The Beatles Trivia
-The Beatles had 21 number 1 singles in the US, more than any other act. Elvis Presley had 17 number 1 US hits, in comparison. In the UK, the Beatles had 17 number 1 singles.
-Yesterday started life under the name "Scrambled Eggs." McCartney wrote the line "Scrambled eggs, oh, my baby, how I love your legs," but nearly left the song unfinished because he thought he had heard the melody somewhere else.
-Both the 1964 single Can't By Me Love and the double-album The Beatles (aka The White Album) from 1968 sold around two million copies in the US within the first week of release.
-The reference to "Mother Mary" in the song Let It Be is to Paul McCartney's own mother, who died when he was just 14.
-Both Paul McCartney and John Lennon lost their mothers when they were teenagers. John's mother Julia died when John was 17. She was killed after being hit by a car driven by an off-duty police officer. John's song Julia is dedicated to her.
-The album Abbey Road was originally going to be called Everest, named after the brand of cigarette Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick was smoking at the time. Paul McCartney even wanted the Beatles to go to Tibet and pose in front of Mount Everest for the album cover! Other suggestions were Four In The Bar and All Good Children Go To Heaven, before Ringo joked that they could call it Abbey Road.
-George Harrison was officially the solo guitarist in the Beatles, but Paul McCartney also played lead guitar on certain songs, including Drive My Car, Michelle, Taxman and Good Morning Good Morning. Lennon also played lead guitar, of course, on songs such as Get Back, Helter Skelter (with Paul) and Honey Pie.
-McCartney also plays drums on a few Beatles tracks, including Back In The USSR (together with John and George), Dear Prudence, Martha My Dear, Mother Nature's Son and The Ballad Of John and Yoko.
-McCartney played bass guitar on nearly all Beatles songs, with only handful of exceptions. Harrison plays the bass guitar on Rock and Roll Music, Birthday, Drive My Car, Honey Pie and Golden Slumbers, while Lennon plays bass on Rocky Raccoon, Helter Skelter (with Paul), Let It Be and The Long And Winding Road. It is also possible that George Harrison plays bass guitar on the song She Said She Said, since Paul McCartney cannot recall that he attended the recording session for this track.
-John Lennon later said that the song Norwegian Wood is about an affair he had, apparently with a female journalist. He later admitted that he had several affairs with other women during his marriage with Cynthia. McCartney said the song title was inspired by "cheap Norwegian pinewood."
On September 11 1964, the Beatles refused to play at Gator Bowl, Jacksonville, without guarantees that the audience would be unsegregated.
The tamboura is and Indian, guitar-like instrument, which George Harrison plays on tracks like Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and Getting Better, to name a few.
-The harmonium is a hand pumped organ adapted for Indian music. The Beatles used this instrument on songs such as We Can Work It Out, If I Needed Someone, The Word, Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!, Dr. Robert, Penny Lane and A Day In The Life.
-On 30 January 1969, the Beatles performed an unannounced live concert on the roof top of their Apple headquarters in 3 Savile Row, London. The show lasted 42 minutes, and the group performed live versions of Get Back, I've Got A Feeling , The One After 909, Dig A Pony and Don't Let Me Down. It was a cold and windy day in London, and John Lennon complained that his hands were too cold to play the chords.
-Come Together was originally a political campaign song given to Timothy Leary, who in 1969 had decided to run as governor of California against Ronald Reagan, the future US president.
-John Lennon got the idea to the song Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite! from an old circus poster he found in an antiques shop in Kent, England.
George Harrison's Something is the Beatles song that's been covered the most by other artists, after Yesterday. Frank Sintra called it the "the greatest love song of the past fifty years."
-Paul McCartney admitted in an interview with Playboy in 1984 that the guitar chords to the song You Won't See Me on the album Rubber Soul were taken from It's The Same Old Song by the Motown group Four Tops, which was a hit in 1965.
In 1968 the group released a double album entitled The Beatles, which is often referred to as The White Album. At one point the title for this album was going to be A Doll's House, after Henrik Ibsen's 19th century play.
-The title for the Beatles' Revolver album from 1966 was originally going to be Abracadabra, but this was dropped when the Beatles realized that another group had used that title for a record. Other working titles for Revolver were Magic Circle, Pendulums and Beatles On Safari.
-Mary Hopkins' success single Those Were The Days, released 30 August 1968 by the Beatles' own label Apple Records, was produced by Paul McCartney. McCartney also wrote and produced Thingumybob by the Black Dyke Mills Band, which was released by Apple on September 6 1968. Jackie Lomax's Sour Milk Tea, written and produced by George Harrison, was released by Apple on the same day.
-The Beatles sometimes recorded their vocals on slow speed so that they would play back faster. They did this to make their voices sound different, often high-pitched. This recording technique is used on many of their songs, including Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Magical Mystery Tour and Tomorrow Never Knows.
Harrison's song Piggies was sadly made notorious by serial killer Charles Manson, leader of the Manson family, in 1971, because Manson painted "pig", "pigs' or "piggy" in his victims' blood. One of the victims was also stabbed with knives and forks, allegedly a reference to the last verse of the song. Manson also painted the words Helter Skelter and "rise" (misinterpreted from Revolution 9) in blood at murder scenes.
-Michelle is the most recorded Beatles song after Yesterday.
It was Jan Vaughan, the wife of Paul McCartney's school friend Ian Vaughan, who came up with the phrase 'Michelle, ma belle'. Jan was a French teacher and she translated all the French phrases in the song on request from Paul, who didn't speak French.
-What Goes On from the album Rubber Soul was written by Lennon and McCartney together with Ringo Starr. Ringo also wrote Don't Pass Me By on The Beatles AKA The White Album, and Octopus's Garden on Abbey Road. He also sang lead vocal on songs such as With A Little Help From My Friends, Yellow Submarine and Good Night.
Paul got the idea to the title Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da from Nigerian musician Jimmy Scott, who was in a band called Obla Di Obla Da Band.
-Eleanor Rigby's grave is located in the graveyard of St Peter's Parish Church in Woolton, Liverpool, within yards of the spot where John and Paul met for the first time in 1957. However, the song Eleanor Rigby has according to Paul McCartney nothing to do with this gravestone. McCartney has said the name Rigby is taken from a shop in Bristol and that Eleanor is taken from actress Eleanor Brown, who starred in the Beatles movie Help!
-On Lennon's song Girl from Rubber Soul, one can hear Paul and George constantly repeat the word "tit" in the background. John also breathes heavily several places. This could have been done to emphasize on the fact that the song had sexual references.
-During the recording of Paperback Writer, McCartney got the idea that John and George should sing the French nursery rhyme 'Frere Jacques' (Father Jacob) as backing vocals, and this can in fact be heard in the song.
The song Dr. Robert refers to Dr. Robert Freyman, a German 'speed doctor' in New York, who was known for injecting "vitamin" shots - laced with amphetamines - to his celebrity patients.
-Paul McCartney wrote the melody to the song When I'm Sixty Four when he was just 15 years old. He didn't write the lyrics before 1966, the same year as his father Jim turned 64. Paul McCartney turned 64 on June 18 2006.
-Paul McCartney got the idea to the song She's Leaving Home in February 1967 after reading an article in the Daily Mirror about 17-year-old Melanie Coe who had run away from home. What McCartney didn't know at the time is that he had actually met Melanie three years before on the TV program Ready Steady Go.
-21 March 1967 was the first time the members of the Beatles and Pink Floyd met. Beatles engineer Norman Smith was producing Pink Floyd's debut album The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn at Abbey Road Studios, literally next door to where the Beatles were recording. He brought his young group to meet the Beatles at around 11pm. Beatles Biographer Hunter Davies described the meeting as an exchange of "half-hearted hellos." However, the two groups may have influenced one another musically. Some claim there are similarities between the organ sounds on Beatles' instrumental track Flying, recorded in September 1967, and Pink Floyd's Instellar Overdrive. Apparently there are also similarities between the Mellotron on Flying and Chapter 24.
-Manfred Mann saxophonist Mike Vickers conducted the orchestra that played with the Beatles on the infamous All You Need Is Love live recording for the global TV show Our World in June 1967.
-The Clavioline is an electronic keyboard instrument which can imitate the tonal qualities of various instruments. It has its own amplifier, but it can only play one note at a time. John Lennon plays this instrument on the song Baby You're A Rich Man which was the B-side on the single All You Need Is Love.
Children's author Lewis Carroll inspired two of John Lennon's most memorable songs. I Am The Walrus was partly inspired by Carroll's The Walrus And The Carpenter, and Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds was inspired by the books Alice In Wonderland and Through A Looking Glass.
-George's song Savoy Truffle was, believe it or not, inspired by his friend and then Cream-guitarist Eric Clapton's chocolate addiction. Most of the chocolate names such as "Creme Tangerine" and "Coffee Dessert" were taken from a chocolate box in Britain called Mackintosh's "Good News".
-The "man in the crowd", in which Lennon refers to in the song Happiness Is A Warm Gun, was taken from a newspaper story about a man who was arrested by the police for having mirrors on his toe caps to look up womens' skirts at football matches.
McCartney's Penny Lane was released together with Lennon's Strawberry Fields Forever as a double A-sided single in February 1967. Both songs were originally written for Sgt. Pepper, but none of them ended up on the album. The reason for this was that Capitol Records in the US desperately wanted a new Beatles single for the American market. The Beatles generally didn't want songs that had been released as singles to feature on the albums as well. The Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever single was an unusual release because both songs were about childhood memories from Liverpool.
-The Inner Light was the first George Harrison composition to appear on a British Beatles single. It was chosen as the B-side on the Lady Madonna single. The Inner Light was initially recorded in Bombay, and the lyrics are based on a poem from the holy book Tao Te Ching.
-73 million viewers - approximately 40% of the US population at the time - tuned in to watch the Beatles perform at the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9 1964.
-During the week of April 4, 1964 The Beatles held the top five places on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. No other group or artist has ever managed to match this feat.
-Drummer Jimmy Nichol replaced Ringo Starr on several concerts during The Beatles' Australian tour in 1964, because Ringo was being treated for pharyngitis in hospital.
-In 1965 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II awarded The Beatles an MBE, (Member (of the Order) of the British Empire), for "services to the export industry." Lennon returned his MBE in 1969 in protest over Britain's support of the Vietnam War.
-The Beatles performed the first stadium concert in modern rock, playing at Shea Stadium to a crowd of 56,000.
-Lennon said in an interview in July 1966 that The Beatles were "more popular than Jesus." His comment sparked protests around the world. Lennon later apologized for the comment, saying that he was trying to explain the impact of Beatlemania.
-The Beatles performed their last concert before paying fans in Candlestick Park in San Francisco on 29 August 1966. They stopped touring because they wanted to concentrate on recording music instead.
-Beatles manager Brian Epstein died of a drug overdose on August 27 1967, at the age of thirty-two. Some claim it was suicide. Epstein was a homosexual, and rumors say he was attracted to Lennon. Homosexuality was illegal in Britain at the time, but the laws were amended and relaxed shortly after Epstein died. John Lennon may have made references to Epstein in three of his Beatles songs; Do You Want To Know A Secret, Baby You're A Rich Man and You've Got To Hide Your Love Away.
-The Beatles became the first band ever globally broadcast on television, in front of over 200 million people worldwide, on June 25 1967. The event took place at the Abbey Road Studios in London. Among the guests where Mick Jagger and Keith Richards from The Rolling Stones, Marianne Faithfull, Eric Clapton and Keith Moon from The Who.
-In 1968, The Beatles spent the early part of the year in Rishikesh, Uttar Pradesh, India studying transcendental meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Starr left India after a week, and Paul after a month.
-The Beatles' last ever live performance was in January 1969 on the rooftop of the Apple building in Savile Row.
-After the release of Come Together, music publisher Morris Levy sued John Lennon for copyright infringement of his song You Can't Catch Me. As a result, Lennon agreed to record covers of Levy's songs for his solo album Rock 'n' Roll so that Levy could receive royalties.
-When Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album was released in 1967, it became the best-selling album of all-time. The album now stands at #13 on the list of best-selling albums worldwide.
-The Guinness World Records has claimed the Beatles have the biggest all-times sales for a band. This is based on an accumulative sales figure provided by record company EMI who said the Beatles sold over a billion records by 1985.
-The Beatles officially broke up in April 1970.
John Lennon was shot dead by Mark David Chapman, a mentally ill fan, on December 8, 1980. Shot outside Dakota Apartment, New York.
-George Harrison died of cancer on November 29 2001.