- 05 Apr 23
"I had to pick myself up off the floor," said Beatles Historian Mark Lewisohn after listening to the tape.
A recording of The Beatles playing at Stowe boarding school in Buckinghamshire has resurfaced, 60 years after its initial taping.
The quarter-inch tape recording was captured by 15 year-old student John Bloomfield when the group performed at the school's theatre on April 4th, 1963.
The band, already on the cusp of stardom, arrived to the school late, coming from a recording at the BBC Paris Studio. They played an hour long set– all recorded– including songs from 1963 debut album Please Please Me such as 'I Saw Her Standing There' and an R'n'B cover version of Chuck Berry's 1956 single 'Too Much Monkey Business.' The Fab Four can also be heard taking requests from the audience.
"The banter between the band and audience reveals John Lennon doing joke voices, the huge popularity of Ringo Starr, and the fact that George Harrison had lost his voice and was unable to sing," remarked BBC journalist Samira Ahmed, one of the only three people to have heard the tape in its entirety.
To Bloomfield, seeing the show was life changing. "I would say I grew up at that very instant," he told Ahmed. "It sounds a bit of an exaggeration, but I realised this was something from a different planet."
The show's audience was predominantly made up by men, an unusual demographic for the group. Bloomfield accounts that there were a few girls watching from the back. "It wasn't until they started playing that we heard the screaming, and we realised we were in the middle of Beatlemania," Bloomfield said. "It was just something we'd never even vaguely experienced."
Beatles Historian Mark Lewisohn is the third and final person to have heard the tape in its entitreity.
“The opportunity that this tape presents, which is completely out of the blue, is fantastic," he said. "We hear [The Beatles] just on the cusp of the breakthrough into complete world fame.
“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.”
- Film & TV
- 20 Sep 23