Successful Failures – The Beatles


This is part two of a series by *AT* contributor Emily Thomas. When we think about people whose lives we would like to closely emulate, more often than not we think of people who have accomplished great things and led successful lives. However, not everyone who is on top has experienced success after success, and some of the most memorable people in history have faced great obstacles to reach their full potential. Not only is this list informative, but it serves as a great self-esteem booster for any time you are feeling as though you can’t strive to become the next Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan, or Steve Jobs.

This British rock group with shaggy haircuts and an unforgettable sound probably has the most recognized songs in all of music history. In fact, my parents change the radio station if a Beatles song ever comes on because they said their songs are the only songs that have played continuously for decades. Yet, when they were first beginning their music career the first record company they went to told them “no”, stating that “they didn’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” The music company even went as far to say that the band had “no future in show business,” which couldn’t have been more inaccurate.

Instead, they exploded onto the American music scene, leading what became known as “The British Invasion” of rock and pop music. They became the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed act in the history of popular music; the Fab Four hold the record of having the most number-one hits at 20, as well as the distinction of being the best-selling group in music history with an estimated two billion records sold. Only Elvis can claim to have anywhere near to those type of numbers.

Even after they split up, the Beatles continued on to individual success. George Harrison and Ringo Starr each developed respectable solo careers, while John Lennon and Paul McCartney achieved lasting immortality with their own various acts and recordings. The latter is recognized as the most successful composer and music artist of all time, due to his dual credit as co-writer of most of the Beatles’ songs as well as an extremely successful and decades-long solo career. I think it is safe to say that Decca Recording really regrets making that decision.

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