It’s been 50 years since The Beatles released their first single, ‘Love Me Do’, and to celebrate the band’s incredible journey, from the backstreets of Liverpool to worldwide stardom, we’ve put together this gallery, starting with this photo of a young Paul McCartney getting ready for a performance.
Here’s a flyer advertising ‘The Beetles’ farewell performance at the Tower Ballroom before leaving for Germany. The band played the Brighton venue a total of 27 times, the first being on 10th November 1961.
This 1963 shot of The Beatles was taken at EMI House in London and shows them celebrating ‘Please Please Me’ and ‘Twist And Shout’ becoming the best-selling EPs of all time. They were presented with silver LPs to mark the occasion.
The Beatles were originally hindered in breaking America because of legal issues but chart success across the Atlantic soon arrived, helped by a $40,000 US marketing campaign launched by their manager, Brian Epstein.
This is a 1962 flyer advertising an evening with The Beatles at The Cavern Club, in Liverpool, where the band played regularly when they were starting out. This is where Brian Epstein first saw the band and he went on to become their manager, eventually securing them a record contract.
Ringo Starr joined the Beatles soon after they were signed to EMI’s Parlophone label in 1962. George Martin was dissatisfied with Pete Best’s drumming from the start and as the band were already contemplating dismissing him they decided to replace him with Starr, who left Rory Storm and the Hurricanes to join them, in August.
Jürgen Vollmer was a friend of The Beatles during their time in Hamburg in the early 1960s. He quickly became one of the band’s photographers and was also responsible for the “Beatles haircut”. John Lennon was particularly impressed with Vollmer’s photos and used one of his favourites on the cover of his 1975 album ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’.
The Beatles only played the Yorkshire town of Harrogate once in 1963 with two local bands supporting, The Apaches and The Chinchillas. It was around this time The Beatles debut album, ‘Please Please Me’, was rush-released to capitalise on the success of their first two singles.
This photo of British teenagers reacting hysterically to the Beatles was eventually used for the cover of Billy Pepper and The Pepperpots’ ‘Merseymania’ album.
The Beatles’ last live concert was on the 29th August 1966 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. In The Beatles’ Anthology Ringo Starr says, “There was a big talk at Candlestick Park that this had got to end. At that San Francisco gig it seemed that this could possibly be the last time, but I never felt 100% certain till we got back to London.”
John Lennon was only 16-years-old when he formed a skiffle group with some school friends in 1957. They were briefly called the Blackjacks until they realised another local band were already going by that name and changed it to the Quarrymen. John Lennon met Paul McCartney that June and he joined the band shortly after.
This photo of The Beatles was used as the cover for the scaled-down CD version of ‘The Beatles (The Capricorn Tapes)’ album, which was released in March 2012. In NME’s online review we gave the new collectors album a 8/10 rating saying, “Their instinctive conceptual genius was unmatched in ’68 and remains unchallenged 30 years later.”
In 1960 The Beatles were performing in Germany and had a contract with Bruno Koschmider to play in his club Kaiserkelle, but Koschmider furiously terminated the contract after the band also agreed to play at rival Peter Eckhorn’s Top Ten Club. The Beatles continued to perform there for a few weeks but eventually left as, at 17-years-old, George Harrison was too young to work in the club.
Here The Beatles are in the studio recording the 1967 album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, which went on to become one of the band’s most popular albums. It won four Grammys in total including Album of the Year, the first rock album to do so.
The Beatles sporting one of their most iconic looks, the collarless jacket. Inspired by French designer Pierre Cardin and made by London tailor Dougie Millings, the Fab Four made the jackets one of the defining looks of the 60s.
The Beatles’ first live TV performance was on a regional TV show in Manchester on the 17th October 1962, but their first national TV appearance was on Thank Your Lucky Stars, during a particularly bad winter meaning a larger than average audience saw them perform.
In the very early days The Beatles played a gig at the Liverpool Jazz Society on the 15th March 1961, along with Gerry and the Pacemakers, and Rory Storm and The Wild Ones.
The Beatles’ third album ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ was their first LP to contain all original songs, something that the band hoped to continue with ‘Beatles For Sale’. However, under pressure due to nearly constant touring Lennon admitted, “Material’s becoming a hell of a problem” and eventually six covers were chosen to complete the album.
The three core members of The Beatles, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and John Lennon, stand outside McCartney’s home on Forthlin Road in Liverpool in 1960. Ringo Starr wouldn’t join them for another couple of years.
By 1963 The Beatles’ success was growing and, keen to push their commercial appeal, Brian Epstein encouraged them to change their attitude to performing. Lennon recalled him saying, “Look, if you really want to get in these bigger places, you’re going to have to change—stop eating on stage, stop swearing, stop smoking”.
In 1963 The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, organised a mini-tour of England after he cancelled a number of Mersey Beat Showcase nights. The band played four consecutive concerts, the third being on the 6th September at the Odeon Theatre in Luton. Two months later the band’s second studio album, ‘With The Beatles’ would be released.
This photo shows The Beatles posing in the snow in Austria while taking a break from filming their 1965 feature film Help!, a comedy about the band coming up against an evil cult. The film’s soundtrack was released as a album, also called ‘Help!’, and in 2012 was voted 331st on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
In 1963 Brian Epstein convinced the band to put on a variety show for Christmas, The Beatles’ Christmas Show, featuring music, pantomime sketches, comedy and a number of special guests. It was such a success that they decided to do it again in 1964 and here is a picture of The Beatles dressed as Eskimos for a sketch in which they meet the abominable snowman, played by Jimmy Savile.
Yellow Submarine is the fourth feature film based around The Beatles and is an animated fantasy musical, directed by George Dunning and released in 1968. It was a box-office hit and the version shown in Europe even included an extra musical number, ‘Hey Bulldog’.
John Lennon’s solo debut album ‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’ was released in 1970 and was met with great success. It featured the singles ‘Mother’, which Lennon used to confront his feelings of childhood rejection, and ‘Working Class Hero’, in which he attacked the bourgeois social system.
Here are The Beatles in 1966. In this year the band would release two albums, ‘Yesterday and Today’ and ‘Revolver’, would be attacked by an angry crowd in the Philippines after turning down an invitation to the Presidential Palace and make their last live performance at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.
This photo of John Lennon playing the piano was used as one of the disc covers for the four disc box set album, ‘Lennon’, which featured many of John Lennon’s solo songs and was released in 1990.
This famous picture of The Beatles shows the band with the leader of the Transcendental Meditation movement, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and the rest of his students. The Beatles had travelled to India to study at Maharishi’s Academy of Meditation and wrote almost all of the songs that would appear on both the ‘White Album’ and ‘Abbey Road’ whilst there.
All these images are from The Beatles: It was 50 Years Ago Today by Terry Burrows, which also includes 30 items of removable memorabilia, an exclusive DVD containing interviews with the Fab Four, and five ready-to-mount, never-before-published photo prints of The Beatles.