Personalities | The Beatles | The Formative Years (1962) | Key Events
The Decca Audition
Using his contacts as a record shop manager, Brian Epstein approached Decca Records and, after A&R manager Mike Smith had seen The Beatles at the Cavern, they were asked to audition in London on 1 January 1962. The band endured a 10-hour drive down on New Year’s Eve in stormy conditions and the following morning played a one-hour set consisting of 15 songs chosen by Epstein, including three of their own: ‘Like Dreamers Do’, ‘Hello Little Girl’ and ‘Love Of The Loved’. They were competent but nervous and Decca opted for another group, Brian Poole & The Tremeloes. The head of A&R Dick Rowe memorably told Epstein, ‘Guitar groups are on their way out’.
Stuart Sutcliffe’s Death
The Beatles were feeling flush enough to fly to Hamburg on 13 April to start a 48-night run at the Star Club. But any delusions of grandeur were immediately wiped out on arrival when they were met by Astrid Kirchherr who told them that Stuart Sutcliffe had died of a brain haemorrhage just three days earlier. He had been suffering from blinding headaches and a post-mortem showed that the untreated head injury he’d suffered in a fight after a show nearly two years earlier was probably responsible.
EMI Record Deal
The gloom of The Beatles’ third trip to Hamburg in the wake of Stuart Sutcliffe’s death was lifted on 9 May when they received a telegram from Brian Epstein saying, ‘Congratulations boys. EMI request recording session. Please rehearse new material.’ After a dispiriting and fruitless trek around other record companies, Epstein had been introduced to George Martin, head of A&R at Parlophone Records, an EMI subsidiary label. Martin listened to the Decca audition tapes and unusually offered Epstein a contract, subject to a recording test. On 6 June, four days after returning from Hamburg, The Beatles made their first visit to EMI’s Abbey Road studios where they played a selection of material and cut four demos: ‘Besame Mucho’, ‘Ask Me Why’, ‘Love Me Do’ and ‘P.S. I Love You’.
Ringo Joins The Beatles
After the first session George Martin told Brian Epstein that he would be using a session drummer for their recordings as he wasn’t sure Pete Best could cut it in the studio. This brought a simmering discontent with Best to a head. It wasn’t just the mop-top hairstyle he refused to wear; he didn’t seem to fit in with the other three. The problem was, Best was a very popular member of The Beatles among their fans. Nevertheless the others told Epstein to fire Best and hire Ringo Starr. Many Beatle fans were indeed angered by the news and Ringo’s first gig with the band two days later on 18 August at the Cavern ended in fights and George Harrison received a black eye.
John Marries Cynthia Powell
On 23 August, with the furore of Pete Best’s sacking still raging, John Lennon married his pregnant girlfriend Cynthia Powell in a five-minute...
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