The world's number one rock group consisted of John Winston (Ono) Lennon (born 10/09/40 - died 12/08/80), whose middle name came from his parent's admiration of Winston Churchill, and which John changed to Ono in later years; James Paul McCartney (born 06/18/42); George Harold Harrison (born 02/25/43 - died 11/29/01); and Ringo Starr (born Richard Starkey 07/07/40). During the Beatles recording career from 1962 to 1970, they would release twenty-two singles (45 rpm) in the United Kingdom, and thirty-three in the United States. Their first UK single was Love Me Do/P. S. I Love You, released October 5, 1962, on EMI/Parlophone Records.
The first USA single would be Please Please Me/Ask Me Why, which they released on February 25, 1963 on Vee Jay Records. Although the Beatles were big in England, they had not yet caught on in the United States. Following their first USA single, came From Me To You/Thank You Girl, which was released May 27, 1963 on Vee Jay, followed by She Loves You/I'll Get You on Swan Records. Finally on December 26, 1963, Capitol Records decided to release I Want To Hold Your Hand/I Saw Her Standing There, which went to number 1 on the Billboard Charts on January 18, 1964, and stayed there for seven weeks.
As luck would have it, the Beatles first US visit planned for February 1964 with their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show had been booked almost six months earlier. Only by accident did the Beatles I Want To Hold Your Hand happen to be at #1 the same time as their first US visit. One could not have asked for better timing. On January 30, 1964, following the success of I Want To Hold Your Hand, Vee Jay Records re released Please Please Me, only this time with From Me To You as the B-Side.
In the United Kingdom, the Beatles released twelve albums (33 rpm/LP's), however released nineteen in the USA. There were several reasons for this. One is that UK albums had fourteen songs, whereby USA had only twelve. The second, and really the most important reason is that Capitol Records decided that they wanted to create their own albums, different from the UK, using titles taken from UK singles and EP (extended play) singles. Such US albums as Meet The Beatles, The Beatles Second Album, Something New, Beatles '65, The Early Beatles, Beatles VI, Help! , and Yesterday and Today, were never issued in the UK in this form.
Even Help! , the Beatles' movie soundtrack was issued with different cuts than the UK version. It was not until the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band that they maintained the integrity of the albums universally. By the summer of 1967, the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, on June 2, unquestionably the Beatles greatest album ever. It was the brainchild of Paul, and took more than six months to complete.
John, Paul and George contributed its songs, but in a more simple sense, they conceived all the songs from ideas and things in everyday life. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, long thought to be about an LSD trip, was written by Lennon taken from an idea he got from his son Julian. Julian, a young boy, came home one day with a painting he had done at school of one of his classmates named Lucy O'Donnell. In explaining the painting to his father, he described it as Lucy, in the sky with diamonds, and the song was born. The song Getting Better, came from a description of the weather, in that it was getting better all the time. From this point, from 1968 to 1970, the Beatles recorded four more albums; The Beatles (White Album), Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road and Let It Be.
Some of the more interesting songs from this period contained on these albums are: Glass Onion, written by Lennon, which is the name that he came up originally for another band that signed with Apple Records called the Ives. They did not like the name Glass Onion, and decided to call themselves, 'Badfinger,' taken from 'Badfinger Boogie,' the original name of the Beatles song A Little Help From My Friends. McCartney's Martha My Dear, was written about the love of a girl, although the name Martha came from the name of Paul's sheepdog; Julia, written by Lennon, was named for and dedicated to his mother. Also, from the white album is a song by Lennon titled Sexy Sadie. This is another interesting one because Sexy Sadie actually refers to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, with whom Lennon became quite disillusioned. During one of the Beatles many visits with the Maharishi, they learned that he had made advances to a female member friend of the Beatles.
Upset by this, the Beatles abruptly left. In retaliation, Lennon wrote this song but knew he could not use the Maharishi's name, thus came up with Sexy Sadie.