What'd they do in '62? On the first day of the year, the group -- with Pete Best on drums -- auditioned for Decca Records. In one of the biggest music business blunders of all times, Decca passed, instead signing a group called Brian Poole and the Tremeloes. The Beatles had the last laugh, signing in May of that year with EMI, recruiting Ringo Starr on drums and recording for the first time at Abbey Road Studios with George Martin at the helm.
Reaction: The first Beatles single, "Love Me Do," reached No. 17 on the British charts in October. In early 1963, "Please Please Me" topped both the album and singles charts and Beatlemania was under way.
Next up: Conquering England was just the first step. In February 1964, the band appeared on"The Ed Sullivan Show"and the entire world succumbed to the charms of John, Paul, George and Ringo.
Your ultimate Beatles playlist: "She Loves You," "Eleanor Rigby," "A Day in the Life," "Hey Jude"
THE ROLLING STONES
What'd they do in '62? On July 12, the Rollin' Stones -- named after a Muddy Waters song -- played their first gig at the Marquee Club in London. The lineup at the time consisted of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Ian Stewart, Dick Taylor and Tony Chapman.
Reaction: The group gained a strong local following for its hard-edged blues sound. Decca Records, burned after missing out on the Beatles, signed the group, and a 50-year (and counting) career was under way.
Next up: After adding a "g" to their name, The Rolling Stones washed up on U.S. shores in the wake of the Beatles-led British Invasion, scoring their first No. 1 hit in 1965 with "Satisfaction."
Today: Founding members Jagger, Richards and Charlie Watts remain. The group tours and records occasionally.
Your ultimate Rolling Stones playlist: "Satisfaction," "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Gimme Shelter," "Tumblin' Dice"
THE BEACH BOYS
What'd they do in '62? The Beach Boys, who already had scored a regional hit with "Surfin' " in 1961, released their first album. "Surfin' Safari" combined original numbers with instrumentals and cover songs.
Reaction: The album only made it up to No. 32 on the charts, but the group persevered with more surfing and car songs, gradually increasing its audience and broadening its sound.
Next up: The Beach Boys were one of the few American groups to survive the British Invasion, landing their first No. 1 single in 1964 with "I Get Around." For a time, the creativity of leader Brian Wilson would rival that of the Beatles.
Today: After decades of estrangement, the surviving Beach Boys recently released an album of new material and embarked on a tour. Wilson also has a solo career with critically acclaimed albums.
Your ultimate Beach Boys playlist: "Surfin' USA," "California Girls," "Good Vibrations," "Surf's Up"
What'd he do in '62? The artist formerly known as Robert Zimmerman released his first album, "Bob Dylan," on Columbia Records on March 19. The soon-to-be prolific songwriter penned only two of the album's 13 tracks. The rest were versions of folk standards such as "House of the Rising Sun."
Reaction: The album sold poorly, and Columbia was said to be on the verge of dropping Dylan from its roster. Dylan's manager, John Hammond, reportedly persuaded the label not to give up on his protege.
Next up: In 1963, Dylan released "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," including the classics "Blowin' in the Wind" and "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall." The young singer-songwriter was dubbed "the voice of a generation" and went on to pioneer folk-rock.
Today: The singer has reportedly finished a new studio album, his 35th. Dylan was recently awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Obama.
Your ultimate Bob Dylan playlist: "Blowin' in the Wind," "Like a Rolling Stone," "Visions of Johanna," "Tangled Up in Blue"
Staff writer Rodger Mullen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 486-3561.