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Author And Beatles Expert Asks: How Well Do You Know The Beatles?

Associated Press
The Beatles wave to fans assembled below their Plaza Hotel window after they arrived in New York City on Feb. 7, 1964.

To this day it is hard to name a band bigger than the Beatles.  At the forefront of the British Invasion, the band gained international fame and millions of fans around the world, remaining popular to this day. But how well do you know them? Brooke Halpin, author of the quiz book “Do You Really Know the Beatles?” sat down with Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer to share some history and trivia about the British rock group.

Halpin attributes the band’s initial success to their ability to take a familiar genre and spin it in a new light.  Rock ‘n’ roll was popular in the states when the Beatles first began in the 1960’s, but they changed the genre entirely.

“They took rock ‘n’ roll from the States and made it their own,” Halpin said.

The band brought foreign accents, a more rebellious look and songs about love that had not been seen before in rock ‘n’ roll, Halpin explained. Soon other bands began to follow their example.

“The Beatles were always the leaders,” Halpin said. “And [The Rolling Stones] would follow the Beatles like most bands did back in the day.”

However, the Beatles were not a “one trick pony.”  Halpin says the band’s longevity can be attributed to their ability to reinvent themselves.  New instruments, different themes and varied tones insured one Beatles album might sound completely different than another.

But with all the focus on the band, fans might not consider the man behind the Beatles.  Halpin said the Beatles stayed together as long as they did because of their original manager, Brian Epstein.

“Brian told them from the beginning, ‘You are one unit, you are a band, you are not four individuals,’” Halpin said. “And they loved Brian, they believed Brian, because Brian made them superstars.”

Halpin even claims Epstein was the one thing that kept the band from splitting up before Epstein’s sudden death. He disputes the rumor that John Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, interfered with the group’s success.

“The Beatles broke up the Beatles, not Yoko Ono,” Epstein said.

While the band never managed to have a reunion, their legacy lives on and the two surviving members reaming active.  Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band played in Heinz Hall on October 27 and Paul McCartney made a stop in the Steel City during his tour last year.

More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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