On June 18, 1942, Paul McCartney was born. Paul and Ringo Starr are the last two surviving members of The Beatles a band that in many ways had a relatively short-lived time at the top of their game.
But for those of us who remember the heady days of the sixties The Beatles remain a huge reminder of our youth. It may be the rose-coloured glasses of age that make us think the time was perfect but for many of us it was close to perfection in many ways.
So what was it about The Beatles that was so special?
How come their music has lived on so many years after their split? Did they just happen to be in the right place at the right time or did they spearhead a musical revolution?
At the age of 12, in 1964, this blogger was too young to attend a local Beatles Concert. Still as an ardent Rolling Stones fan that was not a worry. Those days you were sometimes only a fan of either The Beatles or The Stones. It was not possible to have a foot in both camps if you were a teenager.
As a rebellious teenager the raucous Stones had to be my choice. However with time it is easy to appreciate the Beatles and their music. Those four young guys were all talented and, even when they went their separate ways, developed good individual careers.
There has been much speculation over the years regarding what they would have been up to today, had they reformed or simply survived. John Lennon's untimely death in 1980, at the hand of an assasin, put paid to any full reformation of the Beatles. Now, with just Paul and Ringo left alive and, well into retirement age, the best is over.
So, rather than consider, and linger, on what might have been just enjoy the Fab Four in all their foremer glory.
The Beatles short lived career, as a group, left future generations with a wealth of music. Each member then went on to create more in their own right. From poems, writing, songs, producing records and more each one left their mark on this world. Listening to some of their classic albums is still such fun, although some are dated. They do however take me back to my youth. Other Beatles tracks were so quirky at the time that they still seem fresh today.
These four young men made music history and changed our music listening in the same way that Elvis did. If you are of today's generation check out The Beatles or, John, Paul, George or Ringo and I think you will be pleasantly surprised. They influenced many current performers, many more than you may realise.
The History of The Beatles
The Beatles were a four piece band from Liverpool, England. Their music was pop before popular music was truly established. Born in the forties, The Beatles were to ultimately add fame and fortune to Liverpool and themselves. To a generation, the Beatles were the Fab Four who changed music forever. The band consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. In the early days though the line up was a little different.These days only Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney live to carry on a little of the Beatles legend. John Lennon and Paul McCartney met at a parish church fete in 1957. These two were to become the songwriters of the group and the main vocalists.
The Fab Four
FROM SCOUSER TO AMERICAN John Lennon
John Winston Lennon was born on October 9, 1940, during a German bombing raid over Liverpool. Entering the world during such precarious times meant that soon after his birth he was placed under his mother's robust hospital bed for safety. There was no father at his birth as John's Dad, Alf, was away at sea. John is named John after his grandad and Winston after the war-time politician and Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Ironic when you consider that the adult John would be an ardent peace activist.
At the age of two John was moved into the care of his Mum’s sister Mimi and her husband. Not long after this Julia Lennon, John’s Mum, decided to split from the erstwhile Alf and soon began a new relationship. Reading between the lines it would seem that Julia had more than one relationship which resulted in children.
In 1958 Julia was killed by a motorist very near to Mimi’s house where John was at the time. On August 23, 1962, John married his long time girlfriend Cynthia Powell. Still married and now a father John met Yoko Ono in November 1966. The rest as they say is history.
Cynthia did not sue John for divorce however until 1968. After Yoko’s divorce to her husband came through, in February 1969, Yoko married John. They became Mr and Mrs Lennon in March 1969.
As music’s Mr and Mrs Strange they certainly were very much of the time. Both of them artistically talented and living bohemian lifestyles helped make them popular youth culture celebrities but figures of fun to the press.
Following a drug conviction in 1968 the American government attempted to have the Lennon’s deported in 1972.
John and Yoko separated temporarily but reconciled in 1975 and Yoko became pregnant. John started a legal battle to remain in the USA and due to Yoko’s pregnancy the deportation proceedings were halted.
In 1975 Sean Ono Taro Lennon was born to John and Yoko. The following year Alf Lennon, John’s Dad, died of cancer. Finally in the summer of 1976 John received his Green Card and was allowed to stay in America.
John disappeared from the music scene until late 1980 as he had decided to become a house husband and help raise Sean.
In August 1980 John starts recording music again, for the first time in six years. On October 9, 1980, as Sean celebrated his 5th birthday John celebrated his 40th. By November that year a sensational double album is released. But of course the rest is history.
On December 8, 1980, late in the afternoon as John left home in New York, he stopped to give an autograph to a "fan." At 10:49 that same evening this fan, one Mark David Chapman, assassinated John as he returned home with Yoko. John was shot and killed and the world wept.
John was the controversial Beatle. He was artistic, talented, at times wacky, very much of the moment, had strong beliefs and died not only in tragic circumstances, but way before his time.
The Quiet One - George Harrison
George Harold Harrison was born on February 25, 1943, and was therefore the youngest Beatle. He was the lead guitarist. He soon became known as the quiet Beatle due to his shy and somewhat introspective personality. As Lennon and McCartney soon became the main songwriters for The Beatles there is little wonder that George was pushed into the background. Also he did not have Lennon's "in your face" personality. However he did write some classic tracks and usually one or two made it on to the albums. When George began performing with The Quarrymen he was only fifteen.
After The Beatles had all become disenchanted with meditation and the mystic east George was still following this more unconventional way of life. Once the Beatles split George had some solo success and then joined the super-group The Travelling Wilburys.
Among Harrison's famous compositions are My Sweet Lord, While my guitar gently weeps, Here comes the Sun and Something.
George was married twice. He married Patti Boyd in 1966 and then Olivia Trinidad Arias in 1978. George sadly died of lung cancer in 2001.
Macca - Paul McCartney
Paul was born James Paul McCartney on June 18, 1942, in Liverpool. Paul was encouraged to be musical by his father who was a self taught pianist. He was originally given a trumpet but was not keen on this instrument. He later swapped it for a Zenith acoustic guitar and so the die was cast.
When his mother died at an early age, he became close to John Lennon who had already experienced a similar situation with the loss of his mother Julia. They both found comfort in playing music. Lennon invited McCartney to join his band The Quarrrymen along with a school friend of McCartney’s, one George Harrison, who joined as the third guitarist. Ringo Starr was to become the drummer in 1962, and this formed the final line up.
The song "Yesterday" written by Paul has been covered by over 2,500 artists. He also wrote the classics Hey Jude, Let It Be and The Long and Winding Road. As a young man Paul had a long standing relationship with Jane Asher but eventually married Linda Eastman in 1969. Linda was disliked by Beatles' fans of the day but not as much as Yoko Ono.
Paul and Linda had a successful musical career playing together under the band name of Wings along with Denny Laine and others. They also had a long and very successful marriage until Linda's death in 1998. She died from breast cancer.
Paul went on to marry Heather Mills in 2002 but this marriage failed and they divorced in 2006. It was an acrimonious split and the press wrote many sensational stories and there was much gossip. When Paul celebrated his 64th birthday in 2006 it put a whole new meaning on the song "When I’m Sixty-Four," which Paul wrote at the young age of sixteen.
Many Beatles fans blamed Paul back in 1970 for the degeneration and split of The Beatles. However he has always been a worker and has achieved worldwide success over the years.
The Drummer Ringo
Richard Starkey was born in Liverpool on July 7, 1940. He was to become famous as the drummer in The Beatles but he was not their first. He was the last member, of the now famous Beatles, to join the band. Ringo was the eldest member of the band also but only by a few months.
It was Ringo's Mother's second husband who encouraged the youngster to take an interest in music. Playing with various bands before The Beatles Richie earned his nickname of Ringo by the amount of rings he wore. Ringo met the Beatles in Hamburg when both he and they, were performing. He also stood in for Pete Best a couple of times before actually replacing him as The Beatles permanent drummer.
After the Beatles split Ringo went on to achieve success with some hit albums. During his time with the Beatles he sung as well as writing some of their material. He as also acted. As a successful drummer pre The Beatles Ringo had his own fan base already. Many current artistes credit Starr with influencing their drumming style. On a personal note Ringo married Maureen Cox in 1965 and they divorced ten years later. In 1981 Ringo married Barbara Bach.