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One of the biggest musical acts in history, The Beatles were John Lennon (guitar), George Harrison (guitar), Paul McCartney (bass) and Ringo Starr (drums). Lennon and McCartneybegan playing together in The Quarrymen in 1957; Harrison joined later that year. Before they became The Beatles, they were also Johnny and the Moondogs and The Silver Beatles,joined at times by bandmates including bassist Stuart Sutcliffe (23 June 1940 - 10 April 1962) and drummer Pete Best (b. 24 November 1941); Best was replaced by Ringo to form thefinal foursome. The early Beatles performed shows in Hamburg, Germany and Liverpool, England, playing covers of early American rock and roll plus original songs by Lennon andMcCartney. Their 1962 release of "Love Me Do" charted in the U. K., and in 1963 their song "She Loves You" was the biggest hit in U. K. history. Their personal charm and charisma helpedboost "Beatlemania," and their tour of the U.S. in 1964 led to sold-out concerts and mob scenes. Their movies A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965) capitalized on their humorand youthful exuberance and were box office successes, and the hit songs kept coming: in 1964 they had five straight number one albums. In the late '60s their songs became moresophisticated and their worldwide celebrity status prompted Lennon to joke "we're bigger than Jesus." By 1970 they were no longer performing in public and were beginning to pursueindividual projects. In December of 1970 McCartney brought a lawsuit to dissolve The Beatles as a legal entity, and the group broke up. Their hits are too numerous to mention, andtheir impact on pop music can't be overstated. In 1980 Lennon was murdered, and in 2001 Harrison died of cancer, but McCartney and Starr continue to have busy solo careers.
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