Absolutely Fab Four-Midable

By Cheryl Levenbrown
Knight-Ridder Newspapers

Oct. 22, 1996 Well, the incomprehensible finally happened. "The Beatles are now bigger than the Beatles," Beatles publicist Geoff Baker said, counting up the zillions in 1996 sales by the band that broke up more than a quarter of a century ago. Fab Four music flew out of stores this year: 6 million copies of albums from the Beatles' extensive back catalog, plus another 13 million albums sold of the two recent Beatles anthology collections. Those sale figures top any year during the height of Beatlemania in the '60s, when the band was still a band. Add to that the projected sales from a third anthology, due out Monday, and sales could top the 20-million threshold for the year, Baker said. And it's not nostalgia-craving baby boomers buying up all those "Yesterday" tunes either. Teenagers who weren't even BORN when John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr upset the Apple Records cart and called it quits bought 41 percent of the Beatles albums sold in 1996. "You would have thought that it would have been middle-aged people," Baker said.

The Beatles are bigger than "The Beatles"

LONDON Oct. 23, 1996 (AP) - A quarter-century after they split up, the Beatles are having their hottest year ever.

Six million back-catalog Beatles albums sold this year, topped by 13 million copies of two nw Beatles anthologies, Beatles publicist Geoff Baker said. That outdoes any year in the 1960s.

"The Beatles are now bigger than the Beatles," Baker said.

Sales from a third anthology due out Monday could put sales over the 20-million mark for the year, he said.

Baker said 41 percent of the album buyers are teen-agers, meaning the Beatles' mostlucrative fans now were born long after the band split up in 1970.

Gross record sales, TV rights and video sales are expected to earn about dlrs 735 million this year, with most of the money going to the EMI record company.

The Beatles' cut will be split among Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono. Lennon was shot to death in New York City in 1980.

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