15 Interesting Facts About The Beatles Members

the Beatles facts
The Beatles in Stockholm 1963, photo by Bo Trenter. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Last updated on May 29th, 2023 at 03:39 pm

The Beatles were one of the most influential acts in Twentieth Century popular music. While everyone knows their hits, here are some facts you may not know about the Beatles members, aka, The Fab Four.

1. The Beatles got the idea for their name from Buddy Holly and The Crickets

the beatles name
Trade ad for Beatles’ 1964 Grammys. — This is a version with just the Beatles isolated from the ad. Image by EMI on Wikimedia Commons.

The band liked the idea of using the name of an insect as a band name, and they were fans of Buddy Holly and the Crickets. Because John Lennon loved puns, he altered the spelling of “Beetles” to “Beatles.”

2. John Lennon’s father was absent for much of his early life but showed up when his son became famous

john lennon
Prague, Czech republic, July 22, 2017: John Lenon in Grevin museum of the wax figures in Prague. Image from Shutterstock.

John Lennon’s father, Alfred Lennon, was a merchant mariner who had a stormy relationship with Lennon’s mother and was gone for most of his son’s youth. John Lennon was mostly raised by his aunt.

When the Beatles exploded on the pop scene, Alfred Lennon tried to reconnect with his son and also made a novelty recording that was somewhat successful to capitalize on the fame of the Fab Four.

3. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were not the original rhythm section

paul mccartney
Washington DC. USA, 4th July, 1990 Paul McCartney performs at the Fourth of July concert in the Robert F. Kennedy football stadium. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

A friend of John Lennon’s from art school, Stu Sutcliffe, handled the bass duties when the band was living and working in Hamburg, Germany during the early 1960s, while McCartney stuck to rhythm guitar.

In Hamburg, Sutcliffe left the band to pursue a relationship with Astrid Kirchherr, a German photographer who befriended the band, and to study art in Germany. He died in his twenties of a brain hemorrhage.

A Liverpool contemporary of the Beatles named Pete Best was the band’s original drummer. He was not replaced by Ringo Starr until after the band had a record contract and was angry when this happened.

4. John Lennon’s hero was Elvis Presley, but he was disappointed when he met him

elvis presley
A cropped photograph depicts singer Elvis Presley’s bust. Image taken in 1957 by MGM on Wikimedia Commons.

The teenage John Lennon was infatuated with Elvis Presley, and the American performer was a big reason why Lennon later pursued a career in show business. The young Lennon would dress like Presley and comb his hair in a similar fashion.

When the Beatles became famous, their manager, Brian Epstein, arranged for them to actually meet Elvis in America. Although the meeting was friendly enough and the musicians had a brief jam session, Lennon thought that Elvis was disinterested in talking with them and that he wasn’t especially engaging in person.

5. The Beatles were nervous about playing Carnegie Hall

the beatles
The Beatles, The Ed Sullivan Show. Image by Bernard Gotfryd from the Library of Congress.

When the Beatles toured in the United States, Beatlemania ensued everywhere they performed. However, when they were booked to play at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City, they were scared that the audience might be made up of stuffy older people who would look down on their rock and roll.

They were relieved when the Carnegie Hall gig turned out to be attended mostly by the usual ecstatic teenagers.

6. The Beatles’ producer wasn’t really a rock and roller

the beatles facts
Syracuse New York 10 01 2018 The Beatles Stage. Image from Shutterstock.

George Martin, the Beatles’ producer, had an enormous influence on the band’s pop sound, but he wasn’t as into rock and roll as the Beatles themselves. Martin, who produced all kinds of music over a long and successful career, came into his work through a love of classical music, and his primary instrument as a child was the piano.

7. The Beatles didn’t think they would be popular in the United States.

prince nationality
Image from Shutterstock.

The Beatles’ appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in New York City drew a huge television audience. They sold out shows everywhere they went in the United States. The band was highly influenced by American pop music, but initially, they weren’t sure if Americans would be open to a foreign band.

8. The Beatles had difficulty getting signed to a major record label

the beatles record label
The Beatles, The Ed Sullivan Show. Image by Bernard Gotfryd from the Library of Congress.

The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein worked hard to secure his lads a recording contract with a label big enough to make them stars. This wasn’t easy, though, because not everyone in the music industry saw the potential in them that Epstein did.

At one point, the act was rejected by Decca Records, and Epstein was told that guitar groups were on the way out. Ultimately, of course, EMI took a chance on the Beatles, and the rest is history.

9. John Lennon performed on film with Keith Richards, Eric Clapton and Mitch Mitchell.

the beatles
Tages (minus Tommy Blom) recieve the price for the competition West-Coast Beatles on the scene at Liseberg. Left to right: Freddie Skantze (drums), Anders Töpel (lead guitar), Danne Larsson (rhythm guitar) and Göran Lagerberg (bass guitar). Image by Unknown Author on Wikimedia Commons.

Along with other famous pop musicians of the 1960s, the Beatles were part of the unreleased film “The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus,” and Lennon performed on camera with Richards, Clapton and Mitchell.

10. They shared songwriting credits in a unique way

the beatles
Paul McCartney, George Harrison and John Lennon during a Beatles performance for Dutch television. Image from the Dutch Institute of Sound and Vision and sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

The two frontmen of the Beatles had an unusual agreement where they would both get songwriting credits for tunes that only one of them had written.

For example, McCartney was the primary songwriter of the band’s classic “Yesterday” and had little to do with the writing of “The Ballad of John and Yoko” but these songs were attributed to both Beatles.

11. Ringo Starr was (and still is) an incredible drummer

ringo starr
KIEV, UKRAINE – JUNE 3: Ringo Starr during his concert tour in Kiev, Ukraine on June 3, 2011. Image from Shutterstock.

Historians of the Beatles who have looked over the notes from the recordings that the Beatles made with EMI over the years note that Ringo Starr was responsible for very few blown takes. He was a remarkably consistent and reliable timekeeper, and he was able to perform very well under time pressure in the studio.

12. The Beatles’ “look” was originally much scruffier

the beatles
Photo of The Beatles with Ed Sullivan from their first appearance on Sullivan’s US variety television program in February 1964. From left: Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Ed Sullivan, John Lennon, Paul McCartney. Image by CBS Television on Wikimedia Commons.

When Beatlemania occurred in the early 1960s, the band was known for the smart suits they wore on stage and for their cheerful whit during interviews. The early Beatles that performed at various clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg were a lot scruffier.

They dressed in jeans, cowboy boots and leather jackets, and they had an in-your-face rock and roll attitude. They also liked to eat while on stage. It was their manager Brian Epstein who convinced them to clean up their act in order to have a better shot at the big time.

13. It was Bob Dylan who got the band into smoking pot.

bob dylan
BENICASSIM, SPAIN – JULY 13: Bob Dylan performs at FIB on July 13, 2012 in Benicassim, Spain. Festival Internacional de Benicassim. Image from Shutterstock.

The Beatles met Bob Dylan during their 1964 tour of the United States, and the singer-songwriter offered them some cannabis to smoke. They enjoyed the experience, and all four Beatles began smoking marijuana on a regular basis.

20 Fascinating Facts About Bob Dylan

14. George Harrison lived briefly in the United States before the Beatles were famous.

The beatles
The Beatles in Treslong. Image from the Dutch Archives. Credit: Collectie Fotoburo de Boer. Sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

George Harrison’s sister was married to an American, and the couple lived for a time in Herrin, Illinois, a small town in a coal-mining region of the Midwest. Harrison visited them in the United States before the Beatles were famous and even played the guitar on stage with some local bands.

15. The Beatles insulted Imelda Marcos

the beatles touring
The Beatles arrive at JFK Airport in 1964. Image from The Library of Congress sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

While touring the Philippines, the Beatles turned down an invitation to meet the first lady Imelda Marcos. This was not an intentional snub, but Marcos took it as such.

Written by Bo Weber

Supporting artists since 2014


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