There is so much to be said and understood about the Beatles, the place to start is Wikipedia's page about the band.The output of material is overwhelming and people have spent their lives documenting the Beatles history and music.
I don't believe in, and it's hard to say one example of an art form is the best ever. On one level, it's a matter of personal taste. On multiple levels we can judge the facts and numbers. In the record business that usually means the number of records sold. The Beatles have smashed all of those records, except one. As I wrote under my Bing Crosby post, Bing holds the record for a single record sold at over 100 million copies for "White Christmas." And it's hard to rate, against others, those who create a new style within an art form.
The Beatles "rock and roll" may have started out as contemporary (for their time) music and they did cover songs in the early days, but the musical composition team of McCartney/Lennon created a whole new style of music. Great music! That makes them great and exempt from, and superior to comparisons of other bands of their time.
The Beatles were excellent, progressive musicians individually and perfection as a band together. Although, you would never be able to tell that watching the video below, which is the earliest video recording of the Beatles in 1962 at the Cavern Club, and they had been playing together for a while by then.
The Beatles first came to America in 1964, but they were huge stars by then. A conscience decision by the band to wait until they were successful before they appeared in America. The fanaticism surrounding the band was started in England and Europe and American teenagers were just copying and extending what became known as Beatlemania.
The phenomenon of the Beatlemania effect was not new to American audiences, or world audiences. Women used to scream and faint at Frank Sinatra concerts and similar reactions happened with Bing Crosby, Rudy Valli, Caruso, and other musical acts throughout history. Having said that, there was never anything like Beatlemania. It literally made personal appearances all but impossible for the band. The audience could barely hear the music over the screaming and going to one of their movies in a theater was the same. I personally experienced both. I was not one of the screamers and I was amazed by the audience reaction.
When listening to Beatles music, I prefer and advise, listening to studio cuts. There are plenty of live recorded cuts, but it's hard to hear all the quality music being played. The fads they started, the hair cuts, etc., etc.....are all things an adoring public has followed with other popular musical acts and personalities, but not to the same extreme.
Ed Sullivan Show February 1964.
"I Want To Hold Your Hand"
Three years later in 1967 this is, "Hello Goodby"
The last appearance as a band together. The rooftop of Apple studios.
January 30, 1969
In September 1969 John Lennon privately informed the other Beatles that he was leaving the group, there was no public acknowledgement of the break-up until Paul McCartney announced on 10 April 1970 he was leaving the Beatles.
There were sporadic collaborative recording efforts among the band members (Ringo Starr's 1973 album Ringo was the only time that the four – albeit on separate tracks – appeared on the same album post-break-up), although all four Beatles never simultaneously collaborated as a recording or performing group again; Starr's 1976 album Ringo's Rotogravure is the last post-break-up album on which all four Beatles contribute and are credited: besides Starr's drumming and songwriting contributions, Lennon, McCartney and George Harrison all composed one track apiece. After Lennon's death in 1980, McCartney and Starr appeared on Harrison's single "All Those Years Ago", and the trio reunited for the Anthology project in 1994, using two unfinished Lennon demos – "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love" – for what would be new songs to be recorded and released as the Beatles.
There are all sorts of stories about why the Beatles broke up including (and most importantly) from the Beatles themselves. There is a fine line between love and hate, which we see in our own families. The Beatles were best buddies, they were a family, they loved each other. If negative things were said, that happens sometimes. The love is still there.
John Lennon was assassinated outside his home in New York on December 8, 1980 by a nut with a gun. Unfortunately, a rather common happening in America.
George Harrison died November 29, 2001, after a long battle with cancer.
I think it's sad that McCartney does not own his own music. I thought he might get a chance to buy it all when Michael Jackson died, but I haven't heard anything about the issue.
The numbers tell us McCartney/Lennon were the greatest music composing collaboration ever. Their music tells us they were geniuses who sang about love in their own way. The music did not die for either of them when the Beatles broke up. They both were very popular and successful after the Beatles, creating great music. It all happened within ten years, which makes it even more amazing. If you wonder what it was all about, listen to the music.