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Beatle Hair, Beatle Boots, They Want To Hold Your Hand, A World Apart

The end of 1963 marked the Beatles' rise to international superstardom. They were now christened “The Fab Four” by the press. After their triumph at the London Palladium, the Beatles followed up with an appearance at the Royal Variety Performance at which several members of the British royal family were in attendance. The Beatles performed “She Loves You” and dazzled the audience there as well; no one seemed immune to their charms. Teenagers were starting to grow their hair long, like the Beatles, and Beatle wigs were selling faster than they could be made. At performances, the crowds just got wilder. At a November show in Plymouth, hoses had to be turned on screaming fans to control them, and that same week in Birmingham, the Beatles escaped from the crowds disguised as policemen. Their record sales had gone through the roof, aided by their fifth single, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and the release of their second album With the Beatles, with its famous black-and-white cover photograph. With the Beatles received the most advanced orders for any album up until that time.

The Beatles had clearly outgrown Liverpool. Each of them gradually moved to London, which was the cultural center of England. “Our lives were changing,” George said. “The way that we measured success or wealth now was that we had motorcars and lived in Mayfair and had four suits when we traveled. That was not bad really.” None of the Beatles, or George Martin, had any idea that this fan adulation and wild success would last. As George Martin recalled, “It was very difficult in 1963 to think the Beatles were going to last forever and that I would be talking about them thirty years on.” George Martin turned out to be instrumental in their eventual success in the United States. He had sent the first four Beatles singles—three of the four number ones in Britain—to his counterpart in the United States, telling him how fantastic the group was and how he had to issue the records in the United States. But each single was turned down, with the explanation that they weren't any good and just wouldn't succeed in the States. Meanwhile, the Sunday Times in Britain had christened them “the greatest composers since Beethoven.” It was just a matter of time before America opened its arms to the Beatles.

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Musician BiographiesThe Beatles