Sydney Recording Studio: By 1960, the group had settled on a new moniker, the Beatles, and George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best rounded out the line-up. They became regular fixtures at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, frequently pulling in over 500 people to see them in the 200-person capacity club. Their local fame earned them an offer to play in Hamburg, and off they went, spending the next three years honing their touring skills, drinking, carousing, and occasionally getting into trouble with the law. While there, Sutcliffe fell in love with local Astrid Kirchherr, an artist and photographer who helped create the Beatles’ look, influencing their wardrobe and cutting and styling their hair. Sutclliffe left the band, moved in with Astrid, and McCartney was finally free to take over the bass, a position he had been lobbying for.
Sydney Recording Studio: Hamburg Sessions
While in Hamburg, the Beatles recorded their first tracks, garnering the attention of Brian Epstein, a music columnist who managed his family’s record store. He went to see them perform, knew star power when he saw it, and offered to manage them. McCartney missed their first meeting with him, as he had decided to take a bath instead, but eventually they all connected and a partnership was born. Epstein refined their look and their onstage performance, and worked himself to the bone trying to get them a record deal. When producer George Martin signed them to EMI, they had to do one thing: replace their drummer. They ultimately settled on Ringo Starr, already popular thanks to his work with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. Best’s fans protested, swearing they’d never listen to The Beatles again, but the furor soon faded away as the group became increasingly popular.
The impact that the Beatles would ultimately have on ’60s popular culture is hard to overstate. “Beatlemania” soon gripped the world, and when the group made their debut in America, the media dubbed the period of musical crossover between the two nations the “British Invasion.”