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The Beatles 1967

The Beatles 1967

50 years ago today an album was released that took pop music, something previously regarded as disposable, into the realm of art, whilst helping enable a vital generation of young people to throw off the shackles and express themselves in ever-ambitious ways – ‘Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ soundtracked the fabled ‘summer of love’, which had spilled out into an unsuspecting world via the US West Coast, its psychedelic epicentre being San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood, where the original hippies had gathered and pondered the meaning of it all, adopting a lateral LSD-laced stance on life that would be a defining feature of the decade.

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Their Name Liveth For Evermore

On October 5th 1962 the first single by The Beatles, ‘Love Me Do’ c/w ‘P.S. I Love You’, was released in the UK on the Parlophone label. Principally written by Paul McCartney a few years earlier, when he was 16 (John Lennon added the middle-eight), and based around 3 chords, it was the first of a run of 3 singles that featured John Lennon on harmonica – the others being ‘Please Please Me’ and ‘From Me To You’, both released the following year (the instrument, a signature of the early Beatles sound, was retired by Lennon 1965). The harmonica used had been pinched from a music shop 2 years previously in Arnhem, Holland, whilst The Beatles were on their way to their first stint in Hamburg, Germany (Aug – Dec ’60).  A photograph was also taken of them that day by Barry Chang, the brother-in-law of then manager Allan Williams, as they passed through Arnhem, which would later prove to be somewhat prophetic – the then unknown band, minus Lennon, with their pre-Ringo drummer Pete Best and original bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, Williams and his wife Beryl, along with Williams’ one-time partner Lord Woodbine (aka Harold Phillips), who drove the minibus they were travelling in over from Liverpool. The snapshot was taken in front of the War Memorial, on which the legend ‘Their Name Liveth For Evermore’ was carved. Lennon had stayed in the van, opting out of the photo opportunity, whilst apparently declaring himself, in another portent of the future, a pacifist.

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