|Airdate||January 16, 2007|
Arts & Music
The Beatles launched in BrainPOP Social Studies/Arts & Music January 16, 2007.
Tim: Alright, let's take it to the top. (as when he's about to play guitar, the robots play loud heavy music when covers ears) Agh! That was terrible! Who programmed you guys to play music anyway? (all the robots point to him) Oh. Right.
Arts And EntertainmentEdit
In addition to their musical output, the Beatles also appeared in five movies. Trust us: Some were much better than others!
A Hard Day’s Night (1964) depicts a typical day in the life of the Beatles, as they dodge female fans and prepare to appear on a TV program. Shot in documentary style by director Richard Lester, the movie includes performances of hits like “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “If I Fell.” It’s considered the Beatles’ best film.
After the success of A Hard Day’s Night, director Richard Lester was given a bigger budget, and Help! (1965) was shot in exotic locations like the Bahamas and the Alps. Intended as a James Bond spoof, the film has an extremely silly plot. Nevertheless, it includes great tunes like “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” and “Ticket to Ride.”
Magical Mystery Tour (1967) was a total flop. Directed by the Beatles themselves, it has no script and no plot; instead, the film follows a bunch of characters on a bus trip around the English countryside. However, there are performances of quality songs like “The Fool on the Hill” and “I Am the Walrus.”
The Beatles had little to do with Yellow Submarine (1968), a cartoon that featured a number of their hit songs. But its striking visuals, inspired by the psychedelic art of the “Sgt. Pepper” era, made it a hit with kids and adults alike.
Let It Be (1970) is a documentary that captures the band recording new songs in January 1969. There are several arguments and uncomfortable moments. But like the Beatles’ other films, it includes much great music, highlighted by a concert the band performs on the rooftop of their studio.
Graphs, Stats, And NumbersEdit
- 18: Number of Beatles songs with a woman’s name in the title#
- 28: Average length, in minutes, of a Beatles concert during their first American tour in 1964#
- 19: Number of number-one albums the Beatles had in the United States^
- 20: Number of number-one singles the Beatles had in the United States^
- 132: Number of weeks that Beatles albums spent at number one in the Billboard albums chart^
- 59: Number of weeks that Beatles singles spent at number one in the Billboard Hot 100 chart^
- 12: Number of different songs that Beatles placed on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart on April 4, 1964^
- 13: Hours it took to record Please Please Me, the Beatles’ first album*
- 700+: Hours it took to record Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band*
- 75+: Faces on the cover of Sgt. Pepper*
- * Across the Universe website.
- # Entertainment Weekly, November 17, 2005.
- ^ Wikipedia.com
Did You KnowEdit
The Beatles were known as the “Fab Four” because... well, there were four of them! But over the years, a number of people have claimed the title of the “fifth Beatle.” We think these four should at least get honorable mentions!
- George Martin: This classically-trained oboe player produced all but one of the Beatles’ best-selling albums. When the Beatles needed an orchestral part for one of their songs, Martin would usually write the arrangement and conduct the orchestra himself. He also played keyboards on a number of Beatles tracks. Nobody outside of the band was more responsible for the Beatles’ overall sound than Martin.
- Pete Best: The Beatles’ drummer from 1960 to 1962, he played with the band during their gigs in Germany. Best auditioned for the Beatles’ record label with the rest of the band in 1962, but producer George Martin felt he wasn’t good enough, so he was fired and replaced by Ringo Starr.
- Stuart Sutcliffe: A classmate of John Lennon’s at the Liverpool College of Art, this talented painter served as the Beatles’ bassist from 1960 to 1961. Unfortunately, he was not as musically gifted as the other Beatles, and decided to stay in Hamburg to pursue a relationship with his German girlfriend and develop his artistic talent. He died of a brain hemorrhage in 1962.
- Brian Epstein: Epstein managed his family’s Liverpool record store, which is where he first heard about the Beatles. After seeing them perform, he became their manager in 1961. Epstein convinced the group to start wearing suits; helped the band secure its recording and publishing contracts; arranged its concert tours; and handled its business affairs. He died of a drug overdose in 1967.
Image: from left, Martin, Best, Sutcliffe, and Epstein.
Here’s a quick look at the inspirations for some of the Beatles’ best-known songs!
- A Day in the Life: The closing track to Sgt. Pepper was inspired by the death of Tara Browne, the 21-year-old heir to the Guinness brewing fortune. A friend of Lennon and McCartney’s, Browne died in a car accident in December 1966.
- Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!: John Lennon copied most of the lyrics directly from a 19th century circus poster (pictured) he bought in an antique shop in January 1967.
- Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane: These two songs—released on opposite sides of the same single in 1966—involve Lennon and McCartney’s recollections of their Liverpool childhoods. Strawberry Field was a Salvation Army children’s home around the corner from the house where Lennon grew up, while Penny Lane was a busy Liverpool shopping district.
- I Am the Walrus: The title is derived from the Lewis Carroll poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” while the section about “yellow matter custard/dripping from a dead dog’s eye” was inspired by a gross-out playground chant John Lennon and his friends had sung as schoolboys.
- She’s Leaving Home: Paul McCartney wrote this tune after reading a front-page story in the London Daily Mirror about a 17-year-old girl named Melanie Coe, who’d left her parents to be with her boyfriend.
Ever wonder what the four Beatles did after the band broke up in 1970? We’re here to tell you!
- John Lennon: Lennon (pictured) settled in New York City and pursued artistic and political projects with his wife, Yoko Ono. His activism against the Vietnam War was so passionate that President Richard Nixon attempted to kick him out of the United States! Lennon also released a string of successful albums, including 1971’s Imagine, whose title track became an anthem for the peace movement. Tragically, he was murdered by a deranged fan in 1980.
- George Harrison: In 1971, Harrison released All Things Must Pass, a triple album containing songs that had been written—but not recorded—during the Beatles era. He also started a company called Handmade Films, which produced 23 movies. During the 1980s and 90s, he enjoyed a musical comeback as a member of the Traveling Wilburys, a supergroup that also included Tom Petty and Bob Dylan. Harrison died of cancer in 2001.
- Paul McCartney: McCartney continued racking up number-one hits and albums, both as a solo artist and as the leader of a band called Wings. The Guinness Book of World Records lists him as the most successful musician and composer in pop music history. He’s composed several classical pieces, and in 1997 he was even knighted by the Queen of England. Today, McCartney continues touring and recording, and is also active in animal-rights causes.
- Ringo Starr: In addition to enjoying number-one pop hits with “You’re Sixteen” and “Photograph,” Ringo has dabbled in acting, with roles in several movies. Kids may remember him as the narrator of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. He continues to record new music and tour to this day.
In 1969, a strange urban legend swept the world. It started among university students in the Midwest, spread quickly to radio stations in Detroit, and then moved into the national and international media. Soon, the question was on everyone’s lips: Was Paul McCartney actually dead?
According to the rumor, McCartney died in a car crash in 1966, and was replaced by a lookalike. The urban legend claimed that the Beatles hid clues to the truth throughout their albums, to tip off their most observant fans. Among them:
- The cover of Abbey Road is allegedly a funeral procession, with John dressed as a clergyman, Ringo as an undertaker, Paul (who is barefoot and out of step) as a corpse, and George as a gravedigger. Moreover, the license plate of a Volkswagen in the background reads 28IF, meaning that McCartney would have been 28 years old if he had lived.
- At the end of “Strawberry Fields Forever,” John allegedly sings, “I buried Paul.”
- If you play “Revolution 9” backwards, a voice intones, “Turn me on, dead man.”
- If you play “I’m So Tired” backwards, John says, “Paul is a dead man—miss him, miss him, miss him!”
- In the song “Don’t Pass Me By,” Ringo sings “You were in a car crash.” The lyrics to “A Day in the Life” also reference a fatal car accident.
Needless to say, the whole thing was a hoax. McCartney himself poked fun at the rumor with his 1993 album Paul Is Live, whose cover parodied Abbey Road — down to the license plate being changed from “28IF” to “51IS” to reflect his current age.