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The Silver Beetles were a short-lived cover band featuring 3 future members of The Beatles. John Lennon initially wanted to be called The Crickets, but Paul McCartney said, "I think that's already taken". It was Stuart Sutcliffe who suggested they call themselves The Beetles. The group often performed short 20 minute sets comprised entirely of top 40 hit covers.

History[]

The Johnny Gentle Band (May, 1960)[]

On May 10th, 1960, Larry Parnes, a popular manager and event organiser hosted an audition for groups to back Billy Fury on a tour of the UK. The audition was held in The Blue Angel. The Beatals, a group who had formed four months earlier but never performed, were made aware of the event and decided to audition. They decided they were going to all dress the same, in an outfit consisting of black shirts & string shoes, and named themselves The Silver Beats.

The group hired 28 year old Tommy Moore to play drums, but after he failed to arrive to audition, Johnny Hutchinson, (who was auditioning with Cass and the Cassanovas) played with them. McCartney took note that Stuart would be visibly playing in another key whilst they were rehearsing, and so suggested to him that he face away from the audience during the audition.[1]

On May 14th the group performed their first concert, under the name 'The Silver Beats' at Lathom Hall in Liverpool. Local group Cliff Roberts and the Rockers had accidentally been booked to perform at Lathom Hall and the Casanova Club at the same time, and so suggested that The Silver Beats, who they had met at the Larry Parnes audition earlier that week, take their place at Lathom Hall, giving the group their first official performance.[2] This performance likely featured the group playing with Tommy Moore for the first time. The next day they performed at the Iron Door Club. On May 18th the group were invited by Parnes to act as Johnny Gentle's backing band on a tour of the U.K.[1] The tour featured the band billed as the Johnny Gentle Band, instead of as The Silver Beetles as they were self referring. Still, the group were excited to be working in 'show-biz', and decided to come up with stage names, McCartney became 'Paul Ramon', Sutcliffe became 'Stuart de Staël', George became 'Carl Harrison', and Lennon became 'Long John'.[3]

During the tour Lennon helped Gentle write the song 'I’ve Just Fallen For Someone', contributing four lines and helping with the middle 8.

On May 23rd, the group's drummer became concussed when their van crashed into another car. The group's equipment landed on him. Moore was hospitalised, but was pulled out of his hospital bed by the promoter and Lennon. Moore performed the show in a complete daze. Meanwhile, McCartney was beginning to notice that they hadn't been paid for any of their performances yet.[4] The lack of pay was beginning to become a problem, whatever little funding they did receive immediately went on hotels, but otherwise the group slept in the van.[5] By the group played in Nairn on the 27th, they were desperate. Gentle called Parnes to ask about funding, but his pleas continued to be ignored by the promoter, until Lennon yelled down the reciever.

"We’re fuckin’ skint up here. We haven’t got a pot to piss in. We need money, Larry!"

The hostility worked, as they were sent a small payment from their local manager, Allan Williams.[6]

Tommy Moore Quits[]

After returning to England on May 29th, the group began to play in clubs, and began experimenting with the name The Beatles, but still booked themselves primarily as The Silver Beetles, and secured themselves a residency at The Grosvenor Ballroom in Wallasey. On June 11th, the group arrived at the venue but discovered that Moore had failed to arrive. The group went to his house, and found that he had quit the band to become a forklift driver. The group went to his workplace and tried to convince him to return, but he refused. Lennon asked if anybody in the audience wanted to stand in. A large gang leader named Ronnie stepped on stage and sat behind the drums, displaying his inability to play. During the interval the group left fearing for their lives.[7] On June 13th, the group replaced Moore and Ronnie with Norman Chapman, but after three weeks, he entered military service. Paul McCartney briefly replaced him as the drummer.[8]

The Grosvenor Ballroom Rock n Roll ban[]

The Grosvenor Ballroom, where The Silver Beetles had a fixed residency, was forced to abandon all 'Rock & Roll' events in early August of 1960. The shows The Silver Beetles had often resulted in altercations with rowdy audience members, and would sometimes spark fights within the crowds. As a result, the group decided to pull the curtain on The Silver Beetles, and start afresh as The Beatles.

Members[]

Performances[]

The Silver Beat

  • May 10th: Blue Angel, Liverpool, England (Private show, audition for Larry Parnes. Featuring Johnny Hutchinson on drums)
  • May 14th: Lathom Hall, Liverpool, England
  • May 15th: Iron Door Club, Liverpool, England (As The Silver Beetles)

The Johnny Gentle Band

  • May 20th: Town Hall, Alloa, Scotland
  • May 21st: Northern Meeting Ballroom, Inverness, Scotland
  • May 23rd: Dalrymple Hall, Fraserburgh, Scotland
  • May 25th: St Thomas’ Hall, Keith, Scotland
  • May 26th: Town Hall, Forres, Scotland
  • May 27th: Regal Ballroom, Nairn, Scotland
  • May 28th: Rescue Hall, Peterhead, Scotland

The Silver Beetles

  • May 30th: Jacaranda Coffee Bar, Liverpool, England
  • June 2nd: The Institute, Neston, Wirral, England (As 'The Beatles')
  • June 4th: Grosvenor Ballroom, Wallasey, England
  • June 6th: Grosvenor Ballroom, Wallasey, England
  • June 9th: The Institute, Neston, Wirral, England (As 'The Beatles', last show with Tommy Moore on drums)
  • June 11th: Grosvenor Ballroom, Wallasey, England
  • June 13th: Jacaranda Coffee Bar, Liverpool, England (First show with Norman Chapman on drums)
  • June 16th: The Institute, Neston, Wirral, England
  • June 18th: Grosvenor Ballroom, Wallasey, England (Paul McCartney's 18th birthday)
  • June 23rd: The Institute, Neston, Wirral, England
  • June 25th: Grosvenor Ballroom, Wallasey, England
  • June 30th: The Institute, Neston, Wirral, England
  • July 2nd: Grosvenor Ballroom, Wallasey, England (With Johnny Gentle on lead vocals. Last show with Norman Chapman)
  • July 7th: The Institute, Neston, Wirral, England (First show with Paul McCartney as drummer)
  • July 9th: Grosvenor Ballroom, Wallasey, England
  • July 16th: Grosvenor Ballroom, Wallasey, England
  • July 23rd: Grosvenor Ballroom, Wallasey, England
  • July 30th: Grosvenor Ballroom, Wallasey, England

Setlist[]

  • It Doesn’t Matter Anymore (Buddy Holly cover)
  • Raining In My Heart (Buddy Holly cover)
  • I Need Your Love Tonight (Elvis Presley cover)
  • Poor Little Fool (Ricky Nelson cover)
  • I Don’t Know Why I Love You But I Do (Clarence Frogman Henry cover)
  • Come On Everybody (Eddie Cochran cover)
  • He’ll Have To Go (Jim Reeve's cover)
  • Teddy Bear (Elvis Presley cover)
  • 1.0 1.1 https://www.beatlesbible.com/1960/05/10/live-blue-angel-liverpool-audition-for-larry-parnes/
  • https://www.beatlesbible.com/1960/05/14/live-lathom-hall-liverpool/
  • https://www.beatlesbible.com/1960/05/20/live-town-hall-alloa-scotland/
  • https://www.beatlesbible.com/1960/05/23/live-dalrymple-hall-fraserburgh-scotland/
  • https://www.beatlesbible.com/1960/05/25/live-st-thomas-hall-keith-scotland/
  • https://www.beatlesbible.com/1960/05/27/live-regal-ballroom-nairn-scotland/
  • https://www.beatlesbible.com/1960/06/11/live-grosvenor-ballroom-wallasey-3/
  • https://www.beatlesbible.com/1960/06/13/live-jacaranda-coffee-bar-liverpool-2/
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