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Innovator John Lennon formed a band, the Quarrymen, at his high school in the mid-'50s. Paul McCartney joined around mid 1957 and later a friend of McCartney’s, George Harrison – another guitarist – joined. there were other members during the 50’s as their lineup continually changed, most notably, drummer Pete Best, who was replaced by Ringo Starr and bassist Stuart Sutcliffe who died tragically at the age of twenty-two.
They perform music in the streets and other public places for money – called ‘busking’ in Britain. Eventually settling on the Beatles as their name, they honed a tight performance unit by doing 5 set a night gigs in Hamburg, Germany. Their repertoire was rock and roll, and rhythm & blues songs by such trailblazers as Chuck Berry and Little Richard. It was during an extended tour by Little Richard that they found themselves playing the same club in Hamburg. The soon to be Beatles formed a close bone with their new mentor, Little Richard.
Most of the group played were in school and played together in Liverpool for five years prior to having hit records. John Lennon was hooked on rock & roll in the mid-'50s and their music choices were steeped in the classic early rock of Elvis, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Carl Perkins, and the Everly Brothers. They took the best elements of rock & roll, rhythm & blues, gospel, folk to make them their own. They remained fresh by listening to the evolving music scene ‘across the pond’ in the early '60s from sounds of Motown, Phil Spector, and the girl groups. They borrowed from any music genre if it fed their musical vision.
With this backdrop, they produced their first demo record in 1963 and the Beatles’ British invasion began its march into contemporary music history. Their balance of eclectic music choices across genres were blended by their composition and performance savvy. As rock & roll was becoming the expression of youthful rebellion and its growing appeal across racial divides in the United States, the Beatles’ led the same ‘wave’ of cultural consciousness in Europe with its exuberantly youthful full-flair guitars and tight harmonic vocals. The Beatles embraced multi-cultural music influences as demonstrated in their fusion of multiple genres from the 1940’s 50’s and early 60’s. Their continued openness to world culture music influences resonated with new generations, thus, their music has become (is) a classic example of music recognized and emulated globally.
Beginning in 1964, the Beatles (collectively & individually) began and continue receiving national and international accolades including Grammy Awards, Academy Awards, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Grammy Hall of Fame, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Trustee Award, Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, and National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Presidents' Award.
A flamboyant singer, pianist and self-proclaimed 'architect of rock and roll' whose hit songs of the mid-1950s were defining moments in the development of rock and roll genre.
The Beatles John Lennon said “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.” Rolling Stone's Dave Marsh: "Chuck Berry is to rock what Louis Armstrong was to jazz."
Songwriter, singer and brilliant guitar player entered music wrapped up in the Blues, then was captivated by R&B and took Rock & Roll by the nape of his guitar and catapulted it forward.
Their continued openness to world culture music influences resonated with new generations. Their music is a classic example of music recognized and emulated globally.
He crafted his own niche in Rock & Roll with an R&B and Soul blend. His spontaneous, aching voice had a drive and rhythmic focus that was simultaneously vulnerable and raw.
Richards’s idol, Chuck Berry, provided basic musical compass points for the guitarist. Newsweek later called Richards’s signature "Satisfaction" guitar riff "five notes that shook the world."
Along with his trademark rectangle-shaped guitar, dark glasses and black hat, the distinctive ‘Bo Diddley’ sound became a model for fast-paced, driving beat that is identified with Rock & Roll.
This member of the first group of inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and pioneer of rock and roll experienced success that lasted only a year and a half.
Lenny Kravitz is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actor and arranger whose sound pulls from elements of rock, soul, R&B, funk, reggae, hard rock, psychedelic, folk and ballads.
National Museum of African American Music
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The National Museum of African American Music will stand as an international iconic cultural museum dedicated to the vast contributions African Americans have made in music.