The Beatles







The story of the most successful rock group in history is much to long to cover completely.
Here is a brief biography in "time line" form.

March, 1957: John Lennon forms a skiffle group called The Black Jacks. The name later changes to the Quarry Men.

July 6, 1957: John meets Paul McCartney through their mutual friend, Ivan Vaughan at a church function.

July 20, 1957: Paul is invited to join the Quarry Men.

October 18, 1957: Paul plays his first live gig with the band at the New Clubmore Hall in Liverpool. Playing lead, his performance was so weak, he is demoted to rhythm guitar.

February 6, 1958: 15 year old George Harrison meets the Quarry Men. Impressed with his guitar skills, the others invite him to join the band.

March 25, 1959: Ringo joins Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.

August 29, 1959: The Quarry Men, consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ken Brown play at the Casbah, a club owned by Pete Best's mother.

October 10, 1959: After seven gigs at the Casbah, Ken Brown leaves the group.

November 15, 1959: John, Paul, and George play as a trio, calling themselves Johnny & the Moondogs. They still have no drummer, but pass an audition for Carroll Levis' TV Star Search at Liverpool's Empire Theatre.

January 1960: Stuart Sutcliffe, a friend of John Lennon, joins the trio after selling one of his paintings and using the money to buy a bass guitar.

May 1960: The group began to call themselves the Beatals. (note the odd spelling)

May 1960: The band is joined by drummer Tommy Moore and change their name to the Silver Beetles. Moore only played with them for a short while. During that time period, they auditioned for Larry Parnes and appeared on a small tour of Scotland backing singer Johnny Gentle.

July 1960: Norman Chapman becomes the next drummer, but was called up for National Service. This causes problems for the Silver Beetles, who had dates booked in Hamburg, Germany, and were playing for Allan Williams at the Jacaranda Club and the New Cabaret Artistes Club. Williams also acquired other bookings for the band at the Grosvenor Ballroom. The band would once again change their name, this time to the Silver Beatles.

August 12, 1960: Pete Best took over the drum seat and the name The Beatles was born. Between this date and December 1962, the group would play gigs at the Indra, Kaiserkeller, Top Ten and Star clubs.

December 27, 1960: After returning to Liverpool, The Beatles played at Litherland Town Hall, prompting fan frenzy.

February 9, 1961: The Beatles perform for the first time at the Cavern Club, in a lunchtime performance.

March 21, 1961: The band plays their first evening gig at the Cavern Club.

Spring 1961: Stuart Sutcliffe, suffering from increasingly bad headaches, quits the Beatles.

June 22 / 23 1961: The Beatles make their first recordings when they back singer Tony Sheridan. Producer Bert Kaempfert lets them record a couple of tunes by themselves.

November 9, 1961: Brian Epstein visits the Cavern Club to hear the group.

December 3, 1961: The Beatles attend their first business meeting with Epstein at his record store.

December 6, 1961: John accepts on behalf of the group, Brian's offer to manage them.

January 1, 1962: Brian Epstein takes the band to an audition at Decca Records. The 15 songs they recorded were later rejected.

January 4, 1962: A music paper called Mersey Beat polled readers about the top band in Liverpool, and the Beatles took highest honours.

April 10, 1962: Stuart Sutcliffe dies of a brain hemorrhage. He was 21.

June 6, 1962: The Beatles audition for George Martin, a producer at EMI. Although his initial reaction was that "they were pretty awful", he signs them and will become their producer throughout their career.

August 15 / 16 1962: At the record company's urging, Pete Best is fired from the Beatles and Ringo Starr is lured away from Rory and The Hurricanes to replace him.

August 23, 1962: John marries Cynthia Powell.

October 5, 1962: Their first single, "Love Me Do" is released and is a modest hit, reaching #17 on the UK chart.

January 19, 1963: The Beatles make their first TV appearance on Thank Your Lucky Stars, where they perform "Please Please Me".

February 11, 1963: In just under ten hours, the band records ten songs for their first album, "Please Please Me".

April 8, 1963: Cynthia Lennon gives birth to John's son, John Charles Julian Lennon.

August 1, 1963: A monthly magazine about the group called The Beatles Book is first published.

August 3, 1963: With their popularity soaring, The Beatles play the Cavern Club for the last time.

September 10, 1963: The Beatles receive an award for Top Vocal Group of the Year at the Variety Club Awards.

November 2, 1963: The Daily Mirror coins the term Beatlemania in a show review.

November 16, 1963: Clark's Grammar School in Guildford, Surrey becomes the first institution to suspend boys for sporting a Beatles haircut.

January 20, 1964: The album "Meet the Beatles!" is released by Capitol Records in the US and by February 15 it is number one on Billboard's chart, remaining there for 11 weeks.

February 7, 1964: The Beatles land at JFK Airport in New York.

February 9, 1964: The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show and are watched by a record-setting 73 million people. They perform, "All My Loving", "Till There Was You", "She Loves You", "I Saw Her Standing There" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand".

February 11, 1964: The Beatles give their first live performance in the U.S. at the Washington Coliseum in Washington, D.C.

February 12, 1964: The band performs at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

March 2, 1964: They begin to film their first movie. Although the working title was "Beatlemania", the band rejected the name immediately. Paul had suggested "What Little Old Man?", but producers wanted something more distinctive. The name is changed after Ringo makes the off-handed comment, "Its been a hard day's night, that was". Filming is completed in eight weeks at a cost of $500,000.

July 6, 1964: "A Hard Day's Night" premieres in London. The film gets wonderful reviews by fans and critics.

August 11, 1964: "A Hard Day's Night" opens in America.

February 11, 1965: Ringo marries Mary (Maureen) Cox.

February 23, 1965: Shooting begins in the Bahamas on the Beatles' second movie. The original title of the film was "Eight Arms to Hold You", but is later changed to "Help!"

June 12, 1965: The Beatles are named Members of the British Empire by the Queen.

July 29, 1965: The Beatles second feature film, "Help!" opens in London. It opens in the U.S. on August 11 that year. The movie cost $1.5 million to make.

August 15, 1965: The Beatles play for 55,600 people at New York's Shea Stadium, which is a record, grossing $304,000 dollars. (The Beatles' share was $160,000.)

August 27, 1965: The Fab Four meet Elvis Presley at his Beverly Hills home.

September 13, 1965: Ringo and Maureen have a son, Zak Starkey.

January 21, 1966: George marries Patricia Ann (Pattie) Boyd

March, 1966: John Lennon causes a national stir when he is quoted in London's Evening Standard as saying that The Beatles are "more popular than Jesus now". He would later apologise, but by this time, thousands of Beatle records had been smashed by angry fans.

May 1, 1966: The Beatles give their last proper British concert at Empire Pool, Wembley, where they play a 15 minute, 5 song set.

August 6, 1966: John Lennon's remarks about Jesus have caused a giant stir in the US. Brian Epstein holds a press conference in New York to explain.

August 11, 1966: John apologises to the press and tries to explain what his remarks about Jesus really meant.

August 13, 1966: Not satisfied with Lennon's explanation, radio station KLUE in Longview, Texas organizes a "Beatles Bonfire". The next morning, the station's transmission tower is struck by lightning, halting all broadcasting.

August 29, 1966: The Beatles give their last live concert, in San Francisco, California.

June 1, 1967: "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is released in the U.K. It tops the charts all over the world, holding the number one slot in Britain for 27 weeks and for 19 in America. It receives four Grammys including Best Album.

June 25, 1967: Our World, a two-hour satellite television program starring the Beatles was transmitted live by satellite to five continents and 24 countries. They performed "All You Need is Love". It was the first live television satellite program to air worldwide.

August 19, 1967: Ringo and Maureen have a second son, Jason.

August 27, 1967: Brian Epstein dies of an accidental drug overdose.

August 29, 1967: Epstein's family holds a private funeral that the Beatles did not attend.

October, 17, 1967: A memorial service is held for Brian Epstein is held at a synagogue in Abby Road.

December 26, 1967: "Magical Mystery Tour", the Beatles' hour-long television special airs in the U.K., where it is seen by approximately 14 million viewers. The show was panned by critics.

May 14, 1968: John and Paul appear on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, where they publicly denounce their earlier association with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

July 17, 1968: The movie Yellow Submarine premieres in London. It opens in America several months later.

July 20, 1967: Much to Paul's surprise, his girlfriend, Jane Asher announces that their relationship is over.

August 22, 1967: Cynthia Lennon files for divorce from John on the grounds of his adultery with Yoko Ono.

August 23, 1967: Ringo quits the Beatles and walks out during a recording session for "The White Album".

September 3, 1967: Ringo rejoins the group.

January 30, 1969: The Beatles perform together for the last time, live, on the roof of Apple's London office. Later, film of the event will become part of the documentary Let It Be.

March 12, 1969: Paul marries photographer Linda Louise Eastman, a 25 year old divorcee with a six year old daughter. Despite rumours to the contrary, she is not related to the Eastmans of Eastman-Kodak fame.

Mid-September, 1969: John decides to leave the Beatles, but he does not announce it publicly because of contract negotiations taking place with EMI. George and Ringo also have quit the band for short spells, returning soon after.

September 26, 1969: The Beatles last album of original songs, "Abbey Road", is released in the U.K. It tops the charts there and in America.

November 25, 1969: John returns his MBE award.

January 3, 1970: The group's final recording session takes place at EMI's Abby Road studio, where Paul, George and Ringo add some finishing touches to George's song "I, Me, Mine" for the "Let It Be" album.

April 10, 1970: Paul announces publicly that he has left the group and says that they will never work together again.

April 9, 1971: Ringo releases his first single, "It Don't Come Easy".

August 3, 1971: Paul announces the formation of his new group, Wings, with drummer Denny Siewell and former Moody Blues guitarist, Denny Laine.

December 4, 1971: John publicly attacks Paul in the letters section of Melody Maker.

January, 1975: The London High Court officially dissolves The Beatles and Company partnership.

May, 1979: Paul, George and Ringo reunited for a jam session at Eric Clapton's wedding to Pattie Boyd Harrison.

1980, December 8: John Lennon was shot to death in New York City. John had spent the evening recording at the Hit Factory studio, and returned to the Dakota apartments around 11.00 p.m. As he and Yoko stepped from the cab and made their way to the Dakota's entrance, Mark David Chapman came out of the shadows."Mr. Lennon" he said quietly, and Lennon turned. At that instant, Chapman fired five bullets into the rock star, hitting him in the chest, back and left arm. He then calmly put the gun down and took a book out of his coat pocket, sat cross-legged on the sidewalk, and started to read. John was pronounced dead thirty minutes later. Earlier in the day, he had autographed an album for Chapman.

John Lennon

Just hours after being caught on this photograph getting Lennon's autograph,
Mark David Chapman had murdered his so-called idol.

Ringo, who had remained friendly with all the other members of The Beatles throughout the years, was the first to come to comfort Yoko.

August 1981: Mark David Chapman is sentenced to prison for 20 years to life. Over the next few months, Chapman would claim many times to have been beaten by fellow inmates, some of whom allegedly tried to kill him with items like scissors. He also says he had thought about murdering other celebrities, including TV star Johnny Carson.

June 1996: "Free As A Bird" peaks at number 2 on the UK charts and number 6 in the US. Written by John Lennon and performed by him on piano on a rough demo shortly before he was murdered, the track was completed by the remaining Beatles at Paul McCartney's own home studio. The track would win two Grammy Awards in 1997.

Spring 1998: The three surviving Beatles: George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney reunite for the first time in years at a London memorial service for McCartney's wife, Linda, who died on April 17, of breast cancer.

Summer 1998: George Harrison discloses that he had been battling throat cancer for more than a year and had surgery to remove a lump in his neck.

December 30 1999: George Harrison, 56, was hospitalized after being stabbed in the chest by an intruder who broke into his Oxfordshire mansion. Authorities said his condition was not life-threatening.

Harrison and his wife, Olivia, were attacked when an intruder broke into their home about 3:30 a.m. in Henley on Thames, about 25 miles West of London. Harrison received superficial injuries and a one-inch stab wound that was deep enough to penetrate his chest wall but missed any major organs, said Andrew Pengelly, medical director of the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

Harrison was hospitalized at Royal Berkshire Hospital in nearby Reading in stable condition. His wife, who received only superficial injuries, was not admitted to the hospital, but was at Harrison's side, the spokeswoman said. Harrison and his wife struggled with the intruder, believed to be a Liverpool man, and that they apparently were able to detain him until police arrived. The Police said a 33-year-old man was arrested following the incident, and was also being treated for undisclosed injuries, but was then discharged into police custody, authorities said.

The Harrisons lived at Friar Park, a former nunnery close to the center of historic Henley, for more than 20 years. Security at the walled estate is tight, and it was unclear how the intruder managed to enter the house.

In September, 2000: The Recording Industry Association of America announced that, not too surprisingly, The Beatles still enjoy an uncontested lead for all-time album sales by an artist. According to a news release from the RIAA, six Beatles albums gained multiplatinum status in July.

Topping the list is "The Beatles", better known as The White Album, which hit the 18 million mark and is one of the seven highest certified albums of all time.

The album "Love Songs" reached 3 million, "Revolver" shot up to 5 million, "Magical Mystery Tour" is currently certified at 6 million, and both "The Beatles 1962-1966" and "The Beatles 1967-1970" stand at 14 million and 15 million, respectively. These new calculations bring The Beatles' total album sales to a whopping 113.5 million copies.

October 2000 :At his first parole hearing, John Lennon's killer, Mark David Chapman was denied parole.

On November 29th, 2001: George Harrison lost his battle with cancer at the age of 58. He had been flown from a Long Island hospital to receive treatment at the U.C.L.A Medical Center in California. George had reportedly met with surviving band mates Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, to say their final good-byes a few weeks earlier. Harrison passed away at a friend's house, in the company of his wife Olivia Harrison and their 24 year old son Dhani.

June 11, 2002: Paul marries former model, Heather Mills.

October 2002: Mark David Chapman is again denied parole.

October 2004: Chapman's parole application is turned down for the third time.

May 2006: Paul McCartney and his wife Heather Mills McCartney agreed to separate. The couple, who had been married for four years, said they had "with sadness" agreed to split after finding it "increasingly difficult" to maintain a normal relationship in the glare of the public eye.

October 2006: After a 16 minute hearing, 51 year old Mark David Chapman is told by a three member parole board panel that he must remain at Attica Correctional Facility for at least two more years.

December 2006: A 78-minute audio collage of some of The Beatles best work called "Love" debuts at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart. The album was conceived by former producer George Martin and his son Giles as a stageshow soundtrack to Cirque de Soleil's Las Vegas spectacular of the same name.

August 12, 2008: Despite having a record of good behavior since 1994, the New York State Parole Board once again denied Mark David Chapman, citing "concern for the public safety and welfare." Lennon's widow Yoko Ono also lobbied against Chapman's release.

March 25 2015: Ringo Starr told Rolling Stone magazine that The Beatles would have gotten back together at some point if John Lennon and George Harrison had lived. "We still had the songs and we still could play. We could have put it together... Of course, it's ended now. John and George are gone."

December 4 2015: Ringo's 1963 Ludwig drum set sold at an auction for $2.2 million to Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay. The kit was used by Starr in more than 200 performances between May of 1963 and February of 1964, as well in the recording of "Can't Buy Me Love," "I Want to Hold Your Hand", "She Loves You" and other Beatles' classics from that era.

March 8 2016: Producer George Martin passed away at the age of 90. He signed The Beatles to the EMI label in 1962 and went on to produce most of their catalog.

August 14 2016: Ringo Starr became the first Beatle to become a great grandfather when his granddaughter, Tatia Starkey, gave birth to Stone Zakamo Low. Tatia is the daughter of Ringo's son Zak Starkey.


Be sure to read Gary James' interviews with
former Beatles' drummer Pete Best
John's wife Cynthia Lennon
Paul McCartney's step-sister Ruth McCartney
George Harrison's sister Louise Harrison
John's girlfriend May Pang
The Beatles' chauffeur Alf Bicknell



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