Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Visit to Broadcasting House

February, 12, 1962

The BBC, a state sponsored entertainment giant in the UK, has a regional headquarters in Manchester, just a hop, skip and a jump from Liverpool.  Brian Epstein has made application to audition there for the Beatles to see whether his band could be of any use to them.  Today, the Beatles attend that audition at the BBC Broadcasting House do their stuff for Peter Pilbeam, a producer of teen radio programs.  They do four numbers from their set, cannily including two originals, and pass the audition.

Pilbeam's impressions are telling.  "An unusual group, not as "rocky' as most, more C&W with a tendency to play music."  (The C&W refers to American country and western music.)  The boys music will soon find its way onto the British airwaves!  They are scheduled for an appearance March 9th (recorded on the 7th) on a radio show called "Teenagers Turn (Here We Go)".  The partnership between the Beatles and the BBC will be a fruitful one for both participants.


  1. this caught my eye. was the album Live At The BBC recorded when they did their audtitions there on that date or later? i've always wondered when Live At The BBC was reorded because it didnt get released until the 90's.

    1. I'm glad your eye is still on Beatles+50.

      I love the BBC recordings. I think you get a bit of the raw unprocessed Beatles there, which really turns me on.

      The Beatles will make many BBC appearances over the next couple of years, and I'll be highlighting that on the blog. The earliest appearance that got onto the BBC Live album is from June of '63 (or so Wikipedia says), so the answer to your question is - no, not yet. They still need a little bit of polish. They'll get lots of that on their last trip to Hamburg which starts in April
      (via airliner this time and in suits, no less).

      It so much fun for me to, in this weird way, follow in their footsteps in "real time". I get a sense how long it took (really not long at all) from their time as a very amateur "garage" band to the really tight, creative, professional group we know and love.

      Cheers, and keep up the posts to your new blog.

  2. thank you for clarifying! (spelling?) i've always wondered what year it was. And yes, it is amazing how fast they rose to fame. I do try to post on my beatles blog but whenever i get to the title or even the subject my mind just goes blank. Do you have any ideas for me? i would really appriciate it!

    1. I just sat down to spin our some ideas for you. Think of them not as "assignments" but just jumping off points for your own ideas. Someone once said a writer's greatest enemy is the blank page. So just pick and idea and start writing. Even if it doesn't pan out it will start you thinking, maybe even in some other direction. The important thing is for you to find a "thread" that interests you. Your readers will be able to tell if you do that.

      Do you somehow separate the Beatles in their various stages into different conceptual places? Is the George of “Don’t Bother Me” the same guy to you as “Something” or “Here Comes the Sun”? Is John of “Please Please Me” the same as “Across the Universe”? Do you think the Beatles began to get a bit jaded and less happy as years went by? Do they get less interesting musically when the seem to become more “serious”?

      What do you think about ‘60s music and fashion styles and how much of that was influenced by the Beatles and how did it influence the Beatles evolution. Were they mostly inventors of new styles or were they just very tuned in to the changes that were happening all over and able to selectively pin down ideas that would resonate with their fans? Like in “The Word”, which could be considered the very first “peace and love” song? What other songs seem to have "started a movement"? Where do you think they came from?

      From your perspective, what is the “most revolutionary” Beatles album? After all you experienced them all at more-of-less the same time, where I had to “wait” for them to happen. Do you think music evolution since then has influenced your choice? Would your choice be different if you had had to wait?

      Are you still playing guitar? Tell us about some of the insights into Beatles music that learning music gives you. Remember how Paul said they’d take a bus to some friend’s house far away because he was rumored to know a new chord they needed. What is your process for learning new stuff? It doesn’t necessarily have to be Beatle songs. After all, your readers will be interested in the contrast between your process and theirs. Have you tried to hook up with other musicians to start “trading ideas” with them? Do you use instruction manuals? Youtube videos?

      Talk about what you think were the greatest influences on the development of the Beatles. Use your own ear to develop your ideas. You can use my blog for thought starters here. I won’t mind a bit! :-)

      Wow, that's a lot! Don't feel overwhelmed. If one good idea comes out it will be worth my time. Good luck.

  3. Wow! thank you so much, i didnt expect you to go into such trouble! some of your starters definatly inspired me, thank you so much for spending the time. i'll for sure take those ideas into consideration. i espesially liked the one about how the beatles seemed different from when they first started and to when they broke up. I think its because when they first started, they were naive in a way and once they got older, they were more experienced and they learned how to deal with fame. once again, thank you so much for the ideas!