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The Beatles became nationally famous in England in October 1962, when their first single record, “Love Me Do”, entered the Hit Parade at number 27. The famous four who recorded that song were, of course, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and drummer Ringo Starr. This was the original line-up of the band.
Three years before, when John Lennon was 19 and George Harrison approaching his seventeenth birthday, the group was offered its first “big job” – playing at the famous Star Club in Hamburg. In those days there were five Beatles: Pete Best on drums, Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and the mysterious fifth Beatle, Stuart Sutcliffe.
The Beatles returned to England penniless and exhausted. Stuart Sutcliffe left the group and stayed in Germany, where he died a few months later. The Beatles began a series of lunchtime concerts at Liverpool’s Cavern Club. They were now playing better then ever.
The lunchtime concerts were a great success. The road outside the club was always crowded with girls who worked in nearby shops and offices. They came to see the Beatles during their lunch-break. Local shop-keepers often complained about the crowds and the noise. The man who ran the local record shop went to see what all the fuss was about. His name was Brian Epstein, the man who became the Beatles manager.
The first thing that Epstein did as manager was to sack Pete Best. There are many different stories about why this happened. Probably it was because there was a serious clash of personalities between Lennon and Best. Lennon said: “He goes, or I go”. In Best’s place came Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr), the drummer they met in Hamburg.
The job of producing the Beatles’ records went to George Martin, an extremely nice and remarkably old-fashioned man who worked at the EMI studios in Abbey Road, North London. George Martin became the brains behind the recording successes of the Beatles (although John Lennon never agreed with that).
Martin had some unusual and immensely successful ideas. He persuaded the group to have instruments on some of their songs that they didn’t want to begin with: the cello on “Yesterday”, the violins on “Eleanor Rigby”, the oboe on “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”.
During the sixties, it seemed that the Beatles were always in the news headlines. They made successful records and interesting films. Lennon caused anti-Beatle demonstrations in America by saying that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ. Beatlemania was the word used to describe the reaction of fans all over the world.
When Epstein died in 1967, things began to go wrong for the Beatles’ industry. The relationship between Lennon and McCartney became very difficult; they disagreed about music, they disliked each other’s wife, and they disagreed about who should be the new manager of their affairs.
Eventually, an American called Allen Klein bought a controlling interest in the group. This was the beginning of the end, as McCartney couldn’t stand Klein.
During the seventies, the Beatles went off in their different directions, Lennon became a solo performer and then property speculator in New York, buying and selling expensive apartments. McCartney formed a middle-of-the-road pop group called “Wings” with his wife, Linda. George Harrison was rarely seen, but spent time raising money for charity. Ringo Starr began a surprisingly successful career as a film star. John Lennon was murdered in New York in December 1980.
In October 1982, 20 years after “Love Me Do” entered the British Hit Parade, a Beatles song was again in the Top Ten. This song was... “Love Me Do”.
From “Modern English International” Ken Wilson
VII. Choose the correct answer:
1. The first single record of the Beatles which entered the Hit Parade was:
b) “Love Me Do”;
c) “Eleanor Rigby”.
2. The first “big job” of the band was playing at:
a) Hamburg’s Star Club;
b) Liverpool’s Cavern Club;
c) London’s EMI studios.
3. Ringo Starr came to the Beatles in the place of:
a) Stuart Sutcliffe;
b) Richard Starkey;
c) Pete Best.
VIII. Answer the following questions:
1. What was the original line-up of the Beatles?
2. Who and when left the band?
3. What kind of concert was a “lunchtime concert”?
4. Why and when did Ringo Starr join the band?
5. Who and why caused anti-Beatle demonstrations in America?
6. How do you understand the word “beatlemania”?
7. When and why did the band break up? What did every member of the band do after that?
8. What can you say about the Beatles’ contribution to the pop music world?
IX. Make up a plan of the text and retell it.
X. Speak on the following topic: “My favourite performer (or composer)”.