Even among the greatest musicians, and there have been quite a lot of them, there can only be one ultimate greatest music artist and if you were to ask most people, that title would go to The Beatles. They are not only the best-selling music artists of all time, beating out other major music icons like Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, and Madonna, but The Beatles are also regarded as innovators and pacesetters.
While The Beatles were extremely commercially successful, their success was not just in repeatedly releasing commercial songs that connected with a global audience, but also in expanding the boundaries of music, innovating around various genres and pushing the limits of normal.
Being the best music artists in the history of the world, there are many ways to explore the greatness of The Beatles, but in this article, we took a look at how they became the best selling music artists of all time.
Today, two members of The Beatles, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr have gone on to build very successful solo careers of their own, while the other two, John Lennon and George Harrison are dead.
They were together only for a decade, between 1960 and 1970, and it all started in March 1957. John Lennon, who at the time, was a teenager, formed a group with a couple of his friends and them, the Blackjacks, owning the title before switching to the Quarrymen.
Five months after John Lennon formed the group, Paul McCartney, who is a guitarist, joined the Quarrymen in July and Harrison, who was a friend of Paul, joined shortly after.
Before they became superstars, the three of them, who were all guitarists, cycled through a couple of drummers, including Pete Best, Stuart Sutcliffe before they found Ringo Starr, who joined the band in 1962.
Having started as the Quarrymen, the group eventually changed their name to The Beatles in 1960, adopting the name from a series of name changes that led to the Silver Beatles, and then eventually, The Beatles in August 1960.
How The Beatles Became the Best-Selling Music Artist
After their formation, The Beatles began their professional career playing as a backup to other established musicians like Johnny Gentle. They also had a residency in Hamburg where they performed at various clubs and venues.
They got their first record deal, signing with Polydor Records for one year after they impressed as a backing band for Tony Sheridan. Under Polydor, the first song credited to The Beatles, My Bonnie, was recorded and released in September 1961, and it peaked at number 32 on the Musikmarkt chart.
Despite encountering mild success as backup singers and underground artists, including a second residency gig at Hamburg, the band pushed for a path of their own, and through their music, they began to enjoy increasing popularity in Liverpool.
Their first music project, Please Please Me, was released in March 1963. Prior to the release of the album, The Beatles had released two singles, Please Please Me and Love Me Do before the album, and the former became their first major hit single, topping every chart in the UK except for Record Retailer where it only reached number two.
While the single had proven to be a commercial success, the album itself became the start of the band’s domination on music charts, and a run that will transform the Beatles into the best-selling music artist of all time.
The album was top of the Record Retailer chart for 30 weeks, and it sold over 1 million copies in the United States as well as several thousand copies across the globe, including over 100,000 copies in the United Kingdom.
The success of Please Please Me was the first of many successful albums by The Beatles, who released a total of 23 studio albums, five live albums, and 53 compilation albums. They also released 63 singles over their decade long band career.
The Beatles have sold over 800 million albums, with at least 178 million units coming from the United States alone, a feat that makes them the top-selling artists in the US, despite being Englishmen.
The Beatles’ record as the best-selling music artist worldwide also include records like the most number one albums in the UK with fifteen albums and the most singles sold in the UK with 21.9 million. They also hold the record for the most number of number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with twenty songs.