The Beatles were an English rock band, formed in Liverpool in 1960. They are one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in thehistory of popular music. From 1962, the group consisted of John Lennon (rhythm guitar, vocals), Paul McCartney (bass guitar, vocals), George Harrison (lead guitar, vocals) andRingo Starr (drums, vocals). Rooted in skiffle and 1950s rock and roll, the group later worked in many genres ranging from pop ballads top sychedelic rock, oftenincorporating classical and other elements in innovative ways. The nature of their enormous popularity, which first emerged as "Beatlemania", transformed as their song writing grew insophistication. They came to be perceived as the embodiment of ideals of the social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s.
Initially a five-piece line-up of Lennon,McCartney, Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe (bass) and Pete Best(drums), they built their reputation playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg over a three-year period from 1960. Sutcliffeleft the group in 1961, and Best was replaced by Starr the following year. Moulded into a professional outfit by their manager, Brian Epstein, their musical potential wasenhanced by the creativity of producer George Martin. They achieved mainstream success in the United Kingdom in late 1962, with their first single, "Love Me Do". Gaininginternational popularity over the course of the next year, they toured extensively until 1966, then retreated to the recording studio until their break-up in 1970. Each then foundsuccess in independent musical careers. Lennon was murdered outside his home in New York City in 1980, and Harrison died of cancer in 2001. McCartney and Starr remain active.