When the Beatles Finally Launched an Official Website
Believe it or not, many major rock bands didn’t have official websites until close to (or just after) the new millennium. R.E.M. launched their headquarters in 1999, while U2 unveiled theirs in 2000. The Rolling Stones, meanwhile, didn’t have an official outpost until 2002, when they embarked on the “Licks” world tour. The Beatles also moseyed into the digital age, opening their official website on Nov. 13, 2000.
The news coincided with the release of their brand-new 1 compilation. A press release touted that the website “promises to redefine the nature of artist collaborations on the Internet.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was created with the blessing and participation of Ringo Starr, Sir Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Yoko Ono, who “injected their individual creative ideas into the project” in conjunction with an “international team of cutting-edge website designers,” the Beatles’ own Apple Corps Ltd and the record label EMI.
Once the site launched, a message on the homepage — written in black text on a bright red background — reiterated its thoughtfulness. “The site contains an audio-visual feast of rare archive material and interactive features. Explore the site as if it were a cavern full of buried treasure," it read. "You’ll be regularly stubbing your toe on fantastic new discoveries.”
This was no mere cheeky hyperbole. The website showcased the 27 tracks of 1 using both multimedia elements and historical nuggets. Users could click on each song title and reach a landing page that was chock full of information about the tune — everything from album art and chart data to studio info and release dates.
Several songs also featured interesting promo and archival video, the BBC reported. “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” gave visitors “a virtual tour of Studio 2 at the Abbey Road studios where the band created some of their most popular songs and albums,” while “Get Back” included a clip of the “band's final ever performance on the roof of their company headquarters in Savile Row, London, in 1969.” The press release further noted that “Day Tripper” lets users “view visuals through different effect glasses, including kaleidoscopic effects.”
The Beatles 1, of course, went on to become the best-selling album of the ’00s, while thebeatles.com remains a treasure trove of Beatles ephemera and memories.