The Beatles seemingly “came out of nowhere” as far as their hysterical and skeptical public in the U.S. were concerned. But of course we learned soon enough that they had in fact – risen from the 7,000 or so skiffle groups that formed in the mid to late 1950’s in the U.K.
Clean Cut Beatles
Brian Epstein was responsible for the Beatles clean-cut image, insisting on professional stage-presence, uniform clothing, and abandonment of their earlier Cavern-type ad lib approach to performing. But who were the real Beatles? Their handful of extended visits to Hamburg proved to be where they would be tested, and respond by becoming a powerful, full steam ahead, genuine Beat Group. In fact, upon returning from one long stay in Germany, they were shocked to witness a dramatic trend in the Beat music scene in Liverpool.
The groups were all beginning to tone it down. The Shadows were becoming more and more the model – Organized, conservative – in control. The Beatles on the other hand looked and played the quintessential Beat Group. Pure rock n’ roll was their repertoire and trademark, with a driving unbridled beat. The photo we see in this Mersey Beat cover was the real Beatles. And soon after their return, they began to influence the other groups – especially in Liverpool, to once again return to their roots.
The Beatles we see above in Mersey Beat were the real deal. In the U.S. – with the arrival of the Rolling Stones – contrasts were drawn: The Beatles were safe – The Stones dangerous – The Beatles were in control – The Stones unpredictable. Years later John Lennon would tell biographer Alan Davies that although he was always friendly with the Stones – he was resentful of their bad boy image – because “that is who we were”.