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.
- Their first appearance on the 'Ed Sullivan (I)' (qv) show actually wasn't the first time the Beatles had been seen on American television. The CBS Evening News (hosted by 'Walter Cronkite' (qv)) ran a story about their popularity in England, and a film clip of them performing aired on _"The Jack Paar Program" (1962)_ (qv). Sullivan gave them their first live TV appearance in America, after personally contacting Cronkite to ask about them.
- 'Ringo Starr' (qv) (the eldest Beatle) and 'Paul McCartney' (qv) are the only former Beatles to make it to their 64th birthdays.
- 'George Harrison (I)' (qv) nearly missed their first 'Ed Sullivan (I)' (qv) show, because he'd come down with the flu. He spent much of their rehearsal time sick in bed at the hotel, and only made the show after a doctor came to their suite with enough medications to get him through the performance. He was substituted by Beatles road manager 'Neil Aspinall' (qv) during rehearsals. 'Ed Sullivan (I)' (qv) jokingly threatened to put on a Beatle wig himself and appear with the band, if Harrison wasn't able to perform.
- When "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" was released in 1967, it was the first album to feature printed lyrics of all songs on its sleeve.
- One of the reasons their 1968 "White Album" (whose formal title was simply "The Beatles") was a double album with thirty-three songs was because the band had misinterpreted their 1967 contract renewal. Since the deal with EMI was for a minimum of seventy recorded songs within nine years (either as a group or as solo artists), they sought to deliver those seventy recordings as early as possible, then look for another deal. 'Allen Klein' (qv), their manager, pointed out to the band that however early those songs were delivered, each member was still under exclusive contract to EMI until 1976. The fact that they had submitted the required number of songs (between the "White Album", "Abbey Road", the in-progress "Let It Be", recent singles, and solo projects) by the fall of 1969, however, gave them a bargaining chip for renegotiations.
- '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).
- 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.
- 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).)