Recording of The Beatles' earliest UK show has been discovered 60 years on
5 April 2023, 11:44
Even over 50 years after they broke up, The Beatles continue to fascinate their fans.
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Not only do the Fab Four fascinate fans around the world, but also new generations of adorers that discover their incredible legacy.
Though The Beatles were only together for a total of ten years, there's still plenty of mythology to unpack given their indelible cultural impact.
And still today, people are still unearthing precious artefacts related to the 20th century's biggest band.
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Nearly sixty years on from when John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr first established their classic lineup, a recording has been found from one of The Beatles' earliest UK shows.
An hour-long, quarter-inch tape recording was filmed by student John Bloomfield at Stowe boarding school in Buckinghamshire when the band performed there on 4th April, 1963.
Bloomfield, now 75, was 15 when he recorded show, and revealed his discovery when journalist Samira Ahmed paid a visit to Stowe for a documentary which marked the 60th anniversary of The Beatles' gig there.
Later Ahmed wrote: "It was a unique Beatles gig, performed in front of an almost entirely male audience."
"And crucially, despite loud cheers and some screaming, the tape is not drowned out by the audience reaction."
It comes as somewhat of a surprise given the crowd reaction to The Beatles shows from then onwards, which resulted in the band stepping back from performing live as they couldn't hear themselves on stage.
The setlist was made up of tracks from their 1963 debut album Please Please Me such as 'I Saw Her Standing There'.
As was usual during their earlier days, the boys would play a series of R&B cover versions - this show includes a rendition of of Chuck Berry's 1956 single 'Too Much Monkey Business'.
Because the crowd aren't screaming throughout, what's strange is that you can hear John, Paul, Ringo and George joking amongst themselves and even taking requests from the students.
As it stands however, the only people to hear the recording aside from Bloomfield himself are Ahmed and Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn, after Bloomfield agreed to play the recording for the first time in nearly sixty years.
"The opportunity that this tape presents, which is completely out of the blue, is fantastic because we hear [The Beatles] just on the cusp of the breakthrough into complete world fame," Lewisohn said.
"And at that point, all audience recordings become blanketed in screams. So here is an opportunity to hear them in the UK, in an environment where they could be heard and where the tape actually does capture them properly, at a time when they can have banter with the audience as well."
Beatles historian Lewisohn added that after discovering the tape existed he had to "pick myself up off the floor" as its "an incredibly important recording" and thinks "something good and constructive and creative eventually happens to it."
After hearing The Beatles for the very first time, Bloomfield admitted that "it sounds a bit of an exaggeration, but I realised this was something from a different planet."
Fingers crossed that the recording is made available in some capacity in the near future, as we've seldom seen or heard any performances by The Beatles that's not in the midst of Beatlemania and the madness that ensued.
Talking about Stowe in 2020 after the Buckingham boarding school was awarded a blue plaque to commemorate their performance, Paul McCartney joked:
"Good old working-class boys like us had never visited an establishment like Stowe and we were shocked to see the stark living conditions."