Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Sunday, May 26, 1963

Empire Theatre, Liverpool

The Beatle's first home town appearance in more than six weeks. They were fast outgrowing the city.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Saturday, May 25, 1963

The Beatles - City Hall, Sheffield

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Friday, May 24, 1963

Studio Two, Aeolian Hall, New Bond St. London and Granada Cinema, Hoe St., Walthamstow, London

Proof positive of the Beatles' meteoric rise to fame, the visit to the BBC's Aeolian Hall premises in central London saw them record the first program in their very own radio series, "Pop Go The Beatles". For a group which, only a year previously, had still no record for EMI, and had only enjoyed two number one records, it was a remarkable coup - and also a brave move for the Corporation.

The series was born out of a suggestion made by Vernon Lawrence, a young studio manager within Radio Light Entertainment who sent his idea to Donald MacLean, his assistant head of department. MacLean approved and initiated the series, commending Lawrence for his judgment. Within 4 weeks a series title had been decided, recording and broadcast dates booked, and a £100 per program budget allocated to producer Terry Henebery.

Initially, 4 programs were commissioned, with an option for a further 11 if these proved successful. The format was typical of the times, as resident stars, the Beatles would have a guest act each week. There would also be a resident compere: radio actor and occasional disc-jockey Lee Peters held this post for the first 4 programs. The show was transmitted every Tuesday on the Light Programme from 5:00 to 5:29 pm, a proven slot for pop.

The program also had a theme tune, a rocked-up variation of the nursery rhyme, "Pop goes the Weasel", especially re-arranged by one Mr. Patrick. The Beatles recorded it at this initial session, though, reputedly, they had some trouble doing so and were aided in the task by the program's first guest group, the Lorne Gibson Trio. Each show in the series opened and closed with this May 24th recording, usually around 20 seconds worth at the start and of variable length at the end, faded to suit broadcast needs and sometimes running to more than a minute.

The Beatles and the Lorne Gibson Trio recorded this program together, 2:00-6:00 pm inclusive of rehearsal time, and the end result, broadcast on Tuesday, June 4th, had the Beatles performing "From me to you", "Everybody's trying to be my baby", "Do you want to know a secret", "You really got a hold on me", "Misery", and "The Hippy Hippy Shake".

The BBC's Audience Research Dept. published a report on the first program which estimated that 5.3 per cent of the British population tuned in, something like 2.8 million people, a typical figure for this time of the day, reactions varied from the ecstatic "Really with it" to the unimpressed "They make an obnoxious noise", giving an overall, surprisingly below-average Appreciation Index of 52 (out of a maximum 100).

In the evening, after all the BBC excitement, the Beatles continued the Roy Orbison package tour with two "houses" at the Walthamstow Granada in North London.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Thursday, May 23, 1963

The Beatles - Odeon Cinema, Angel Row, Nottingham, Notts

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Wednesday, May 22, 1963

Gaumont Cinema, St. Helen's Street. Ipswich, Suffolk

The resumption of the Orbison package tour.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Tuesday, May 21, 1963

Playhouse Theatre, London

Two separate sessions for BBC Radio. The first session was for Saturday Club, a special occasion in that it was the Beatles first top of the bill appearance on this program. It began with a rehearsal from 2:30, the actual recording taking place between 5:30 and 6:30 pm. The tape was then inserted into the next edition of the series, broadcast on the Light Programme between 10:00 and 12:00 noon on May 25th.

In addition to some witty conversation with host Brian Matthew, the Beatles performed six songs, "I saw her standing there", "Do you want to know a secret", "Boys", "Long tall Sally", "From me to you", "Money (That's what I want)". The last three numbers fell within the last half hour of the program, simultaneously broadcast by the BBC's General Oversees Service.

After a 45 minute break for dinner, the Beatles returned to the Playhouse to rehearse and record a new show for the Light Programme, "Steppin Out", broadcast on 'Bank Holiday', Monday, June 3rd. Before playing their first couple of numbers. Diz Disley, host of the show, introduced the Beatles - "We have four young fella's who, since they emerged from the trackless interior of Merseyside a mere matter of months ago, have been playing 'em in the aisles all over the Isles - from Land's End to John O'Groats - so mind your backs, wacks, for it's the earth-shaking sounds of The Beatles!". This was typical "hip" radio speak for pop radio and TV programs for the day.

Before a very enthusiastic audience, the Beatles performed six songs, "Please please me", "I saw her standing there", "Roll over Beethoven", "Twist and Shout", "Thank You Girl", and "From me to you". "Twist and Shout" was edited out of the broadcast tape, however.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Monday, May 20, 1963

The Beatles at Gaumont Cinema, Commercial Rd. Southampton, Hampshire

After this date, the Orbison tour took a one-day break, resuming on the 22nd.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Sunday, May 19, 1963

The Beatles - Gaumont Cinema, Hanley

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Saturday, May 18, 1963

Adelphi Cinema, Bath Rd. Slough, Buckinghamshire

The opening night of the Beatle's 3rd nationwide package tour in as many months. Although Roy Orbinson, whom the Beatles much admired, initially began as bill-topper, the Beatles very quickly - by audience demand - assumed this position.

Their repertoire on this tour comprised "Some Other Guy", "Do You Want To Know A Secret", "Love Me Do", "From Me To You", "Please Please Me", "I Saw Her Standing There" and "Twist And Shout".

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : Wednesday, May 17, 1963

Grosvenor Rooms, Prince of Wales Rd. Norwich, Norfolk

A £250 booking, arranged in mid-April through London promoter Barry Clayman.