1The Beatles were one of the most influential music groups of the rock era, and many consider them 2the best musical group on Earth. Initially they affected the post-war baby boomgeneration of Britain 3and the U.S. during the 1960s, and later the rest of the world. Certainly they were the most successful 4group, with global sales exceeding 1.1 billion records.5While they were originally famous for light-weight pop music (and the extreme hysterical reaction 6they received from young women), their later works achieved a combination of popular and critical7acclaim perhaps unequaled in the 20th century.
8Eventually, they became more than recording artists, branching out into film and — particularly in the 9case of John Lennon — politicalactivism. They achieved an iconic status beyond mere celebrity, with 10far reaching effects difficult to exaggerate.
11The members of the group were John Lennon, (James) Paul McCartney, GeorgeHarrison and Ringo 12Starr (Richard Starkey), all from Liverpool, Merseyside, England. Original drummer Pete Best was 13asked to leave the group just before it started recording. Stuart Sutcliffewas with them in Hamburg 14but also left.
15Beatlemania began in the UK and exploded following the appearance of the Beatles on The Ed 16Sullivan Show in the United States, on February 9,1964. The pop-music band became a worldwide 17phenomenon with worshipful fans, hysterical adulation, and denunciations by culture commentators 18and others such as Frank Sinatra.
19Some ofthis was confusion over the sources of their music (a similar confusion was evinced in 1956 20over Elvis Presley by commentators who were unaware of the tradition of blues, R&B and gospel out21of which Presley emerged), and some of it was simply an incredulous reaction to the length of their 22hair. At any rate, it was regarded by the band members with both awe and resentment.
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