/beet"lz/, n.the, (used with a pl. v.) British rock-'n'-roll group (1962-70) including George Harrison (born 1943), John (Winston) Lennon /len"euhn/ (1940-80), Paul (James) McCartney /meuh kahrt"nee/ (born 1942), and Ringo /ring"goh/ Starr (Richard Starkey) (born 1940).
* * *British musical group that ushered in the climactic phase of rock music.Its members, all born in Liverpool, were Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. It began in the pairing of McCartney and Lennon in 1956; Harrison joined in 1957, and Stu Sutcliffe and Pete Best later. In 1960 they adopted the name the Beatles. In 1962 they signed a recording contract and replaced Best with Starr. The release in 1962–63 of such songs as "Please Please Me" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" made them England's most popular rock group, and in 1964 "Beatlemania" struck the U.S. Originally inspired by Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, and Bill Haley, their direct and energetic songs kept them at the top of popularity charts. Their long hair and tastes in dress proved influential throughout the world, as did their experimentation with hallucinogenic drugs and Indian mysticism. Guaranteed huge sales, they felt free to experiment with a mix ranging from ballads ("Yesterday") to complex rhythm tunes ("Paperback Writer"), from children's songs ("Yellow Submarine") to songs of social comment ("Eleanor Rigby"). Their public performances ended in 1966. Albums such as Rubber Soul (1965), Revolver (1966), and The Beatles ("White Album," 1968) set new trends in rock. In 1967 they produced Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, an album novel for its conception as a dramatic whole, use of electronic music, and character as a studio work not reproducible on stage. They appeared in the films A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965). The group dissolved in 1971. In 1988 the Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Lennon (1994), McCartney (1999), and Harrison (2004) were also inducted as solo performers.
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