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The Beatles


1940

Richard Starkey - a.k.a. Ringo Starr - is born in Liverpool, England.

1940

John Winston Lennon is born at Oxford Street Maternity Hospital in Liverpool, England, to Julia Stanley and Alfred Lennon.

1942

James Paul McCartney is born in Liverpool, England.

1943

George Harrison is born in Liverpool, England.

1956

John Lennon’s mother, Julia, buys him his first guitar through a mail-order ad.

1957

John Lennon meets Paul McCartney at the Woolton Parish Church after a performance by Lennon’s skiffle group, the Quarrymen. McCartney is invited to join the group.

1957

Paul McCartney makes his performing debut as a member of the Quarry Men at a club in Liverpool.

1958

Paul McCartney introduces George Harrison to the Quarrymen at the Morgue, a basement club in Liverpool. Harrison, a guitar-playing schoolmate of McCartney’s, joins the group.

1959

The Quarry Men change their name to Johnny and the Moondogs.

1960

Stuart Sutcliffe joins John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison – a.k.a., Johnny and the Moondogs, the Silver Beatles and the Beatles - on bass guitar.

1960

The Beatles debut in Hamburg, West Germany, with Stu Sutcliffe on bass and Pete Best on drums.

1961

The Beatles peform at Liverpool’s Cavern Club for the first time.

1961

Brian Epstein becomes the Beatles’ manager, having checked out the band at the Cavern Club after receiving requests for their single “My Bonnie” at his Liverpool record shop.

1962

Decca Records passes on the Beatles after their audition, leaving A&R Dick Rowe with the unenviable reputation as “the man who gave away the Beatles.”

1962

The Beatles debut on the BBC, performing Roy Orbison’s “Dream Baby” and two other songs.

1962

Stu Sutcliffe, who’d played bass in the Beatles, dies of a brain tumor.

1962

The Beatles audition for George Martin at Parlophone/EMI Records. He agrees to sign the group but insists that drummer Pete Best be replaced.

1962

Richard “Ringo” Starkey, the popular drummer for Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, joins the Beatles.

1962

The Beatles hold their first recording sessions at EMI Studios in London, with George Martin as producer.

1962

“Love Me Do” becomes the Beatles’ first U.K. single for the Parlophone label, reaching #21.

1963

The Beatles’ first album, Please Please Me, is released in England.

1963

The Beatles’ second album, With the Beatles, is issued in the U.K. on the same day President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

1963

“I Want to Hold Your Hand,” by the Beatles, is released. It is their first release on Capitol Records.

1964

“I Want to Hold Your Hand, by the Beatles, tops the Billboard singles chart for the first of seven weeks.

1964

The Beatles arrive in America and hold a quip-filled press conference that sets the antic tone for their two-week stay.

1964

The Beatles make the first of four appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. Their TV debut in the U.S. is viewed by a record-breaking audience of 75 million.

1964

The Beatles kick off their first U.S. tour with a sold-out show at the Coliseum Theater in Washington, D.C.

1964

Meet the Beatles!, the Fab Four’s first album on Capitol Records in the U.S., tops the charts for the first of 11 weeks.

1964

“Can’t Buy Me Love,” by the Beatles, reaches #1. The next four positions on the singles chart are held down by the Fab Four as well. It is a feat that’s never been matched before or since.

1964

The Beatles’ first film, A Hard Day’s Night, premieres in London.

1964

The Beatles’ first American tour begins at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.

1964

The Beatles’ first American tour ends with a charity performance at Brooklyn’s Paramount Theater.

1965

John Lennon composes “Help!” the title song for the Beatles’ second film. He later reveals the lyrics were a cry for help and a clue to his confusion at the time.

1965

The Beatles’ second film, Help!, premieres in London.

1965

The Beatles play for nearly 60,000 fans at New York’s Shea Stadium.

1965

The Beatles spend the evening talking and playing music with Elvis Presley at Graceland, his Memphis estate.

1965

“Yesterday,” by the Beatles, hits #1 for the first of four weeks. It is the most covered song in pop history, with more than 2,500 recorded versions.

1965

The Beatles are awarded England’s prestigious MBE (Members of the Order of the British Empire). Lennon later returns his in opposition to Britain’s involvement in the Vietham War.

1966

The London Evening Standard publishes an interview in which John Lennon says the Beatles are “more popular than Jesus now.”

1966

John Lennon’s controversial comments on Christianity – made in March, but only recently picked up in the U.S. - spark protests and record burnings on the eve of the Beatles’ 1966 American tour.

1966

After performing at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, the Beatles declare that their touring days are over.

1967

“Penny Lane,” by the Beatles, reaches #1, and the flip side, “Strawberry Fields Forever,” peaks at #8.

1967

The Beatles’ magnum opus, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, is released in Britain. It appears a day later in America.

1967

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, by the Beatles, tops the U.S. charts for first of 15 weeks.

1967

Beatle George Harrison and his wife, Patti, stroll through the streets of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district at the height of the hippie movement.

1967

The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” hits #1.

1967

John Lennon composes “I Am the Walrus” while under the influence of LSD. It will be one of six new Beatles songs included in their quixotic TV film, Magical Mystery Tour.

1967

“Hello Goodbye,” by the Beatles, reaches #1 for the first of three weeks. The flip side, John Lennon’s experimental opus “I Am the Walrus,” peaks at #56.

1968

The Beatles depart for Rishikesh, India, for an advanced course in transcendental meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. They are joined by Donovan, Mike Love (of the Beach Boys), and sisters Mia and Priscilla Farrow.

1968

The Beatles launch Apple Corps, Ltd., a business venture that includes Apple Records, in London.

1968

The Beatles’ “Hey Jude,” a seven-minute song highlighted by an extended singalong coda, tops the charts for the first of nine weeks. It holds the record among Beatles singles for most weeks at #1.

1968

The Beatles’ sprawling, self-titled double album – generally referred to as the White Album – is released. It tops the U.S. charts for nine weeks.

1969

The Beatles make their final live performance with an impromptu, five-song set on the rooftop of Apple headquarters, on London’s Savile Row, during the filming of Let It Be.

1969

The Beatles reach #1 with “Get Back,” which features Billy Preston on keyboards.

1969

The Beatles release Abbey Road, which tops the American charts for 11 weeks.

1969

The Beatles reach #1 with “Come Together.” Only four months later, the Beatles will come apart.

1970

Paul McCartney announces he is leaving the Beatles due to “personal, business and musical differences.”

1970

Let It Be, by the Beatles, is released. It is followed five days later by the Let It Be documentary film.

1970

“The Long and Winding Road” becomes the Beatles’ 20th and final #1 single.

1973

Two simultaneously released double-album compilations – The Beatles/1962-1966 (“the Red Album”) and The Beatles/1967-1970 (“the Blue Album”) – enter the Billboard album chart. They will peak at #3 and #1, respectively.

1975

The Beatles’ formal legal dissolution takes place in London.

1976

The Beatles, now defunct for half a decade, have a Top Ten hit with “Got to Get You Into My Life,” a song that had been recorded a decade earlier.

1980

John Lennon is shot by a deranged assailant as he and Yoko return to the Dakota after a recording session. He is pronounced dead at New York’s Roosevelt Hospital.

1982

“The Beatles’ Movie Medley,” a seven-song mashup, enters the Top Forty, where it will peak at #12.

1987

The Beatles enter the digital age with an initial release of three albums in the compact disc format. The CDs are configured like the original British albums, not the altered American versions.

1987

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, by the Beatles, is issued on compact disc exactly 20 years after its original release.

1988

The Beatles are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 3rd annual induction dinner. Mick Jagger, of the Rolling Stones, is their presenter.

1994

The Beatles’ Live at the BBC, a 56-song double-disc collection assembled by producer George Martin, is released.

1995

“Free as a Bird,” a John Lennon demo from 1977 that’s been newly overdubbed by the three surviving Beatles, enters the singles chart, where it will peak at #6.

1995

The Beatles Anthology, a comprehensive documentary based on archival footage and fresh interviews, airs on ABC in three parts.

1995

Anthology 1, the first of three archival double-disc releases by the Beatles, tops the Billboard 200 for the first of three weeks.

1996

“Real Love,” the second “new” Beatles single based on a John Lennon demo, enters the charts, where it will peak at #11.

2000

The Beatles Anthology, a 368-page coffeetable-book companion to the 1995 TV documentary and three double-CD sets, is published.

2000

1, a collection of 27 Beatles songs that topped the U.S. and/or U.K. charts, is released. Demonstrating the Beatles’ undiminished appeal, it will top Billboard’s Top 200 album chart for eight weeks.

2001

George Harrison dies at age 58 after battling lung and brain cancer.

2004

At a ceremony in London, the Beatles are inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in its first year. The other inductees, each representing a particular decade: Elvis Presley, Bob Marley, Madonna and U2.

2004

The first four Beatles albums that were issued in the U.S. by Capitol Records in 1964 are reissued on CD as the box set The Capitol Albums, Volume 1. All four albums appear in both mono and stereo mixes.

2005

The Beatles’ 1 hits collection is certified diamond (10 million copies sold) by the RIAA.

2006

Cirque du Soleil salutes the Beatles’ legacy with LOVE, a multimedia production featuring over 100 Beatles songs, collaged and remixed by George Martin.

The Beatles