The Beatles Case Study

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  • 1.
  • 2. Aged sixteen, John Lennon formed a skiffle group called The Quarrymen in March 1957. Fifteen-year-old Paul McCartney joined as a guitarist after he and Lennon met that July. When McCartney in turn invited George Harrison to watch the group the following February, the fourteen-year-old joined as lead guitarist. By 1960, Lennon's school friends had left the group, he had begun studies at the Liverpool College of Art and the three guitarists were playing rock and roll whenever they could get a drummer. Lennon's fellow student Stu Sutcliffe joined on bass in January. Sutcliffe suggested changing the band name to "The Beetles" as a tribute to Buddy Holly and The Crickets, and they became "The Beatals" for the first few months of the year. In May 1960 they undertook a brief tour of Scotland, as backing group for pop singer Johnny Gentle. After trying other names including "Johnny and the Moondogs", "Long John and The Beetles" and "The Silver Beatles", the band finally became "The Beatles" in August. The lack of a permanent drummer posed a problem when the group's unofficial manager, Allan Williams, arranged a resident band booking for them in Hamburg, Germany. Before the end of August they auditioned and hired Pete Best.
  • 3. Paul McCartney
    Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE (born 18 June 1942) is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer. McCartney is the most commercially successful songwriter in the history of popular music, according to Guinness World Records. After leaving The Beatles, McCartney launched a successful solo career and formed the band Wings with his first wife, Linda Eastman, and singer-songwriter Denny Laine.
    BBC News Online readers named McCartney the "greatest composer of the millennium", and BBC News cites his Beatles song "Yesterday" as the most covered song in the history of recorded music and since its 1965 release, has been played more than 7,000,000 times on American television and radio. In 1969, McCartney married American photographer Linda Eastman, whom he described as the woman who gave him "the strength and courage to work again" after the break-up of The Beatles. They had four children—Linda's daughter Heather (who was adopted by Paul), Mary, Stella and James—and remained married until Linda's death from breast cancer in 1998. In 2002, McCartney married Heather Mills, they had a child, Beatrice, in 2003. They separated in May 2006 and were divorced in May 2008.
  • 4. John Lennon
    John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980). As the group disintegrated towards the end of the decade, Lennon embarked on a solo career that produced the critically acclaimed albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, and iconic songs such as "Give Peace a Chance" and "Imagine". Lennon disengaged himself from the music business in 1975 to devote time to his family, but re-emerged in 1980 with a new album, Double Fantasy. He was murdered three weeks after its release. Lennon revealed a rebellious nature and acerbic wit in his music, his writing, his drawings, on film, and in interviews, and he became controversial through his political and peace activism. He moved to New York City in 1971, where his criticism of the Vietnam War resulted in a lengthy attempt by Richard Nixon's administration to deport him, while his songs were adopted as anthems by the anti-war movement.
    At around 10:50 pm on 8 December 1980, as Lennon and Ono returned to their New York apartment in The Dakota, Mark David Chapman shot Lennon in the back four times at the entrance to the building. Lennon was taken to the emergency room of nearby Roosevelt Hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:07 pm. Earlier that evening, Lennon had autographed a copy of Double Fantasy for Chapman.
  • 5. George Harrison
    George Harrison, MBE (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) was an English rock musician, guitarist, singer-songwriter, actor and film producer. Harrison is listed at number 21 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". In his work as a film producer, he collaborated with people as diverse as the members of Monty Python and Madonna. He was married twice, to model Pattie Boyd from 1966 to 1974, and for 23 years to record company secretary Olivia Trinidad Arias, with whom he had one son, Dhani Harrison. He was a close friend of Eric Clapton. He is the only Beatle to have published an autobiography, with I Me Mine in 1980. Harrison died of lung cancer in 2001.
  • 6. Ringo Starr
    Richard Starkey, MBE (born 7 July 1940) better known by his stage name Ringo Starr, is an English musician, singer-songwriter, and actor. He became The Beatles' drummer in August 1962, taking the place of Pete Best. Starr generally sang at least one song on each studio album as part of an attempt to establish the vocal personality of all four members. In some cases, Lennon or McCartney wrote the lyrics and melody especially for him, as they did for "Yellow Submarine" from Revolver and "With a Little Help from My Friends" on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. After the announcement of the break-up of The Beatles on 10 April 1970, Starr released two albums before the end of that year.
    Aside from The Beatles' films A Hard Day's Night (1964), Help! (1965), Magical Mystery Tour (1967), Yellow Submarine (1968), Let It Be (1970), Starr has acted in several films such as Candy (1968), The Magic Christian (1969) (alongside Peter Sellers), Blindman (1971), Son of Dracula (1974) and Caveman (1981).
  • 7.
  • 8. DiscographyExamples of their singles through the years.
    1962: Love me do, P.S. I love you
    1963: I want to hold your hand, She loves you, From me to you, Please Please me
    1964: Can’t buy me love, A Hard day’s night, I feel fine
    1965: Eight days a week, Help!, Yesterday, Ticket to ride, Day tripper
    1966: Nowhere man, Paperback writer, Eleanor Rigby, Yellow Submarine
    1967: Penny Lane, Strawberry fields forever, All you need is love, Hello Goodbye
    1968: Lady Madonna, Hey Jude
    1969: Get back, The Ballad of John and Yoko, Come together
    1970: Let it be, The long and winding road
  • 9. 1962: Love Me Do
    "Love Me Do" is an early Lennon/McCartney song, principally written by Paul McCartney in 1958–1959 while playing truant from school aged 16. John Lennon wrote the middle eight. The song was The Beatles' first single, backed by "P.S. I Love You" and released on 5 October 1962. When the single was originally released in the United Kingdom, it peaked at number seventeen; in 1982 it was re-issued and reached number four. In the United States the single was a number one hit in 1964.
  • 10. 1963: I want to hold your hand
    "I Want to Hold Your Hand" is a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and recorded in October 1963, it was the first Beatles record to be made using four-track equipment. It was the band's first number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, starting the British Invasion of the American music charts. The song entered the chart on 18 January 1964 at number 45; it later held the number one spot for seven weeks, and ended up charting for 15 weeks. It also held the top spot in the British charts. A million copies of the single had already been ordered on its release. "I Want to Hold Your Hand" became the Beatles' best-selling single worldwide.
  • 11. 1964: A Hard day’s night
    "A Hard Day's Night" is a song written by John Lennon, and credited to Lennon/McCartney, it was released on the movie soundtrack of the same name in 1964. The song featured prominently on the soundtrack to The Beatles' first feature film, A Hard Day's Night, and was on their album of the same name. The song topped the charts in both the United Kingdom and United States when it was released as a single. Featuring a prominent and unique opening chord, the song's success demonstrated that The Beatles were not a one-hit wonder in the US. The American and British singles of "A Hard Day's Night" as well as both the American and British albums of the same title all held the top position in their respective charts for a couple of weeks in August 1964, the first time any artist had done this. The song's title originated from something said by Ringo Starr.
  • 12. 1965: Yesterday
    "Yesterday" is a song originally recorded for their 1965 album Help!. At one time, Guinness World Records cited "Yesterday" with the most cover versions of any song ever written. The song remains popular today with more than 1,600 recorded cover versions, the first hitting the United Kingdom top 10 three months after the release of Help!. Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) asserts that it was performed over seven million times in the 20th century alone. The song was not released as a single in the UK at the time of its release in the United States, and thus never gained number 1 single status in that country. However, "Yesterday" was voted the best song of the 20th century in a 1999 BBC Radio 2 poll of music experts and listeners. In 2000, "Yesterday" was voted the #1 Pop song of all time by MTV and Rolling Stone magazine. In 1997, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Although credited to "Lennon/McCartney", the song was written solely by McCartney.
  • 13. 1966: Yellow Submarine
    "Yellow Submarine" is a 1966 song written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon/McCartney), with lead vocals by Ringo Starr. It was included on the Revolver album and issued as a single, coupled with "Eleanor Rigby". The single went to number 1 on every major British chart, remained at number 1 for four weeks and charted for 13 weeks. It won an IvorNovello Award "for the highest certified sales of any single issued in the UK in 1966." In the United States, the single reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 1 in Record World, and number 2 in Cashbox, where it was held off number 1 by The Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love". It was sung by Ringo Starr, a song written to suit his tone.
  • 14. 1967: Penny Lane
    "Penny Lane" is a song written by Paul McCartney. It was credited to Lennon/McCartney. Recorded during the Sgt. Pepper sessions, "Penny Lane" was released in February 1967 as one side of a double A-sided single, along with "Strawberry Fields Forever". Both songs were later included on the Magical Mystery Tour LP (1967). The single was the result of the record company wanting a new release after several months of no new Beatles releases. The song's title is derived from the name of a street near Lennon's house, in the band's hometown, Liverpool.
  • 15. 1968: Hey Jude
    "Hey Jude" is a song credited to Lennon/McCartney, the ballad evolved from "Hey Jules", a song Paul McCartney wrote to comfort John Lennon's son Julian during his parents' divorce. "Hey Jude" was released in August 1968 as the first single from The Beatles' record label Apple Records. More than seven minutes in length, it was, at the time, the longest single ever to top the British charts. It also spent nine weeks as number one in the United States—the longest run at the top of the American charts for a Beatles' single, and tied the record for longest stay at #1. The single has sold approximately eight million copies and is frequently included on professional lists of the all-time best songs.
  • 16. 1969: Get back
    "Get Back" is a song composed by Paul McCartney and frequently attributed to Lennon/McCartney. The song was originally released as a single on 11th April 1969. The single reached number one in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, France, West Germany, and Mexico. The single began its seventeen-week stay in the charts on 26 April at number one, a position it held for six weeks. It was the only Beatles single to enter the UK charts at the top. "Get Back/Don't Let Me Down" was released in the United States on 5 May. Five days later, "Get Back" began its first of twelve weeks on the chart. Two weeks after the song's chart debut it hit number one, where it stayed for five weeks.
  • 17. 1970: Let it be
    "Let It Be" was released in March 1970 as a single, and as the title track of their album Let It Be. It was written by Paul McCartney, but credited to Lennon/McCartney. It was their final single before McCartney announced his departure from the band (by that time, Lennon had already left). Both the Let It Be album and the US single "The Long and Winding Road" were released after McCartney's announced departure from and subsequent break-up of the group. "Let It Be" reached #2 in the UK charts but stayed at #1 in the US charts for 2 weeks.
  • 18. Only surviving members of The Beatles:
    Ringo Starr
    Paul McCartney