The Beatles - Sixties          

Music in the 1960s: The Beatles

Author: Michelle Hajdini

Ask anyone to name a band from the sixties, and The Beatles will feature heavily. John, Paul, George and Ringo, or the ‘Fab Four’ as they were also known, settled on the name The Beatles, after being known as The Quarrymen, Long John and the Silver Beatles, and simply the Silver Beatles.
 
The name ‘The Beatles’ was a combination word-play on "Beetles" (versus "Crickets", i.e.
Buddy Holly’s backing musicians) and the word "beat" which in the late 1950's and early 1960's had both musical and pop-cultural connotations.
 
Paul and John were particularly influenced by the sixties’ creative Beat generation, who included Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac.

The band started by covering songs by American rock 'n' roll and R&B pioneers, including Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Ray Charles. However, throughout the sixties, The Beatles’ musical style broadened, so that in the short space of five years, they went from simple pop songs like ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ to ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and the medleys of songs on the Abbey Road album.

In 1962, The Beatles were managed by Brian Epstein from 1962 onwards, who obtained them a recording contract with EMI's Parlophone label, and were produced by George Martin. Footage of The Beatles from 1963 shows crowds of screaming young women greeting the band at an airport, and the British press coined the phrase ‘Beatlemania’.
 
This Beatlemania spread to the United States in 1964, during which year, it is alleged that The Beatles were introduced to cannabis by Bob Dylan when they met him in their New York
hotel room during their US tour.

In 1967, The Beatles became the first band ever to be globally broadcast on television, in front of over 200 million people worldwide. Two of their best loved hits, 'Let It Be' and 'The Long and Winding Road' were written by Paul McCartney in the same day.

In 1966, at the height of their fame and bolstered by the two films ‘Help!’ and ‘A Hard Day's Night’, the band stopped touring. The band members became disenchanted with performing in front of thousands of screaming fans, where the music could not be heard, and they decided to concentrate on working in the studio making records, becoming more experimental than ever before.
 
The Beatles performed their last concert before paying fans in Candlestick Park in San Francisco on 29 August, 1966. Their final live performance was on the rooftop of the Apple
offices in London in January 1969. However, the concert was stopped by police after the bank across the road made complaints.

The band officially broke up in April 1970, and one month later Let It Be followed as their last commercial album release. EMI Records estimates that the band has sold over a billion records worldwide, and they certainly for many people they embody the ‘sound of the sixties’.
 

 

 

 

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