From humble beginnings in Liverpool, The Beatles went on to become the biggest band of all time. With Ringo Starr on drums, George Harrison on guitar and the legendary lead songwriting duo of Paul McCartney and John Lennon, the ‘Fab Four’ would change the culture at large forevermore.

The English rock band arrived at this final line-up in 1962 when former drummer Pete Best was replaced. With sturdy management from the savvy Brain Epstein and the wizard-like producer George Martin signed on to help them out in the studio, things looked set for the scouse four-piece to get things moving forward.

‘Love Me Do’, their first single on EMI, soon followed in September 1962, but it took a while to reach lofty heights, initially peaking at 17 in the UK. However, a flurry of successful singles later led to the band heading over to the United States, where they were an instant success. Beatlemania became a frenzied cultural phenomenon, and the ‘Fab Four’ soon fronted the famed British Invasion movement.

Over in the States, they rubbed shoulders with the likes of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez and soon their sound developed from their youthful pop-rock beginnings and took on an introspective tone. With this in mind, they added an experimental edge to the pop culture explosion and moved away from their early Elvis Presley-influenced stylings.

Masterful records like Rubber Soul and Revolver signalled a new direction in true counterculture stoner fashion. This culminated in the seminal concept album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, whereby stereo-sound technology wove its way into the songwriting process, and a truly postmodernist piece of music was born. Finally, after 12 studio albums, they arrived at their 13th and final outing with Let It Be, which was released in 1970. Then an acrimonious split ended the brilliant fanfare and forced the ‘Fab Four’ to pursue solo careers.

However, in that brief time, they undoubtedly changed the world. Aside from the 20 number one singles they amassed, setting up Apple Records, and the influence they had over their peers, perhaps the quote that defines their legacy the most is attributed to Mikhail Gorbachev, who once said: “More than any ideology, more than any religion, more than Vietnam or any war or nuclear bomb, the single most important reason for the diffusion of the Cold War was… The Beatles.” All you need is love, indeed. Over 40 years later, their mantra still resonates, and they remain the biggest band of all time.

The Beatles