The Beatles

Beginners’ Guide To The Legendary “Fab Four”

The Beatles– One of the biggest and most influential band in the world, without a doubt. There will be hardly any person who can disagree with this statement. Unfortunately there are still some people in India and around the world who don’t know about this great band, so we’re are going to cover bit of a history and discography of “The Fab Four”. So are you ready? I hope after reading this article your music preference will change…just a little bit.

But before getting into Beatles, let’s talk about the genre they used to play. Rock ‘n’ Roll originated in America in the late 1940s, some consider this genre as evolved version of ‘Swing’ music which was traditionally played by African Americans in 1920s. Still artists like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley are considered as fathers of Rock ‘n’ Roll. By mid ’50s these artistes and Rock ‘n’ Roll got very famous around the world and English musicians were the most influenced by this. Tommy Steele, Cliff Richard, Billy Fury are some of the first British rock and rollers. After them many bands such as The Hollies, The Animals, Rolling Stone, The Spencer Davis Group and of course The Beatles came into the British music scene.

Now, Let’s move on to the topic of the day –

Beatles was an English rock band started in the city of Liverpool. The band was formed in 1959 on a small scale and initially there were four teenage musicians (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Stuart Sutcliffe) who started playing in an urban Liverpool club called “The Casbah”. They were known as ‘The Quarrymen’  and ‘Johnny and the Moondogs’ for a brief period of time, but soon Stuart (who was John’s best friend) suggested the name “Beatals”.

Beatles Perform In Liverpool
Beatles performing at Casbah which was owned by Mona Best,
Liverpool, England (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

They toured in Scotland for some time without a permanent drummer, but the opportunity of performing in various German clubs created  a necessity

Stuart Sutcliff playing bass at the Top Ten Club, Hamburg, Germany Image: Peter Bruchmann

for regular drummer. So they auditioned Pete Best for that position in August 1960, whose mother owned the club Casbah. By the end of that year everyone from the band except Stuart returned to Liverpool after successful gigs and some unfortunate incidents in Germany. Stuart wanted to follow his passion in art and settled in Hamburg with her fiancé Astrid Kirchherr. After two successful trips in Germany the band changed its name to “The Beatles” and were quickly becoming a hit in Liverpool. Now a four-piece band had become one the most popular bands in the Merseybeat movement with increasing liking from the youth of Liverpool and surrounded area.

The whole group was becoming famous but Pete was considered as the most charismatic and handsome band member by many. Unfortunately he never really committed himself to the band’s

Little Richard and the Beatles in 1963
Beatles with American singer Little Richard, at The Star Club, Hamburg, German

philosophy and during their initial studio recording sessions in 1962 he was fired from the group. After recommendation from Brian Epstein (band manager) Ringo Starr was hired as the drummer. After Ringo’s addition in Beatles, they changed the whole music scene forever, not only in Britain or America but in the whole world.

Now, if we only talk about their history I know that you might get bored, so now let’s talk about their music. When we said they are one of the most influential band in the world we were not kidding. Once in a while there comes an individual or a group or an event which changes something forever. The way Martin Luther King changed the American society, Ali changed boxing, Pele changed football and in the same way Beatles changed the music industry! You can say that Elvis Presley and Beatles are the pioneers of modern day rock ‘n’ roll. In the early ’60s Beatles were trying to find their own music style, though each member of the band were influenced by ’50s rock music and little bit by skiffle jazz and of course Elvis Presley. All of them had different role models in music, that’s why their every album and every song sounds different. After their residency in Germany & regular playing time in Cashab and The Cavern Club they evolved as musicians. And now the actual “Fab Four” started working on their first album. While John was like a leader and a front man from the start, Paul, George and Ringo contributed equally to build the unique “Beatles sound”.

Their first official studio album was released in February 1963 called “Please Please Me”, which had 14 songs including 2 single ‘Love me Do’ and ‘Please Please Me’ which were released in January. This album had the newly found ‘English Rock’ feel with bit of a skiffle jazz in it. While the whole album had great lyrics, songs like ‘Baby it’s you’ and ‘P.S. I love you’ are considered best from the album. Songs like ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘There’s a Place’ were like upbeat dance numbers, but it even had ‘Taste like Honey’ and ‘Anna’ as the perfect romantic songs for slow dance. The album had very raw feeling because all the band members were in early 20’s and still evolving as musicians. And even though this being their first studio album Beatles sounded pretty tight as a band.  This album made the whole Merseyside or the west part of England fall in with the Beatles.

‘Please Please Me’ album cover, Feb 1963.

After the success of ‘Please Please me Baby’, Beatles quickly released their second album in November of the same year. Basically “With the Beatles” was a dance album which had many upbeat songs. Everyone in England wanted to dance on ‘Hold Me Tight’, ‘Roll over Beethoven’, ‘Money (in my mind)’ and other dance numbers from this album. You just won’t be able to keep your legs still while listening to these songs. This album was similar to ‘Please Please Me’ in many ways and even Paul himself said that ‘With the Beatles’ was kind of a follow up from their previous album. Only difference was that songs from this album was heavier than their previous recordings. After this Beatles became the kings of England and soon the world was going to embrace them with open hearts.

We’ll talk about their global success and further albums in the next article… till then add some of the above songs in your playlist and get ready to explore more about The Beatles.

Believe me some good stuff is coming in the next article!!!

Stay tuned for more!

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