few live performances were for cameras, and invited audiences. (Their 1969 rooftop show was for whoever could hear them, on the street below, and was their last-ever public performance.).
- 'Ringo Starr' (qv) (the eldest Beatle) and 'Paul McCartney' (qv) are the only former Beatles to make it to their 64th birthdays.
- 'John Lennon (I)' (qv) was asked by a news reporter in 1964 "How long do you think the Beatles will last?" Lennon answered "About five years." The Beatles began to break up in 1969.
- Even though their 1966 "Revolver" album came out while they were on tour, the Beatles performed no songs from it onstage, and mostly stuck to their 1965 set list. Not all the big shows were sold out, partly from the remaining controversy over 'John Lennon (I)' (qv)'s "more popular than Jesus" remarks. The band played their last show on August 29, 1966 in Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California. The band had already decided not to tour again.
- Their infamous "butcher cover" for the "Yesterday and Today" album came about from the Beatles' disdain for photo sessions, and also the way Capitol Records in America tended to "butcher" their British LPs in repackaging. (Capitol's producers used to skim tracks off two or three albums, add a stereo mix of their newest single, and issue the results as their "latest album", ignoring the work the Beatles and producer 'George Martin (I)' (qv) had put into crafting the earlier ones.) Protests from fans, parents, and radio DJs over the cover design forced Capitol to change the photo - and soon after, they changed their issuing and packaging policies.