The Beatles' Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2002 - Naqoyqatsi
1968 - Yellow Submarine
1964 - A Hard Day's Night
Guest TV Roles
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.
- '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.
- After the Beatles stopped giving live performances in 1966, instead of appearing live on TV to promote their latest singles, they made "promos" - a forerunner of music videos - and the promotional clips played in their place. Individual members of The Beatles sometimes appeared on TV to give interviews, but not to perform as a group.
- 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.
- 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.).
- _"Saturday Night Live" (1975)_ (qv) had a running joke in the 1970s, where producer 'Lorne Michaels' (qv) would appear on camera, and invite the Beatles to reunite for one more set on the show, for the handsome sum of $3200 (later upped to $3500). The joke spoofed both the grandiose offers made by 'Sid Bernstein' (qv) and other promoters to the Beatles to perform again through those years, and the relatively small budget SNL was given to bring on top musical acts. On one show night, John and Paul (who was visiting John in New York) happened to be watching, and joked about going down to the studio, just for a laugh. 'George Harrison (I)' (qv) did actually appear on another night; a mock argument happened on camera when he was told he couldn't collect the whole fee, since the offer was only for the whole band.
- 'The Beatles' (qv) were the first rock-n-roll performers to be immortalized in London's Madame Tussaud's waxwork museum. The band's personal tailor 'Dougie Millings' (qv) supplied the suits for the wax effigies.
- 'Ringo Starr' (qv) (the eldest Beatle) and 'Paul McCartney' (qv) are the only former Beatles to make it to their 64th birthdays.
- '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).