60 Interesting Facts About the Beatles: The Greatest Rock and Roll Band Ever
The Beatles, composed of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, is undoubtedly the most popular and most successful rock and roll group in the history of popular music and entertainment. This British rock music group revolutionized popular music around the world in the 1960s with their stimulating songwriting and vibrant performances. Here are some entertaining and interesting facts about this magnificent and extremely famous band.
1.) The Beatles are the “best-selling band in history.
2.) All the members of The Beatles were born in Liverpool, England, in the early 1940s.
3.) Both McCartney and Starr are left-handed. They are the only two surviving members of the Beatles.
4.) James Paul McCartney, the second youngest member of the Beatles, who was born on June 18, 1942, is listed in the Guinness World Records as the "most successful musician and composer in popular music history".
5.) McCartney had 60 gold disc and sales of 100 million singles in the United Kingdom alone.
6.) He is one of the wealthiest people in the United Kingdom with an estimated fortune of 475 million pounds as of 2010.
7.) McCartney was named the "greatest composer of the millennium" by BBC News online readers.
8.) His Beatles song “Yesterday” has been covered by over 2,200 artists — more than any other song in the history of recorded music.
9.) The song “Yesterday” which was released in 1965 has been played more than 7 million times on American television and radio.
10.) McCartney is the most successful songwriter in UK singles chart history.
11.) As a performer or songwriter, he was responsible for 31 number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States, and has sold 15.5 million RIAA certified albums in the United States alone.
12.) Musical instruments played by McCartney include bass guitar, guitar, organ, piano, keyboard, mellotron, drums, ukulele, recorder and mandolin.
13.) John Winston Lennon, the pioneering member of the Beatles, was born on October 9, 1940 and was assassinated on December 8, 1980 in New York. After marrying Yoko Ono in 1969, he changed his name to John Ono Lennon.
14.) Musical instrument played by Lennon include guitar, piano, harmonica, harmonium, electronic organ and six-string bass.
15.) John Lennon is by nature jealous, possessive and physically violent.
16.) John Lennon and Paul McCartney met in 1957 while Lennon was performing with his band called The Quarry Men.
17.) Lennon and McCartney shared a love of American rhythm-and-blues and rock music and became the core songwriting pair.
18.) McCartney joined Lennon’s band later in 1957 and in 1958, guitarist George Harrison became a member.
19.) The Lennon–McCartney songwriting partnership is regarded as one of the most influential and successful of the 20th century
20.) Ringo Starr was born Richard Starkey on July 7, 1940. He is the oldest but the shortest member of the Beatles.
21.) He is the group’s drummer. He also plays several musical instruments such as guitar, keyboards, piano and percussion.
22.) Starr is the most documented and critically acclaimed actor-Beatle, playing a central role in several Beatles films, and appearing in numerous other movies, both during and after his career with The Beatles.
23.) George Harrison was the youngest member of the Beatles. He was born on February 25, 1943. He is the band’s lead guitarist.
24.) Harrison is often referred to as "the quiet Beatle" and was an admirer of Indian mysticism, and introduced it to the other Beatles.
25.) He is listed at number 11 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of “100 Gratest Guitarists of All Time”.
26.) Some of his compositions which were included in the Beatles album were “Something”, “Here Comes the Sun” and “While My Guitar Gently Sweeps”.
27.) Harrison is the only Beatle to have published an autobiography – I Me Mine (1980). The singer/guitarist Eric Clapton was a close friend of Harrison.
28.) Harrison played different musical instrument aside from the guitar such as sitar, harmonica, ukulele, tambura, sarod, mandolin, swarmandal, keyboards and bass guitar.
29.) George Harrison is also known as Carl Harrison, L'Angelo Misterioso, Hari Georgeson, Nelson/Spike Wilbury, George Harrysong and George O'Hara-Smith.
30.) In January 1960, Stuart Sutcliffe, joined as bass player, and the band changed its name, after several variations, to the Beatles. So the original members of the band The Beatles per se were – Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, Best and Sutcliffe
31.) In 1960, Pete Best, a drummer, accompanied the group to Hamburg, Germany where they performed more than three months and returned four more times in the following three years.
32.) The band’s bass player, Sutcliffe, left the band in early 1961, causing McCartney to change from rhythm guitar to bass.
33.) Brian Epstein, a local businessman, became the Beatles’ manager in 1961.
34.) Rejected many times, Epstein finally secured the group a record deal with Parlophone, a subsidiary of EMI Records, in June 1962.
35.) Ringo Starr, who was born Richard Starkey, replaced Best as the permanent drummer of the group in August 1962.
36.) The Beatles released their debut hit single, “Love Me Do,” in England in October 1962, and followed that with “Please Please Me” in early 1963.
37.) Other early hits of the band were “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (1963), “She Loves You” (1963), and “I Saw Her Standing There” (1963).
38.) After several hits in the UK, the Beatles went to the United States. Their first appearance on the “Ed Sullivan Show” on February 9, 1964 was watched by an estimated 73 million people.
39.) By the end of March 1964, the Beatles held the top five positions in the Billboard magazine U.S. singles charts, an unprecedented feat.
40.) Most of the band's releases from March 1964 onward sold in phenomenal numbers.
41.) The Beatles made two successful feature films in the mid-1960s - A Hard Day's Night in 1964 and Help in 1965.
42.) The Beatles most popular albums in the mid 1960s were Rubber Soul (1965), The Revolver (1966) and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967).
43.) Other popular albums before the group finally broke up include The Beatles (1968) and Abbey Road (1969) - their final Beatles studio album.
44.) Paul McCartney formally announced the group’s breakup on April 10, 1970.
45.) After the breakup, each member pursued another chapter in their music lives either as solo artist or bandleaders.
46.) John Lennon’s most popular songs as a soloist include Imagine, Give Peace a Chance, Happy Christmas, Love, Jealous Guy, and many others.
47.) Paul McCartney established his band called “The Wings” with his wife Linda. Among their popular hits were Band on the Run, Silly Love Songs, and many more.
48.) As a solo artist, left-handed McCartney’s popular songs were “No More Lonely Nights”, and many more.
49.) McCartney also staged series of successful huge concerts in major cities of the world.
50.) The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.
51.) John Lennon was murdered by an obsessed fan in 1980.
52.) George Harrison died of lung cancer in 2001. One of his most famous hit songs as a solo artist is “My Sweet Lord”.
53.) The “Anthology” album, which was released in 1995 – is one of the fastest-selling albums in the history of popular music.
54.) A compilation of their biggest hits, Beatles 1, became one of the most popular albums of 2000.
55.) The Beatles have had more number one albums on the UK charts and have held the top spot longer than any other musical act.
56.) The band also sold more albums in the United States than any other artist.
57.) The Beatles other feature films aside from “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help” were “Magical Mystery Tour” in 1967, “Yellow Submarine” in 1968 and “Let It Be” in 1969.
58.) The group had 9 albums in all – Please, Please Me (1963); With the Beatles (1963); A Hard Day’s Night (1964); Help (1965); Rubber Soul (1965); Revolver (1966); Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967); Magical Mystery Tour (1967); The Beatles – White Album (1968); Yellow Submarine (1968) Abbey Road (1969) and Let It Be (1970).
59.) The Beatles have been awarded 6 Diamond albums, 24 Multi-platinum albums, 39 Platinum albums and 45 Gold albums in the United States.
60.) The Beatles hold the record for most number one hits on the Hot 100 chart with 20 as of 2011.
Update on Beatles Albums
Actually, the Beatles had many more albums than just nine. There were different versions of their albums that were released in the United Kingdom and the United States. The first Beatles album in the United States was titled, “Meet The Beatles.” This was on the Capitol label. Before this, they released “Introducing The Beatles” on the VJ label.
In the United States, other albums including “The Beatles Second Album” in 1964, “Beatles VI” in 1965, and “Something New” in 1964. It is still to this day, an interesting argument as to what the last album, “The White Album” or “Let It Be.”
Even today, the Beatles and their estates continue to release different types of box sets on CD that also include different versions and lost songs.
Looking Back at the Beatles
Even today in 2017, the Beatles have still had the most number 1 hits in history a mark that is unlikely to ever be beat.
The Fifth Beatle
Who is considered the fifth Beatle? Many consider George Martin the fifth Beatle as the Beatles producer. Some also think of the band’s original drummer, Pete Best, as the fifth Beatle. And some others think of Brian Epstein as the fifth Beatle as their original manager.
Other mentions include Billy Preston, who played on many of the songs on keyboard like “I Want You”, “Don’t Let Me Down”, “Get Back”, and “Let It Be.” Billy Preston is credited on several songs with the Beatles.
What The Beatles Make Today
It is amazing just how much money The Beatles have made over the years and how they and their estates still make today. It is hard to get the actual figures, but from various sources, the two living Beatles along with the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison, made $71 million during the year of June 2012 through June 2013. That is pretty amazing.
Latest figures show that Paul McCartney made $56.5 million during the year of 2016, much of this because he continues to tour and do concerts.
The estate of John Lennon made $12 million in the same period due to royalties.
And they are worth every bit of it actually, as the most prolific songwriters of our time. Ringo Starr continues to tour with concerts and the estate of George Harrison also continues to make money through royalties. Their music will live forever and they all worked very hard to get where they or their estates stand today.