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The Beatles (1960-1970) were an English rock group from Liverpool, who, in a very short time, became the most successful band of all time[1][2]. Although their initial musical style was 1950s Rock & Roll, the group explored a great variety of musical styles, ranging from Tin Pan Alley to rockabilly and from folk to avant-garde. The innovative music and style of John Lennon (1940–1980), Paul McCartney (1942—), George Harrison (1943–2001), and Ringo Starr (1940—) helped to define the 1960s.

The Beatles were the best-selling popular musical act of the 20th century. In the United Kingdom alone, they released more than 40 different singles, albums and EPs that reached number one. This commercial success was repeated in many other countries: EMI estimated that by 1985, the band had sold over one billion discs or tapes worldwide.[3] The RIAA has certified The Beatles as the top selling artists of all time in America based on U.S. sales of singles and albums. [4]

Their early material fused elements of American rock 'n' roll and R&B into a new and influential strain of popular rock 'n roll. With Lennon and McCartney penning most of the band's songs, they established a prototype for the "self-contained" rock group, which departed from the traditional practice of producers, composers and arrangers writing the songs for popular music acts. The Beatles were a major force behind the so-called "British Invasion" of U.K.-based rock 'n' roll bands in the United States in the mid-1960s, inspiring what the media was to term "Beatlemania" (see below). They helped to pioneer more advanced, multi-layered arrangements in both rock and pop and were instrumental in the development of some of the dominant musical styles of the 1960s, notably folk rock, hard rock and psychedelia.

The Beatles' impact extended well beyond their music. Their clothes, hairstyles, statements, and even their choice of instruments made them trend-setters from the 1960s to this day, while their growing social awareness –– reflected in the development of their music –– saw their influence extend into the social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s.

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