They exploded onto the scene in the 1960s and cracked not only UK but had billions of fans around the world.
Screaming girls followed them wherever they went – and every single or album they released shot straight to the top of the charts.
John, Paul, George and Ringo eventually stopped touring because they couldn’t hear themselves above the din of their excited fans.
The Beatles iconic final ever gig was on the roof of their record label, Apple Corp, in the centre of London on January 30, 1969.
Huge crowds, many of them on their lunch breaks, gathered on the street to watch history in action and police had to be called to stop the show.
They ended on Get Back with John Lennon quipping “I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we’ve passed the audition”.
Just over a year later, The Beatles were over – leaving their fans heartbroken and inconsolable.
They never performed together again.
Rumours of huge rows, arguments and splits between the band, and especially the legenedary song writers, Lennon and McCartney, have swirled for more than 50 years.
Furious fans blamed Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, and McCartney’s, Linda.
But Beatlemania was over – and the music world would never be the same again.
Three years before the band split for good, John, Paul, George and Ringo were rocked by the death of their long-term manager, Brian Epstein.
It left a huge power vacuum at the heart of the band.
Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, released in 1966, the year they stopped touring, is regarded as the last album where The Beatles all worked together as a band and were all still pulling in the same direction.
Following Epstein’s death from a medical drugs overdose, The Beatles lack of business experience added pressure to their already insane schedule.
Paul McCartney became the unofficial leader of the group, with John Lennon later admitting the band would not have continued without his efforts.
But he also claimed he felt Paul had only taken charge because he was concerned about launching his own solo career.
Meanwhile, Paul has since said he felt The Beatles move from musicians to businessmen was a major factor in their break-up.
But there were other tensions within the band. George Harrison was writing more and more and many of his songs had been rejected for use on albums by Lennon and McCartney, leaving him frustrated.
He was the first Beatle to release a solo album in 1968.
But the same year, the boys were back in the studio to record The White Album.
One change this time was the almost constant presence of Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, who was there for virtually all the recording sessions.
Lennon, encouraged by Yoko, was keen to be ever more experimental, something that jarred with McCartney and already bubbling tensions started to increase.
By the time The Beatles album was released in November 1968 the band were no longer carrying out joint interviews – all their public appearances were solo.
By this time Lennon had also descended into heroin addiction, creating further issues within The Beatles.
At the start of 1969 Apple Corp was in serious financial trouble and Lennon had recruited an outside team to manage his interests within the band.
McCartney then recruited his brother-in-laws, Lee and John Eastman, to represent his own interests and after a series of meetings, they were taken on for the whole band.
But a series of unfortunate business decisions, which resulted in The Beatles losing control of some of their income from the music they’d made meant the atmosphere within the band further soured.
Before long, Ringo, George and John had decided to leave the Eastmans and recruited another expert, Allen Klein to manage their interests and legal matters.
This revealed the huge schism and lack of trust between then four men who made up the most successful group in rock history.
The Beatles were now only occassionally recording together, with several of them pursuing outside interests and projects.
John and Yoko had settled on an international peace project, which was spearheaded by their single Give Peace A Chance.
Ringo even fled abroad to spend quality time with his family while George focused his attention on the new acts that had been signed to Apple Records.
And, even though tensions showed no signs of easing between the four men who had known each other since they were teenagers growing up in Liverpool, The Beatles weren’t yet done with releasing music.
The few recording sessions they had all been involved with produced their final album – and iconic cover – Abbey Road.
August 18, 1969 was the final time all four Beatles would ever record music together.
However, this wasn’t written in stone when the album was finished.
In the years following their break-up a tape emerged of John, Paul and George meeting at their Abbey Road studios to discuss a follow up to the album.
Ringo was in hospital being treated for stomach problems and the rest of the band recorded the meeting so he could be a part of it.
John had suggested another album with a single release just before Christmas.
Crucially, he also wanted to get rid of the joint writing credits between himself and Paul and instead proposed he, McCartney and George wrote four songs each with Ringo contributing two.
In the tape Paul can be heard saying that “I thought until this album that George’s songs weren’t that good”.
Despite the plans, Lennon went on to record Cold Turkey, written about his heroin addiction, with the band he formed with his wife, The Plastic Ono Band.
It was an unexpected success and after performing at a festival in Toronto, Canada, John made the decision that he wanted to quit The Beatles.
He flew back to London to tell the rest of the band that he wanted “a divorce” but as they were at a crucial stage of renegotiating their royalty payments, Paul, George and Ringo persuaded him to keep quiet about his decision.
Paul was devastated that John wanted to dissolve the band and fled to the farm he shared with wife, Linda, and their young family.
Depressed and left reeling from the what he knew would soon be the end of the band, Paul started secretly recording his first solo album.
A release date of April 17, 1970, was agreed with the label.
After a threat of legal action from a US film company against The Beatles it was decided that earlier recordings, given the working title Get Back, would be cobbled together into one final album.
The finishing touches were put to Let It Be and it quickly became apparent that it’s release would clash directly with the date agreed for McCartney’s first solo album.
Ringo went to Paul’s house personally to tell him of the issues – and was met with fury and thrown out.
It was then that things truly reached the point of no return – still furious, Paul sent out a press release to journalists along with an advance copy of his first solo album.
It contained the bombshell news that he was quitting The Beatles – and made front page news around the world.
He didn’t claim the band had broke up but tellingly did discuss his “break with The Beatles” and that he had no plans to record with his bandmates again.
Paul also claimed he was unhappy with the work producer Phil Spector had done on the Let It Be album.
The impact was immediate, and brutal for McCartney, whose first two solo offerings were almost universally slated by critics.
Ringo, George and John, who had kept to his word and not revealed his plans to quit the band, all felt betrayed by Paul’s actions, which they felt were being used to promote his own album.
He was also vilified by Beatles fans around the world who placed the blame for the break-up solely at his door.
Paul was said to be “devastated” by the reaction to his press statement.
For months afterwards, the remaining trio insisted this was not the end for the band.
John said in an interview that Paul was simply “causing chaos” and was only “sulking” as he claimed he had done when Epstein wouldn’t let him have his own way.
Harrison added that it would be “very selfish” for The Beatles not to record together again because their music meant so much to their fans.
Brutally, he added that the three remaining Beatles had been trying to put the band and the future of the Apple label first instead of “trying to do what’s best for Paul and his in-laws”.
In a later interview John reiterated his belief that the band would reunite, saying “it could be a rebirth or a death. We’ll see what it is. It’ll probably be a rebirth”.
Despite the huge legal problems all four of The Beatles would face if Paul went to court to release himself from the band and from Klein’s management, on December 31, 1970, he launched legal action against his bandmates.
In heartbreaking echos of a marriage divorce, Paul told the court that the differences between The Beatles were irreconcilable and that they had long ceased to function as a band.
The judge agreed and he was released from his contract.
Many of the solo efforts of The Beatles who had been on the receiving end of Paul’s law suit included thinly veiled swipes at their former bandmate.
Often the calmest, it was George who seemed to feel the betrayal the most keenly.
At a press conference he said: “Paul is a fine bass player, but he’s a bit overpowering at times.
“To tell the truth, I’d join a band with John Lennon any day, but I couldn’t join a band with Paul McCartney.
“It’s nothing personal; it’s just from a musical point of view.”
Four years later, the three other members of the band also parted company with Klein after an acrimonious law suit.
For the next decade, the four members of The Beatles were offered huge sums of money to reunite for concerts or an album.
All were refused, including a proposal they play a reunion concert to raise hundreds of millions for charity.
Then, with John Lennon’s tragic death outside his apartment building in New York on December 8, 1980, the chance of reunion was over.
However, tensions had dramatically thawed between the group in the intervening years.
Paul and John even jammed together in 1974 and over the years the remaining Beatles have collaborated from time to time.
They notably worked on the Beatles Anthology in 1994 and re-worked two of John’s unfinished songs, Free As A Bird and Real Love.
George Harrison lost his battle against lung cancer in 2001 and his former bandmate, Paul, paid an emotional tribute to the man who had been his boyhood friend.
He said: “He was a lovely guy and a very brave man and had a wonderful sense of humour. He is really just my baby brother.”
Paul and Ringo are the only two surviving members of the incredible band that changed musical history.