On May 14, 1968, Paul McCartney and John Lennon went on The Tonight Show to announce the formation of their new company. "We've got this thing called Apple," said Lennon, "which is going to be records, films, and electronics."
The same quotation could have been made by Steve Jobs decades ago of his own company of the same name, if he foresaw even then moving beyond personal computing and into the realm of media distribution, epitomized by iTunes.
As you know by now, the two Apples have finally joined forces. After years of waiting, The Beatles come to iTunes today. Available for download are a box set that collects 256 songs, video of their first US concert, and a mini-documentary for $149 dollars. Individual tracks are available for $1.29, and individual albums for between $12.99 and $19.99 (for double albums).
The Beatles may be late adopters in the iTunes revolution, but throughout their careers, they were early adopters of unusual instruments, new techniques, and technologies as Lennon's intriguing mention of "electronics" on The Tonight Show suggested. Despite their delayed foray into the digital age, The Beatles were the most innovative rock band of all time, as this slideshow illustrates, and long after the group's demise, they inspired others to sample and experiment with the Fab Four's work, with or without their permission.