The Beatles, who returned more than 53 years after their separation with a new “last song”, revolutionized world rock in just a few years. There are lots of anecdotes about the legendary group but also a good number of urban legends... Here are five things to discover or rediscover about the “boys in the wind” from Liverpool.
The Fab Four, as they are often called, are always referred to as: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. The order of arrival of everyone in the group. But before the arrival of the youngest, Ringo Starr, there is a previous drummer, Pete Best, and bassist Stuart Sutcliffe. And “The Beatles” is not their first name. In 1956 they first called themselves the "Black Jacks", very briefly, and then the "Quarrymen".
We also see them on stage as “Johnny and the Moondogs” and “The Silver Beetles” before they definitively adopted their legendary name. Play on words with “beetles” and “the beat”. The allusion to the insect is also, it seems, a tribute to Buddy Holly, idol of Lennon and McCartney, whose group name was “The Crickets”. Rarely, each of the singers has two stars on the Los Angeles Walk of Fame: one as “Beatle”, the other to honor his solo career afterwards.
We often talk about the Beatles-Rolling Stones rivalry. But their real big competition was the Beach Boys! When the Fab Four set out to conquer the United States, America was in the midst of Beach Boys mania with their famous album Surfin' USA. When the Beatles released I Want to Hold your Hand in 1964, Brian Wilson, the soul of the Beach Boys, worried: "I immediately felt that everything had changed and that, to ensure (our) survival, we had to stay on alert". Between the two groups, who admired each other, the battle raged for several years, through albums.
Also read “We built our legend step by step”: Paul McCartney recounts the beginnings of the Beatles
The Beatles innovated a lot. They are the first to slip the lyrics of their songs into a booklet inside each album. They are also the ones who made the “horns sign” popular, which has become the rock symbol par excellence. Not really an allusion to the devil anymore... This gesture - which consists of clenching your fist and extending your index finger and little finger in parallel - means that you are happy. And the first artist known to have performed it was John Lennon, the gesture being immortalized on the cover of the single Yellow Submarine.
"We are more popular than Jesus"... The phrase, uttered by John Lennon in a 1966 interview, initially went almost unnoticed. Before leading to a lively controversy, especially since Lennon's words are sometimes distorted. The quote notably becomes “greater than Jesus”. Scandal! Particularly in the United States, where vinyl records of the group are burned in public by former fans. The Beatles' songs were banned for a time in Mexico and South Africa and the group, if it made amends, even received death threats.
For Lennon, the "Jesus affair" marked the end of the Beatles: "I didn't want to tour anymore, especially after being accused of having crucified Jesus when I had made nothing other than an offhand remark" . Finally, the Vatican absolved them 40 years later. Declaring in 2008 that it was just "the bluster of a young working-class Englishman faced with unexpected success."
The “oldest” woman in the world (3.2 million years), the Australopithecine Lucy, owes her name to... the song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds! Discovered in 1974 in Ethiopia by French paleontologist Yves Coppens and his colleagues, the famous fossil revolutionized the perception of human origins. During the excavations, the team listens to the album Sgt. Pepper on which the song appears. When it turns out that the bones found are those of a woman, the nickname is obvious.