ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Beatles and the Dark Period Before Success 1958-60

Updated on February 26, 2010

When you, as a musician today, whether struggling to make it or already there, hear of the Beatles' story, it remains one of the greatest rags to riches event that simply demands your respect whether you like them or not. The story is inspiring and what they went through still happens to millions of wannabe bands. Sure, they possessed the raw talent innately, but there is "life" in the present form also.

In 1958, there were only John (18 yr), Paul (15 yr) and George (15 yr). Three teenagers starstruck by Elvis and Buddy Holly, among others also. Their little band, The Quarrymen, were playing covers to about anyone who might listen for free. They had no real gigs, maybe at a school function. Even at this early stage, there was something special about the bond between John and Paul,as friends, band members, and desire. Their first song collaboration was, "Too Bad About Sorrows" and "Just Fun", then, "In Spite of all the Dangers" (which was released in 1996). Later, "Like Dreamers Do" and "One After 909" and " I Call Your Name". Like Dreamers Do resembles a Paul trying to impersonate Elvis, his idol. The Beatles did a demo of it in 1962 for their Decca Records audition. It is simply horrible in almost all ways. "One After 909" as recorded in 1964, almost made it unto thier first LP. "I Call Your Name" remains the best of first songs and was put on their second album. By the end of 1958, they had penned two others, "Love Me Do" and I"ll Follow the Sun", both would appear on their LPs. The latter appeared on their Beatles 65 LP.

Despite the talent, real life impacted them all. Paul had already lost his mom to breast cancer and just as he was getting over the loss, John's mother, Julia (song by the same title on White LP is simply haunting) was killed crossing a busy street at night. George was seriously flunking out of school in all subjects and his teachers were giving up. He did not care for school. Not associated with them yet was Ringo (Richard). Of all the Beatles, he came from the poorest family, his mom was a bar tender. All except George, had broken families caused by death or divorce.

When Julia was killed, the Quarrymen, as a "band" ended. The death sent John into the depths of wanton loss and despair. While he was searching for direction and meaning before, 1958-9 would be a period of total disregard for John. For the most time, he drank with his buddies, became beligerant and jealous of anyone with better things than he had. Even Paul could not help. John went though the motions of going to Art College but was not really interested. Like many his age then and now, he simply was at a loss of what he was suppose to do and very little means to do it. John remained in denial about her death for many months and during this he refused to see Paul and George. George started to play in another band. Paul simply waited for John to move on, and in the meantime, prepared for his future just in case the "rock star" plan did not materialize. Paul was a good student. By now, Paul had written, " PS I Love You" a song that would be on their first US LP.

There were only a few times when John was happy to see "the boys" (Paul and George), they would get together and jam, go over material, maybe play at lunchtime at the Art College, all very impromptu. They were now known as "the college band". Just vocals and guitars. None of them had electric guitars or amps. Even still, the girls liked what they saw and heard, as did the guys.

John was bitter, angry at life, felt pressure to become someone doing something. After all, he was 18, out of high school and in Art College. To John, Paul and John were like "kids". John seemed to have little going for him except a unique voice, a good pencil artist, a witty sense about him, a fading dream to become bigger than Elvis, and two close friends, Paul and George. As Paul said, "during this time, we did not see much of one another, we were not playing much either". True, life seemed to be steering them in opposite directions. Yet, when they did get together, one could see how truly, like brothers, they were fond of one another and competitive musically.

In 1959, John met Cynthia Powell in school. She saved John from self destruction by falling in love with him. Exactly what John needed, to feel real love again. Yet, while it stopped John from further destruction, it diverted John's attention from his dream, his music. Most of 1959 was about John and Cyn being happily in love, doing what lovers do, living in their own flat and friends dropping by, mostly Paul and George, now 16 yrs. Lots of parties, lots of drinking, some jamming on guitars, but no "real" band, per se. John became obsessed with Cyn, his world revolved around her.

Love's spell was broken when George had secured "the Quarrymen" a gig at a new club for teens called the Casbah, They got, as a band, three pounds. Even without a drummer, they packed them in. This event was akin to "splashing" water on John's face with regards to dreams and aspirations. The gig lasted several weeks. Meanwhile, Paul had fallen in love with a "hottie" name Dot, so music seemed to take a backseat in the latter part of 1959. As time moved towards 1960, jam sessions tended to occur more frequently but there were still only three guitars-no drums, no bass. John's roommate, Stu Sutcliffe, was a successful artist and John hinted to him that if he bought a bass guitar, he could be in the band. Stu did so.

It was February 1960, when John was trying to come up with a new name for the band. He came up with Beetles (much like Buddy Holly and the Crickets). John wanting a different spelling just for the hell of it, spelled it, Beatles. Yet, when the business cards and poster ads were printed, the printer had spelled it, Beatals. And for many months to come, they were The Beatals. The Beatals still only played gigs on a occasional basis, their big problem remained not having a drummer.

When they finally got their first real audition for a tour, the Beatals, went under the name of Long John and the Silver Beetles or Silver Beeles by other accounts. The audition was up against  some of Liverpool's best pop bands. The Beatles were looked upon as a joke. Tommy Moore was their temporary drummer, a guy who was an old man, 36 yrs. Paul was only 18 yr. The audition was on May 10th. The Silver Beetles arrived minus Tommy. The men judging the audition all formed a negative impression of them; all were dressed like hoods or gangsters, dressed in black everything and two tone shoes. Very unprofessional. Nobody there had heard of "the silver beetles". Billy Fury was a recording artist and also listened. Before the beetles played, John asked for his autograph.

All of the bands preceding the Beetles played less than 100%, none really shook up the judges. When Beetles turn arrived, things were bleak, Tommy Moore was nowhere to be found. No drummer, no play. John facing this dire consequence, swallowed his pride and asked another drummer from a competing band to sit it. He did. Because the songs were all "covers", the beetles ripped into each with amazing speed and perfect vocals, in what would become their signature, harmonizing. One judge was blown away by their sound. The tour's promoter was not. He felt they were good but not polished.

Billy Fury whispered to the promoter that he wanted them for his backup band. The Silver Beetles thus had their first real success and were paid 90 pounds a week. It would be a 10 day road trip to Scotland and unprecedented, playing in a variety of venues. George took time off from his job. Paul promised his Dad he would study real hard for upcoming exams, John and Stu simply cut classes from college.

Beatals were becoming the real Beatles. This was the first mile of a long and winding road to their iconic status in rock history. The inspiration they got from this tour kept their own dream alive for some time.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)