As an integral part of our lives, music has been influencing people in all aspects. Music can be a powerful tool with social influence and can change the lives of the people. It is a powerful mode of communication – it can be personal, political, opportunistic or even self expressive with therapeutic effects due to the release of emotion.
The Beatles, formed in 1960, were an English rock band originated in Liverpool. The Beatles are said to be the most famous and influential band of all time. Although the Beatles rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and roll, they incorporated elements of classical music, traditional pop and later explored music styles from ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock. The singing, song writing and artistic presentation of The Beatles transformed various aspects of the music industry and they were said to be the leaders of the era’s youth.
The Beatles influenced the generation in their interests of art, their way of dressing, their attitude and way of living. The Beatles became popular quickly as well as their impact on international pop music was unprecedented.
The Beatles were a band of four great musicians: John Lennon (Born: 9 October, 1940), Paul McCartney (Born: 18 June, 1942), George Harrison (Born: 25 February, 1943) and Ringo Starr (Born: Richard Starkey, 7 July, 1940). The band was primarily led by Lennon and McCartney. Fifteen year old Paul McCartney joined John Lennon’s skiffle group called The Quarrymen in 1957. In 1958, Paul invited his friend George to join the band. Later, in 1962, Ringo Starr joined the group to form The Beatles.
1963 marked the beginning of The Beatles phenomenon with the release of “Please Please Me”. The hit topped the British charts early in 1963 and remained there for 30 weeks. The Beatles continued evolving rock by adding a unique style of their own and trying new ideas to add a new flare to the music. Soon, ‘Beatlemania’ broke out in Britain and The Beatles came to be known as the ‘Fab Four’. In 1963, with the release of the songs “She Loves You” and “I want to Hold Your Hand”, with each single selling over a million copies, The Beatles gained huge acclaim. After this, they further expanded their success with movies like “A Hard Day’s Night” (1964) and “Help!” (1965).
In the U.S.:
Capitol Records’ release of “I want to Hold Your Hand” in late 1963 proved to be the beginning of ” The British Invasion ” in the United States. In a short time, that song was at the top of the record charts. ‘Beatlemania’ in the U.S. officially begun when The Beatles made their first appearance in the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. It did not take long for their popularity to soar in the U.S. with best selling singles and albums. Their dominance on the music industry remains unparalleled by any artist of that time and even today.
The Beatles broke up in 1970. The last release of The Beatles as a band was “Let it Be” while “Abbey Road” was their last record. They made numerous solo songs and albums and even collaborated with each other after 1970. John Lennon was shot and killed in 1980 while George Harrison died of lung cancer in 2001, Paul and Ringo are still musically active.
Some of the most noteworthy songs of The Beatles (not ranked):
- Hey Jude
- Let It Be
- While my guitar gently weeps
- Tomorrow Never Knows
- Come together
- In my life
- Strawberry fields Forever
- A Day in the Life
Awards and Achievements:
In 1965, Queen Elizabeth II appointed The Beatles as the members of the Order of the British Empire. The Beatles won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 1971 for Let it Be (1970). In the United States, the Beatles have six Diamond albums, 20 Multi-Platinum albums, 16 Platinum albums and 6 Gold albums. In the United Kingdom, they have 1 Silver album, 8 Gold albums, 4 Platinum albums and 4 Multi-Platinum albums. 16th January is celebrated as World Beatles Day since 2001. The ‘ Fab Four’ have asteroids named after each of them and one asteroid named after their band called 8749 Beatles. They have received seven Grammy awards, four Brit Awards and fifteen Ivor Novello Awards. In 2014, The Beatles were awarded the Grammy for Lifetime Achievement Award. They are the best selling band in history, selling more than 600 million units as of 2012.
Why are the Beatles so famous?
The song writing and arrangement of The Beatles is undoubtedly one of the best. They have penned some of the greatest and timeless pop standards of the century such as All my loving, Something, Yesterday, Michelle, And I love her, Here comes the Sun, Across the Universe and a lot more. Through their glorious short career , they have never sounded the same or ended up being formulaic, instead they have constantly evolved and matured as musicians. Moreover, their distinct personalities added to the legacy and made them more relatable to the common people. The Beatles popularised Hinduism and Indian Culture in the West as well as promoted social activism in popular consciousness. Being the emblem of countercultural movement in the 1960s, they pretty much changed the world more than just its musical aspect, and almost no band had done it so significantly in such a short period of time.
The Beatles wrote songs which are meaningful, easy to understand and yet very deep. They revolutionized music to what it is today. In short, The Beatles wrote songs which both musicians and non-musicians around the world could connect to ,making them the most liked band in history.
By Srija Bandyopadhyay, Howrah , West bengal