For fans of The Beatles, April 10, 1970, was a devastating day in music history. After years of speculation, Paul McCartney confirmed in an interview that the band was finished and that Ringo, George, John, and himself would all be pursuing their own solo careers. Today, on the anniversary of that announcement, we've put together five facts you probably didn't know about The Beatles…
Ringo's Real Name is Richard. You might know him as Ringo Starr, but his mom (and bandmates) knew him as Richard "Ritchie" Starkey. As the story goes, Ritchie first adopted the moniker "Rings" in his youth because of the flashy jewelry he was known to wear around town. He later changed the nickname to Ringo because he liked the cowboy-esque twang of it. Though he was always referred to as Ringo by his bandmates in the press, you can hear Paul say "Ready, Richard?" before Ringo counted the band in during some of The Beatles' studio recording takes.
A 15-Year-Old Girl From Maryland Started Beatlemania. As legend has it, much of The Beatles' success in the U.S. can be attributed to one fan—15-year-old Marsha Albert—who phoned her local radio station in 1963 and requested "I Want to Hold Your Hand." The DJ tracked down the song and gave it some airplay, which quickly accelerated its popularity. Soon, stations around the country were playing tracks from The Fab Four and before long, Beatlemania had set in.
The Band Almost Bought Their Own Greek Island. In 1967, at the height of The Beatles' "hippie" stage (this was the year they released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band), the group looked pretty seriously into purchasing an island off the coast of Greece that they intended to turn into a secure commune for them and their friends. The idea was a long-time fantasy of John Lennon, but some of the other bandmates—most notably McCartney—were not too keen on the idea. Good thing the purchase never happened: the band broke up less than three years later.
The Band Officially Broke Up at Disney World. Though Paul's announcement on April 10, 1970, is considered the beginning of the end for The Beatles, the official legal dissolution of the band wouldn't happen until the mid-1970s. According to a close friend, John Lennon was the last Beatle to sign the court documents. Lennon had skipped out on an official meeting for the band to sign at the Plaza Hotel in New York before Christmas, 1974. Angry and fed-up with the delay, George, Paul, and Ringo insisted John sign, which he later did at the Disney World Polynesian Village Hotel.
George Lost His Virginity With the Rest of the Band in the Same Room. George Harrison was the youngest of The Beatles (so young he was deported back to the UK when the band lived in Hamburg in 1960). That means many milestones in his life were reached while with the band. One of those milestones, his "first shag" as Harrison himself put it, happened with his bandmates as on-lookers. Apparently, the group was shacked up in bunk beds while George got it on the first time. When things wrapped up, his bandmates exploded into applause for him.