Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Dominic. Dominic Wonders, “who were the beatles” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Dominic!

Have you ever noticed how music evolves over time? Old trends give way to new ones as artists find new sounds and ways of making music. Of course, some musicians and bands have a bigger impact on the music world than others. One group in particular has shaped much of modern music. We’re talking about that famous quartet—John, Paul, George, and Ringo. The Beatles!

Who were the Beatles? Only one of the most popular bands of all time! Most people trace the beginning of the Beatles to Liverpool in 1957. That year, guitarist Paul McCartney met John Lennon. He joined Lennon’s band, then called The Quarrymen. Soon, McCartney and Lennon were joined by guitarist George Harrison. Later, they met drummer Ringo Starr. These four musicians became the band known as the Beatles.

Together, they played local shows and toured Hamburg, Germany. The Beatles released their first single in the U.K., “Please Please Me” in 1963. The song rose to the top of the charts. The next year, over 70 million people watched the Beatles’ American debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” This was a popular variety show that hosted other famous musicians, including Elvis Presley and The Supremes.

Soon, millions of fans were caught up in what came to be called Beatlemania. The Beatles sold out shows across the U.S. and Europe. Everywhere they went, crowds of thousands awaited them. Young fans screamed their names and waited hours for autographs. The music world had never seen anything like it.

Just how big were the Beatles? In April 1964, they took the five top spots on the Billboard 100 list. In all, they would release 20 top singles. A total of 19 Beatles albums would also top the charts. These are all records that remain unbroken by any other band or musician today.

In the late 1960s, each member of the Beatles began to branch off and make music on their own. However, they still made albums together. Some of their most well-known work from this time period included the album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They also put out their hit songs “Hey Jude” and “Let It Be.” 

However, tensions were rising within the Beatles. They had many fights, and the band began to splinter. This became worse after the death of their manager, Brian Epstein, in 1967. Many people also believe the relationship between John Lennon and musician Yoko Ono added to the band’s problems. In 1970, the Beatles broke up. 

Was that the end for John, Paul, George, and Ringo? Of course not! All four continued making music, both on their own and with other artists. They also teamed up with each other from time to time, but never again as a four-member band.

John Lennon became a symbol for the peace movement against the Vietnam War. Sadly, on December 8, 1980, he was shot and killed by a fan outside his apartment building. In 1991, he was posthumously given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Recording Academy.

Paul McCartney, with whom Lennon had written many of the Beatles’ biggest hits, also won a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990. He continues to have a successful music career today. So does the band’s drummer, Ringo Starr. George Harrison also saw success as a solo musician until his death in 2015.

In 1988, the Beatles were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Each member has also received various awards over the years. In fact, all four were inducted into the Hall of Fame for a second time as individuals.

Today, the Beatles are remembered for their lasting impact on music. They experimented with their own sound and songwriting in ways that inspired other musicians to do the same. Most agree that modern music would be much different if not for the Beatles.

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

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