Facts about the Beatles

Facts about the Beatles
  • Maternity: George Harrison lost his virginity in the presence of the other Beatles members. It happened in a room where they were all in bunk beds. As George himself has said: “They couldn’t really see anything because I was under the covers, but after I finished they clapped and shouted. At least they were quiet while it was going on.”
  • Utopia: The Beatles had plans to start their own little utopian community on a Greek island. In 1967, they even bought an island off the coast of Athens, but the plans never progressed
  • LSD: The first time the band members took LSD was when dentist John Riley – whom they called ‘the wicked dentist’ – secretly slipped the drug into their coffee. George Harrison describes the incident in a book as a night when “he fell in love with everyone he met”
  • Stab wound: In 1999, George Harrison was stabbed 7 times with a knife by a man named Michael Abram who entered Harrison’s house at night. Harrison survived thanks to his wife, Olivia, who knocked Abram down with a fire poker! Abram later explained that it was God who had ordered him to kill Harrison. Abram was declared insane and released after 19 months
Fact: The Beatles as they looked in 1968
Attribution: James Vaughan – Flickr.com | Richard Avedon – Look Magazine

Here are the Beatles in a photo from 1968. The members are (from left to right): Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrsion and John Lennon


Key events

  • Navn: The band name ‘the Beatles’ first emerged in August 1960. Before then, the group had had many other names including the Silver Beatles, the Beatals, Johnny and the Moondogs and some earlier Blackjacks and the Quarrymen
  • Hamburg, Germany: The Beatles’ unofficial manager, Allan Williams, arranged a trip to Hamburg for the newly formed group in 1960. They started out playing strip bars but ended up breaking their contract with one of the bar owners, who then reported the underage Harrison to the authorities. The band members retaliated by setting fire to a condom in their room and they all ended up being repatriated to England (at this point Ringo was not in the band)
  • Ringo Starr: From the Beatles’ formation, the group had always struggled to find a good drummer. In 1962, the band got a new record label, Parlophone, who were unhappy with then drummer Pete Best’s abilities and replaced him with Ringo Starr
  • Beatlemania: In 1963, the phenomenon of Beatlemania emerged, which refers to the very loud and intense reaction young Beatles fans had to the sight of their idols. The phenomenon also marked the beginning of the Beatles’ enormous success and many concerts around the world. The success continued uninterrupted until 1966
  • 1966 – 1969: Although the Beatles continued to produce music and release new albums, internal tensions within the group began to arise during these years. There were also some controversial reactions from the public to some of the group’s releases, statements, etc.
  • Breakup: The group’s last performance together was on January 30, 1969 on the roof of Apple’s London headquarters. The Beatles actually disbanded as a band in a hotel room at Disney World when John Lennon signed the necessary papers on September 20, 1969 – but due to a contract with their record label, the official breakup couldn’t happen there; it took place on April 10, 1970, when Paul McCartney announced to the press that he was leaving the group
  • Deaths: In 1980, John Lennon was shot and killed outside his New York home by Mark David Chapman. In 2001, George Harrison died of cancer in Los Angeles
Fact: The last two albums from the Beatles were Abbey Road and Let It Be
Attribution: sunami-knukles – deviantart.com | the Beatles/Apple (Parlophone)/EMI

Although the album Let It Be (right) was the Beatles’ official final album, the majority of it was recorded before the album Abbey Road (left). Abbey Road was released on September 26, 1969 – 6 days after John Lennon told the other band members he was leaving the group. Let It Be was released on May 8, 1970 – about 1 month after the group officially disbanded


Facts about the Beatles’ songs

  • Penny Lane: The inspiration for the song Penny Lane came from a real place from John Lennon’s childhood; a road that was close to his family’s first home in Liverpool, where he lived until he was 5 years old. The primary writer of the song Penny Lane was Paul McCartney and he dedicated it to Lennon-McCartney (a term for the special musical collaboration the two had together)
  • Strawberry Fields: From the age of 5, John Lennon lived with his aunt and uncle in a suburb of Liverpool called Woolton. Here was a wild garden called Strawberry Fields, which was one of his favorite places to hang out. In New York’s famous Central Park, there is also a memorial named after the Beatles song Strawberry Fields
  • Michelle: As young working-class teenagers, McCartney and Harrison often felt awkward and out of place when trying to connect with the girls at the bohemian hippie parties they attended with Lennon (who was older and in art school). McCartney tried to develop a stage trick: dress all in black, sit in a corner with his guitar and sing in his own invented French. However, the trick didn’t work. One day – much later in their career – Lennon asked McCartney if he would try to turn his French invention into a real song; which became Michelle
  • Lucy in the sky with diamonds: Although most Beatles fans have heard of the connection between the song title Lucy in the sky with diamonds and the drug LSD, the inspiration for the song title came from something much more innocent; when 4-year-old Julian Lennon showed his father a drawing of a girl named Lucy that he sat next to at school and told him she was “in the sky with diamonds”, the title was practically made up. Lucy Vodden – her full name – died at 46 in 2009 from lupus, but Julian Lennon managed to rekindle their friendship in the last years of her life, often sending her flowers