July 7th, 1940, October 9th, 1940, June 8th, 1942, and February 25th, 1943. These are the days that Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison were born, or you probably know them as the Beatles. They all had the same hometown, Liverpool, England. The Beatles are known to represent the 60’s with their charm, talent and spectacular music. The Beatles (as I hope you know) are a music group that exploded into the US in 1964. They became a hit sensation and inspiring children, teens, and other bands such as the Rolling Stones and The Who. The Beatles are one of the most famous bands to date, and we still hear their songs today, although John and George aren’t around anymore. The Beatles have made nearly a new style of writing songs, with hundreds of artists singing them. When they came out, they started ‘The British Invasion’, bringing many successful bands from jolly good England to here in the States. Because of this band, every 6-16 year old started listening to radios again ever since Elvis dropped out. The Beatles became all that teens could think about, and deservedly so. With their long hair (by 1960’s standards) and their great music, the Beatles came in and became one of the most famous bands in in the world. This is why every time you pass by on the street, everyone seems to be humming along to “Here Comes the Sun”.
Although The Beatles became one of the most popular bands in history, it didn’t happen overnight (well it almost seemed like it did), and not without a few bumps in the road either. Liverpool, their hometown, was a gloomy place to live. The factories were closing, and the ones left didn’t have enough workers, so they would close down, too. John’s father, Alfred Lennon, worked on a ship and would rarely visit the future Beatle, much less the rest of his family. John’s family didn’t have that much money. Alfred sent checks in every week, but then they stopped coming. Because things weren’t working out well with his parents, he was sent to his Aunt Mimi. He lived with her for many years. Just months before his 18th birthday, Julia (John’s mom), died in a car crash. Paul McCartney also lost his mother when he was 14. Ringo Starr had the hardest time as a child. He didn’t have any brothers or sisters. Ringo also got terribly sick at age 6, he had appendicitis. It was easy to fix, but he was in a coma, and stayed in the hospital. Then at age 13, he went to the hospital again and stayed for 2 years. That’s where he learned to drum. By the time the band started to form, they got their first gig in Hamburg, Germany. However, some of their parents didn’t want them to go. John’s Aunt Mimi never did support his music career. Paul’s father, Jim, didn’t think he would get enough to eat if he went to a club in Germany. But since they were both 18, they had the right to do what they wanted. The club they went to, the Indra, was a smelly, dirty place. The ‘dressing room’ they were promised was actually a public bathroom, and they had to sleep in small beds set up behind the local movie theater. They worked all night, and then were woken up by the sound of the movies in the early morning. At the club, the five boys (at the time, Ringo wasn’t in the band, and they had another drummer called Pete Best and a bass player named Stu Sutcliffe) had to be on stage for 8 hours! Later on, Stu left the band to stay in Germany. Their new manager, Brian Epstien, wanted another drummer from another band, Ringo Starr, instead of Pete Best. In 1963, the full band was formed. But even so, there were many hardships to come. Often when on tour, they would leave their families behind. The Beatles had to run from crowds of thousands of people, and had to escape in a number of different ways, including an ambulance, with a decoy limousine. They could fill baseball stadiums with fans, but they were screaming so loud, they couldn’t hear themselves sing. As time passed, each of the Beatles grew to like other hobbies, interests, styles and opinions. Eventually, by the end of the 60’s, it was confirmed. The Beatles were breaking up. They just couldn’t get along anymore without starting an argument. Everyone had different views of the world, and they wanted to spend more time with their families. They all moved on and did many different things. Today, only two of the Beatles are alive. John Lennon was assassinated by Mark David Chapman on December 8th, 1980, and George Harrison died of cancer in 2001. But as John Lennon said, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is a reality.” This quote tells you that if you have an idea with other people you could make it a reality. Alone, though, you can’t do much.
The Beatles are well known. Almost everyone in England and the US know their names. My mom listened to them all the time in the late 60’s and she still has many of their albums. I hear them all the time in the kitchen or on the radio. I essentially grew up with the Beatles. I knew some information about them and both my mom and my friend are HUGEfans. I figured that these two people could help me out a bit. This is why I decided to do the Beatles.
When the Beatles broke up, they went on to do other things. Although they were still musicians, they each had a few other jobs as well. For instance, Ringo narrated Thomas the Tank Engine and played Mr. Conductor. George Harrison produced some movies, including Mothy Python’s Life of Brian. Paul McCartney spoke out against animal rights. Some interesting facts also go back to their early years. Their famous hairstyle (or ‘moptops’) was originally popular in Germany, and that’s where they got it from. The hairstyle got famous from them; so many people didn’t know that. Another little known fact is that each of the Beatles were good friends with the protest singer, Bob Dylan. The Beatles were also first named the Quarrymen and had different members. There are so many interesting facts about the Beatles!
Although the Beatles are one of the most recognizable bands in history, they’re known to have much controversy as well. Rock n’ Roll was a favorite of teenagers and kids, not adults or parents. When the Beatles first hit the public, they just seemed like a regular band. At the time, boys were to have short hair, and the Beatles had long hair (for 1960’s standards). Much later, in the album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band, John sang the song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. When you take the capital letter, spells out LSD. This is a drug that many people and singers were taking that makes you have odd dreams and bizarre visions. There was much controversy with the Beatles.
When the Beatles were young, the 1950’s, was a peaceful time, although the US was fighting in the Korean War. Sadly, everything changed in the 60’s. John. F. Kennedy was elected president. Martin Luther King Jr. held protests and marches for civil rights. In 1963, JFK was assassinated. In 1968, both Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. People were shocked by the violence. The whole country mourned. At first, it was a peaceful time, but now, it all collapsed. The Vietnam War had started, and many people, including John Lennon, weren’t so happy about that. There were many types of protests for Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, and many more. The world just didn’t seem safe anymore. There were, however, ways to cheer you up. Many movies were made including James Bond and Mary Poppins. Even horror movies and Saturday-morning cartoons started within this time period. Bob Dylan and the Beatles started as well. Marvel Comics and their beloved superheroes such as Spider-man, Superman, Batman, and many others started publication. As for sports and games, the Frisbee and Twister started. Every year, the Super Bowl comes on, know that it started in the 60’s, too. Back then, Budweiser, Gap, G.I. Joe, and Nike got a good start in this decade. And as to where to buy them, where else to go to but Kmart or Wal-Mart! This decade was to start many things, from assassinations to protests, but plenty of things to buy, too.
Edgers, Geoff. Who Were the Beatles. New York: Groset and Panlap, 2006.
Pendergast, Sara and Tom. Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms volume 4. Detroit:
Thompon Gale, 2002
Schaffner, Nicholas. The Boys from Liverpool. New York: Methum, 1980.