The Beatles Course Work Examples
The band originated from Liverpool, England. It was a working-class town located in the North of London. It was an important port for ships that went back and forth the United States. With a lot of people coming to the seaports of Liverpool, the Beatles were given the opportunity to be exposed to the different sounds and musical styles in other parts of the world. Although their town had the reputation as a tough place, this proved to be essential in their experimentation with music and ultimately in determining their own style.
The four members all came from the working class families of Great Britain except for John Lennon who grew up with his aunt in a middle-class neighborhood. His mother would occasionally visit and teach Lennon how to play the guitar. Unfortunately, his mother died after being struck by a speeding bus when John was just 17.
This loss would later on create a connection with future band member, Paul McCartney. Like John, Paul also lost his mother at a young age due to breast cancer. Before meeting McCartney, Lennon was already performing with a skiffle band called the Quarrymen. It was named after the Quarry Bank Grammar School where the original members attended. In 1957, at a church gig, he finally met Paul. The Quarrymen weren’t really that good in the beginning and John didn’t even know how to tune his guitar before he met Paul. Paul was raised in a household filled with music. His father was a jazz player and so in his early years, Paul had already learned to play different musical instruments and compose his own music. Since that day, John and Paul invested long hours in listening and practicing rock n’ roll.
On his way to school, Paul met the son of their bus driver George Harrison. They bonded with their common interest of rock n’ roll. In 1958, Paul brought this new friend to listen to his band. George subsequently auditioned to Lennon for Quarrymen. Although Lennon was impressed with George’s ability, he was hesitant to let him join because he was just too young then at 14. With George’s persistence, Paul finally convinced John to let him in as the lead guitarist in 1958. Consequently, he becomes the youngest member of the Beatles. In 1959, members of the Quarrymen left the band to pursue other interests and the three were left. As a result, they changed their name to Johnny and the Moondogs.
John, Paul and George continued to play their music and attend school. Paul and George went to high school at the Liverpool Institute while John attended the Liverpool Art College which was just located next to Paul and George’s campus. In 1960, John met Stuart Sutcliffe at art school and introduced him to Paul and George. He couldn’t play a single note of music but he was good-looking and a talented painter. He sold one of his paintings for a large sum to purchase a bass guitar and they taught him the 12-bar blues. Stu became their bass player and shortly thereafter, they changed their name to the Silver Beatles.
The Silver Beatles played gigs in numerous clubs and dance halls. They toured Scotland and got better when it came to playing their instruments. However, most of the songs they were playing were covers of other artists. This created a problem for the group when they realized that bands which played before them had more or less the same set list. As a result, Paul encouraged the group to write their own songs. This started the collaboration between John Lennon and Paul McCartney which would later on become one of the greatest songwriting team in history. By this time, they decided it was best to create music that leaned towards rock n’ roll. In order to achieve such, they needed a steady drummer. The Silver Beatles had different drummers that played with them on different occasions. Paul called up Pete Best and offered him a job as their drummer to play at Germany for 15 pounds a week. At that time, it was already considered a decent pay for a workingman. Having just purchased a new kit, he immediately agreed and went to Hamburg with the rest of the members.
The band played a minimum of six hours every night in Germany. In addition, they had to learn hundreds and hundreds of songs of different styles in order to please a variety of audience. They learned to create an instant connection with their humor and unique rock n’ roll sound. This experience led the them to grow musically as a band. At some point during their stay in Hamburg, George got deported when he was found to be underage. Paul and Pete were also arrested due to a small fire they started in a theater and both of them were forced to leave the country. Stu got engaged with Astrid Kirchherr, a German photographer who took pictures of the group during their stay in Hamburg, and decided to stay in Germany. Unfortunately, Stu would die a year later of brain hemorrhage. John quickly followed and went back to England.
Without Stu, Paul was forced to play the bass guitar for the band. When they went back to England, they were already confirmed rock n’ rollers. They played at numerous clubs in Liverpool. In 1961, Brian Epstein, who was at that time a record owner and a music columnist, spotted them playing at the Cavern Club. He fought his way to the stage and told the band he could help them. He offered to be the band’s manager and they agreed. Brian knew many people in the music industry but most of them were in sales. Still, he was able to pull some strings with some record companies but almost every label turned them down. With Brian’s unfaltering trust and confidence with the Beatles, he finally had some luck when producer George Martin signed them to EMI, which previously turned them down, on one condition – a new drummer must replace Pete. The rest of the Beatles already had doubts about Pete’s drumming prior to the contract with EMI. When Brian told them about it, they immediately agreed and recruited Ringo Starr from another local group.
Ringo, born as Richard Starkey, grew up in Dingle. It was one of the poorest neighborhoods in Liverpool at that time. He came from a working-class family and his father worked on a nearby bakery. He had already known them for several years before joining the Beatles when he was still at clubs alongside their band during their stay in Hamburg. Ringo was the funny one and the band members mutually understood that their music finally settled when he joined them. With Ringo, the Beatles had their final and official line-up and later released many best-selling albums in the music industry.
The start of the Beatlemania came in October 1962 when they recorded their first big hit Love me Do. In January 1963, their next song Please Please Me, immediately rose to number 1 in the United Kingdom. The band’s schedule was so hectic that all they ever did was go back and forth between nonstop touring and recording more hits. It’s also the primary reason why Lennon missed the birth of his eldest son, Julian, in April 1963. In February 1964, they went on their first trip to the United States. In New York, they appeared in The Ed Sullivan Show that was watched by about 73 million people. The viewers comprised more that 30% of the American population making it one of the most watched TV programs of all time. This was clearly a defining moment in music history as everyone gathered to witness the band with humble beginnings from Liverpool.
In April 1964, the Beatles held the first five spots in Billboard’s Top 100. This was the first time a British band had so much success in America which paved the way to what will be The British Invasion. In August of the same year, the band went back to America and sold out every show in each city. In the summer of 1965, they went back again to play their most historic sold-out concert at Shea Stadium which accommodated more that 55,000 screaming fans. Towards the end of that year, each member of the Beatles received the MBE (Member of the British Empire) award from Queen Elizabeth which was usually given to war heroes.
In June 1967, the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band which would later on be named the greatest album of all time by the Rolling Stones. Unfortunately, in August of the same year, the Beatles lost their faithful manager Brian Epstein due to an overdose of sleeping pills. In 1968, they went to India to come clean from drugs and wrote songs for their next album that was released on November as The White Album. It remains to be the best-selling double album of all time. In October 1969, the Beatles released their album Abbey Road which went straight to number 1. In April 1970, the band publicly announced their breakup and released their final album Let It Be.
The music of the Beatles has a different effect on me. While I do love the songs of the current generation, there will be times when you just have enough of it and you just want to live in a different and quieter world. This is where their songs come in. In my experience, listening to their music actually makes me experience a different place for a while. I don’t know if it makes any sense but somehow, it’s like being in a time when life was still simple and you get to interact with people at a more personal level. Most of the pop music now seems to be artificial. They’re catchy but after you exhaust that catchiness for what they’re worth, you realize they’re just like any other music that comes and goes. Fortunately, the music of the Beatles is timeless. I think it just has to do with the sincerity of the songs and the themes they represent that will forever be present from generation to generation. With all the complications of how we should live our everyday lives, their music lets me reflect that sometimes, we just have to take a break and focus on things that really matter to us.
Sometimes, I feel sort of disappointed for not having been born in their era. I know they were huge but the clearest picture of that would always be that opportunity to actually live it. It’s nice to know that somewhere in their road to stardom, they had these difficulties in their own lives at that time which were all necessary stages in molding what would the greatest band in my opinion. They led such amazing lives but if you try to understand what it was like to be in their shoes, it actually made them less happy in the end. The more I listen to their music, the more I realize that money and fame do not automatically mean fulfillment. The problems that I’m facing are all needed to prepare me for what’s best to come and I should undoubtedly focus on things that matter to me so that in the end, I wouldn’t have any shortcomings of how I led my own life and be ultimately happy.
– Charlton, Katherine. Rock Music Styles: A History, 6th Edition. United States: The McGraw –Hill Companies, 2010. Print
– Mulligan, Kate Siobhan. The Beatles: A Musical Biography. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC – CLIO, 2010. Web. 9 Feb 2013.
– Roberts, Jeremy. The Beatles: Music Revolutionaries. Minneapolis, MN: Twenty – First Century Books, 2011. Web. 9 Feb 2013.