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George Harrison was a friend and former classmate of Paul McCartney who joined the Quarry Men as they moved from skiffle to rock.

Courtesy Library of Congress

A booking on Ed Sullivan's popular CBS network variety show in February 1964 (watched by an estimated 73-million people) and the fact that the band had two #1 albums in the UK the previous year, finally convinced Capitol Records to sign The Beatles to a US record deal.

By April, 1964, the band's singles occupied the top five spots on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. That summer, they toured New Zealand and Australia, where their arrival in Adelaide was greeted by a crowd estimated at more than 300,000. The first Beatles movie, A Hard Day's Night was released in 1964.

All told, the band released seven albums in the US and UK in 1964, all but three of them charting at #1. Two others peaked at #2, and the third, the soundtrack from a UK TV documentary (The Beatles Story) reached #7.

Beatlemania was responsible for the concept of the stadium concert. More than 55-thousand screaming fans -- at the time, the most ever to have attended a single concert -- packed New York's Shea Stadium in August 1965. Two months later, the Fab Four became Members of the Order of the British Empire, one of the highest honors bestowed in the UK, usually to military and government officials.

The Beatles' second movie, Help! came out in 1965, and the soundtrack was one of the four albums the band released that year.

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