The Beatles - The "Fab Four" From Liverpool
The Beatles were one of the most famous rock and pop groups in history. The “Fab Four”, as the Beatles were called, came from Liverpool, England. Most of the songs were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. George Harrison played the lead guitar and Ringo Starr played drums. In the past 50 years the Beatles have sold over a billion records and CDs. They had more number one hits than any other British pop group.
Towards the end of the 1950s John Lennon formed a group called the “Quarrymen”. Up to 1960 they changed their names a few times but finally called themselves the Beatles. In the early phase the Beatles were influenced by American rock and roll musicians like Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. In 1961 a Liverpool record store owner, Brian Epstein, became their manager. The first hit single Love Me Do became an immediate success. Teenagers all over England went crazy when they saw and heard the new stars, not only because of the music but because of their personality and new hairstyle.
John Lennon (top left), Paul McCartney (top right)
George Harrison (bottom left), Ringo Starr (bottom right)
In 1964 the Beatles toured the United States for the first time. A TV appearance in the legendary Ed Sullivan Show, one of the most popular TV shows at that time, made them stars at once. Thousands of young Americans went to the concerts and mass panic broke out wherever the Beatles appeared. Beatlemania was born.
In the middle of 1960s the Beatles started changing their music. It became more poetic, melodic and meaningful. Lennon and McCartney started to write lyrics about many of society’s problems. The Beatles also started to experiment with electronic music and other instruments. In 1966 they played their last concert and concentrated on making music in a studio.
Although the second part of the 1960s was very successful and the Beatles released a number of hit singles, including Hey Jude, Let It Be or Get Back, the members of the band started to quarrel and pursue their own interests. In 1970 they finally broke up after 8 successful years. All of the Beatles started solo careers: John Lennon sang with his wife Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney started a new group called the Wings. Ringo Starr and George Harrison also began to sing alone.
Fans around the world hoped for a reunion of the “Fab Four” but when John Lennon was shot to death by a fanatic outside his apartment in New York in 1980 the world knew that the Beatles would never perform together again. George Harrison was died of cancer in 2001.
Even though their active career lasted only for a short time the legendary Beatles still live on in the hearts of millions of pop music fans around the world.
Downloadable PDF Text- and Worksheets
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- although = while
- appearance = here: to be a guest in a show
- billion = a thousand million
- break up = to stop making music together
- cancer = a very serious disease in which cells in your body start to grow in an uncontrolled way
- drum = an instrument you must hit with a stick
- fab = short word for “fabulous”
- immediate = quick, at once
- including = something that is part of a larger group
- influence = to affect the way someone develops
- lead guitar = the guitar that plays the melody
- lyrics = the text of a song
- mass panic = many people become hysterical; they cry and scream
- melodic = something that sounds good in your ears
- owner = someone who possesses or has something
- perform = sing
- personality = character, qualities that someone has
- poetic = full of feeling
- popular =liked by many people
- pursue = go after, follow
- quarrel = argue, fight with words
- record = a round piece of plastic with a hole in the middle on which music is stored; people bought music on them before music was stored on CDs
- release = to bring out
- reunion = to get together and play again
- society = people in general
- success = victory, winner
- tour = to give concerts in a country or area
- towards = near