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The Beatles were a rock and pop band from Liverpool, England that formed in 1960. During their career, the group primarily consisted of John Lennon (rhythm guitar, vocals), Paul McCartney (bass guitar, vocals), George Harrison -lead guitar, vocals- and Ringo Starr (drums, vocals). Although their initial musical style was rooted in 1950s rock and roll and skiffle, the group worked with different musical genres, ranging from Tin Pan Alley to psychedelic rock. Their clothes, style and statements made them trend-setters, while their growing social awareness saw their influence extend into the social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s. After the band broke up in 1970, all four members embarked upon successful solo careers.
The Beatles were one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed bands in the history of popular music, selling over one billion records internationally. In the United Kingdom, The Beatles released more than 40 different singles, albums, and EPs that reached number one, earning more number one albums (15) than any other group in UK chart history. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, The Beatles have sold more albums in the United States than any other band. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked The Beatles number one in its list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. According to that same magazine, The Beatles' innovative music and cultural impact helped define the 1960s, and their influence on pop culture is still evident today. In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of top-selling Hot 100 artists to celebrate the chart's fiftieth anniversary; The Beatles topped it.
During the Beatles height of popularity their manager Brian Epstein made licensing deals for everything from hairspray to stockings. It is even rumored that Brian nixed a request to endorse feminine hygiene products. While this may all seem very shrewd, he actually lost the boys millions of dollars before fully realizing how to sell the Beatles name and image.