The Beatles

The Beatles' emergence from the Liverpool music scene changed the music industry forever. Here's 5 fun facts you might not know about the world's most famous band.

By National Museums Liverpool

St Peter's Church Hall stageNational Museums Liverpool

1. It all began in St Peter’s Church, Liverpool

Many places can lay a very justifiable claim to be the birthplace of the Beatles. The Casbah Coffee Club, the Jacaranda, the Cavern, the seedy clubs of Hamburg, even Litherland Town Hall, all played a part in launching the Fab Four. But, it really all began the day John met Paul at St Peter’s Church Hall fete in Woolton on 6 July 1957.

John Lennon's band, The Quarrymen, were playing at the annual garden fete. During their concert, one of the audience members was a young man named Paul McCartney, who was there with a mutual friend of John's. Paul was introduced to the members of the band backstage and picked up a guitar and began to play one of Lennon's favourites, 'Twenty Flight Rock'. John was very impressed by Paul and a friendship began which led to him joining the band soon after. The Quarrymen, of course, went on to become The Beatles.

The stage will be on display within the immersive Beatles' film experience in the new Wondrous Place gallery at the Museum of Liverpool. The new gallery opens  26 November.

Hamburg Painting No. 2 (1961) by Stuart SutcliffeNational Museums Liverpool

2. Stuart Sutcliff was the original bass guitarist

Stuart Sutcliffe was an original member of The Beatles and one of John Lennon's closest friends. He joined the band in 1960, but left a year and a half later to concentrate on his art studies. Although he was only a Beatle for a short time his influence on their future success has largely gone unrecognised.

He left the band to attend Hamburg Art School. This painting is one of a series entitled 'Hamburg'. Sutcliffe was influenced by the European artists of the time including the grid forms of Eduardo Paolozzi, who taught him at Hamburg Art School. The textured surface and subtle colour changes combine to create an atmospheric and energetic work.
 

It is claimed that it was Stuart who came up with the Beatles name and that John would not play in the band without him. His relationship with Astrid Kirchherr, who he met whilst performing with the band at the Kaiserkeller Club in Hamburg also influenced the band's look. He sadly died of a brain haemorrhage, 10 April 1962, aged just 21.

Pete Best's jacketNational Museums Liverpool

3. Orignial drummer, Pete Best was fired from the band

Pete Best, was the original drummer for The Beatles from 1960-1962, before the band achieved worldwide fame. Best joined the band on 12 August 1960, on the eve of the group's first Hamburg season of club dates. He wore this honeycomb patterned shirt jacket at the recording session of 'My Bonnie' and all of the band's first German sessions for Polydor.

He was eventually replaced by Ringo Starr, when the group's manager, Brian Epstein, fired Best at the request of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison following the band's first recording session.

The Beatles Third Christmas Record, 1965National Museums Liverpool

4. Fan Club members received exclusive records

Members of the Official Beatles Fan Club received exclusive Beatles Christmas records between 1963 and 1969. This was unique to The Beatles and the records could not be bought in any shops. The records mainly consisted of the band clowning around in the studio creating Christmas songs and improvised seasonal wishes to their ever growing legion of fans.

 'Another Beatles Christmas Record’, released 18 December 1964, was the second Beatles' Christmas record. Fan club membership had swelled to 65,000 by this time after receiving thousands of new members towards the end of 1963. ‘The Third Beatles Christmas Record’ was recorded after The Beatles finished work on their 'Rubber Soul' album. It was released to fans on 17 December 1965.

Gold disc 'Something New'National Museums Liverpool

5. The Beatles' Gold discs were held in customs for 37 years

More than one million copies of The Beatles' single 'A Hard Day's Night' were sold and sales for the album 'Something New' made more than one million dollars. To celebrate, The Beatles were presented with 10 gold discs whilst on tour in America in 1964. In November 1964, Capitol Records arranged transport of these discs to Britain by sea.

However, it appears that no one was expecting them, and in London Docks they were not properly declared to Customs. They remained undeclared for 37 years, despite the efforts of Customs and Excise. When this was realised, Apple Corps Limited (acting for The Beatles) completed the declaration forms, and the discs were finally released in May 2002.  

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