Saturday, March 31, 2012

Southward, Ho

March 31, 1962

The Beatles make their second foray to the south of England today, their first trip under the auspices of Brian Epstein.  This gig demonstrates Epstein's increasing understanding of the live music business.  He books the band through a booking agency, instead of catch-as-catch-can, like so many of their appearances up to now.  The agency also organizes dances under the appellation "JayBee Clubs".  Contacts! The mother's milk of itinerant musicians!  The show is in Gloucestershire, much closer to Wales than to London, but  you can see the gears turning in Brian's mind as he begins to imagine a southern strategy for his band.

The announcement indicates - No Teddy Boys and - No stiletto heels, ladies.

The venue is still there in Stroud, Glos.  (Click "maximize" in the upper left and use your arrow keys to take a stroll around Stroud, courtesy of Google Earth.)

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Barnston Women's Institute Says "Such Nice Boys!"

March 24, 1962

The Beatles play the Heswall Jazz Club, which is associated with the Barnston Women's Institute.  This is the first time the Beatles played on stage in their new suits.  Want to take the tour?

I gotta wonder, did they only agree to the suits because they would be playing in a venue unlikely to be patronized by their (by now) army of fans? Testing the waters, as it were, before jumping into the deep end?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Another Leach Promotion

March 17, 1962

Sam Leach is a Liverpool Rock legend right down to the soles of his boots.  He's gotten in on the ground floor of the music revolution that started in Liverpool with the formation of hundreds of groups and has grown into perhaps the leading promoter of shows in the Liverpool area.  John Lennon has been later quoted as saying that Sam was the pulse of the Mersey Beat movement.  Even at this remove, one gets glimmerings that, of all the "business side" people that the Beatles deal with at this time, Sam is special  to them.  He is, after all, one of them.  If you have only one book on your bookshelf that concerns itself with early Beatles history, it must be The Birth of the Beatles written by Sam in his inimitable style.

Today, Sam promotes another gig showcasing the Beatles and Rory Storm and the Hurricanes (featuring drummer Ringo Starr).  He calls it a "St. Patrick's Night Rock Gala".  After all, isn't the "Rock" of Cashel" in Ireland also known as St Patrick's "Rock".  (Sorry about that, kids.)  And after the gig a legendary party to celebrate Sam's engagement is held.  Pics here.

The Beatles are hanging fire right now.  They are playing out the string at the Cavern and other local clubs, waiting for the next trip to Germany and to see if the recording deals come to fruition.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Please, Mr Postman

March 8, 1962

Today begins the Beatles big push for their conquest of the world!  Their tape, made yesterday at BBC facilities in  Manchester, is broadcast nationally by the BBC .  It's a little after five o'clock on a chilly Thursday evening.  You turn on the big catherdral radio in the little parlor of your council house, fiddle with the tuner, and through a storm of static you hear...

Are you impressed?  Probably, not yet.  Still, there is something interesting going on there.  The Beatles learned a lot they would put to good use later from the late-50s and early-60s "girl groups".

On a life friendly planet circling a star some 50 light years from our own Sun, they are just hearing the Beatles for the first time and thinking WTF?!

I absolutely love the sound of John's Rickenbacker on this clip.  It also demonstrates nicely the difference between the drumming styles of Pete Best (in the clip) and Ringo Star (on the later record).

And ain't it cool how the days of the week are aligned, now? (2012 is a leap year, 1962 was not.)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Venerable BBC

March 7, 1962

In the first week of March, the Beatles are doing the Cavern almost every day, the Casbah once, Storyville Jazz Club (later to become the famous Iron Door) and another date at the big Tower Ballroom.  But today, they travel the short distance to the Manchester regional BBC facility to record a few songs for later broadcast.  At Brian Epstein's insistence, who no doubt wanted to impress the show's producers, the Beatles are dressed for the very first time in suits.  They dressed in suits to record for broadcast over the radio, where no one in the broadcast audience would be able to see them!  I wonder if it improves their sound any. I'm sure Epstein thinks so.  I doubt Lennon does.  :-)