John Lennon - Beatles

In 1957 John Lennon formed his first group to play Skiffle and American Rock 'n' Roll. He called it "The Quarry Men" inspired by the name of his school, the Quarry Bank High School. John sang and played guitar and some friends played drums, guitar, washboard, banjo and bass. Probably the most important of them was Ivan Vaughan, a friend of Paul McCartney. John was inspired by Presley's "Hartbreak Hotel" and therefore introduced songs by Buddy Holly, Bill Haley, Elvis Presley and others.

In July Ivan Vaughan invited Paul McCartney to see their gig at the Woolton Church Fete, where he met John Lennon and became a member of his group. Later Paul introduced his friend George Harrison, who was a good guitar player. The group appeared at several local talent contests but had very few gigs. So they disbanded in 1959, but John, Paul and George kept in touch.

That might have been the end of the Quarry Men, however, they had a stroke of luck. Mrs. Mona Best opened a new club "The Casbah". She engaged John, Paul and George as the trio "Johnny & the Moondogs" with Paul on drums.

By that time John was a student at The Liverpool College of Art. He knew, they needed a bass player, and so asked his fellow student, Stuart Sutcliffe, to join the group on the condition he got his own bass guitar. Stu sold one of his pictures, bought a bass and joined the group in January, 1960. They changed their name to "The Silver Beetles". They also began shifting drummer around, Tommy Moore and Norman Chapman only stayed for a few weeks. Thus, George proposed Pete Best, the son of the club owner Mrs. Mona Best, to become the group's drummer.

The group had finally settled on "The Beatles" just before their first trip to Hamburg in August 1960. At that time The Beatles weren't considered to be the leading group in Liverpool. In Hamburg they pulled their act together musically. This was caused by the fact that they had to play such long hours and were bullied by the club chef Bruno Koschmider to "make a show". They were expelled from Germany because of George's underage. Back to Liverpool, the rivalry between so many groups continued to forge The Beatles until they were regarded as the city's top band,  what in fact was a great success.

At the time, Pete Best was regarded as the most potent symbol in the band. After Hamburg, Stuart Sutcliffe had left and now The Beatles were a four-piece band and Paul took over as bass guitarist. John, Paul and George were the three front-line guitarists and lead singers.

In the same year The Beatles hired Brian Epstein as their manager. He signed them up for an audition with Decca Records, but there they told him that "Guitar Groups are on the way out". However, Epstein secured a contract with Parlophone Records and George Martin. In August of 1962 Pete Best was replaced by Ringo Starr, whom they knew from Hamburg, where he played with Rory Storm.

Their first single "Love Me Do" was issued on October 5th, 1962 and was a modest hit, because Epstein himself bought 10.000 copies. In February of 1963 The Beatles recorded 10 songs within one day for their first album "Please Please Please Me", which stayed at No.1 in Britain for 30 weeks - the start of the "Beatlemania". In November they were starring in the Royal Variety Show, where John asked the public to "rattle your jewellery". At the same time they produced a second album "With the Beatles".

1964 was their biggest year, when "I Want To Hold Your Hand" became their first No.1 hit in the USA. They were invited to "The Ed Sullivan Show" on TV, which received the highest ratings in the history of television up to then. In the same year The Beatles toured America for the first time and brought back Rock 'n' Roll. To capitalize on their incredible popularity, the "Fab Four" were made the stars of a comedy film "A Hard Days Night" and also released a soundtrack-album.

In 1965 they performed at Shea Stadium in New York to an incredible crowd of 60.000 fans. In December they brought out "Beatles For Sale" following Parlophone's plan to have a new album every six months.

In the same year The Beatles appeared in a second movie, the James Bond spoof "HELP!". They began to take their music a little bit more serious and so, their next album "Rubber Soul" was very different from the others. Their tours also had their dark moments: for example in the Philippines when they turned down politely an invitation of Madame Marcos and the public was so furious that they had to leave quickly. In the same year The Beatles were made MBE (Members of the British Empire).

In 1966, The Beatles were under heavy pressure from the press after John made a remark that "The Beatles are more popular than Jesus". On their next album "Revolver" the Fab Four experimented with Indian Sitar Music under the influence of the Maharishi Mahesh Yoga, who was a betrayer as they found out later. At the same time they started to use psychedelic drugs better known as LSD. In August The Beatles played their last live show at San Francisco Candlestick Park. They wanted to focus on studio recordings and disappeared from the public. Thus, rumors of their breakup were spread in the media, when John played the leading role in "How I Won The War" and Paul wrote the film music for "Family Ways".

Nevertheless, in 1967 their new album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", regarded as their best work ever, was released. In contrast to others they used many studio effects. The collage of the cover is also very well known. At that time rumors started that Paul had died and was replaced by a double, a big error as we know today. In August their manager Brian Epstein died because of a drug overdose. Paul tried to replace him, what caused many troubles between the group's members. Thus, it wasn't surprising that their third film "The Magical Mystery Tour" was a flop.

The Beatles created their own label "Apple" and started the recording of "The Beatles" better known as "The White Album". During the work, they had many tensions, so the songs are more or less solos of the members. At the time, John released his first solo-album with his new girl friend Yoko Ono. Ringo left the band for a while, because he felt left out, but returned again. Later that year film and album "Yellow Submarine" were produced.

The Beatles gave their last public appearance on the roof of the Apple Building on January, 30th 1969 to advertise the new album "Let It Be", which in fact was released later because of some differences about the cover. Against Paul's wishes Allen Klein became the group's new manager. Their final album "Abbey Road" again was a clue for the rumors of Paul's death, because on the cover he's barefoot and holds the cigarette in his right hand although he's left-handed.

In 1970 Paul officially left the group and 3 days later brought out his first solo album "McCartney". That was the end of the Fab Four.

For a long time there were rumors about a reunion of The Beatles, but on December 8th 1980 a fanatic fan killed John. After his dead the other 3 Beatles came together again and played some songs. One year ago George also died of cancer. Last month Sir Paul got his own coat of arms (Wappen).

Now we know that The Beatles were the most successful boy group ever. They not only influenced their generation's music and way of life, but also were the first famous band from working class and so the great example for other groups. Paul McCartney also is one of the most successful solo-singers.

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