The Big Four from Liverpool. A legend of popular music. A British band that included John Lennon (rhythm guitar, vocals), Paul McCartney (bass guitar, piano, vocals), George Harrison (lead guitar, vocals) and Ringo Starr (drums, vocals).
The group was founded in Liverpool, England in 1960.
Initially, they were just one of the century’s rock and roll groups. Over time, they expanded their sound to include melodic pop, and under the influence of, among others, The Byrds, they also discovered folk for themselves. At that time, they used innovative sound tricks in the studio. They used buried tapes, dual recording, and variable speeds. They also put up unconventional instruments in contemporary rock music, such as the mellotron, and on the stage only small Vox amplifiers, which, focused on maximum power, effectively drowned out screaming fans. Over time, they became pioneers of modern forms of art rock, for example by expanding the instruments with a string quartet, which made recordings such as “Eleonor Rigby” and “She’s Leaving Home” a mini-masterpiece. Hence, it was close to psychedelic rock, the more so as they never concealed their interest in the actions of another British group, Pink Floyd. When those, still in the squad with Syd Barett, performed in London clubs, it was not uncommon to meet members of the Big Four among the audience. Both groups listened to each other’s recordings, which they had admitted for years in numerous interviews. The Beatles were fascinated by the play of lights and experimental sounds generated by Pink Floyd musicians. They have always envied the Beatles for their incredible ease in composing great songs. And you have to remember that those were the times when both bands were released mainly in the singles system, not the long play system and with writing on the so-called order by the label – the Floyd always had a problem with that.
George Martin played an invaluable role in the commercial success of the group. The musicians themselves called him “The Fifth Beatles”, although that was also the name of Billy Preston and Jeff Lynne of the Electric Light Orchestra, due to mutual friendship and frequent help in the studio, although already in the solo achievements of the musicians. Lennon himself once said that if the Beatles had not split up, they would certainly be playing ELO-like music.
In the history of the American record industry, they have sold more records than any other band. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked them # 1 among the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and four of their albums made the top 10 of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Although they were recorded in the 1960s, their influence on broadly understood pop culture can be heard and can be seen to this day.
In 2008, Billboard magazine ranked them at the top of the 100 Best Selling Artists list. They were also included in the list of the Most Important People of the 20th century.