Beatles 50th Anniversary Celebrations Unveiled In Liverpool
Concerts and shows are to be staged in Liverpool to celebrate the golden anniversary of the city's - and possible the country's - biggest pop group, the Beatles.
When Ringo Starr joined John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison in August 1962, the Fab Four was born and global success quickly followed.
The 50th anniversary of that collaboration is to be celebrated with a series of events hosted in the band's hometown of Liverpool. Highlights will include special performances by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, stage shows at the city's Epstein Theatre, named in honour of Beatles manager Brian Epstein, and concert performances on Love Me Do Weekend in October.
Liverpool Council will unveil the plans for a series of anniversary events - designed to attract Beatles fans from the across the world to the city - on Friday.
The programme will include International Beatles Week in August and a peace vigil in December on the 32nd anniversary of Lennon's murder, when thousands are expected to flock to the city to pay their respects.
Leader of Liverpool city council, Councillor Joe Anderson, said: "This is a hugely significant year in the history of the Beatles and it's one Liverpool couldn't let pass by without a huge celebration.
"We should never under-estimate the power of The Beatles to attract visitors to the city, and this year-long celebration will bring even more fans to Liverpool which will bring a much-needed boost to our local economy."
Two months after Starr replaced Pete Best as drummer, the single Love Me Do was released and Beatlemania swept across the world. The band were one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music, becoming only one of two musical acts to sell more than 1 billion records. Only Elvis Presley has been able to achieve the same feat.
After the band's break-up in 1970, the Fab Four each forged successful individual music careers although tragedy struck when Lennon was shot dead outside his New York apartment by fan, Mark Chapman, in December 1980 and Harrison died of cancer in 2001.
McCartney, who was knighted in the 1997 New Year Honours, made number three in the album charts earlier this month with Kisses on the Bottom while Starr also continues to perform.
It was revealed on Thursday that after a decade of resistance the Beatles have licensed 27 of their top singles for purchase as mobile phone ringtones. The entirety of the band's 2000 compilation album, 1, has been converted into 30-second iTunes ringtones, including everything from Love Me Do to Paperback Writer, Yellow Submarine, Hey Jude and The Ballad of John and Yoko.
Today's launch event for the anniversary celebrations takes place at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, which first hosted the Beatles on 9 February 1961.
SLIDESHOW: The Beatles 50 years ago...