1963- The First Year of Beatlemania and The Beatles First Taste of Success
John, Paul and George had by 1963, already been together for at least five years. They knew each other's guitar playing so well, it had become second nature as to what to expect and when. The years from 1960 through 62 had been met with little real success as measured by musical wannabe artists. The years had been filled with many, many obvious and not so obvious rejections from record labels and auditions. They even had bad luck with managers. Gigs were infrequent enough that all of them still lived at home, although John did venture out and rented a flat on borrowed money. Even that did not last long. Because they lacked money, some of their equipment had been previously used. They still did not have a real PA system to showcase their harmonies and voices. They were quite popular in Hamburg, Germany, where they played in the summer months for six hours a night for room and board and little cash. This was Beatle bootcamp. It would solidify the band and take their skills as musicians to equal any others. It would perfect their harmonies. Much of the material done was not original. Yet, the covers of famous songs all sounded different enough with that "Beatle" sound. Their arrangements made them sound better. Hamburg also created stage presence and personalities in them, with John always with sharp wit and Paul the cordial MC.
By 1962, The Beatles truly were ready for something bigger. Yet, because nothing was, both John and Paul began to think their dream of being bigger than Elvis would never happen. When they returned, they played the same old gigs and all of them thought this might be the end. They were growing tired and time was moving on. John was angry and depressed and took to drinking. Paul toyed with taking job where his Dad worked. There new manager, Brian Epstein, owned a record store, and even his efforts at getting them a record deal met with rejection. Decca found their demos blah (the covers chosen were the wrong ones for the band). Parlophone just didn't like the vocals.As a last ditch to save face, Brian called in a favor to play the demos for EMI. His friend knew that a young producer, George Martin (35 yrs), had been looking for a new musical act in rock and roll. Martin thought rock music was trash. Yet, his boss told him to find an act.
Martin, after hearing the demos, said, OK, I'll meet the boys. After meeting them, Martin immediately like John and Paul. He liked their edge and both were opinionated and insisted on doing original material. After auditioning with Love Me Do, he told Brian he liked their singing, but the drummer had to go, Ringo was not in the band yet. Martin asked if they had any other songs, John said, "yeah, Please, Please, Me". After the song ended, Martin suggested minor changes and John approved. After that run through, Martin told him, 'we may have a #1 song".
It was the last ditch effort that would pulsate The Beatles through 1962. EMI would release Love Me Do, which went to #17, and Please Please Me, which was their first #1 song.
1963 was the first year of Beatlemania. It would be confined only to England and they would totally dominate the pop music scene for seven months. They would have over 200 gigs, dozens of BBC shows and TV appearances. Soon, Beatlemania hit Sweden, on their first international tour. 1963 saw many #1 hits: Please, Please, Me; From Me to You; She Loves You; Twist and Shout, I Want to Hold Your Hand. The first Beatle LP would remain number 1 for 21 weeks, it would remain in the Top 20 for the whole year. On Dec 26, 1963, the song, I Want to Hold Your Hand, was released in the USA. Capitol records was interested in all the commotion and mayhem, The Beatles were causing. Oddly, it just did OK. The Beatles were not known to America then. It was not until 70 million viewers saw them on TV in February, 1964, did The Beatles conquer America's youth.
The first Beatle LP took 28 hrs. to record on a two track machine with lots of over-dubbing.