The Beatles Essay, Research Paper
It is not often that a band comes along and changes the face of music forever. The Beatles managed to do this and many other accomplishments that make them one of the greatest bands of all time. This essay will try to explain what made this band so popular and what led to their sad downfall and eventual breakup.
The four members of the group, all born in Liverpool, were Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. Each came from a working-class background, and all had had experience in various other rock groups before they started performing together. The group began with the pairing of McCartney and Lennon in 1956, joined by Harrison in 1957. The three (along with one member who died in 1962 and another who was later replaced by Starr) came up with the name the Beatles in 1960.
They performed at clubs in Liverpool and in Hamburg, which served as a starting point for most popular musicians of the period. In 1962 the group hired a manager named Brian Epstein. Under the management of Epstein, the Beatles signed a recording contract and recruited Ringo Starr from another band. The release of the album Please Please Me contained many great songs such songs as Love Me Do, Please Please Me, She Loves You, and I Want To Hold Your Hand, that made them the most popular rockgroup in England. Early in 1964 the Beatles came to America, and it led to what soon came to be called “Beatlemania” in the United States with the release there of the two last-named records and their first U.S. television appearance on the “Ed Sullivan Show.”
The Beatles’ music was originally inspired by such U.S. performers as Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, and Bill Haley. The music recaptured much of the freshness and excitement of the earlier days of rock and roll and, in combination with the simple lyrics of Lennon and McCartney, kept the group at the top of popularity charts for several years. They won recognition from the music industry in the form of awards for performances and songs and from Queen Elizabeth II, who named each of them to membership in the Order of the British Empire.
Their long hair and tastes in dress proved influential throughout the world. Also, their highly publicized experimentation with hallucinogenic drugs and Indian mysticism had a huge influence on their fans in general. With a solid financial basis, the Beatles knew that any single record or album of theirs was virtually guaranteed sales of more than a million. They felt free to experiment with new musical forms and arrangements. The result was a variety of songs ranging from ballads such as “Yesterday” to complex rhythm tunes like “Paperback Writer,” from children’s songs such as “Yellow Submarine” to songs of social comment, including “Eleanor Rigby.” Their public performances ended in 1966.
In 1967 they produced Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, an album conceived as a dramatic whole rather than as a collection of miscellaneous songs. In a way, it was novel; it told a story as the songs went on. The album also displayed a use of electronic music and since it was explicitly a studio work, it was unreproducible on stage. Their prestige won attention to their experiments from their mostly young audience.
This new style of music opened up new possibilities for musical expression that other performers were quick to follow. The music also attracted other, more serious listeners as well. The Beatles engaged in other artistic pursuits, together in two well-received films, A Hard Day’s Night (1964) and Help! (1965). Finally, the pressures of their public lives, together with their growing outside interests, led to the group’s break up in 1971; although rumors that they might reunite persisted, they never came true. McCartney produced solo albums and in 1971 formed his own band, Wings. George Harrison worked alone and with John Lennon and Ringo Starr in the 1970s; he then went on to a solo career and played many benefit concerts for countries in need. Ringo Starr appeared in films and showed some attraction to country music, he also produced several albums and appeared in sever commercials and TV shows. John Lennon continued as a musician with his wife, Yoko Ono and as a political activist. Their albums produced together were received with a very poor response. Most consider with work with Yoko to be his worst ever. He was assassinated in 1980 in New York on his way to see his son from his first marriage. Although the band itself was broken up their spirit and music goes on. Each day there are new people listening to the Beatles for the first time and becoming fans of a group that has long since passed. This is why the Beatles are one of the greatest bands of all time.
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