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Trivia / The Beatles

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The Beatles are the Trope Namers for:


Other Trivia:

  • Artist Disillusionment:
    • One of the key motivating factors behind the band's decision to stop touring was that they couldn't even hear themselves play over all the screaming fans, which both affected how well they were playing and resulted in low morale — it made it clear that most of the fans weren't bothering to listen. Recordings of their late live performances indicate just how sick they were of touring, with many of their songs being played at near-double speed, in order to get the concert over and done with as quickly as possible. So perfunctory was their stage act at the end that, by the time of their last paid concert (in 1966 in San Francisco), not one song from their then-new album Revolver was on their performance list. It's also no coincidence that around the Rubber Soul/Revolver period they'd begun to get a lot more elaborate in the studio, writing an increasing number of songs that would be too impractical to perform live during touring. Try to imagine the army of musicians they'd need to tow around just to play "Tomorrow Never Knows".
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    • George Harrison in particular was vocal about how, for him at least, the appeal of being a Beatle had worn off around 1966-1967, because of the above and because he was getting tired of Lennon and McCartney constantly treating him as the younger sibling of the group with regards to his own efforts at writing.
  • Ascended Fanon: Apple Corps has more or less made The White Album an official subtitle to The Beatles.
  • Author Existence Failure:
    • The band in this case, but any chances of a new album as well as a reunion tour with the core lineup, of which one was reportedly planned for February 1981, were gone forever when John was shot and killed two months earlier.
    • The "new" Beatles songs "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love" from The Beatles Anthology, both of which were crafted from old, poor quality John Lennon recordings 15 years after Lennon's death. "Free as a Bird" was especially controversial because John got the verses, Paul and George got bridges one and two respectively, and the difference between John's vocal levels and the others' was noticeable.
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  • Bad Export for You: Many American fans and the band themselves perceived the American releases prior to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band this way, as tracks were removed and added to the running orders. Some fans, however, particularly those who grew up in The '60s, protested the "restoration" to the British running order in the CD era. There was enough demand to release a couple of box sets containing the U.S. albums.
  • Breakthrough Hit: "Please Please Me" in their home country, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" worldwide.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: During the sixties and since 1989. A re-release by the Beatles is as newsworthy as a new release by U2.
  • Christmas Rushed: Rubber Soul was rushed into production before Christmas 1965. Beatles For Sale was also rushed (hence the name and the presence of a few covers after the all-original Hard Day's Night).
  • Creative Differences: Let It Be is basically what happens when you take a band that is already fracturing due to this trope and put them on film — even more fracturing.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • John Lennon hated a lot of the songs he wrote for the Beatles. In some cases this is due to Values Dissonance - he particularly detested "Run for Your Life" for its severe misogyny, which is perfectly understandable. For a lot of them it just seemed he was being churlish though. However, it has been noted that Lennon's opinion on Beatles music depended on when he was talked to. Though he often said publicly that he hated it, as he got older his tone softened on all but the ones he disliked the most (only a few, usually written by him). Most of the people close to him put it down to his well deserved reputation as a Troll.
    • Everyone except Paul McCartney hated doing "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" because of all the time they spent working on it (it took almost a month to record). Lennon even called it "Paul's granny shit" at one point and mooned Paul from the control booth when he was doing the last vocal take just to screw him up (you can hear Paul giggle at one point).
    • After hearing it ad nauseam during his 64th birthday, Paul came to regret "When I'm Sixty-Four". This comes off as understandable since he went through a bitter divorce from his second wife weeks before he turned 64.
  • Creator Breakdown: John Lennon's songs, particularly in later years, tended to be more introspective and autobiographical in nature. Not that Paul McCartney or George Harrison were averse to this trope; in their last two albums especially, a lot of slightly bitter songs about the legal wranglings and friendship meltdowns going on around them can be heard. Though they also averted this spectacularly at least once: "Here Comes The Sun" was born of one "just sick of everything" moment, but the song itself is going in the opposite direction of such feelings.
  • Creator's Favorite Episode:
    • Ringo Starr has said that "Rain" contained the best drumming he ever did. He has also stated in several interviews that "Yer Blues" is one of his favorites because unlike a lot of the work they'd been doing, it was a stripped down blues rock number recorded in a very small room that Starr felt was "just like the old days".
    • John Lennon's favourites of the Beatles songs he wrote were "In My Life", "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds", "Strawberry Fields Forever", "I am the Walrus" and "Across the Universe". His favorite of Paul McCartney's Beatles songs was "For No One", which he called "a nice piece of work." Lennon also picked The White Album as his favourite Beatles record. He was also very fond of "Oh! Darling" and complained for years about the fact that Paul didn't let him sing on it.
    • Paul McCartney's favourite Beatles song is "Here, There and Everywhere", followed by "Yesterday".
    • Both Lennon and McCartney praised George Harrison's "Something" as one of the best Beatles songs of all. Lennon called it the best song on Abbey Road and McCartney said it was the best song Harrison ever wrote.
    • Harrison's favourite album was Rubber Soul.
  • Cut Song: The band has a few (not counting songs recorded in album sessions that were always meant to be singles):
    • "I Call Your Name" was cut from A Hard Day's Night because the film's producer felt it sounded too similar to "You Can't Do That", which itself didn't end up getting used in the film. As the song had already been released in the US before this decision was made (on The Beatles' Second Album), the band released it in the UK on their "Long Tall Sally" EP instead.
    • "If You've Got Trouble" was cut from Help! as Ringo hated it, and thus "Act Naturally" was used as his track instead. It was eventually released on Anthology 2.
    • "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane" were cut from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band because the band's US label wanted as a pre-album single, and the band wanted the album's tracklist to be the same the world over. The tracks were included on the US release of Magical Mystery Tour which eventually became the standard version. They were eventually included as bonus tracks on the Sgt Peppers' 50th Anniversary Edition as well.
    • "What's The New Mary Jane" was left off The White Album because George Martin felt that the album had enough avant-garde tracks. An attempt by John to release it as a solo single fell through due to band disapproval, and it was eventually released on Anthology 3.
    • "Don't Let Me Down" was cut from Let It Be due to at the time, it having been recently compiled on the US album "Hey Jude". Paul McCartney wasn't happy about this, and it was eventually included on Let It Be: Naked.
  • Executive Meddling: Glyn Johns took the tapes of the "Get Back" sessions and produced the kind of mix which the Beatles envisioned. After the band rejected it, manager Allen Klein heard the mix and didn't like it, so he called in Phil Spector.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • The "Fab Four", the "Fabs". During the 1994-95 Putting the Band Back Together era, fans often referred to Paul, George and Ringo by the Punny Name "The Threetles".
    • "Macca" for Paul.
    • Their only double album is seldom known by its official name, The Beatles; even the Beatles themselves call it The White Album.
    • The compilations The Beatles 1962-66 and The Beatles 1967-70, known as "The Red Album" and "The Blue Album" respectively.
  • Hitless Hit Album:
    • Several of them. The reason for this is that for most of the band's career singles were not included on albums and album tracks weren't released as singles. With the Beatles, Beatles for Sale, Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and The White Album did not feature any songs released as singles. Several tracks from these albums were later released as singles after the band broke up.
    • This was standard practice for most British pop albums of the period: hit singles were generally kept off of albums. This was opposite of American practice, and was part of the reason why early Beatles albums (up through Revolver) were recut for American release.
  • Hostility on the Set:
    • Recording engineer Norman Smith later stated that the studio sessions for Rubber Soul revealed signs of growing conflict within the group – "the clash between John and Paul was becoming obvious", he wrote, and "as far as Paul was concerned, George could do no right".
    • By the time Let It Be came about, the already tense relations between the bandmembers reached breaking point:
      • Paul McCartney tried to organise and encourage his bandmates, but his attempts to hold the band together and rally spirits were seen by the others as controlling and patronising.
      • McCartney and George Harrison got into a heated argument during the recording of "Two of Us".
      • Harrison got into a blazing row with John Lennon over creative disengagement from the band. According to journalist Michael Housego of The Daily Sketch, this descended into violence with them allegedly throwing punches at each other. Harrison denied this in a 16 January interview for the Daily Express, saying: "There was no punch-up. We just fell out."
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes:
    • The music videos were M.I.A. until the release of The Beatles 1+ in 2015.
    • A legal imbroglio prevents a Let It Be DVD release. Paul McCartney once told Rolling Stone that he was all for releasing it and Apple Corps has talked about putting it out, but it's yet to happen.
    • Yellow Submarine suffered this for a while. Rights issues kept it from being released on VHS until 1987, and it was pulled about a year later, only being released again - on both VHS and DVD - in 1999. A re-release only came out in 2012. Help! suffered the same fate for a while, but Apple's first DVD release came earlier in 2007.
    • Their only official live album, The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl, was not issued on CD until 2016, to coincide with Ron Howard's documentary Eight Days a Week.
    • There are many recordings that haven't been officially released but have been widely bootlegged. The Get Back sessions are popular, as well as recordings from their formative years (for example, their audition for Decca Records, including the songs not on The Beatles Anthology 1).
    • For completists, or Americans who want to hear the original Capitol Records releases the way they heard them in The '60s, Capitol/Apple released two four-CD boxed sets of remasters of those albums, with both stereo/fake stereo and mono mixes: Meet The Beatles!, The Beatles' Second Album, Beatles '65 and Something New (on Vol. 1), and Help! (with Ken Thorne's soundtrack music), Beatles IV, The Early Beatles (basically a Capitol repackaging of Vee-Jay Records' Introducing The Beatles [itself a Please Please Me repackage/resequence] released after Capitol bought the American distribution rights to the 1963 material from Vee-Jay) and the American "Rubber Soul" (on Vol. 2). Because of slow sales, a "Volume 3" was not released, so Yesterday And Today, the American Revolver and the 1970 compliation Hey Jude (and whatever other content a fourth disc might include, if any) remain unreleased. Also unavailable is the American A Hard Day's Night soundtrack with George Martin's orchestral pieces, originally released on United Artists Records.
    • A full rerelease of the American albums finally happened in 2014, as a boxed set, individually packaged, and digitally, albeit using the 2009 mixes. Each CD does contain mono and stereo versions of each album.
    • Chances of the animated TV series ever getting an official DVD release are slim to none. However, episodes can be found here and there on YouTube for the curious but was taken off due to a copyright claim by UMG_MK.
    • Incredibly, the original single version of "Love Me Do" fell into this trope for a long time after EMI decided that the album version note  should be the standard, had the single re-cut with that version, and had the master tapes of the original destroyed. The original version was unavailable from 1963 to 1980, when it was restored from a needle drop of an original 45.
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: Lennon and Harrison didn't see what all the fuss about Sgt. Pepper was about. Lennon cited The White Album as his favourite Beatles release. To be fair, there is a substantial contingent of listeners and critics who agree with him.
  • Meaningful Release Date: The remastered albums and the Beatles version of the Rock Band game were released on 09/09/09. Number Nine, Number Nine, Number Nine...
  • Missing Episode:
    • The Beatles sent flexidiscs with holiday greetings and Sketch Comedy to their fan club between 1963 and 1969, which were compiled onto an LP (also a fan club exclusive) in 1971. All these releases are long out of print. They've never been legally available to the general public, except for the first one, which is unlockable content in The Beatles: Rock Band. An edited version of the 1967 message ("Christmas Time Is Here Again", the closest they ever came to doing an actual Christmas song) was officially released as a B-side of the "Free as a Bird" single in 1995.
    • Averted with "The Christmas Records", a box set containing each message on colored vinyl. You do need to splurge and pay approximately $130 for it.
    • "Carnival of Light" is an experimental track. Paul McCartney apparently has the recording and keeps making noises about releasing it. George Harrison supposedly vetoed it when he was still alive, but a decade later and it's still nowhere to be found. With as many leaked studio sessions and bootleg albums as there are out there, it's arguably one of the last truly rare Beatles recordings left.
    • "Now and Then".
    • The 27-minute version of "Helter Skelter".
    • Pretty much everything on the The Beatles Anthology discs, prior to that collection's release.
  • Money, Dear Boy: After some uproar in the late '90s over Beatles songs being licensed for car commercials, Paul McCartney was quick to point out that he and John Lennon weren't above writing songs purely for monetary gain in their early days.
    "Somebody said to me, 'But the Beatles were anti-materialistic.' That's a huge myth. John and I literally used to sit down and say, 'Now, let's write a swimming pool.'"
  • Network to the Rescue: The classic story was that George Martin at Parlophone Records gave them their break after the other top British labels rejected them. In the first volume of his exhaustively-researched, still in-progress three volume Beatle biography, Mark Lewisohn revealed that it was actually EMI's music publishing division that first showed interest in John and Paul as writers.note 
  • The Pete Best:
    • The Trope Namer was kicked out of the band when George Martin said that he'd sign them on with the proviso that they use a studio drummer on their recordings, because Pete wasn't cutting it. John, Paul, and George, however, had decided that they wanted this fellow they'd befriended and hung out with a lot in Hamburg and who filled in for Pete whenever he missed gigs named Ringo in the group... so Brian Epstein gave Pete the bad news. He was later given his own band by Epstein (twice, since he refused the first offer), only to retire from music and then eventually get back into it. There was also Stu Sutcliffe, a fellow art student of John's who was roped into playing the bass in spite of his lack of musicianship, but he left the band of his own volition in 1961 to live in Hamburg with Astrid Kirchherr and pursue painting... and tragically died less than a year later of a brain aneurysm.
    • Colin Hanton, Eric Griffiths, Len Garry, Pete Shotton, and Rod Davis were, along with John Lennon, the original members of the original incarnation of the Beatles in the 1950s, back when they went by the name the Quarrymen. In 1957, Lennon unilaterally invited Paul McCartney to join the group, and the following year, McCartney brought in his old friend, George Harrison. Hanton, Griffiths, Garry, Shotton, and Davis all slowly drifted away from the group, which moved decisively from skiffle to rock and roll. When Sutcliffe joined in 1960 only Lennon remained of the original lineup, and he suggested that the band rename itself. Of the original Quarrymen, only Shotton remained part of the Beatles' inner circle by the time they became famous, with the rest mostly having lost touch with John, Paul and George. The surviving five original Quarrymen reunited in the late 1990s and, with minor lineup changes (Griffiths died in 2005 and Shotton retired shortly thereafter) they continue to tour into 2011.
    • Then there's Jimmie Nicol who replaced a sick Ringo Starr for six concerts over the span of two weeks in 1964.
  • Saved from Development Hell: EMI planned to issue an album called Sessions in early 1985, collecting numerous unreleased songs and alternate takes. One problem: they didn't bother to get permission from Paul, George, Ringo or Yoko, and when they learned about the impending release they forced EMI to pull it almost literally at the last minute. A decade later, the Anthology albums were basically an expanded version of Sessions, with all the Sessions songs included.
  • Schedule Slip: Having recorded two albums a year for their whole career up to that time, the 10 month gap between the release of Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band raised eyebrows. But the success of the latter convinced record companies that allowing performers more time to perfect their music was a wiser strategy.
  • The Shelf of Movie Languishment: Let It Be was recorded before Abbey Road, but got put on the shelf for a year.
  • Short-Lived Big Impact: The Beatles' recording career lasted just 7 years, but in that time they completely changed the landscape of popular music, and managed to crank out a whopping thirteen studio albums. The band broke up before any of the members had turned 30.
  • Short Run in Peru: Because of Capitol Records' constant demands for new material, a handful of songs were released in the US a month or two before the UK, most notably the trio of Revolver songs note  that debuted on Yesterday and Today.
  • Throw It In!:
    • The guitar feedback at the beginning of "I Feel Fine" was "a found object" made by accident when John left his guitar leaning against an amp.
    • The song "Hey Bulldog" was originally written with the title "Hey Bullfrog." When Paul started barking during the recording sessions, they changed the lyrics on the fly to match.
    • "Helter Skelter" ends with a yell by Ringo of "I got blisters on my fingers!" The take included on the White Album was the last of 18 recorded in one day; at the end of it, Ringo hit his cymbals three times, threw his sticks across the studio, and let out the yell.
    • The cover of the Rubber Soul album. A photographer had taken a picture of the band and was projecting it onto a piece of cardboard as a mockup for the cover. The board tipped backwards, causing the image to elongate, and the band liked the effect well enough to approve it as the final artwork.
    • Several other examples can be found on the trope page.
    • The "What Goes On" website is an exhaustive list of anomalies that made it into the finished recordings. Some of them are fascinating, some are just standard parts of musical performances (breath inhalations, flubbed notes) that are debatable as actually being anomalies (since the band clearly wasn't attempting pinpoint perfection in the studio) and some are just really exaggerated nitpicking (Ringo's bass drum pedal apparently squeaked a lot on the early albums, for anyone who might be interested).
  • Troubled Production: The tense recording sessions for "The White Album" and the famously miserable "Get Back" sessions for the album and documentary that eventually became Let It Be, though apparently Hostility on the Set (mainly between John and Paul) was present as early as the Rubber Soul sessions.
  • Uncredited Role: Their studio albums featured dozens of session performers, many of which went uncredited. A notable one was Eric Clapton, who played an uncredited guitar solo "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".
  • The Wiki Rule: There's the FANDOM (previously Wikia) one and Paul McCartney's one.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Capitol Records had right of first refusal to issue British EMI product in America, and rejected the first four Parlophone singles in their original releases. EMI worked out a licensing deal with Chicago-based label VeeJay,note  who released "Please Please Me" and "From Me to You" to minimal national sales.note  Still, as an indie label desperate for material to release, they went ahead and planned a summer 1963 release of an Americanized version of the Please Please Me album called Introducing...The Beatles. But the label ran into financial troubles (caused in-part by a label executive embezzling label money to pay gambling debts), and had to scrap the release.note  EMI, citing breach of contract, yanked the Beatle rights away from VeeJay, and placed the next single, "She Loves You", with Philadelphia-based label Swan Records.note  "She Loves You" had a similar lack of initial success; by the end of 1963, it had only sold about 1000 copies and never charted in Billboard. Obviously, had any of these records broken big the way they eventually would in 1964, the history of the Beatles in America would have been much different. Once Beatlemania started in early 1964, VeeJay finally released Introducing...The Beatles, though legally they didn't really have a right to do so, pragmatically deciding to make as much money as they possibly could before the inevitable lawsuit. Of course, all this leads to the question of what would have happened if Capitol Records, with more money and promotional muscle at its disposal than VeeJay or Swan, hadn't passed on the opportunity to issue the Beatles the first time around? Would Beatlemania have launched early, or would they have flopped? Answer 
    • There was an attempt to have the Fab Four appear in the Doctor Who episode "The Chase" where the Beatles would perform as their younger selves and then appear later in the episode as aged resistance fighters against the Daleks. Scheduling conflicts made it difficult to film, and they ended up using a clip of a televised performance instead. Made even freakier by a photo release of The Beatles hanging out with a guy who, from the way he's photographed (from behind, while facing left) looks an awful lot like Matt Smith (The Eleventh Doctor).note  Cue immediate suggestions by almost everyone that an episode HAS to be filmed with Eleven meeting the band...
    • Then there's the additional Beatle movies that never got made. This include a a cameo role in a 1963 film called The Yellow Teddy Bears (which would have predated A Hard Day's Night), appearing and/or supply some music for Disney's The Jungle Book, an attempt at adapting The Lord of the Rings, a comedy version of The Three Musketeers with Brigitte Bardot as Lady De Winter,note  and, perhaps most notably, the Joe Orton-scripted Up Against It.
    • In early 1966 there was talk of recording what eventually became Revolver at Stax Studios in Memphis, but it got nixed for financial and safety reasons.
    • The song "With a Little Help from My Friends" originally opened with "What would you think if I sang out of tune?/Would you throw ripe tomatoes at me?" Ringo requested that the second part of the line be changed for fear that fans would throw tomatoes at the group if they performed it live.
    • In 1967, the Beatles were considering doing a concept album about Liverpool. They got as far as recording two tracks, "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever", before the idea was dropped. Then Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was set to feature those two tracks as album tracks, befoe they were finally released as a double-A-side single instead.
    • Speaking of Sgt. Pepper, a sequel to Sgt. Pepper was to be released, with a song called "One of the Beautiful People" being a prospected track, before it was rewritten into "Baby You're A Rich Man".
    • They were rumored to be booked to play at the Monterey Pop Festival because of the involvement of their press officer Derek Taylor, but they declined, since their music had become too complex to be performed live. Instead, at the instigation of McCartney, the festival booked The Who and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, while Harrison recommended Ravi Shankar. Over the weekend of the festival, the Beatles were in London, preparing for the Our World television broadcast.
    • On at least one occasion there was debate amongst the Four to invite Eric Clapton to be the fifth Beatle.
    • Same toward the end of the band's life with Billy Preston. Lennon, Harrison, and Starr were keen on it because Preston had raised spirits to such a great degree when he was around. Paul vetoed the idea saying it would make coming to decisions even harder with an extra member. Lennon and Starr later both speculated at different times that Paul's veto was his unconscious way of trying to make sure the band eventually broke up.
    • They were asked to play Woodstock, but they were too busy working on Abbey Road, couldn't coordinate their schedules and possibly weren't even interested in the first place.
    • One early idea was that Abbey Road was to be called "Everest" ("after the cigarettes I smoked", according to John) and feature the band posing on top of the titular mountain. This proved unworkable, so the band settled for calling it Abbey Road and taking the cover photo outside their studio.
    • Some of George's finest compositions, most notably All Things Must Pass, only made it to his solo albums because they were rejected by the band.note 
    • When Lorne Michaels on Saturday Night Live offered the Beatles $3000 to appear on the show in April 1976, both John and Paul were in New York City watching the show. They were intrigued with the idea of going over right then and perform on SNL, but were both too tired that night. This was such a big What Could Have Been moment that a movie was made about it (directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who also directed Let It Be).
    • George attempted to reunite the group for the Concert for Bangladesh. In the end, only Ringo performed. Paul declined due to the bad blood from the breakup and John pulled out when George refused to let Yoko perform.
    • It has often been mentioned by Yoko and Paul in interviews that if John Lennon had not been killed, The Beatles would likely have reunited - for a one-off concert, for a tour, for a charity single, for good; it's unknown exactly what - in either 1981 or 1982.
    • The surviving members of the band were asked to perform at Live Aid with Julian Lennon filling in for his late father, but they declined, though Paul performed.
    • The Beatles Anthology has revealed a lot of examples of this trope. For example, they originally planned on releasing "One After 909" as an early song, but were unable to get a satisfactory recording at the time, and it ended up being re-recorded later on as one of their last songs. There are also recordings of very different versions of the songs, such as "Rocky Raccoon" with a totally different introduction and "Your Mother Should Know" in a completely different style.
    • In September 2019, Mark Lewisohn unearthed a tape of a meeting between John, Paul and George in September 1969, shortly before Abbey Road was released (made for Ringo's benefit, since he was in the hospital at the time), where they discussed plans for a follow-up album, challenging the notion that they intended Abbey Road as a Grand Finale. John proposed abolishing the Lennon/McCartney credit and listing the songs' actual writers, and recording more of George's songs. Paul wasn't too keen on the whole idea.


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