Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 years ago today: July 14, 1964 (Tuesday)

Studios B7/S2, Broadcasting House, London

The Beatles made an appearance on the first edition of the BBC radio show Top Gear, a weekly late-night pop music programme, on this day.

Not to be confused with the BBC television show of the same name about motor vehicles, Top Gear was produced by Bernie Andrews, who had worked on the Saturday Club radio show, and was presented by Brian Matthew. This first episode was broadcast two days after the recording, on the BBC Light Programme service, from 10pm on 16 July 1964.

The Beatles recorded six songs between 7 and 11pm at London’s Broadcasting House. They performed Long Tall Sally, Things We Said Today, A Hard Day’s Night, And I Love Her, If I Fell and You Can’t Do That.

This was the only occasion in which The Beatles performed And I Love Her outside EMI Studios. The song never made it into their stage repertoire, despite its popularity, and the group never performed it during their other numerous television and radio appearances.

George Martin was supposed to have joined The Beatles to play the piano solo on A Hard Day’s Night, but failed to show up. As a result, the solo from the studio version was edited into the recording. This version, along with Things We Said Today, was included on the 1994 compilation Live At The BBC.

Another anomaly was the inclusion of I Should Have Known Better in the programme. The Beatles did not perform the song during this session, but the EMI recording was played as if it had been.

The Beatles also joined host Brian Matthew for some light-hearted banter. While introducing And I Love Her, Ringo Starr was asked if he had any plans to write songs. He replied that he had written one, before Paul McCartney interjected by singing “Don’t pass me by, don’t make me cry, don’t make me blue”. Starr had first mentioned Don’t Pass Me By to the press in 1963, and McCartney had sung part of it during a 26 June 1964 interview in New Zealand, but it wouldn’t be recorded until 1968.

Prior to the day’s recording, Paul McCartney gave a 13-minute interview to the BBC’s Michael Smee for the programme Highlight, five minutes of which was broadcast on the General Overseas Service on Saturday 18 July from 11.15am. The interview was also taped at BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Place, London.

The Beatles 50 years ago today: July 13, 1964 (Monday)

The title track of The Beatles debut feature film and fourth US album was released as a single on this day in America.

A Hard Day’s Night was issued as Capitol 5222. Its b-side was I Should Have Known Better.

Its parent album had been released by United Artists, who owned the rights to the film. However, Capitol were able to issue the songs in other formats, hence the release of several songs from the soundtrack as singles.

The single entered the US charts five days after its release, and from 1 August spent two weeks at number one. On that day a record was set, as The Beatles held the number one positions in the single and album charts in both the UK and US.

The single A Hard Day’s Night sold more than a million copies in America in its first five weeks on sale.

The Beatles 50 years ago today: July 12, 1964 (Sunday)

Hippodrome Theatre, Brighton

The Beatles returned to the British stage this evening for the first of five summer Sunday concerts at seaside holiday resorts (plus another performed for TV purposes) - a far cry from the 47 they played in 1963.

One of the support acts this particular evening was temporary Beatles drummer Jimmy Nicol, together with his group the Shubdubs. But despite being on the same bill, the paths of Nicol and the Beatles failed to cross.

The Beatles 50 years ago today: July 11, 1964 ( Saturday)

Teddington Studio Centre, Teddington

A rare live appearance on the ABC Television programme Lucky Stars (Summer Spin), rare because performances for this show and its non-summer incarnation Thank Your Lucky Stars were usually taped six days ahead of transmission. This appearance would have been, too, were it not for an ITV technicians strike which aborted plans to pre-tape at the Alpha studios in Aston, Birmingham, the previous Sunday, July 5th.

Following their A Hard Day's Night northern premiere celebrations, the Beatles had left Liverpool airport at 1:30 am, arriving at London Airport at 3:00 am. After a few hours sleep, the group re-assembled in Central London, boarded a boat and travelled down the River Thames to ABC's Teddinton Studio Centre, which has its own mooring platform, arriving there at 1:45 pm for afternoon rehearsals and the 5:50 to 6:35 live transmission, in which they mimed to "A Hard Day's Night", "Long Tall Sally", "Things We Said Today", and "You Can't Do That".

The Beatles 50 years ago today: July 10, 1964 ( Friday)

Liverpool locations

The Beatles returned triumphant to their home-town for a press conference at Liverpool airport, a remarkable drive through the streets from there into the city centre, cheered and applauded every inch of the way, a civic reception held in their honour at the Town Hall and then, in the evening, the northern premiere of a Hard Day's Night at the Odeon Cinema. More than 200,000 Liverpudlians spent at least some part of the day greeting the group, a reception which, meant more to John, Paul, George and Ringo than any other.

Television cameras whirred for much of the day, with resulting footage going into news bulletins pretty much the world over. Additionally, this evening's BBC1 local news-magazine program, Look North featured a report on their airport arrival plus a four minute piece comprising actuality from the press conference and an exclusive interview with the Beatles by reporter Gerald Harrison. Over on Granada Television, Scene at 6:30, broadcast film of their arrival at Speke, an exlusive interview done at the airport and footage of the Town Hall balcony parade, John treating the massed crowd below to Sieg Heil signs.

The Beatles 50 years ago today: July 9, 1964 ( Thursday)

Don't know what happened on this day. If you do, let us know!

The Beatles 50 years ago today: July 8, 1964 ( Wednesday)

For Paul McCartney's father's James' 62nd birthday, his son gave him a picture of a horse. "Very nice," James said. "It's not just the picture, dad. I bought you the bloody horse," said Paul.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : July 7, 1964 (Tuesday)

Studio E, Lime Grove Studios, London and Television House, London

Release of a new single meant more appearances on Top of the Pops. The Beatles this day taped mimed performances of three songs; the new A and B sides, "A Hard Day's Night" and "Things we said today", and also the title track of their new EP, "Long Tall Sally".

Brian Epstein had agreed that the Beatles would tape their contribution in Manchester on July 8, a few hours ahead of transmission, but then changed his mind. Instead, they were engaged for an afternoon taping session without an audience at Lime Grove Studios in West London. Immediately after, the Beatles were driven across town to Television House, Rediffusion's central London studio, where they taped an interview for transmission a few minutes later in Granada Television's Scene at 6:30 programme, discussing a Hard Day's Night. (A short clip was shown).

Also on this day, probably while he was at Television House, John gave an interview to New Musical Express news editor Chris Hutchins, although not for the paper. Hutchins had also been taken on as a freelance contributor to The Teen Scene, a new BBC radio series broadcast every Thursday night from 9:30 to 10:00 pm on the Light Programme. This particular interview - John discussing A Hard Day's Night for 3 mins and 27 seconds went out on July 9th. The Teen Scene had been on the blocks for some time, a pilot edition, not transmitted, having been compiled on February 27th. This had included an interview that Hutchins did with the Beatles at some point during their February 7-21 February US visit, when he travelled with them covering the trip for the NME.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : July 6, 1964 (Monday)

The Beatles’ first feature film, A Hard Day’s Night, had its première at the London Pavilion.

The première was attended by The Beatles and their wives and girlfriends, and a host of important guests including Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon. Nearby Piccadilly Circus was closed to traffic as 12,000 fans jostled for a glimpse of the group.

I remember Piccadilly being completely filled. We thought we would just show up in our limo, but it couldn’t get through for all the people. It wasn’t frightening – we never seemed to get worried by crowds. It always appeared to be a friendly crowd; there never seemed to be a violent face.
Paul McCartney

It was a charity event held in support of the Variety Club Heart Fund and the Docklands Settlements, and the most expensive tickets cost 15 guineas (£15.75).

After the screening The Beatles, the royal party and other guests including The Rolling Stones enjoyed a champagne supper party at the Dorchester Hotel, after which some of them adjourned to the Ad Lib Club until the early hours of the morning.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : July 5, 1964 (Sunday)

Time off for the Beatles