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.
- '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.
- One of the band's first recording engineers was 'Norman 'Hurricane' Smith' (qv), later 'Pink Floyd' (qv)'s first producer. 'Alan Parsons (I)' (qv) was the engineer at some of their last sessions in 1969.
- 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.
- '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.
- 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.
- 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).)
- 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.