The Beatles Anthology


* After Paul's song, "Penny Lane" became a Beatles hit, the street signs for the actual Penny Lane in Liverpool disappeared with such regularity (as they did on the real Abbey Road), that the town reverted to simply painting 'Penny Lane' on the buildings, rather than have street signs.

* "Strawberry Fields" was named for a real place, Strawberry Field, a children's home run by the Salvation Army in Liverpool. Its location was near John's childhood home, and it has since been demolished.

* Though there was a woman named Eleanor Rigby in Liverpool, she was not the inspiration for the song. Paul simply made up the name. The Father McKenzie in "Eleanor Rigby," was almost called Father McCartney, when Paul first composed the lyrics. However, a search in the phone book yielded the more general name McKenzie. The song has been recorded over 200 times, with interpretations by Diana Ross and the Supremes, Paul Anka, Frankie Valli, the Four Tops, Johnny Mathis, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Vanilla Fudge.

* The group's name had numerous inspirations. Stuart Sutcliffe noted that a motorcycle gang in the film, "The Wild One," was called 'The Beetles,' and John Lennon reportedly had a dream in which a man appeared "on a flaming pie," saying, "You will be Beatles with an 'a'." The band members were also influenced by the name of Buddy Holly's band, the Crickets.

* Contrary to popular belief, the title for "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" was prompted by 4-year-old Julian Lennon's description of a painting he brought home from school, not the drug, LSD. John Lennon has been said to have preferred Elton John's rendition of the song, and played background guitar and backup vocals on John's version, credited as "Dr. Winston O'Boogie and his Reggae Guitars."

* Paul McCartney wrote "Hey Jude" for Julian Lennon, John's son.

* Though the Beatles were still largely unknown in the U.S. in October 1963, Ed Sullivan got his first glimpse of Beatlemania on Halloween of that year. His plane at Heathrow Airport outside London was delayed due to hordes of screaming Beatles fans welcoming the boys back from an overseas concert. When he was notified about the cause of the delay, Ed Sullivan said, "Who the hell are the Beatles?" That experience prompted him to book them on his show in 1964. (The Beatles, for their part, had not previously heard of Ed Sullivan).

* Though "The Ed Sullivan Show" was the first TV program in America to host the Beatles, (February 9, 1964), ABC and CBS shot concert footage of the band in November 1963 as Beatlemania swept England. On December 7, 1963, "The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite" featured footage of Beatles fans at a concert, and on Friday, January 3, 1964, Jack Paar's show was the first to broadcast footage of them on a major U.S. show, when Paar played a clip of the Beatles performing "She Loves You." At that point Paar was not a fan, and he disparaged their haircuts on air.

* On December 17, 1963, a disc jockey at WWDC in Washington, D.C., became the first person to broadcast a Beatles record on American airwaves. James Carroll played "I Want To Hold Your Hand," which he had obtained from his stewardess girlfriend who brought the single back from Britain. Due to listener demand, it played daily, every hour. Since it hadn't been released yet in the States, Capitol initially considered court action, but instead released the record earlier than planned.

* Among the people on the cover of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" are Stuart Sutcliffe (one of the Beatles' early band members), Laurel and Hardy, Marilyn Monroe, Karl Marx, boxer Sonny Liston, Bob Dylan, Lenny Bruce and Shirley Temple. Shirley had visited the Beatles in their dressing room backstage at a San Francisco concert in 1964. It is said when the Beatles requested her permission to use her image on the cover of the album, she was the only celebrity who insisted upon hearing the disc before granting permission.

* Timothy Leary and Tommy Smothers did some of the background clapping on John's song, "Give Peace a Chance," recorded in a hotel in Montreal.

* Before she was Cher, singer "Bonnie Jo Mason" recorded the novelty song, "I Love You Ringo."

* Paul Simon, Mick Jagger, John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd and Bill Murray (who played Bill Murray the K) had cameos in Eric Idle's spoof feature film about the Beatles, "The Rutles."

* Though she bought him his first guitar, John's Aunt Mimi discouraged him from a career in music, saying, according to John: "The guitar's all right as a hobby, but it won't earn you any money." Years later, John gave her a silver plaque with that quote engraved upon it.


July 7, 1940 - Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr) is born in Liverpool.

October 9, 1940 - John Lennon is born in Liverpool.

June 18, 1942 - Paul McCartney is born in Liverpool.

February 24, 1943 - George Harrison is born in Liverpool.

1957 - John Lennon, age 16, forms the Quarry Men, a band comprised of pals from his school, Quarry Bank Grammar.

July 6, 1957 - Paul McCartney, age 15, meets John at a Quarry Men performance at Woolton Parish Church fete. Soon after, John invites him to join the band.

February 1958 - George Harrison, age 15, joins the group.

January 1960 - Stu Sutcliffe, a friend of John's at Liverpool College of Art, is asked to join the group as bass guitarist. The band changes its name to Silver Beetles, then Silver Beatles.

August 1960 - Drummer Pete Best joins group, now known as simply the Beatles. He accompanies the band to Hamburg where, over five visits between now and December 1962, the group hones its sound at the Indra, Kaiserkeller, Top Ten and Star clubs.

December 27, 1960 - Having returned to Liverpool the Beatles appear on this date at a local public hall, Litherland Town Hall, prompting fan frenzy. Their popularity secure, they work the North West of Britain steadily to committed followers for the next two years.

Spring 1961 - Stuart Sutcliffe quits the Beatles.

November 1961 - The Beatles meet Brian Epstein, who becomes their manager. They start to polish their image and seek a recording contract.

January 1, 1962 - They audition (unsuccessfully) for Decca Records in London.

April 10, 1962 - Stuart Sutcliffe dies of a brain hemorrhage in Hamburg.

June 6, 1962 - The Beatles audition for George Martin, a producer at EMI. He signs them, and becomes their producer throughout the Beatles' career.

August 16, 1962 - Pete Best leaves the Beatles.

August 18, 1962 - Ringo joins the band.

October 5, 1962 - The Beatles' first single, "Love Me Do" is released in the United Kingdom. It rises to a respectable #17 on the British charts.

January 11, 1963 - The Beatles" second single, "Please Please Me," is released in the U.K.. It goes to #1 on the British charts on February 22 and stays there for two weeks.

February 11, 1963 - In a single day, the Beatles record their first full album, also entitled "Please Please Me." They record ten songs, which were added to the previously recorded "Love Me Do," "Please Please Me," "P.S. I Love You," and "Ask Me Why."

March 22, 1963 - The album "Please Please Me" is released in the U.K. and becomes a runaway hit. Once it hits number one, it remains there for 29 weeks. The Beatles have taken Britain by storm and successive singles all hit number one: "From Me To You," "She Loves You," "I Want To Hold Your Hand." The album is released in America in July with the title, "Introducing the Beatles," and initially flops.

October 1963 - Beatlemania spreads through Europe. (This is the month biographers and Beatles scholars often point to as the start of the Beatles' phenomenal popularity).

October 13, 1963 - Beatles play on ITV's "Sunday Night at the London Palladium" which is broadcast to 15 million viewers. (This show in the United Kingdom was analogous to "The Ed Sullivan Show" in the U.S.)

November 4, 1963 - The Beatles appear at the Royal Command Performance, performing for the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon. Before beginning "Twist and Shout," John tweaks the crowd with his comment, "Will the people in the cheaper seats clap their hands? And the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewelry."

November 22, 1963 - The band's second album "With the Beatles" is released in the U.K., remaining in the top position on the British charts for 21 weeks. It features the songs "All My Loving," "Please Mr. Postman," "Roll Over Beethoven," and others. It succeeded the first album in the number one spot, and together the Beatles were top on the album charts for 51 consecutive weeks.

November 29, 1963 - The single "I Want To Hold Your Hand" is released in the U.K. and immediately hits number one on the charts. It is released in the U.S. December 26 that year, and spends seven weeks at number one.

January 20, 1964 - The album, "Meet the Beatles!" is released by Capitol Records in the U.S. On February 15 it hits number one on Billboard's chart in America, where it remains for 11 weeks.

February 7, 1964 - The Beatles land at JFK Airport in New York. The British Invasion begins. Fans surround the Plaza Hotel, where the Beatles are staying.

February 9, 1964 - The Beatles perform on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and are watched by a record-setting 73 million people (23,240,000 households, according to A.C. Nielsen). They perform five songs, "All My Loving," "Till There Was You," "She Loves You," "I Saw Her Standing There" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand."

February 11, 1964 - The Beatles give their first live performance in the U.S. at the Washington Coliseum in Washington, D.C.

February 12, 1964 - The Beatles perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

February 16, 1964 - The Beatles perform for the second time on "The Ed Sullivan Show," performing live from the Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. Approximately 70 million people tune in (22,445,000 households).

February 23, 1964 - The Beatles appear for the third time on "The Ed Sullivan Show," this time with a taped performance of three songs.

March 2, 1964 - Filming commences on the Beatles' first film, "A Hard Day's Night," and is completed in eight weeks.

March 31, 1964 - The Beatles hold the top five slots on Billboard's chart: (1) Can't Buy Me Love, (2) Twist and Shout, (3) She Loves You, (4) I Want To Hold Your Hand (5) Please Please Me--a musical first.

April 4, 1964 - The Beatles hold 14 slots on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.

July 6, 1964 - "A Hard Day's Night" premieres in London. It cost $500,000. The film is well-received by critics and the public.

July 10, 1964 - The album "A Hard Day's Night" is released in the U.K., hitting number one there, as well as in America after its U.S. release in August.

August 11, 1964 - "A Hard Day's Night" opens in America and is a huge hit.

August 19, 1964 - The Beatles perform at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, California, in the first concert of their USA/Canada tour, which lasts a month.

December 4, 1964 - The album "Beatles For Sale" is released in the U.K. and hits number one.

February 23, 1965 - Shooting begins in the Bahamas on the Beatles' second film, "Help!"

June 12, 1965 - The Beatles are named Members of the British Empire by the Queen, and in October they are presented with medals at Buckingham Palace.

July 29, 1965 - The Beatles second feature film, "Help!" opens in London. It opens in the U.S. on August 11 that year. It cost $1.5 million to make and was very successful.

August 6, 1965 - The album, "Help!" is released in the U.K. and becomes a number one hit there and in the U.S.

August 15, 1965 - The Beatles play for a record-breaking 55,600 people at New York's Shea Stadium, grossing $304,000 dollars. The Beatles' share was $160,000.

December 3, 1965 - The album, "Rubber Soul," is released in the U.K. and goes to number one there and in the U.S.

August 5, 1966 - The album, "Revolver," is released in the U.K. and hits number one there and in the U.S.

August 29, 1966 - The Beatles give their last live concert, in San Francisco, California.

June 1, 1967 - The album, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," is released in the U.K. It tops the charts all over the world, holding the number one slot in Britain for 27 weeks and for 19 in America. It receives four Grammys including Best Album.

June 25, 1967 - The Beatles star in "Our World," a two-hour satellite television program transmitted live by satellite to five continents and 24 countries. They perform "All You Need is Love." This was the first live television satellite program to air worldwide.

August 27, 1967 - Brian Epstein dies. The Beatles learn of his death while they are visiting Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Bangor, Wales. The spiritual leader is introducing people to Transcendental Meditation (TM).

November 27, 1967 - The album, "Magical Mystery Tour," is released in the U.S. where it hits number one. It is released in the U.K. eleven days later as an extended play disc, without three singles.

December 26, 1967 - "Magical Mystery Tour," the Beatles' hour-long television special airs in the U.K., where it is seen by approximately 14 million viewers and not liked by critics.

February 1968 - The Beatles travel to Rishikesh, India, to attend a TM seminar hosted by Maharishi at his center. They stay a few weeks.

May 14, 1968 - John and Paul appear on "The Tonight Show" (with guest host Joe Garagiola) to announce that their company, Apple, desires to help young artists.

July 17, 1968 - "Yellow Submarine," the animated film, premieres in London. It opens in America several months later and becomes a great success.

November 22, 1968 - The album, "The Beatles" ('White Album'), is released and zooms to number one in Britain and America.

January 13, 1969 - The soundtrack, "Yellow Submarine," is released in the U.S. and reaches the number two position on the British and American charts (number one was held by the White Album).

January 30, 1969 - The Beatles perform together for the last time live, singing many songs, on the roof of Apple's London office. The scenes were included in what became the documentary "Let It Be."

Mid-September, 1969 - John decides to "divorce" the Beatles, but he does not announce it publicly because of contract negotiations taking place with EMI. By this time, George and Ringo have each quit the band for short spells, returning soon after.

September 26, 1969 - The Beatles last studio album, "Abbey Road," is released in the U.K. It tops the charts there and in America.

November 25, 1969 - John returns his Member of the British Empire medal to Buckingham Palace as an anti-war protest, and, he says in his letter to the Queen, in protest against his single "Cold Turkey" slipping down the charts.

April 10, 1970 - Paul announces publicly that he has left the Beatles.

May 8, 1970 - The Beatles last album, "Let It Be" (recorded before "Abbey Road"), is released in the U.K. and hits number one there and in the U.S.

May 20, 1970 - The movie, "Let It Be," premieres in London. None of the Beatles attend.