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50 years of The Beatles

Beatles at Hulme Hall 1962

2012 was a very special year for Liverpool as the city celebrated 50 years of The Beatles with a spectacular, year-long programme of events. On 18 August 1962 Ringo Starr made his first appearance as the Beatles official drummer at Hulme Hall in the village of Port Sunlight, Wirral. The four members of the band had a two hour rehearsal before taking to the stage as the headline act in the local Horticultural Society’s 17th annual dance. On that night the Fab Four were born...the rest is history. The Beatles - John, Paul, George and Ringo – then took the charts by storm in 1962 with their first official release, Love Me Do, quickly followed by Please Please Me and From Me to You. Beatlemania soon swept across the globe as the Fab Four recorded a staggering 12 studio albums, 13 EPs and 22 singles from 1962 to 1970. It is estimated they have sold over one billion records worldwide.

On 22 August 1962, Manchester-based Granada Television sent a film crew to The Cavern to film a few minutes of The Beatles' lunch time stage performance with the potential to be used on a local TV program, Know The North. Dating back to the early 1970s. However, due to the poor filming/recording conditions in The Cavern, neither the film or recording was seen as usable and was subsequently shelved with no current plan for use. Eventually, once The Beatles' popularity grew, the August performance of "Some Other Guy" was shown on 6 November 1963 on the Granada program, Scene At 6:30.

The Cavern 1962

When The Beatles first performed at the Cavern on 9 February, 1961, it was so low key it wasn't even advertised. A year and a half, and 292 performances, later, the group was set for stardom and the Cavern would become one of the world's most famous clubs.  While both Lennon and McCartney had already played the club as The Quarrymen, the un-advertised lunchtime session was George Harrison's first appearance at the Cavern.

Fans outside the Cavern Photograph Astrid Kirchherr
The club's lunchtime sessions were popular with young city centre office workers and many would take sandwiches to eat while watching the groups.

The Cavern Club 1962

Ringo first met the Beatles in Hamburg in October 1960 while there performing with what had become Rory Storm and The Hurricanes. Ringo joined the Beatles on August 18, 1962. Rory Storm was magnanimous about the theft of his drummer, but Pete Best fans were upset, holding vigils outside Pete's house and protesting at the Cavern Club, shouting "Pete Best forever! Ringo never!"

These four photos of Ringo must have been taken very shortly after joining The Beatles. His hair is the biggest clue. They must have been taken some time within the last week of August to the first week of September 1962. One source indicates the photos were taken at the Mersey Beat offices.

By the 4th September 1962 the Beatles were at the E.M.I Studions in Abbey Road, NW8 This was The Beatles second E.M.I. recording session and Ringo's first. Actually, it was The Beatles' first REAL sesion. The first session on 6 June 1962 was essentially just an audition.

 The session began with rehearsals for a potential single as well as an audition for Ringo (this was the first time George Martin had met him). These photos were likely taken during the rehearsals.  Actual recording took place during the evening. This session produced the A-side of their debut single, "Love Me Do" (the Ringo version) and "How Do You Do It" which remained unreleased until 1995 on Anthology 1.

Today, The Beatles music continues to influence many musicians and artists as well as attracting a new generation of fans.  In recognition, Liverpool created an exciting and diverse programme of events including performances from the renowned Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, exclusive anniversary concerts at the Cavern Club and a very special ’50 Years of The Beatles’ Mathew Street Festival.

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Robert F Edwards
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