The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. They became the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed act in the rock music era. The group's best-known lineup consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. Rooted in skiffle and 1950s rock and roll, the Beatles later utilized several genres, ranging from pop ballads to psychedelic rock, often incorporating classical and other elements in innovative ways. In the early 1960s, their enormous popularity first emerged as "Beatlemania", but as their songwriting grew in sophistication, they came to be perceived by many fans and cultural observers as an embodiment of the ideals shared by the era's sociocultural revolutions. The band built their reputation playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg over a three-year period from 1960. Manager Brian Epstein moulded them into a professional act and producer George Martin enhanced their musical potential. They gained popularity in the United Kingdom after their first modest hit, "Love Me Do", in late 1962. They acquired the nickname the "Fab Four" as Beatlemania grew in Britain over the following year, and by early 1964 they had become international stars, leading the "British Invasion" of the United States pop market. From 1965 on, the Beatles produced what many critics consider their finest material, including the innovative and widely influential albums Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles, and Abbey Road . After their break-up in 1970, they each enjoyed successful musical careers. Lennon was shot and killed in December 1980, and Harrison died of lung cancer in November 2001. McCartney and Starr remain musically active. They have had more number-one albums on the British charts and sold more singles in the UK than any other act. According to the RIAA, as of 2012 the Beatles have sold 177 million units in the US, more than any other artist. In 2008, the group topped Billboard magazine's list of the all-time most successful "Hot 100" artists. As of 2012, they hold the record for most number-one hits on the Hot 100 chart with 20. They have received 7 Grammy Awards from the American National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score and 15 Ivor Novello Awards from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. Collectively included in Time magazine's compilation of the 20th century's 100 most influential people, the Beatles are the best-selling band in history, with EMI Records estimating sales of over one billion units. History
1957–62: formation, Hamburg, and UK popularity
In March 1957, John Lennon, then aged sixteen, formed a skiffle group with several friends from Quarry Bank school. They briefly called themselves the Blackjacks, before changing their name to the Quarrymen after discovering that a respected local group was already using the name. Fifteen-year-old Paul McCartney joined as a rhythm guitarist shortly after he and Lennon met that July. In February 1958, McCartney invited his friend George Harrison to watch the band. The fourteen-year-old auditioned for Lennon, impressing him with his playing, but Lennon initially thought Harrison was too young to join. After a month of Harrison's persistence, they enlisted him as their lead guitarist. By January 1959, Lennon's Quarry Bank friends had left the group, and he began studies at the Liverpool College of Art. The three guitarists, billing themselves at least three times as Johnny and the Moondogs, were playing rock and roll whenever they could find a drummer. Lennon's art school friend Stuart Sutcliffe, who had recently sold one of his paintings and purchased a bass guitar, joined in January 1960, and it was he who suggested changing the band's name to Beatals as a tribute to Buddy Holly and the Crickets. They used the name through May, when they became the Silver Beetles, before undertaking a brief tour of Scotland as...
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