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The Beatles At The Beeb
A Photo Essay

The Beatles At The Beeb
A Photo Essay

The BBC Radio Building
In the studios of the British Broadcasting Corporation, The Beatles performed music for a variety of radio shows.

The Beatles performed for 52 BBC Radio programmes, beginning with an appearance on the series Teenager's Turn — Here We Go, recorded on 7 March 1962, and ending with the special The Beatles Invite You to Take a Ticket to Ride, recorded on 26 May 1965.

Forty-seven of their BBC appearances occurred in 1963 and 1964, including ten on Saturday Club, and fifteen on their own weekly series Pop Go The Beatles which began in June 1963.

As The Beatles had not accumulated many original songs by this time, the majority of their BBC performances consisted of cover versions, drawing on the repertoire that they had developed for their early stage act.

In total, 275 performances of 88 different songs were broadcast, of which 36 songs never appeared on their studio albums.

Several of the programmes aired live, but most were recorded days (or occasionally weeks) ahead of the broadcast date. The BBC's studio facilities were not as advanced as those at Abbey Road, offering only monaural recording (no multitracking) and basic overdubbing, so few retakes of songs could be attempted owing to time limitations.

It was not the BBC's practice to archive either the session tapes or the shows' master tapes, owing to storage space and contractual restrictions.

Between March 1962 and June 1965, no fewer than 275 unique musical performances by The Beatles were broadcast by the BBC in the U.K.

Ringo Starr said in 1994, "You tend to forget that we were a working band. It's that mono sound. There were usually no overdubs. We were in at the count — in and that was it. I get excited listening to them."

On their busiest BBC day, 16 July 1963, The Beatles recorded 18 songs for three editions of their Pop Go The Beatles series in fewer than seven hours.

The group played 88 distinct songs in their BBC sessions - some were recorded many times; others performed just once. At the time, three national BBC stations provided all daytime radio broadcasting in the U.K. Only the Light Programme network might occasionally play a record. Most broadcast music was live music. Consequently, to promote their releases, The Beatles had to play live at the BBC.

"Everything was done instantly," remembered George Harrison, "But before that, we used to drive 200 miles in an old van down the M1, come into London, try and find the BBC and then set up and do the program. Then we'd probably drive back to Newcastle for a gig in the evening!"

Posted November 13, 2013.

Photos Of The BBC Days

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On Air — Live At The BBC Volume 2
On Air — Live At The BBC Volume 2 is now on sale and includes 63 previously unrealeased tracks, 23 of which are interviews and amusing Beatles' banter.

Available Formats

Compact Disc Vinyl



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The Beatles At The Beeb is a creation of
The Beatles On Abbey Road
The Beatles On Abbey Road
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