Four young boys from Liverpool, England created magic and fervour amongst the youth of the 60s’. These boys from Liverpool are still remembered to this day for their songs. They are none other than the famous ‘The Beatles’.
These young boys started out from Liverpool and ended up in America. They became famous and remained the world’s number 1 rock group of their times. The group consisted of 4 geniuses John Lennon, James Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. The Beatles recorded 22 singles in the UK and 33 in the US from 1962 to 1970. The Beatles made their first American debut on The Ed Sullivan show a very popular TV show on 9 February, 1964. The Beatles sang 5 songs on that night and 73 million people watched them performing their electrifying songs. These 4 boys had arrived on the American scene with a bang. They became international sensations overnight. Mass hysteria followed wherever The Beatles appeared and a sort of Beatle mania was created throughout the nation. Thereafter, on 11 February, 1964, The Beatles had their first concert in US at the Washington Coliseum. On 13 September, 1964, they performed at the Baltimore Civic Centre now called the Baltimore Arena.
The song writers of the quartet John Lennon and Paul McCartney are considered as the best in the world. Both of them were close to each other and decided beforehand that all songs written by them would be duly acknowledged in the credit titles. They never wrote together but they presented and exchanged their songs after its completion and added the necessary words in areas where the song required changes without any reservation. Then the duo would sit together and fine tune the song to perfection. So great was their camaraderie that there was no place for ego or any kind of upstaging between them. It was a total friendly team work.
From 1962 to 1970 The Beatles recorded 214 songs. These 4 boys arrived on the scene at the right time to strike a chord with the masses. Their songs were soulful and romantic, simple and matter of fact – all anthems on day-to-day life. There is no denying the fact that The Beatles had created history in the music world.
While comparing the writings of Paul with Lennon, Paul’s was more optimistic with John’s a little apprehensive. Paul had a positive outlook towards life and that reflected in his songs and Lennon wrote about his inner thoughts, the inner sadness in his life and his silent retreats into the shell to find safety and contentment. Rubber Soul was written by Paul. Lennon too contributed to this wonderful piece.
The Beatles performed at The Royal Albert Hall, London to thunderous applause. The Beatles made 5 movies and their last film ‘Let it Be’, an 80-minute documentary of them rehearsing at Twickenham Film Studios, recording sessions at Apple Studios and playing live on the roof of their Apple offices in London, was widely watched by all Beatles fans.
By October 1965, Paul recorded his famous song and best known ‘Yesterday’. It is still the most successful song of Paul and has been recorded more than 2500 times by other artists over the years. The Beatles recorded so many great songs and wonderful albums that picking one favourite song is very difficult. According to music critics, their best is ‘Rubber Soul’ and ‘Abbey Road’.
George Harrison and Ringo Starr were also accomplished song writers with Ringo being the drummer of The Beatles. Both have written many songs but always remained in the shadows of their famous partners John and Paul. They received very little play time. The most popular song written by George was ‘Something’, Ringo acted in 3 to 4 films. By summer 1967, The Beatles released the ever popular ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club’, unquestionably the greatest album ever. During the recording of Sgt Pepper, George who was learning to play the sitar under our very own sitar maestro Pundit Ravi Shankar, decided to visit India and spend some spiritual time with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. All the four travelled to India and lived in Rishikesh for some time. It was during this time George wrote ‘Within You, Without You’ which features the sitar influences. The wonder boys used sitar for the first time in their song ‘Norwegian Wood’ from the album ‘Rubber Soul’.
Next came the famous ‘Hey Jude’, one of the biggest sellers for The Beatles and the longest song ever recorded on a single 45 rpm record at that time. The song’s duration is 7 minutes and 11 seconds. In the years that followed, each Beatles carried on with their solo careers with Paul being the most successful followed by John. Tragedy struck to one of the members of The Beatles on 8 December, 1980. John Lennon was returning to his Dakota Apartment in New York after a recording session. He was surprised to see a fan standing outside the front gate of his house. The fan slowly approached John and asked him to autograph a record album for him. John gladly complied and immediately after signing the album, the fan apparently deranged, whisked out his gun in a flash and shot John at close range. John died on the spot. After the death of John, the other three got together and finished the uncompleted songs originally written by John Lennon.
Three noteworthy songs were written for John in his honour by Neil Sedaka and Phil Cody in 1974, titled ‘The Immigrant’. The Beatles changed history and the music world in a dramatic way and will always remain the wonder boys of Liverpool who stormed the world with their soulful compositions.