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Four cool cats!


Remembering the four cool cats: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr

Lennon was the undisputed leader of the pack. He was also an activist and a humanitarian. After the Beatles split in 1969, he moved to New York, where he got involved in radical politics. When his son, Sean, was born in 1975, he withdrew from the limelight to raise him. His two most famous solo releases, Imagine and Give peace a chance, were anthemic protests against war, as was his act of returning his MBE to the Queen. Like fellow peace activists Jesus Christ and Martin Luther King, he was assassinated.


McCartney is regarded as the most successful songwriter in music history. Lennon also called him one of the most innovative bass players ever. When Lennon was murdered, he retired from live performances, returning only in the nineties with Beatles' songs that he had earlier steadfastly refused to do. His most famous song, Yesterday, has been covered by over 2, 000 artistes and played 7, 000, 000 times on US radio. He's a well-known advocate for vegetarianism, animal rights, and at 68, he's still active on the touring circuit. Recently, he sang Michelle to a glowing Mrs Obama.

The Beatles' lead guitarist didn't impress Lennon at first;it was McCartney who got him in. On the band's first trip to Hamburg, he was deported for being underage (17). He was 'the quiet one', and though not in the same league as his two illustrious bandmates, wrote some beautiful songs. His most famous Here comes the sun, was written in Eric Clapton's garden while shirking duty at the band's record label, Apple. His other great song, Something, was covered by Elvis Presley and Ray Charles. The Byrd's David Crosby introduced him to Ravi Shankar in 1965, after which he became his student and ardent admirer.


The only Beatle who wasn't always a Beatle, Ringo slowly worked his way into the group, initially performing when Pete Best wasn't available. He was left-handed, but played on a kit set up for a right-handed player. He quit the band during the making of the White Album, annoyed with the constant infighting. When he returned, Harrison decorated the studio with flowers saying 'Welcome home'. His songs have a happy, simplistic feel (Octopus' garden). In the post-Beatles era, both McCartney and Lennon gave him songs to perform, but he felt 'uncomfortable' performing them. Starr's 1973 album Ringo, which featured all the four Beatles, is considered his best work. He is still active on the recording and touring circuit.

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