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.
- _"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.
- 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.
- 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.).
- Three of the Beatles married their wives because they became pregnant: John (to 'Cynthia Lennon' (qv), mother of 'Julian Lennon' (qv)) in 1962, Ringo (to 'Maureen Starkey' (qv), mother of 'Zak Starkey' (qv)) in 1965, and Paul (to 'Linda McCartney' (qv), mother of 'Mary McCartney' (qv)) in 1969. George Harrison was the only Beatle who had a child born out of wedlock, his son, Dhani Harrison, was born one month before he married second wife, Olivia Trinidad Arias, who became 'Olivia Harrison' (qv). George was previously married to 'Pattie Boyd' (qv) from 1966 - 1969; they did not have children.
- The Beatles resolved not to visit America to perform until they had a #1 hit single there. They had seen many popular British stars, like 'Tommy Steele' (qv) and 'Cliff Richard' (qv), have little success in the American market, and did not want to follow suit. After "I Want To Hold Your Hand" topped the American charts, the band gave the nod to appearing in the States.
- At the time of writing (2008) they remain the only band to have won two Brit (British Phonographic Industry) Awards for their Outstanding Contribution to Music, in 1977 and in 1983. In addition, they are the only band which has had two members receive the Outstanding Contribution Award individually, 'John Lennon (I)' (qv) posthumously in 1982 and 'Paul McCartney' (qv) in 2008.
- Ranked #1 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Rock & Roll.
- 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.