Monday, October 25, 2010

The Secret Prehistory of the Beatles

The Beatles. Lovable mop tops with a groundbreaking new sound, boundary pushing musicians, teenage girl scream inducing Fab Four idols, and psychedelic pioneers. They were all those things and more. And indeed, most people remember them as as such - beginning in 1963 and running through until their breakup in 1970.

Except that beginning that everybody remembers wasn't the beginning at all.

Indeed, prior to the release of Love Me Do in 1963 and the ensuing Beatlemania that swept the UK, the USA and then the world in the following years, the Beatles existed - and thrived - as an animal of a different type. First in the lowly clubs of Liverpool, and then more spectacularly in the seedy nightclubs of Hamburg, Germany, the Beatles were a rough and ready, hard rocking band playing revved up and loud songs at breakneck speed. And, it wasn't just the music. Their look was completely different than what they later projected. Leather jackets and pants, slicked back hair, wild stage antics...hey, these Beatles were more like 1970s punk than 1960 pop.

There are books and web sites that tell of this Beatles pre-history, and its fascinating stuff to read about how the band came together in those days, gigged hard and eventually jettisoned bassist Stu Sutcliff and drummer Pete Best in favor of Ringo Starr. But, pictures also tell a 1,000 words.

Check these out...

Is this George, Paul and John or is it Strummer, Jones and Simonon?

Is this the Beatles or the Damned on stage?

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