The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon (rhythm guitar, vocals), Paul McCartney (bass guitar, vocals), George Harrison (lead guitar, vocals) and Ringo Starr (drums, vocals).
Rooted in skiffle and 1950s rock and roll, the group later worked in many genres ranging from pop ballads to psychedelic rock, often incorporating classical and other elements in innovative ways. The nature of their enormous popularity, which first emerged as "Beatlemania", transformed as their songwriting grew in sophistication. They came to be perceived as the embodiment of ideals of the social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s.
I'll Cry Instead
Initially a five-piece line-up of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe (bass) and Pete Best (drums), they built their reputation playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg over a three-year period from 1960. Sutcliffe left the group in 1961, and Best was replaced by Starr the following year.
Run for Your Life
Molded into a professional outfit by their manager, Brian Epstein, their musical potential was enhanced by the creativity of producer George Martin. They achieved mainstream success in the United Kingdom in late 1962, with their first single, "Love Me Do". Gaining international popularity and acquiring the nickname "Fab Four" the following year, they toured extensively until 1966. During their subsequent "studio years", they produced what critics consider some of their finest material including the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), widely regarded as a masterpiece.
Ask Me Why...
After their break-up in 1970, the band members all found success in independent musical careers. Lennon was murdered outside his home in New York City in 1980, and Harrison died of cancer in 2001. McCartney and Starr remain active.
Tell Me Why
The Beatles are the best-selling band in history
And Your Bird Can Sing