Beatles go to Manchester and play for BBC for the first time.
Since Brian Epstein had signed on to manage The Beatles, they were actually in a position to “get somewhere”. They got that audition/recording session with DECCA on Jan 1 and by Feb. sometime, they finally found out they were refused by the label for the famous given reason of guitar groups being on their way out etc, etc…(Incidentally, Pete Best was the last to find out about that a week after the others on the flimsy excuse that they didn’t want to ‘bum him out‘) Whatever.
Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe that Ringo made his first appearance with The Beatles in Feb as well. Also in Feb, Brian sent off a letter to Polydor in Germany to be released from their contract with them and Tony Sheridan, and that on June 30, The Beatles would cease to be Polydor artists. But more on that in April.
Shortly after the DECCA thing on New Years, Brian made an application to BBC to get The Beatles some wide spread exposure on the radio. They auditioned in Feb. and the band ‘passed’, although apparently, McCartney didn’t get a passing grade on his vocals! In February, the booking was confirmed to record their set in front of an audience at the Playhouse in Manchester on March 7th, wearing their SUITS for the first time. The program was broadcast the next evening.
This is 50 years ago! And they still didn’t really have any idea how big it was going to get even though they were starting to be on the upswing in their career. And it was still the original four members. The last personnel change would really be at ‘the last minute’. But at this point the boys hadn’t yet met George Martin and seen the light at the end of the tunnel.
At any rate, this was a pretty big break for the unsigned group to get national exposure on the BBC.
And amazingly enough, a recording exists of this first ever BBC/live Beatles performance and one of just a handful of live songs with Pete Best on drums. I don’t think it’s that hard to find if you know where to look but the sound quality is unfortunately poor. I have it and it is kind of exciting in that it’s a rare piece of musical history, much like the Quarrymen 78 that appeared on Anthology 1.
Well, I’ll be back with more 50 year old news in April. I bet you can’t wait!