It was 48 years ago in April that Paul McCartney announced the breakup of the Beatles, and even though nearly half a century has passed since then, interest in the greatest band of all time remains high.
The 2000 “1” album, a compilation of all of the Beatles number one singles, itself went to No. 1 — 30 years after the band broke up. Millions of fans, and not just baby boomers, listen to Beatles songs on the online streaming service Spotify every month.
There are dozens of books written about the legendary rock band, examining their rise, their influence on the zeitgeist of the ’60s, and why they have retained their appeal all these years later. No music act has been the subject of more television documentaries than the Beatles.
Given the vast collection of written, filmed, and spoken material, you might think there is nothing left to know about the four working-class lads from Liverpool who became the most famous people in the world. Yet even the most hard-core Beatles fans are still amazed at what they don’t know.
To celebrate World Beatles Day — yes, there is such a thing — on June 25, 24/7 Wall St. has compiled 50 fascinating facts about the Beatles, culled from various online sources such as music industry sites, media outlets, and reviews about Beatles books.
There is not enough space here to detail why we are still fascinated by the Beatles. But we do know their success was a providential combination of talent, marketing, and timing.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and later on George Harrison, crafted some of the greatest songs of their generation. Lennon-McCartney’s “Yesterday” might be the most covered song of all time. Frank Sinatra once called Harrison’s composition “Something” “the greatest love song of the past 50 years.” Ringo Starr’s quirky demeanor further endeared fans to the group, and the talents of the other Beatles overshadowed his considerable skills as a drummer.
Brian Epstein, the Beatles manager, knew marketing mattered. He convinced the band to ditch the leather-jacketed “greaser” look — a nod to the band’s idol Elvis Presley — for the more clean-cut, collarless jacket image that would be more acceptable to mainstream audiences.
As for timing, the Beatles came to America just when the nation needed a lift following the traumatic assassination of President John F. Kennedy just months earlier.
Once the Fab Four crossed the Atlantic and introduced Beatlemania into our lexicon, the band was adept at advancing the pop music form, creating the soundtrack for the 1960s, and challenging social, political, and fashion conventions at every turn.
Among the facts we found fascinating were that John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote a ballet; that McCartney once tried his hand at being an electrician; and that Lennon was legally blind.
There are many more fascinating facts to be found, and as long as there is interest in the Beatles, their biographers will unearth new details about the most influential band ever.