My Brother Sits Alone With His Beatles and His Stones (1): Beatlemania

In which hotel room it was is argued, but the simple fact remains: She Loves You was written in Newcastle. it was the moment when the whole nature of popular music was in the process of being rewritten.

There had been some great British pop music. Truth is, Cliff was rubbish, but The Shadows:

Or, the first authentic British rock’n’roll classic:

This was different. The likes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney were the children of Elvis, late ‘fifties and early ‘sixties pop and soul, and skiffle. The skiffle craze, a British form of American folk, was profoundly influential.

The Beatles did something else wholly different for a British pop act: they conquered America. The world was at the feet of the Fab Four. And they were such nice boys: the early Beatles were cheeky chappies, not rebels, as this clip from the 1963 Royal Variety Show shows us.

The thing the young Lennon and McCartney did was to take those influences, and then do something else. When their early records were re-released on cd, in mono, it was a revelation. They were so loud. And they changed everything. Guitars bands, yes, And guitar bands that wrote their own stuff. By 1964, they had a witty, iconoclastic and stylish movie, and a self-penned album.

Meanwhile, they began to outgrow their cheeky nice boys image, something wittily satirised in their second movie Help!

Soon, they would be ripping it all up. As legend would have it they met Dylan, and it all changed (you read about that here). But for now…

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