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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: March 25, 1966

The Vale, London

Since forming NES Enterprises in June 1962, Brian Epstein had launched or acquired a number of other business ventures, leasing the central London venue Saville Theatre, for example. In September 1964, he had bought a controlling stake in the Liverpool pop paper Mersey Beat, renaming it Music Echo and giving it a national perspective and distribution. Music Echo then merged with IPC's well-established Disc, landing Eptstein a 50 per cent stake in the newly-named Disc and Music Echo, unveiled on April 23, 1966. One of the promotions devised to push the re-launch was free distribution of flexi-disc single containing interviews with top singers and groups, made available to readers on submission of a number of completed coupons. The disc was called Sound of the Stars and probably because of the Epstein connection, the Beatles contributed.

They were recorded between 3:00 and 3:30 this afternoon, interviewed by Radio Caroline disc-jockey Tom Lodge at a photographic studio at 1 The Vale, in the Chelsea area of west London (following which the Beatles got down to the main business of the afternoon, a photo shoot with Robert Witacker which produced, among other shots, the famous "Butcher" photographs). Devised and produced by NEMS' Tony Barrow, Sound of the Stars also featured Cilla Black, Cliff Richard, the Hollies, Pete Townshend, Spencer Davis, the Walker Brothers, Sandie Shaw and others. The Beatles were briefly heard at the start of side one and then ended the second side of the disc with one minute, 37 seconds of silly answers to silly questions.

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