When a 15-year-old Paul McCartney met a 16-year-old John Lennon in 1957, the world was about to be turned upside down.
Lennon invited McCartney to play the rhythm guitar in his skiffle band, The Quarrymen. Later, the band was joined by George Harrison and original bass player Stuart Sutcliffe. Original Beatles drummer Pete Best joined the band, but following criticism, Best was replaced by Ringo Starr in 1962. Sutcliffe left the band in 1961, and McCartney replaced him on bass.
Allan Williams was the Beatles' first manager. After a string of shows at The Cavern Club, Brian Epstein spotted the band and became their official manager in 1962.
Initially, Decca Records rejected the band, and instead, Epstein signed the band to EMI's Parlophone label. In June, the first recording session was initiated at Abby Road Studios and in October, The Beatles' first single, 'Love Me Do' reached Number 17 on the Record Retailer chart. They went on to release 12 studio LPs in eight years.
In 1963, The Beatles recorded their first LP, Please Please Me, a hit that quickly rose to number 1. European tours followed with thousands of fans filling the streets. The reaction was described as Beatlemania.
The Beatles landed in the USA in 1964, and their first US television performance was watched by approximately 73 million viewers across the States. The Beatles gathered a growing fanbase and held the top five places in the Billboard Top 100, a record to this day.
Live music concerts were held at stadiums in America, including a show in 1965 at Shea Stadium, to a record 55,600 fans. But after four years of constant recording, touring, and more than 1,400 live appearances, life finally started to take its toll. The last performance was at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, in August 1966.
The Beatles now turned to the studio and recorded six studio LPs from 1966-1970, starting with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Cracks in the unity of The Beatles became apparent after the death of Brian Epstein, with members leaving and returning. Yet, The Beatles still managed to occupy number 1 with four of their releases in the UK and five in the US.
Their final performance was on the rooftops of Apple Corps on Savile Row in January 1969. The Beatles finally broke up in 1970, and shortly after, their last studio LP Let It Be, was released on May 8th 1970.
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