The Beatles were an English rock band that formed in Liverpool in 1960. With members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they became widely regarded as the greatest and most influential act of the rock era. The Beatles built their reputation playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg over a three-year period from 1960. Manager Brian Epstein moulded them into a professional act and producer George Martin enhanced their musical potential. They gained popularity in the United Kingdom after their first hit, “Love Me Do”, in late 1962. They acquired the nickname “the Fab Four”. By early 1964 they had become international stars, leading the “British Invasion” of the United States pop market. From 1965 onwards, the Beatles produced what many consider their finest material, including the innovative and widely influential albums Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles (commonly known as the White Album) and Abbey Road.
In the mid-1960s, the Beatles became interested in Indian culture, after using drugs in an effort to expand their consciousness. In 1966 Harrison visited India for 6 weeks and took sitar lessons from Pt. Ravi Shankar. At friend’s suggestion, the Beatles attended the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s (the founder of the Transcendental Meditation movement) lecture at London in 1967. The group visited maharishi’s camp in Wales. While there, they announced at a press conference that they were giving up drugs. Curious to learn more, they visited Maharishi’s ashram in Rishikesh and spent some days there in simplicity.
According to the RIAA, the Beatles are the best-selling music artists in the United States, with 178 million certified units. They have had more number-one albums on the British charts and sold more singles in the UK than any other act. In 2008, the group topped Billboard magazine’s list of the all-time most successful “Hot 100” artists; as of 2015, they hold the record for most number-one hits on the Hot 100 chart with twenty. They have received ten Grammy Awards, an Academy Award for Best Original Score and fifteen Ivor Novello Awards. Collectively included in Time magazine’s compilation, they are the best-selling band in history, with estimated sales of over 600 million records worldwide.