How Well Do You Know The Beatles?


Despite having been active as a group for just about ten years, no band ever reached the height that The Beatles did. A legendary rock group that formed in Liverpool, England, in 1960; Beatlemania as it was called overtook the world in a matter of years and loyal fans remained starstruck till the band finally broke up.

The Beatles transformed popular music and for the first time made people see music a creative but commercially lucrative art form. Songs like "Yesterday", "Hey Jude," "Penny Lane, "With A Little Help From My Friends," "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)," "Day Tripper" and "Come Together" made them one of the most popular bands of all time and even Americans became loyal Beatlemaniacs to this British band.

The band comprised the "Fab Four", John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr but sometimes had a "Fifth Beatle" as an additional member too. And once they disbanded, all four members followed their own individual careers too, but they could never singularly do what the quartet was able to achieve together. Plenty of scandals, stories, and rumors apart, The Beatles are still revered as perhaps the best band ever to have come together and made sweet music. On that note, do you wonder how well you know The Beatles? Take this quiz and see how much of a Beatlemaniac you are...

Question 1

The Beatles was not the band's original name.

The Beatles were born basically once the Fab Four - John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr got together. The story behind the name is that Lennon really liked the name of Buddy Holly's band The Crickets. So he too looked for a bug that well, was musically inclined, so enter the beetle. And since their music was all about "beats", the spelling was altered, yet again by Lennon to better reflect what the band was about, Beat music and the Beat generation

Question 2

The band was started by Paul McCartney.

In 1957, a band called the Quarry Men was formed. Paul roped in George Harrison, and later Ringo Starr replaced the original drummer, Peter Best. As the many band members finally boiled down to just the Fab Four, the band changed its name quite a number of times perhaps due to many suggestions. After The Quarry Men, it was Johnny and the Moondogs, The Rainbows, and even the British Everly Brothers. Soon they became The Silver Beetles before finally becoming the very famous, Beatles!

Question 3

The Beatles have sold around a 100 million albums till date.

No band has ever reached the utter heights of stardom that the Beatles did and that too with just a decade of being together. With plenty of creative differences and perhaps a want to pursue music individually, by 1970 the band had disbanded leaving their fans to just keep listening to the music that they had already made. The world was swept away by the Beatlemania, which became both a word and a phenomenon! And they have sold an incredible number of albums...

Question 4

Such was their popularity that they spent more than a 1000 weeks on the Billboard!

The Beatles began their career and slowly build their reputation by playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg for three years, beginning in 1960. Stuart Sutcliffe was the initial bass player. Pete Best stepped in for him before the trio finally zoomed in on Ringo Starr to join them in 1962. Brian Epstein molded them into a professional act as their manager, even asking them to dress up more formally. Finally, it was producer George Martin who became their music mentor and soon Beatlemania swept over the UK and the world.

Question 5

The Beatles knocked itself off the top of the chart once.

When the Fab Fours crooned "I Want to Hold Your Hand", girls the world over were willing to chop off their hand just to be with them. "She Loves You" was another soulful ballad by them and Beatlemaniacs lapped it up eagerly as well. Frankly, there was hardly anything that the Beatles sang, which wasn't well received. As Beatlemania grew in Britain and they became the Fab Four, by early 1964 they became international stars, leading the "British Invasion" of the United States pop market.

Question 6

The song "Dear Prudence" was written as a tribute to Prudence Crandall.

"Dear Prudence" is a song is co-credited to Lennon and McCartney and Lennon is said to have thought of it as one of his favorite songs by the Beatles. Interestingly, in 1987, Lennon's original handwritten lyrics of the song, containing some 14 lines and doodles in the margin, sold at auction for USD $19,500. It's also listed in The Beatles: Rock Band. Also, "Dear Prudence" is one of the 17 songs recorded by the Beatles that mentions the words sun or sunshine and was written while they were in India.

Question 7

Syphilis plagued the Fab Four from early on.

According to Bob Spitz's rather revealing biographical history of the band, titled The Beatles; “There was so much sex on the fly that it seemed almost quid pro quo that they would eventually have gotten it for their efforts.” Apparently the infections had to be quietly dealt with to prevent John Lennon’s then-wife, Cynthia, from filing for divorce and taking away half his earnings. So a team of hushed-up venereologists were called in to treat them on the sly, without anyone getting in the know.

Question 8

The only George Harrison song recorded by the Beatles was “If I Needed Someone.”

George Harrison is often referred to as "the quiet Beatle" for he was the first one to embrace a quieter, more spiritual lifestyle. Harrison embraced Hinduism after the Beatles stayed in India for a while and then also altered and broadened the band's music, along with letting their audience experience new horizons as well by incorporating Indian instrumentation in their music. Primarily though, most of the Beatles' songs were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and co-credited as the same.

Question 9

John Lennon wore glasses just to portray a serious image.

Lennon was raised by an absent father, a sporadic mother and basically by his Aunt Mimi, who did not encourage his guitar playing, often telling him, "The guitar's all very well, John, but you'll never make a living out of it." His mother bought him his first guitar, hiding it from Aunt Mimi and perhaps this is where Lennon fell in love with music. He was known to be a truant student and a troublemaker at school, only later was it discovered that he was a dyslexic as well.

Question 10

The song "Lucy in Sky With Diamonds" is about LSD!

There's a period in John's life that he calls his "Lost Weekend". The Beatles had disbanded and he was now in a relationship with Yoko Ono. However Ono and Lennon separated for a while too, and on Ono's suggestion Lennon shacked up with May Pang, their housekeeper. After 18 months of alcohol and drugs, Lennon finally straightened his act and May Pang takes the credit. However even before that, the Beatles song “Lucy in Sky with Diamonds” sparked a scandal because many believed it was a reference to LSD.

Question 11

The term Beatlemania was first used in 1977.

Mania as a word has been used to describe fandom for many a year, to show the intense popularity of musical acts as well as musicians. Beatlemania though became a special term to describe the utter craze for and around The Beatles - beginning with their rise and continuing way beyond their disbanding as well, despite the band stopping any and all public performances in 1966. They Fab Four may have then carried on their music legacy individually, but they were still loved till the end.

Question 12

The Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band had all the lyrics printed on the album - a first in British music.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band became the eighth studio album by the Beatles. It was released in 1967 and became an immediate commercial as well as critic release. It stayed for 27 weeks at the top of the UK albums chart and for 15 weeks at number one in the US and was lauded for its innovative songwriting as well as really cool graphic design. Along with the song that also became the name of the album, other songs in it were "With a Little Help from My Friends", "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "A Day in the Life".

Question 13

The "Paul is Dead" urban legend originated from the song "Strawberry Fields Forever".

Paul is dead is one urban legend and conspiracy theory alleging that Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was secretly replaced by a look-alike that even Paul made fun of! In a 1993 live album, Paul titled it "Paul Is Live" and the cover parodied the so-called clues. The rumor started in 1969, some American college students who must have been fans, published articles claiming that there were clues pointing to McCartney's supposed death in the lyrics and artwork of the Beatles' recordings!

Question 14

The BBC banned one song from the Beatles.

The early Beatles songs were mostly innocent love tunes and ballads sure to put you in a dreamy mood, and composed of very simple lines. But in their studio years (1967-1969) they wrote a lot of complex material with plenty of controversial and innuendo-containing lyrics. From songs that threatened women or spoke about 17-year-olds with a sexual innuendo, to ones that pointed of ejaculation to plenty of drug and sexual references just about everywhere - the later Beatles were far more controversial than the early ones.

Question 15

Ringo Starr could not read music but the others could.

The Beatles were a diverse lot. But the thing that actually brought them together was their love for music. They started out as playing for clubs in London and then even strip clubs in Hamburg before landing a recording contract. It was then that their manager, Epstein, encouraged them to adopt a professional approach, asking them to stop eating on stage, stop swearing, stop smoking. So the Beatles became one of the biggest fashion-forward bands as well - everything they did was cool, especially their music!

Question 16

John Lennon was murdered by a fan who wanted to immortalize Lennon.

On December 8, 1980, just ten years after the Beatles disbanded; Mark David Chapman killed John Lennon by firing at him five times. He did not flee the scene but remained there, reading J.D. Salinger’s novel Catcher in the Rye and claimed that the book was his statement upon arrest. He chose to murder Lennon but had also considered killing Johnny Carson, Walter Cronkite, Elizabeth Taylor or Jacqueline Kennedy. In the end, Lennon seemed easier to find and that is what made Mark choose to kill this musical legend. He was just 40.

Question 17

McCartney too has survived an assasination attempt.

Every star, band, icon and famous person has had fans who go overboard. These fans are basically erotomaniacs who truly believe that the celeb they love, be it sexually or asexually, love them back. But when these completely clueless celebs end up "snubbing" these so-called fans, either from fear or from disgust or even inadvertently. - these fans strike back. Lennon's fan became his killer after he took what Lennon said about The Beatles and Jesus very personally, not that Lennon had any clue about it...

Question 18

A recording company called Decca turned The Beatles down, not liking their music.

Decca did reject The Beatles and instead chose a group called the Tremeloes. While both the bands were influenced by Buddy Holly and played Beat, Decca preferred the London-based Tremeloes to the Liverpool-based Beatles. This is widely considered to be one of the biggest mistakes in music history, and the world knows why for the Beatles reached never before heights and while the Tremeloes too reached a billboard or two, they never scaled the success that the Beatles did. The original quintet consisted of lead vocalist Brian Poole, lead guitarist Rick West (born Richard Westwood), rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Alan Blakley, bassist Alan Howard and drummer Dave Munden.

Question 19

On the morning of Lennon's death, Annie Leibovitz shot a nude Lennon and his fully clothed wife, Yoko Ono, for Rolling Stone.

On hindsight, there are so many ways the world wishes Lennon could have foreseen and avoided his death. In fact, Lennon met his killer hours before the fatal shooting. He and Ono left the Dakota for an appointment and on their way out they were approached by Lennon's fan, Mark David Chapman. Chapman who was 25 at the time, asked Lennon for an autograph who obliged. An amateur photographer caught Lennon signing Mark's book - and this would be the last photograph of Lennon, alive!

Question 20

The Beatles broke up over a fight between Lennon and Harrison.

The break-up of the Beatles was not a single-day announcement but a cumulative process that started in 1968 itself. These two years were rife with rumors of many splits and fights and all the members, the Fab Four often made ambiguous comments about the same. In September 1969, John Lennon privately informed the other three Beatles that he was going to leave. Lennon later was miffed that despite his private announcement, Paul McCartney publicly announced on 10 April 1970, that he was leaving the Beatles. Such was the ultimate animosity.

Question 21

Fans used to throw Jelly Babies at the Beatles because Harrison once mentioned he liked them.

Initially, the Beatles were all about Lennon and McCartney who wrote or co-wrote the songs, were the key vocals whilst Harrison and Ringo remained more in the background. Later Harrison began to write songs and his material became more and more appealing - songs like "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Something". This gentle Beatle slowly began to come to fore as he matured as a musician and this further added to the strife and animosity already simmering in the group.

Question 22

Stuart Sutcliffe was the first Fifth Beatle.

Stuart Fergusson Victor Sutcliffe was the original bass guitarist for the Beatles before Ringo Starr joined the band. He left the band to pursue his career as a painter since he had attended the Liverpool College of Art and was on his way to becoming an established modernist painter. He and Lennon are credited with inventing the name, "Beetles", as they both liked Buddy Holly's band, the Crickets. Sadly, on 10 April 1962, he collapsed with a severe headache but died in the ambulance on the way, of an aneurysm in his brain's right hemisphere.

Question 23

The cover of the Beatles' eleventh album Abbey Road is iconic because it was their last shoot.

For such a well put together shot, The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover was shot in just 10 minutes in six frames by photographer Iain Macmillan. And he was perched on a stepladder whilst he shot. Abbey Road was initially going to be called Everest and the band had actually planned to shoot in the Himalayas for it. But the increasing animosity and split in the group made the cover shoot rather difficult. Ironically, they were photographed walking away from the studio, together but separately, in the midst of a bitter breakup and away from their band's success.

Question 24

Billy Preston is called the Black Beatle.

Apart from Tony Sheridan, Preston was the only artist to receive joint credit on a Beatles hit single "Get Back”, a song that later became the closing track of their last album "Let It Be". After the Beatles disbanded, Preston continued to record and perform with other artists including George Harrison and Eric Clapton and he also played keyboards for the Rolling Stones on many of the group's albums and tours during the 1970s, but his solo career began to decline after 1976.

Question 25

Harrison was the first to go, followed by Lennon's assassination.

Lennon's assassination rocked the world and made "stalking" and obsessive fans a real threat. Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival at Roosevelt Hospital, but that didn't stop doctors from trying to save him for 20 minutes, hoping for a miracle. Yoko Ono never had a funeral for Lennon and instead, requested a 10-minute moment of silence to commemorate him. She never disclosed where his ashes were also. Lennon left behind two children, Julian and Sean, and an ex-wife, Cynthia Lennon.

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