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History of the Beatles

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Essay title: History of the Beatles

Early beginnings

Lennon met McCartney on July 6, 1957 at the annual St. Peter's Woolton Parish Church Garden Fete. Lennon was in a skiffle group called The Quarry Men who were performing at the event. Lennon was impressed by McCartney as he knew the words to several rock 'n' roll songs (Lennon would just make his own words up), and because he taught him some guitar chords (Lennon only knew the banjo chords taught to him by his mother Julia). McCartney subsequently joined the band, and brought Harrison along soon after, on February 6, 1958. In 1958, The Quarry Men recorded a demo of two songs; the first was an original Harrison/McCartney tune called "In Spite Of All The Danger"; the other was a cover of Buddy Holly's "That'll Be The Day". A number of songs that were later recorded for Beatles records, were originally written at this time including "I'll Follow The Sun" (which McCartney had written independently), "When I'm Sixty-Four" and "One After 909".

After a brief split, The Quarry Men regrouped in 1960 as The Fabulous Silver Beatles, later shortened to The Beatles. The name was a tribute to Buddy Holly's band, The Crickets, combined with beat music, a common British term for rock and roll at the time. In another tribute, they had sometimes called themselves the Foreverly Brothers.

The reformed band consisted of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, plus Stuart Sutcliffe on bass. Allan Williams served as their first manager. They were offered a gig in Hamburg, West Germany, but they had no drummer. Pete Best, who had played occasionally with The Quarry Men, was auditioned on August 12th, 1960. Four days later, the group (with new member Pete Best) left for Hamburg. Hamburg was a wild place for the young men. They were featured at a small club and were playing to Germans who often didn't understand English. They were uninhibited on stage, drinking alcohol, sometimes goading the crowd and acting unruly, but such was the club's atmosphere. The Beatles playing together in Hamburg had the group becoming more tight-knit, better musicians and better showmen. When Harrison was deported for being underage, they returned to Liverpool.

In March 1961, The Beatles played their first gig at Liverpool's 'Cavern Club' before returning to the lucrative Hamburg scene with a now legal Harrison. During their stay in Germany they were hired by Bert Kaempfert to record backing for the singer Tony Sheridan. A single, "My Bonnie", was released in Germany on the Polydor label in August 1961, credited to Tony Sheridan and the Beat Boys. It was The Beatles' first commercial release.

In the Spring of 1961, while still in Hamburg, Sutcliffe decided to leave the band in order to concentrate on his art studies. While Sutcliffe had had little musical impact on the group, he had influenced their appearance and sense of style. McCartney, who had been playing guitar, replaced him on bass.

In their early days, The Beatles composed and rehearsed their songs at 20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool, the home of Paul McCartney, and now a National Trust property open to the public.

The Beatles, as individuals and as a group, soaked up influences from performers enjoying popularity in the 1950s and early 1960s. Besides the previously mentioned Buddy Holly and The Everly Brothers, both John Lennon and Paul McCartney were enamored with early Elvis Presley recordings. George Harrison liked American “rockabilly” guitar styles. The Beatles were also directly influenced by Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Carl Perkins, The Isley Brothers, and the Motown stars and groups. The Beatles were an opening act for Roy Orbison during one of Orbison’s overseas tours, and his influence can be heard in some of McCartney’s early melodies. Ringo Starr had a fondness for straight-ahead country & western music. Guitar-based American blues had little influence on them until the late ‘60s, although they recorded the old Blind Lemon Jefferson song “Matchbox Blues” (but in a country & western style). By the mid sixties, Bob Dylan’s “folk rock” was an influence on John Lennon’s lyrical attitudes and content. Still later, American mainstream amplified-guitar blues had an influence on The Beatles, but probably more by way of Eric Clapton and Cream, and other British bands that had been steeped in that influence for years, by this point.

On December 10, 1961, Brian Epstein agreed to become the band's full-time manager, after receiving requests for the band's music two months earlier in his record store ("My Bonnie by The Beatles" - Epstein couldn't find it) and watching them perform at the Cavern Club on November 9, 1961. Epstein arranged for The Beatles

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