50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Wednesday, May 29, 1963-

The Beatles - Rialto Theatre, York

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Tuesday, May 28, 1963-

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

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Monday, May 27, 1963-

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

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : 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.

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Saturday, May 25, 1963-

The Beatles - City Hall, Sheffield

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : 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.

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Thursday, May 23, 1963-

The Beatles - Odeon Cinema, Angel Row, Nottingham, Notts

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Wednesday, May 22, 1963-

Gaumont Cinema, St. Helen's Street. Ipswich, Suffolk

The resumption of the Orbison package tour.

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Tuesday, May 21, 1963-

Playhouse Theatre, London

Two separate sessions for BBC Radio. The first session was for Saturday Club, a special occasion in that it was the Beatles first top of the bill appearance on this program. It began with a rehearsal from 2:30, the actual recording taking place between 5:30 and 6:30 pm. The tape was then inserted into the next edition of the series, broadcast on the Light Programme between 10:00 and 12:00 noon on May 25th.

In addition to some witty conversation with host Brian Matthew, the Beatles performed six songs, "I saw her standing there", "Do you want to know a secret", "Boys", "Long tall Sally", "From me to you", "Money (That's what I want)". The last three numbers fell within the last half hour of the program, simultaneously broadcast by the BBC's General Oversees Service.

After a 45 minute break for dinner, the Beatles returned to the Playhouse to rehearse and record a new show for the Light Programme, "Steppin Out", broadcast on 'Bank Holiday', Monday, June 3rd. Before playing their first couple of numbers. Diz Disley, host of the show, introduced the Beatles - "We have four young fella's who, since they emerged from the trackless interior of Merseyside a mere matter of months ago, have been playing 'em in the aisles all over the Isles - from Land's End to John O'Groats - so mind your backs, wacks, for it's the earth-shaking sounds of The Beatles!". This was typical "hip" radio speak for pop radio and TV programs for the day.

Before a very enthusiastic audience, the Beatles performed six songs, "Please please me", "I saw her standing there", "Roll over Beethoven", "Twist and Shout", "Thank You Girl", and "From me to you". "Twist and Shout" was edited out of the broadcast tape, however.

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Monday, May 20, 1963-

The Beatles at Gaumont Cinema, Commercial Rd. Southampton, Hampshire

After this date, the Orbison tour took a one-day break, resuming on the 22nd.

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