The Beatles rose from the skiffle sensation of the late-fifties British music scene to play cover sets in Hamburg nightclubs. They played long sets over a grueling period of learning the art of performing live. Ringo was in a different band at the time, and the two groups shared the majority of the nightclub scene in Hamburg. Eventually, the Beatles began writing their own songs. This was in order to have more variety on nights when both bands were playing the same cover versions of the same R&B artists. At the time, most bands in the UK played nothing but covers. The artists covered included Little Richard, Buddy Holly, and Chuck Berry.
Eventually, the Beatles began to discover their own sound, and actually had their first chart hit in 1962 with an original composition entitled “Love Me Do.” It made it up to #21 on the charts, and they followed it with their first number one hit, “Please Please Me.” There is a hilarious bootleg recording of the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards trying to figure out the song in his hotel room before finally losing interest and muttering that he could have done a better bridge.
They would release two successful UK albums before legendary producer Nik Venet would convince them that they could conquer the United States. The Beatles not only conquered the US, but they took over the entire world and changed the course of pop music forever, before their breakup in 1969. Please continue to check back on the site for rare audio and video updates.
The Beatles were John Lennon’s band, he put them together and was their leader and cheerleader. When John Lennon shouted ”Where are we going boys?” the others would reply “To the Toppermost of the Poppermost, Johnny”. He made the big decisons and sang the bulk of the lead vocals. At one point the band was even called Johnny and the Moondogs, thankfully it was later changed to the Beatles. On the Fab Four’s A Hard Days Night soundtrack album John wrote 10 of the 13 songs credited to Lennon/McCartney. John’s wit and sarcasm became a defining trademark of the band during the Beatles concerts (and on a number of occasions got the band in a little bit of hot water), interviews and most famously the Beatles press conferences.
It was the 1st song I wrote that was consciously about my life. (sings) “There are places I’ll remember…all my life though some have changed…” Before, we were just writing songs a’ la the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly- pop songs with no more thought to them than that. The words were almost irrelevant. In My Life started out as a bus journey from my house at 250 Menlove Avenue to town, mentioning all the places I could recall. I wrote it all down and it was boring. So I forgot about it and laid back and these lyrics started coming to me about friends and lovers of the past. Paul helped with the middle eight.
From Bill Harry- Editor of Mersey Beat Magazine
In 1960 when I decided to found Mersey Beat and report on the local scene, I commissioned John to pen a short biography of the band. Some months later we were sitting in the Jacaranda when he handed it to me, shortly before the group set off on their second trip to Hamburg. It was something totally unexpected. its sheer wackiness delighted me. I immediately ordered him coffee and jam toast!
The piece appeared on page 2 of issue No. 1 published on July 6 1961. The humour of it appealed to me. it was the time of the Goons (who regularly said ‘you rotten swine’) and at Junior Art School I’d been involved with some friends in what we called the Natty Nut Society. I was also interested in the Nonsense Novels of Stephen Leacock.
As a result, I decided to print the biography as John had written it, without altering a single word. It had no title, so I made up the heading ‘Being A Short Diversion On The Dubious Origins Of Beatles (Translated From The John Lennon)’. And here it is:
Once upon a time there were three little boys called John, George and Paul, by name christened. They decided to get together because they were the getting together type. When they were together they wondered what for after all, what for? So all of a sudden they grew guitars and fashioned a noise. Funnily enough, no one was interested, least of all the three little men. So-o-o-o on discovering a fourth little even littler man called Stuart Sutcliffe running about them they said, quite ‘Sonny get a bass guitar and you will be alright’ and he did – but he wasn’t alright because he couldn’t play it. So they sat on him with comfort ’til he could play. Still there was no beat, and a kindly old man said, quote ‘Thou hast not drums!’ We had no drums! they coffed. So a series of drums came and went and came.
Suddenly, in Scotland, touring with Johnny Gentle, the group (called the Beatles called) discovered they had not a very nice sound – because they had no amplifiers. They got some.
Many people ask what are Beatles? Why Beatles? Ugh, Beatles, how did the name arrive? So we will tell you. 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’. Thank you, mister man, they said, thanking him.
And then a man with a beard cut off said – will you go to Germany (Hamburg) and play mighty rock for the peasants for money? And we said we would play mighty anything for money.
But before we could go we had to grow a drummer, so we grew one in West Derby in a club called Some Casbah and his trouble was Pete Best. we called ‘Hello Pete, come off to Germany!’ ‘Yes!’ Zooooom. After a few months, Peter and Paul (who is called McArtrey, son of Jim McArtrey, his father) lit a Kino (cinema) and the German police said ‘Bad Beatles, you must go home and light your English cinemas’. Zooooom, half a group. But before even this, the Gestapo had taken my friend little George Harrison (of speke) away because he was only twelve and too young to vote in Germany; but after two months in England he grew eighteen and the Gestapoes said ‘you can come’. So suddenly all back in Liverpool Village were many groups playing in grey suits and Jim said ‘Why have you no grey suits?’ ‘We don’t like them, Jim’ we said, speaking to Jim.
After playing in the clubs a bit, everyone said ‘Go to Germany!’ So we are. Zooooom Stuart gone. Zoom zoom John (of Woolton) George (of Speke) Peter and Paul zoom zoom. All of them gone. Thank you club members, from John and George (what are friends).
Paul and I finished that one off for the Stones. We were taken down by Brian to meet them at the club that they were playing in Richmond. They wanted a song and we went to see what kind of stuff they did. Paul had this bit of a song and we played it roughly for them and they said “Yeah, Ok, that’s our style.” But it was really only a lick, so Paul and I went off in the corner of the room and finished the song off while they were sitting there, talking. We came back and Mick and Keith said “Jesus, look at that, they just went over there and wrote it.” You know, right in front of their eyes. We gave it to then it was a throwaway. Ringo sang it for us and the Stones did their version. That was the Stones 1st record. Anyway, Mick & Keith said “If they can write a song so easily, we should try it.” They say it inspired them to start writing songs together.
Members of the Beatles, and their biographies, stretches back to early 1957 when John Lennon formed the Quarrymen (named after his Quarrybank School). On July 7th 1957, Ivan Vaughn, a mutual friend of John Lennon’s and Paul McCartney’s, brought them together at the Woolton Village Fete and the rest, as they say, is history. John invited Paul to join the band (according to Paul “Because I knew all the words to Eddie Cochran’s “Twenty Flight Rock”…and Paul brought his younger but musically superior friend George Harrison (George could read music, John & Paul could not…but boy could they write!) and in the summer of 1962 Ringo replaced Pete Best as the Beatles drummer. This was the line up for the band until they broke up at the end of 1969.
Along this timeline there are many other important people that helped (or sometimes hindered) the Beatles historical progression like: Brian Epstein, George Martin, Allen Klein, Stu Sutcliffe, Pete Best, Tony Sheridan, Dick James, Pattie Boyd, Cynthia Lennon, Jane Asher, Maureen Cox, Linda McCartney, Derek Taylor, Mal Evans and many more. In this section you’ll get biographical background on each of these members of the Beatles, their entourage and wives and girlfriends.