The origins of The Beatles Born in WWII Liverpool John Lennon and Ringo Starr in 1940 Paul McCartney in 1942 George Harrison in 1943 Liverpool was the second largest city in England in the 18 9h and first half of the 20 th centuries. Huge seaport and made much of its great fortunes in the slave trade It had fallen on tough times by the post WWII era, as it was supplanted as a port by greater London and cities like Glasgow. It also was heavily bombed in WWII by the Germans. Britain struggled after WWII with war devastation, a destroyed economy and food rationing. Meanwhile, Rock n Roll has broken through in the U.S. by 1955, and starts to catch on in Britain by 1956-57. Many British teens started an obsession with American RnR, RnB and a little later, Blues. John and Paul meet as teens in 1956 and form their first group, The Quarrymen George joins a year later, and they slowly morph from “skiffle” (a British folk genre) to Rock n Roll by 1958 and start palying all over Liverpool They start playing six nights a week 6-8 hours a night for six months in Hamburg in 1960, and this makes them into a formidable band. By 1961, they are the most popular group in Liverpool. They make continuous trips to Hamburg for several months at a time, by 1962 becoming the most popular group in Hamburg. They get a manager in 1962, the affluent owner of the biggest store in Liverpool, Brian Epstein.
He promptly “cleans them up”by getting rid of their leather jackets and pants, and putting them into expensive suits He also tries to “shop them” to record labels in London, striking out with each one. He finally gets George Martin, the head of Parlophone, a comedy label subsidiary of EMI (who has already turned them down) to record them on a single. He agrees, mostly because he thinks they are funny. He also insists that he won’t use their drummer, Pete Best, on the recordings, because he is not good enough. This precipitates the band’s desire to fire him, which they make manager Epstein do! Their first single, Love Me Do , is released in late 1962, and it just barely reaches the top 30 national charts. Their second single, Please Please Me , released in early 63, hits number one quickly, bringing on the beginning of “Bealemania” in the UK. Capitol Records in the US has the rights to release this in the US, but passes on it, thinking it won’t catch on here. All the other major labels in the US pass on it as well. It ends up coming out a an independent label, Vee JAY, and promptly flops.
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- Spring '08
- Brian Epstein, ed Sullivan, British form Liverpool, new single starts, American Capitol Records