on the panels
for a better view.
8, 1962 and June 7, 1965, The Beatles appeared on 52 radio shows
and recorded 276 tracks, of which at the time of the writing of
the book, only 243 have been released officially or on bootleg.
archivist Azing Moltmaker has taken the trouble not only to compile
the list of songs The Beatles played, he also indicated the releases
(official and bootlegs) where the tracks can be found. In addition,
he provides facsimiles of documents and press clippings of The
Beatles in connection with the BBC. And a must for such books,
it comes very well illustrated with album covers.
who has written more than 30 books on the Beatles (this being
his 33th), notes that it was Brian Epstein who realised, in the
early '60s, the importance of The Beatles appearing on the BBC.
"Television then was not as commercialised whereby the radio was
the main media focus. The BBC had virtual monopoly at the time."
This is the
entry for February 12, 1962 (Broadcasting House, Piccadilly, Manchester):
"After Brian had completed the 3-page 'Application For An Audition
By Variety Department' and returned it to the BBC, the group were
alled up for an audition. The application form was filed as number
1299. Brian offered a choice of 5 songs: Till There Was You, Like
Dreamers Do, Take Good Care Of My Baby, Memphis Tennessee and
Hello Little Girl. The Beatles had performed these songs for the
Decca audition of 1 January 1962. "When
Brian sent the application, he was not The Beatles manager yet,
quite an ambitious start for the Liverpool record dealer. The
honour of doing the audition fell to producer Peter Pilbeam of
the North West programme Teen.
played all songs except Take Good Care Of My Baby. Following the
audition, Peter wrote on his report 'Yes' for John's vocals and
'No' for Paul, who probably was troubled by nerves and the occasion
must have got the better of him. As general remarks Peter noted:
'unusual group, not as 'Rocky' as most, more C&W with a tendency
to play music.' For the group these remarks must have made the
difference. On 20 February 1962, The Beatles signed a contract
with the BBC to appear in their programme, Teenagers Turn. It
is unknown whether these 4 [audition] songs were recorded by the
BBC and if so, if they were saved."
to say, it is the bootlegs that get a good share of the spotlight
in the book. Moltmaker notes: "During the seventies bootlegs with
titles such as AS Sweet As You Are, Yellow Matter Custard, Outtakes
1 and 2 were released. It was only the beginning and the sound
quality was terrible. Prior to the commemorative show (20 years
since The Beatles appeared at the BBC), the bootleg Broadcast
was released. It was preceded by a bootleg single with never released
recordings that was in superb sound quality. Following the jubilee
show, a magnificent set of 13 vinyl LPs was reelased with the
title The Beatles At The Beeb. It came with attractive album covers
and a good sound quality. The first BBC set was born!
vinyl period came to an end, CD sets appeared and to date The
Beatles The Complete BBC Sessions by the Great Dane label is the
most attractive. It came in a luxury box with many additions to
The Beatles At The Beeb vinyl LP set. Although the Great Dane
set has now been overtaken, it is still a highly sought after
collector's item. Finally, in 2004, the Yellow Dog label released
the 12-CD box The Beatles At The Beeb, which to date is the most
with its hardcover and glossy pages, comes across more of a coffee-table
book than a guide book but the presentation is necessary in order
present, with good legibility, the various album covers, press
cuttings and documents.
have been dreary if Moltmaker had listed the shows only in the
following manner: name, where and when it was recorded, when it
was transmitted, the name of the producer and the presenter followed
by the tracklist, which bootleg it can be found on and whether
it was included on the official Live At The BBC.
To add more
depth and to liven things up, Moltmaker annotates each show with
interesting comments. For instance, this is what he wrote on the
March 7, 1962 show: "This is the first appearance for the BBC
and the first time The Beatles wore their famous suits on Brian's
insistence. The group first rehearsed. Apart from the three tracks
that were transmitted (Memphis Tennessee, Dream Baby (How Long
Must I Dream) and Please Mr Postman), The Beatles also played
their own composition, Hello Little Girl. It was probably not
recorded. The rehearsals started at 3.45 pm although we are not
aware how long they lasted.
recordings took place between 8 pm and 8.45 pm. With Pete Best
on drums (Ringo had not joined yet), The Beatles performed three
covers in front of a live audience at The Playhouse Theatre in
Manchester. All three tracks have been saved. The show was broadcast
the following day between 5 pm and 5.29 pm. All shows were part
of the BBC's light programme unless stated differently. The Beatles
were paid £26 and 18 shillings for the first 3 shows as well as
£2 and 18 shilling sfor their train tickets, making a total of
£29 and 12 shillings."
volume, which covers the remaining period up to the 'Open House'
programme of March 31, 1970, is being prepared. It would have
been ideal had Volume 1 come with a CD containing some of these
Beatles BBC rarities. Of course, the collectors' would already
have the songs. Now here's the book to go with them.
to order the book.