The semi-centennial (50th) anniversary edition of The Beatles groundbreaking album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released on 26 May, 2017. It was 50 years ago on 1 June, 1967 that they had released Sgt. Pepper, their eighth album. It was arguably the best, which enjoyed 207 weeks in UK album chart including 27 weeks at the top and 175 weeks in its US counterpart including 15 weeks at number one. The Rolling Stone magazine crowned it number one on their list of 500 greatest albums of all time. Let’s introduce the evergreen fabulous four – John Lennon founded the band as The Quarrymen. Gradually introducing Paul McCartney (bass guitarist), George Harrison (lead guitarist) and Ringo Starr (drummer), the band finally came to be known as ‘The Beatles’. But it wasn’t easy for them to rise to success.
At one point of time, they played “Eight Days a Week” in shabby nightclubs. They gained popularity in their hometown Liverpool and frequently played in the Cavern Club. Later Brian Epstein, their manager made a contract with Parlophone label. With George Martin as producer, ‘The Beatles’ set off to gain success.
“Please Please Me” released in 1962 was their first British single. With the coming up of more and more hit singles and albums, their fame spread from England to Europe and across the world.
On their way to stardom, these four mop-haired boys, wherever they went swayed people with Beatlemania.
“I Want to Hold Your Hand” was their first number one US single, after which they toured across the country with growing popularity. There they performed in The Ed Sullivan Show and this particular event holds the record of being watched by the largest audience in America.
“A Hard Day’s Night”, an international success, was their first musical film. They were a humourous quartet too. Once, in a greeting made by them at a BBC show, John said, “I’m John and I too play the guitar, sometimes I play the fool”.
With the ‘Revolver’, the group started studio experimentation and they stopped touring.
After the Magical Mystery Tour album, the Beatles visited Rishikesh in India for experiencing transcendental meditation. During their stay, they created almost 30 songs for their next eponymous White album.
After the release of the two remarkable albums Abbey Road followed by Let It Be, this phenomenal band broke up in 1970, along with it breaking the hearts of thousands across the world.
Though it was only for eight years (1962-1970) that The Beatles played, they are still relevant. The fact that ‘1’, their collection of 27 no 1 songs, is the greatest selling album of the first decade of the new millennium, proves this.
All four Beatles could sing, which led to the ‘Rolling Stones’ calling them four-headed monster. They always made sure that each song was different from the last.
Never stopping at one genre, they travelled through skiffle, rock-n-roll, folk-rock, pop, psychedelic rock, hard rock and many more. They also incorporated western and Indian classical styles. From the “1-2-3-4” count at the start of “I Saw Her Standing There” till the last piano chord of ‘The end’, everything is simply spellbinding! “I believe in yesterday…” attracted so many people that it remains the most popular song of all time with more than 2,200 versions.
They had the ability to play with words, for example- ‘please please me’, ‘a hard day’s night’ or ‘tomorrow never knows’.
In this short span of time, they made such outstanding success that they have remained memorable and have been made into a simile – ‘as legendary as The Beatles’.
We love you, yeah, yeah, yeah!
Class VIII, Patha Bhavan, Kolkata