Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Sunday, June 2, 1963

The Beatles - Hippodrome Theatre, Middle Street, Brighton, Sussex

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Saturday, June 1, 1963

BBC Paris Studio, London and Granada Cinema, Mitcham Rd. Tooting, London

Another hectic day for the Beatles eight hours inside a BBC radio studio followed by two separate "House" at the Tooting Granada with the Roy Orbison package tour.

The BBC session was for both the second and third editions in their own series "Pop Go The Beatles". Curiously, Program 3 was taped first, between 9:30 am and 1:30 pm, Number 2 was then recorded between 1:30 and 5:30. (A rehearsal element was included in these timings). The Beatles' guests in Program 3 were Carter-Lewis and the Southerners, and in Program 2 the Countrymen.

Before the series began, the Beatles let it be known that they would use the privileged BBC airtime to broadcast songs that had formed the backbone of their pre-fame live repertoire. An article in the New Musical Express of May 24, 1963 stated, "The Beatles will sing 5 or 6 numbers in each presentation. R&B material will be strongly featured. It was an interesting decision, for although they did play a few Lennon-McCartney numbers, they certainly could have featured them much more. Instead, the Beatles opted for versatility, letting the British public hear the songs they could no longer perform in live concerts now restricted to 20-25 minutes and hit material.

It was because of this decision that people have been able to hear - and preserve - studio environment, often live in-one-take recordings of rare Beatles performances, a huge cache of remarkable material.

In Program 3, broadcast in the Light Programme between 5:00 and 5:29 pm on Tuesday, June 18th, the group sang "A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues", "Memphis, Tennesse", "A Taste Of Honey", "Sure To Fall In Love With You", "Money, That's What I Want", and "From Me To You".

In Program 2, transmitted in the Light Programme between 5:00 and 5:20 pm on Tuesday, June 11th, the Beatles performed "Too Much Monkey Business", "I Got To Find My Baby", "Youngblood", "Baby, It's You", "Till There Was You", and "Love Me Do".

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Friday, May 31, 1963

The Beatles - Odeon Cinema, High St. Southend-on-Sea, Essex

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Thursday, May 30, 1963

Odeon Cinema, Oxford St. Manchester, Lancashire

This concert was reviewed in the Daily Express by it's northern show-business correspondent, Derek Taylor, who subsequently became Brian Epstein's personal assistant and then the Beatle's and Apple Records' press officer.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Wednesday, May 29, 1963

The Beatles - Rialto Theatre, York

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Tuesday, May 28, 1963

The Beatles - Gaumont Cinema, Foregate St. Worcester, Worcs

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Monday, May 27, 1963

The Beatles - Capitol Cinema, Dock St. Cardiff, Glamorganshire

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Sunday, May 26, 1963

Empire Theatre, Liverpool

The Beatle's first home town appearance in more than six weeks. They were fast outgrowing the city.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Saturday, May 25, 1963

The Beatles - City Hall, Sheffield

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Friday, May 24, 1963

Studio Two, Aeolian Hall, New Bond St. London and Granada Cinema, Hoe St., Walthamstow, London

Proof positive of the Beatles' meteoric rise to fame, the visit to the BBC's Aeolian Hall premises in central London saw them record the first program in their very own radio series, "Pop Go The Beatles". For a group which, only a year previously, had still no record for EMI, and had only enjoyed two number one records, it was a remarkable coup - and also a brave move for the Corporation.

The series was born out of a suggestion made by Vernon Lawrence, a young studio manager within Radio Light Entertainment who sent his idea to Donald MacLean, his assistant head of department. MacLean approved and initiated the series, commending Lawrence for his judgment. Within 4 weeks a series title had been decided, recording and broadcast dates booked, and a £100 per program budget allocated to producer Terry Henebery.

Initially, 4 programs were commissioned, with an option for a further 11 if these proved successful. The format was typical of the times, as resident stars, the Beatles would have a guest act each week. There would also be a resident compere: radio actor and occasional disc-jockey Lee Peters held this post for the first 4 programs. The show was transmitted every Tuesday on the Light Programme from 5:00 to 5:29 pm, a proven slot for pop.

The program also had a theme tune, a rocked-up variation of the nursery rhyme, "Pop goes the Weasel", especially re-arranged by one Mr. Patrick. The Beatles recorded it at this initial session, though, reputedly, they had some trouble doing so and were aided in the task by the program's first guest group, the Lorne Gibson Trio. Each show in the series opened and closed with this May 24th recording, usually around 20 seconds worth at the start and of variable length at the end, faded to suit broadcast needs and sometimes running to more than a minute.

The Beatles and the Lorne Gibson Trio recorded this program together, 2:00-6:00 pm inclusive of rehearsal time, and the end result, broadcast on Tuesday, June 4th, had the Beatles performing "From me to you", "Everybody's trying to be my baby", "Do you want to know a secret", "You really got a hold on me", "Misery", and "The Hippy Hippy Shake".

The BBC's Audience Research Dept. published a report on the first program which estimated that 5.3 per cent of the British population tuned in, something like 2.8 million people, a typical figure for this time of the day, reactions varied from the ecstatic "Really with it" to the unimpressed "They make an obnoxious noise", giving an overall, surprisingly below-average Appreciation Index of 52 (out of a maximum 100).

In the evening, after all the BBC excitement, the Beatles continued the Roy Orbison package tour with two "houses" at the Walthamstow Granada in North London.