History The Beatles

History The Beatles
History The Beatles
1957–60: Formation Main article:
The Quarrymen In March 1957, while attending Quarry Bank Grammar School in Liverpool, John Lennon formed a skiffle group called The Quarrymen. Lennon met guitarist Paul McCartney in St. Peter's Church, on 6 July 1957; Lennon added him to the group a few days later. On 6 February 1958 the 14-year-old guitarist George Harrison was invited to watch the group, which was then playing under a variety of names, at Wilson Hall, Garston, Liverpool.

McCartney had become acquainted with Harrison on the morning bus ride to the Liverpool Institute, as they both lived in Speke. Despite Lennon's initial reluctance due to Harrison's young age, Harrison joined the Quarrymen as lead guitarist at McCartney's insistence after a rehearsal in March 1958. Lennon and McCartney both played rhythm guitar during that period and, after original Quarrymen drummer Colin Hanton left the band in 1959 following an argument with other band members, had a high turnover of drummers. Lennon's art school friend Stuart Sutcliffe joined on bass in January 1960. The Quarrymen went through a progression of names, including "Johnny and the Moondogs" and "Long John and The Beatles".

Sutcliffe suggested the name "The Beetles" as a tribute to Buddy Holly and The Crickets. After a tour with Johnny Gentle in Scotland, the band changed their name to "The Beatles". Lennon's first wife, Cynthia Lennon, suggested that Lennon came up with the name The Beatles at a "brainstorming session over a beer-soaked table in the Renshaw Hall bar."Lennon, who was well known for giving multiple versions of the same story, joked in a 1961 Mersey Beat newspaper article that "It came in a vision — a man appeared on a flaming pie and said unto them, 'From this day on you are Beatles with an A'".During an interview in 2001, McCartney took credit for the peculiar spelling of the name, saying that "John had the idea of calling us the Beetles; I said, 'How about The Beatles; you know, like the beat of the drum?' At the time, everyone was stoned enough to find it hilarious.

It's funny how history is made." In May 1960, the then Silver Beetles toured northeast Scotland as a back-up band with singer Johnny Gentle, whom the band had met an hour before their first gig. McCartney referred to the tour as a great experience for the band. For the tour, the often drummer-less group secured the services of Tommy Moore, who was considerably older than the others. Moore left the band soon after the tour and went back to work in a bottling factory as a forklift truck driver. Norman Chapman was the band's next drummer, but was called up for National Service a few weeks later. His departure posed a serious problem, for the group's unofficial manager, Allan Williams, had arranged for them to perform in clubs on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, West Germany.


Hamburg, Cavern Club and Brian Epstein Finding themselves without a drummer before their upcoming engagement in Hamburg, the group invited Pete Best to become their drummer on 12 August 1960. Best had played with The Blackjacks in The Casbah Coffee Club, owned by his mother, Mona Best; a cellar club in West Derby, Liverpool, The Beatles played there and often visited. Four days after hiring Best, the group left for Hamburg. The Beatles began playing in Hamburg at the Indra Club and moved to the Kaiserkeller in October 1960.

They were required to play six or seven hours a night, seven nights a week. On 21 November 1960 Harrison was deported for having lied to the German authorities about his age. A week later, having started a small fire at their living quarters while vacating it for more luxurious rooms, McCartney and Best were arrested, charged with arson, and deported. Lennon followed the others to Liverpool in mid-December while Sutcliffe stayed behind in Hamburg with his new German fiancée Astrid Kirchherr. The reunited group played an engagement on 17 December 1960 at the Casbah Club, with Chas Newby substituting for Sutcliffe.

The Beatles returned to Hamburg in April 1961, performing at the "Top Ten Club". While playing at the Top Ten Club, they were recruited by singer Tony Sheridan to act as his backing band on a series of recordings for the German Polydor Records label, produced by famed bandleader Bert Kaempfert. Kaempfert signed the group to its own Polydor contract at the first session on 22 June 1961. On 31 October Polydor released the recording "My Bonnie (Mein Herz ist bei dir nur)", which appeared on the German charts under the name "Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers", a generic name used for whoever happened to be in Sheridan's backup band.

A few copies were also pressed under the Decca label for United States disc jockeys, as American Decca had a distribution deal with Polydor parent Deutsche Grammophon. When the group returned to Liverpool, Sutcliffe stayed in Hamburg with Kirchherr. McCartney took over bass duties. The band returned to Liverpool from Germany, and on Tuesday, 21 February 1961, they made their first lunchtime appearance at The Cavern Club in Mathew Street.

Their stage show had been through a lot of changes, and some in the audience thought they were watching a German band. From 1961 to 1962 The Beatles made 292 appearances at the club, culminating in a final appearance there on 3 August 1963. On 9 November 1961, Brian Epstein, owner of the North End Music Store (NEMS) on Great Charlotte Street, saw The Beatles for the first time in the club. Epstein became aware of the group after he received requests for the Sheridan/Beatles recording of "My Bonnie."

In a meeting with the group at North End Music Store on 10 December 1961, Brian Epstein proposed the idea of managing the group. The Beatles signed a five-year contract with Epstein on 24 January 1962.He then formed the management company NEMS Enterprises. Epstein led The Beatles' search for a British recording contract. Epstein had been manager of the record department at NEMS, an offshoot of his family's furniture store. He played on the status of NEMS as a major record dealer to gain access to producers and recording company executives.

When Epstein contacted Kaempfert about the Polydor contract, Kaempfert told Epstein he was only interested in The Beatles as Sheridan's backup group. Kaempfert then agreed to release The Beatles from their Polydor contract. In a now-famous exchange, Decca Records A&R executive Dick Rowe turned Epstein down flat, informing him that "guitar groups are on the way out, Mr. Epstein." (See The Decca audition.) While Epstein was negotiating with Decca, he also approached EMI marketing executive Ron White. White, who was not himself a record producer, in turn contacted EMI producers Norrie Paramor, Walter Ridley, and Norman Newell; all of them declined to record The Beatles. White did not approach EMI's fourth staff producer — George Martin — who was on holiday at the time. The Beatles returned to Hamburg from 13 April to 31 May 1962, where they performed at the opening of The Star Club. Upon their arrival, they were informed of Sutcliffe's death from a brain hemorrhage.

1962: Record contract
After failing to impress Decca Records, Epstein went to the HMV store on Oxford Street in London to transfer the Decca tapes to discs. There, recording engineer Jim Foy referred him to Sid Coleman, who ran EMI's publishing arm. Epstein eventually met with Martin, who signed the group to EMI's Parlophone label on a one-year renewable contract. The Beatles' first recording session was scheduled for 6 June 1962 at EMI's Abbey Road Studios in north London.

Martin had not been particularly impressed by the band's demo recordings, but he liked The Beatles' personalities when he met them. He concluded that they had raw musical talent, but stated in later interviews that what made the difference for him was their wit and humour. Martin had a problem with Pete Best, whom he criticised for not being able to keep time. Martin privately suggested to Epstein that the band use another drummer in the studio. There was speculation by some that Best's popularity with fans was another source of friction.

In addition, Epstein became exasperated with his refusal to adopt the distinctive hairstyle as part of the band's unified look. Best also had missed a number of engagements because of illness. The three founding members of the band enlisted Epstein to dismiss Best, which he did on 16 August 1962. They asked Richard Starkey, known as Ringo Starr, to join the band; Starr was the drummer for one of the top Merseybeat groups, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, and had performed occasionally with The Beatles in Hamburg. The first recordings of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr together were made as early as 15 October 1960, in a series of demonstration records privately recorded in Hamburg while acting as the backing group for singer Lu Walters. Starr played on The Beatles' second EMI recording session on 4 September 1962, but Martin hired session drummer Andy White for their next session on 11 September. White's only released performances were recordings of "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You", found on The Beatles' first album.

Their recording contract paid them one penny for each single sold, which was split amongst the four Beatles — one farthing per group member. This royalty rate was reduced for singles sold outside the UK, for which they received half of one penny (again split between the whole band) per single. Martin said later that it was a "pretty awful" contract. The Beatles' first EMI session on 6 June 1962 did not yield any recordings considered worthy of release, but the September sessions a few months later produced a minor UK hit "Love Me Do", which peaked on the charts at number seventeen. "Love Me Do" would reach the top of the U.S. singles chart over eighteen months later in May 1964.

1962–63: Fame in the UK
On 26 November 1962 the band recorded their second single "Please Please Me", which reached number two on the official UK charts and number one on the NME chart. Three months later, they recorded their first album, also titled Please Please Me (1962). The band's first televised performance was on the People and Places programme, transmitted live from Manchester by Granada Television on 17 October 1962. As The Beatles' fame spread, the frenzied adulation of the group, predominantly from teenage female fans, was dubbed "Beatlemania".

The band also began to be noticed by serious music critics. On 23 December 1963, The Times music critic William Mann published an essay extolling The Beatles' compositions, including their "fresh and euphonious" guitars in "Till There Was You", their "submediant switches from C major into A flat major", and the "octave ascent" in "I Want to Hold Your Hand". The Beatles themselves were perplexed by this analysis by Mann: "...one gets the impression that they think simultaneously of harmony and melody, so firmly are the major tonic sevenths and ninths built into their tunes, and the flat-submediant key-switches, so natural is the Aeolian cadence at the end of 'Not a Second Time' (the chord progression which ends Mahler's 'Song of the Earth')."

In was also in 1963 that the Beatles' iconic logo (referred to as the "drop-T" logo) made its debut. The logo, with an extended "T" emphasizing the word "Beat", was designed by Ivor Arbiter, music store proprietor, who sold Epstein a new kit. Arbiter was paid £5 for the design, which was painted on the bass drum by a local sign-writer.

1963–64: American success
Although the band experienced huge popularity on the British record charts in early 1963, EMI's American operation, Capitol Records, declined to issue the singles "Please Please Me" and "From Me to You", their first official number one hit in the UK. Vee-Jay Records, a large independent (mostly R&B) Chicago label, issued the singles as part of a deal for the rights to another performer's masters. Art Roberts, music director of popular Chicago radio station WLS, placed "Please Please Me" into radio rotation in late February 1963, arguably the first time a Beatles record was heard on American radio. Vee-Jay's rights to The Beatles were later cancelled for non-payment of royalties.

In August 1963, Philadelphia-based Swan Records released "She Loves You", which also failed to receive airplay. A testing of the song on Dick Clark's TV show American Bandstand produced laughter from American teenagers when they saw the group's distinctive hairstyles. In early November 1963, Brian Epstein persuaded Ed Sullivan to present The Beatles on three editions of his show in February, and parlayed this guaranteed exposure into a record deal with Capitol Records. Capitol committed to a mid-January release of "I Want to Hold Your Hand". On 10 December 1963, a 5-minute story shot in England about the phenomenon of Beatlemania was shown on the CBS Evening News.

The segment first aired on the CBS Morning News on 22 November and had originally been scheduled to be repeated on that day's Evening News, but regular programming was cancelled following the assassination of John F. Kennedy that day. The segment inspired a teenage girl named Marsha Albert living in Silver Spring, Maryland to write to Carroll James, a disc jockey at Washington DC's WWDC radio station, requesting that he play records by The Beatles.

Carroll James had seen the same news story and arranged through a friend to have a copy of The Beatles' new single "I Want to Hold Your Hand" sent over to him in Washington DC. Immediately after debuting the record on December 17, the station received overwhelming positive audience reaction, with the station escalating airplay of the record. Made aware of the overwhelming listener response, Capitol Records president Alan Livingston decided a few days later to take advantage of the response and rush-release the already-prepared single three weeks ahead of schedule on 26 December 1963.

Several New York radio stations began playing "I Want to Hold Your Hand" on its release day. The positive response to the record that had started in Washington was duplicated in New York and quickly spread to other markets. The record sold one million copies in just ten days, and by 16 January 1964, Cashbox magazine had certified the record number one, in the edition datelined 23 January.

Source : http://wikipedia.org/