As of 12:01 a.m. on December 24 (tomorrow!), hundreds of songs by The Beatles will appear for the first time on streaming music services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play. This is huge news for fans of the Fab Four, although teens logging in to their Spotify accounts may be perplexed by the sudden appearance of a band they've maybe never heard of.
To help the teens, we thought we'd answer some of their questions.
The Beatles were a predecessor to One Direction.
Liverpool, England, roughly 200 miles away from the London TV studio where the members of One Direction first met as contestants on the X Factor.
There were some personnel changes in the early days, but the four members everyone knows are John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney.
Paul McCartney? You mean the old guy who performed with Kanye West?
Yep, same guy. He is also the old guy on Rihanna's "Four-Five Seconds."
Their first hit was in 1962 ("Love Me Do"), but they performed as a group until 1970, leaving behind hundreds of classic songs and an indelible imprint on popular culture. They're also the bestselling musical act of all-time, with more than 250 million albums sold.
A collection of songs. Like a playlist, but all by the same artist, and you had to go to a store to buy it.
Twitter didn't exist yet, but they had a lot of fans. So many fans, in fact, that the term "Beatlemania" was coined to describe the screaming, crying frenzies that would happen every time they appeared in public.
Their biggest-selling singles of all-time were "She Loves You" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand," but the ones they're best known for today are probably songs like "Yesterday," "Hey Jude," and "Can't Buy Me Love." (You've probably heard of one of their songs, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," because Miley Cyrus covered it.)
Probably more the former, but they've got a lot of hard-driving rock songs, too. For your TGIF playlist, try songs like "Revolution," "Back in the U.S.S.R.," and "Helter Skelter."
Ringo Starr, the band's drummer, briefly left the group in August of 1968, during recording sessions for the White Album. (He later explained: "I felt I wasn’t playing great, and I also felt that the other three were really happy and I was an outsider.") So he's got the quitting-the-band factor. But he wasn't the hot one. Paul McCartney was the hot one.
Plenty! Let's see, there was the time that John Lennon quipped that The Beatles were "more popular than Jesus," which got a lot of religious people very angry. There were the feuds between band members. And there was some bad blood between Yoko Ono, Lennon's wife, and some members of the band. (Decades later, some Beatles fans still blame Ono for the band's break-up, even though that isn't true.)
There is also a long-running conspiracy theory by Beatles fans who believe that Paul McCartney died in a car accident in 1966, and was replaced by a look-alike who continues to impersonate him today.
They stopped touring in 1968, and started drifting apart and working on solo projects after that, but the official end came in 1970, when Paul McCartney announced that he was leaving the group. After that, some Beatles reunited for a few projects now and again, but the group never performed as a foursome again. (Lennon was shot and killed by an assassin in 1980.)
Start with the all-time classics: "Hey Jude," "Yesterday," "Let It Be," "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Yellow Submarine," "Eleanor Rigby," etc. Then work your way into the deep cuts. But you can skip "Sun King." Always skip "Sun King."