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Vocal Groups (Pop & Rock)

Beatles, The - The collective nickname for British rock musicians John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey), a.k.a. "The Fab Four" who made their television debut on the CBS Network on February 9, 1964 during a musical segment of the ED SULLIVAN SHOW.

John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr - THE BEATLES, aka 'The Fab Four'

The Trendex popularity poll calculated that 73,700,000 viewers watched The Beatles' historic debut on American television. Their thirteen and a half minute performance included the songs "All My Loving," "Till There Was You," "She Loves You," "I Saw Her Standing There," and "I Want to Hold Your Hand." The Beatles returned on February 16, 1964 with similar ratings results. Their performance helped change the attitudes of Americans to accept Rock and Roll as more mainstream entertainment rather than the music of rebellious teens and helped divert the American public from the tragedy of President Kennedy's recent assassination.

Copies of this historic performance are available to the public at the Museum of Broadcasting in New York City. Of the 25,000 plus recorded programs available to view at the museum, the Beatles debut is consistently the most requested videotape recording.

The popularity of The Beatles got them a gig on their own Saturday morning cartoon series THE BEATLES/ABC/1965-69. Each five minute episode featured the performance of two Beatles songs as our lovely British lads had numerous adventures which included:

  • an ocean cruise
  • a trip to Paris
  • a rehearsal in a haunted caste
  • an encounter with a leprechaun in a Dublin Ireland cottage
  • a kidnapping by a mad scientist
  • a visit to a Texas ghost town
  • a safari in Africa
  • a trip to an Indian reservation
  • a visit to a museum in New York
  • a party in Greenwich Village
  • a vacation in Bavaria and the Swiss Alps
  • a picnic in Spain.

The voices of the 'Fab Four' were provided by Paul Frees as John and George and Lance Percival as Paul and Ringo. The series (26 animated color episodes in 30 minute format) was created by Al Brodax and Sylban Buck.

The Beatles Cartoon Characters
Ringo, John, Paul and George

Years later, the NIKE footwear company used the group's song "Revolution" (the fast version) on one of their 1987 commercials. This was the first time a Beatle's song was used on television to promote an advertiser.

At the age of 43, Ringo Starr was the first Beatle to appear in a US TV commercial. He starred in the 1987 TV ads touting the Sun Country Wine Classics in head-to-head competition with the Bartles & Jaymes wine cooler commercials. The spots were filmed in Nassau in December, 1986.

Ringo later starred in the PBS children's program SHINING TIME STATION as a tiny train conductor who lived inside an enchanted train station painting.

In 1989-90, Paul McCartney went on a world tour. He was seen on a Visa Card commercial which promoted the tour.

In 1995 Ringo Starr resurfaced in commercials for both a Discover "Private Issue" designer credit card and a Pizza Hut spot where he fools the audience into believing the Beatles are planning a reunion. Of course, the musicians who show up are none other than Davy Jones, Peter Tork and Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees. Surprised, Ringo remarks "The wrong lads!"

And finally, but sadly it must be remembered John Lennon was shot to death in 1980 by a crazed fan across the street from his home at the Dakota in New York City. A stone memorial displaying the single word "Imagine" now rests in an area of Central Park known as Strawberry Fields.

TRIVIA NOTE: Before "The Beatles" were the "The Beatles" the group went though a number of name changes. They began as the Black Jacks, then they were the Quarry Men, Johnny and the Moondogs, the Beatals (a play on Buddy Holly's Crickets), the Nerk Twins (John and Paul duo), the Silver Beetles, the Silver Beats, the Silver Beatles and finally they settled on name that would gain them international fame...The Beatles.

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