By December 1963, England had enjoyed nearly a year of Beatlemania. The Fab Four – George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr – had sold millions of records for EMI's Parlophone imprint. The group’s first single, “Love Me Do”/”P.S. I Love You,” briefly dented the U.K. Top 20 in October 1962, but their next 45, “Please Please Me,” formally ignited Beatlemania in their homeland, reaching the Number Two spot. It was followed in 1963 by three consecutive chart-topping British singles: “From Me to You” “She Loves You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” They conquered the U.K., even inducing a classical music critic from the Sunday Times to declare them “the greatest composers since Beethoven.” Moreover, they were the greatest rockers since the composer of “Roll Over Beethoven” – Chuck Berry. Still, success in America remained elusive for manager Brian Epstein and his young charges, as Capitol – EMI's American label – refused to release the Beatles' first four British singles, one label executive noting, "We don't think the Beatles will do anything in this market." Everything would change with "I Want to Hold Your Hand."
After a groundbreaking in June 1993 and the realizaition of architect IM Pei's stunning vision, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened to the public on the shores of Lake Erie in September 1995. The day culminated with a benefit concert at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, where an incredible roster of rock and roll legends took the stage: Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, Al Green, Jerry Lee Lewis, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, the Pretenders, John Fogerty, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, George Clinton, the Kinks, John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, Booker T and the MGs, Eric Burdon and Martha Reeves. It was just the start.
One of the first pieces of rock and roll history ever loaned to the Museum came from Yoko Ono: the 1964 Gibson J 160E played by John Lennon and used extensively throughout his career. The unique acoustic guitar was part of a collection Ono presented to the Museum on October 13, 1994 and also included handwritten lyrics, a pair of Lennon's eye glasses, Lennon's guitar from the 1965 Beatles concert at Shea Stadium and more.
The Gibson acoustic guitar, however, remains "one of the most precious artifacts that we have in the Rock ...
Fresh off a headlining, nearly three-hour set at the 2013 Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Paul McCartney celebrated his 71st birthday on June 18.
As one of the principal songwriters in the Beatles, McCartney helped the band rack up more than four dozen Top 40 US singles, while his prolific solo output – more than 20 studio albums since the Fab Four parted ways – has netted Macca more than 50 Top 10 singles. Given that, McCartney stands among the most successful pop-music composers ever and one of the greatest hitmakers – trailing behind Elvis Presley. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has major exhibits devoted to both Elvis Presley and the Beatles.
His songs often celebrate the mundane pleasures of everyday life. As a songwriter who delights in the quotidian, as opposed to edgier rock and rollers steeped in mystique and risk-taking, McCartney has rarely been a favorite of rock critics. However, his body of work – some of it admittedly lightweight, much of it unjustly dismissed – has given boundless pleasure to the music loving public. Having been the primary melodist within the Beatles, it is not surprising that McCartney’s knack for ...
Opened in December 1967 on London's Baker Street, the Beatles' Apple Boutique closed less than a year later in July 1968. Paul McCartney initially described the shop as "a beautiful place where beautiful people can buy beautiful things." At the time of the shop's closing, however, his enthusiasm had waned. On display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in the Museum's Beatles exhibit is a mandarin collard green velvet jacket from the Apple Boutique. In this clip, assistant curator Meredith Rutledge-Borger discusses the Apple Boutique and how it and this jacket were indicative of an era. Visit the Beatles exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, to see more from the Fab Four.
After the Beatles achieved success, they could afford the kind of instruments they had only dreamed about as struggling musicians. Although Gretsch guitars were primarily associated with George Harrison, John Lennon acquired this particular guitar in 1966. He used it during the recording of "Paperback Writer" in April of that year.
In this video, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curatorial director Howard Kramer discusses the guitar and the unique circumstances that brought it to the Rock Hall, where it is on display as part of the Museum's Beatles exhibit.
WATCH: Spotlight Exhibit: John Lennon's 1963 Gretsch 6120
The arrival of the Beatles triggered a musical revolution in the Sixties. Emerging from Liverpool, England, the Fab Four's sound took root in Europe, with songs like "Love Me Do" and "Please Please Me" touching an audience who were looking for something to take them from the doldrums into which rock and roll had fallen. "In England, during those very early days, just while the Beatles were recording their first songs, it was a real wasteland – England had nothing to really offer as far as pop music was concerned," said the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger when he inducted the Beatles into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. "At that point, the Stones were playing in these little clubs in London, doing Chuck Berry songs and blues and things, and we loved doing that. And we were a pretty scruffy lot, and we thought we were totally unique – animals – I mean there was no one like us. And then we heard there was a group from Liverpool."
The Beatles’ music - with its simultaneous refinement (crisp harmonies, solid musicianship, canny pop instincts) and abandon (energetic singing and playing, much screaming and shaking of mop-topped locks) – ignited the ...
A very different Beatles had emerged by the genesis of "Strawberry Fields Forever." The Fab Four – George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr – had traded much of the mop–topped gaiety and matching-suit panache for a more bohemian consciousness. They were no longer married to the stage, but rather exploring the boundaries of studio recording, indulging creative whims as producer George Martin helped realize the band's ambitious visions. Such musical acumen came to fruition with "Strawberry Fields Forever," a song born of fantast Lennon. "Of all the Beatles recordings, 'Strawberry Fields Forever' is known for being among the most complicated and difficult to record," noted writer Mark Lewisohn in The Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Abbey Road Studio Session Notes, 1962-1970.
Despite esoteric lyrics about a childhood haunt of Lennon's (No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low / That is you can't you know tune in but it's all right) and a beguiling arrangement, "Strawberry Fields" remains a singular pop song. It was the first song recorded for Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band when sessions began on November 24, 1966, following a months-long period ...
Billy Preston has the distinction of being the only musician besides the band members to be credited on a Beatles record. Preston’s status as “the Fifth Beatle” came about only because “the Third Beatle” – George Harrison – had, for all intents and purposes quit the band and would only return to the fold if certain criteria were met. It was January 1969, just 11 weeks after the contentious and seemingly interminable The Beatles (The White Album) recording sessions had ground to a close. During the sessions, an atmosphere of outright hostility had developed between the band members. Beatles archivist Mark Lewishon describes the root causes of that hostility as the perception that Yoko Ono was encroaching on the band’s sanctity, Paul McCartney's “bossing” the group around and allegedly “preaching” to Harrison about his playing. At one point during the sessions, Ringo Starr walked out and came very close to completely quitting the band. After the stressful White Album sessions, “As (the Beatles’) natural motivating force,” says Lewishon, “Paul could think of only one solution: to have them ‘get back’ to what had united them best before inconceivable fame and fortune had clouded the issue – live performance.”