The Beatles History
Many people don’t realize that the Beatles worked as a band for only one decade, 1960 to 1970. Over those ten years, the band with a working-class Liverpool background became the world’s most popular rock band and continues to sway the contemporary music scene. The groups final lineup of 1962 included John Lennon on rhythm guitar, George Harrison on lead guitar, Paul McCartney on bass and piano, and Ringo Starr on drums. All of the Fab Four also performed vocals.
Did you know that the Beatles’ musical underpinnings lie with skiffle as much as with rock? Skiffle combines country, jazz, roots, blues, and folk music on native instruments. It began in the U.S. but was made popular by England’s Lonnie Donegan, where the Beatles learned of him and incorporated skiffle music into their mix of rock, pop ballads, and subsequently Indian music and psychedelic rock.
The earliest lineup of the Beatles featured Stuart Sutcliffe on bass (ousted in 1961) and Peter Best on drums, replaced in 1962 by Ringo. The Beatles alternated their gigs between concerts in Liverpool and in Hamburg Germany through 1963, with Brian Epstein at the reigns as manager and George Martin the producer. The song “Love Me Do” in December 1962 proved to be their igniter and was followed by several explosive albums through 1966. The touring years reached its peak by their spectacular performance on the Ed Sullivan Show. After wearing themselves out world touring, the Beatles settled exclusively into studio recording for the final four years of the band. Studio work not only released the pressures of travel, but also provided a more controlled environment where the Fab Four could experiment with new musicians and new sounds.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, released in 1967, is universally regarded as their masterpiece. The album mixes story-telling (“A Day in the Life”), psychedelics (“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”), transcendental rock with sitar (“Within You Without You”), interesting solos (clarinets on “When I