The Beatles recorded together for a little over seven years. Between October 1962 and May 1970, they released thirteen albums and a number of tracks issued on standalone singles. The catalogue created in that short period has sold more than that of any other group in history and its commercial…
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If you were an in-the-know teenager in the early 1960s, your answer would probably be The Beatles. Even if you weren’t completely up on your pop culture, regardless of gender, you’d still know these 4 Englishmen. You’d be cool if you knew the Beatles -- no matter how hip or unhip you were elsewhere.
Fans in England started mobbing Beatles concerts for this very reason by October 1963. By January of the following year, before they’d even crossed the pond, American fans started gathering with such fervor that Life Magazine reported “A Beatle who ventures out unguarded into the streets runs the very real peril of being dismembered or crushed to death by his fans."
There had, of course, been notably passionate fan groups in the past – think Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley – but this reached a whole new level. Fans weren’t just screaming for the front man of a rock band anymore. They were now putting themselves in harm’s way because of nothing but devotion to the men onstage.
The Beatles had songs for every occasion from friendship to miscommunication, and from love to heartbreak, thus making them even more relatable to an even broader spectrum of people. They came to the forefront of American pop culture at the arguably perfect time. JFK had just been assassinated mere months before their first US single “I Want to Hold Your Hand” charted, and the kids of the 1960s already needed a break from the bleakness the new decade appeared to hold. This band provided it.
The Beatles have left an undeniable mark on how music fans operate. Not only did they help make teenagers distinct from other age groups, but they also proved just how much bands could accomplish through music alone. Even 50 years later, their influence resonates through every touring band in the world.
But who was your first favorite band?
Did they influence you in your childhood, or are they a more recent discovery? What kinds of people do they tie you to? Do they make you feel happier?
If you have good things to say in response to any of these questions, The Beatles have helped shape both the band and you across time, space, and other people in your life. The Beatles defined what it means to be popular.