The Beatles came to WorldWide fame in 1963, with the exception of the US who only caught up in 1964 but to fully understand their impact on the World it’s best to understand a little of the music industry before them.
It’s like delving back into Medieval History. The industry was 99% run by a very few middle-aged record executives in the US and nearly all Pop-songs were written by middle-aged writers in office buildings in NYC. #songwriting factories.
Imagine being forced to listen to your parents/grandparents dreariest, durgiest music whenever you turned on the radio or watched TV. That in 1962 was a reality. Imagine dressing like them, thinking like them, being mini versions of them!
The brief explosion of pop music & teen pop culture with Elvis Presley & Rock ‘n roll, five or six years earlier had been successfully neautralized by the mainstream record industry.
The Beatles were the 1st Rock group, even the 1st Pop group in the sense that we know it now to gain International success.
In most countries of the World, their success was instantaneous. A country heard of them & next day they were phonomenoms but it had involved five years of very hard work to reach that position in the UK first.
Along the way, there were SIX members who became Beatles.(more claim to have played in The Beatles but six played regularly) John Lennon had been playing in a group called the Quarrymen, largely influenced by Elvis & Rock ‘n Roll. Paul met him & saw the group play at a village fete in July 1957. Pauls’ friend George Harrison Joined the Quarreymen in early 1958. They were playing local Coffee Houses but still had no drummer.In late 1959, they changed their name to Johnny & the Moondogs auditioned to go on a TV talent show but were not successful
A new member joined the band, Stuart Sutcliffe, The first time the Beatles name was used was in1960. Thought of by John & Stuart & taken from a Motorcycle gang in the Marlon Brando film, The Wild Ones, called the Beetles. John changed the spelling of Beetles to BEATles to align it to the Beat of music. Their then Manager didn’t like the name, a compromise was reached & they called themselves The Silver Beatles. Throughout this time they played Coffee house & local dance Halls, basically, where-ever would book them.
As The Silver Beatles, they passed an audition to back a Liverpool singer, Billy Fury (very well known at the time) but then toured as a backing band for Johnny Gentle (slightly known Nationwide but more popular in the North of England) at a few dance Halls in Scotland (2-300 miles North of Liverpool) still with no Drummer, though Paul played on drums sometimes. George played Lead Guitar. John & Stuart on Rhythm Guitar.
It was in 1960, just before going to Hamburg that ‘The Beatles’ name was first used. & it was in Hamburg that the really hard work began, contracted to play 4 hours per night during the week, 6 hours on a Saturday and Sunday. Though often they would be playing for 8 hours each night. The music they largely played was the rock ‘n roll standards they had been playing at The Cavern club in Liverpool. Never repeating a song twice in any set. While in Hamburg they recorded there 1st record, as the backing group for Tony Sheridan (fairly well known at the time) called My Bonnie(Credited as Tony Sheridan and The Beats). It eventually went on to sell over 1 million records on the back of The Beatles fame but in my opinion is not good, (The Beatles only played instrumental backing)
While in Germany, Stuart decided to leave the Beatles but not before Stuarts’ girlfriend, Astrid Kirchherr had smartened them up a little with tailored leather suits & had brushed Stuart’s hair forward, in the style that later all the Beatles would adopt.
The Beatles had their contract terminated on the 30th November 1960 because the German authorities discovered that George, being only 17, was underage and eventually returned to Liverpool in July 1961 . At home, playing in the local Town Halls & Ballrooms & lunchtimes at the Cavern club. Then came another big break, Hamburg being the first as they were able to really hone their act. One of largest Record shop in Liverpool & certainly the most tuned in was NEMS, run by the Epstein family.
A few of the people who went to see The Beatles at The Cavern had heard that they had made a record in Gernamy, so asked in NEMS if they could get a copy. Brian Epstein, the Epstein son who was managing the record shop, was interested to hear The Beatles, as he had had request for a record with them playing on. So he went just a few streets away to Mortimer Street & The Cavern club to see & hear them. He liked what he heard & the potential he saw in them. Later he his quoted saying “There was something enormously attractive about them. I liked the way they worked & the obvious enthusiasm they put into their numbers. Each had something that I could see would be highly commercial, if only someone could push it to the top. They were different characters but they were so obviously part of the whole.” They made an informal agreement with Brian, that he could become their manager if he could get them a recording contract. He made them give up their Black leather outfits & put on smart suits.
On January 1st 1962 The Beatles auditioned for Decca Records. They recorded 15 songs but were told NO, as 2guitar groups were on the way out”!!! 1 radio appearance & 1 TV appearance followed in 1962. It was in May 1962 that George Martin, head of the E.M.I. Parlophone label (up till then, a comedy record label) put his signature to a record contract, on the strength of hearing their Decca tapes. But he wanted to meet them first before adding the official E.M.I. signature to it. At their first meeting, he liked John, Paul & George but didn’t like their drummer (Pete Best) & said they would have to record with a session drummer. The final signature was put on the contract & The Beatles were signed to Parlophone (E.M.I)
So ended the 1st stage of the Beatles career, Their aim to have a recording contract was secure (for the moment) Their next dream was to have a record played on the radio. They maybe hoped for a record to enter the UK charts but there was no way they would even have dreamed of the superstardom that was to follow. It was unprecedented for a British act (or any Non-US act) to gain World Wide acclaim. Only a couple of UK records had ever charted in the US, yet within 2 years 60% of ALL pop records sold in the US were Beatle records.
They would go on to change forever, not only pop-music but the entire pop music
Pictures & info are for the sole purpose of promoting the artist and its history, all rights belong to them.
By Normy / @cool65uk