50 years of Beatle mania
THE revolution that would change music, fashion and youth culture forever started quietly enough in a London studio on June 6, 1962, when four young Liverpudlians performed Love Me Do. The ground-breaking songs that followed drove fans to hysteria and musical rivals to despair. Beatlemania had begun...
The oldest of the four was 21, the youngest 19. They were in London, unfamiliar territory. Unfriendly, too. Five months earlier, they had travelled on snow-covered roads from Liverpool on the last day of 1961 to audition for Decca records and it hadn't worked out. The group's performance had been jittery, almost comical in its displays of nervousness. The head of Decca, rejecting them, declared that guitar groups were on the way out.
The band's manager, Brian Epstein, had hawked a tape of that audition around the other big labels. All of them, Pye, HMV and Columbia, said no, too. But in May 1962, Epstein secured a meeting with George Martin, the head of small EMI imprint Parlophone, known chiefly for its comedy records, and played him a disc made from the tape.
Martin thought it was rough but there was charm in some of the vocals. He wanted to sign them but would need to see an audition just to be sure. So on Wednesday, June6, 1962, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best gathered at Abbey Road studios and played three Lennon-McCartney originals, Love Me Do, P.S. I Love You and Ask Me Why, and the 1950s pop standard Besame Mucho just to demonstrate their versatility.
From that short recording session, and the contract Martin and the Beatles signed a few weeks later, a revolution in music, fashion, popular culture, the entertainment industry and social mores that continue to this day followed.