5 Oct 2012

The Beatles: Love Me Do 50 years on

Fifty years ago, the Beatles released their first single, Love Me Do. As Channel 4 News archivist Ian Searcey explains, an ITN interview from the time captures the band in bemused mood.

For many people the Sixties really began on 5 October, 1962, when the Beatles, a quartet of long-haired youths from Liverpool released their debut single ‘Love Me Do’.

Put out on an obscure EMI subsiduary record label, Parlophone, best known at the time for releasing comedy records, the single peaked at Number 17 in the Hit Parade and gave no indication of the cultural storm that was about to be unleashed on the world.

Fast forward a year to the 13 October, 1963 and the group had been on three increasingly frenzied nationwide tours, claimed two number one singles, a number one album and were making national headlines with scenes of fan hysteria not witnessed in the UK since the early days of Cliff Richard.

As they were down in London to appear on ITV’s enormously popular Sunday Night At the London Palladium, ITN decided it was time to cast an eye over this new entertainment phenomenon.

Not yet the experts at handling the media they would later become, a subdued Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr are quizzed on their view of the fans reaction to their public appearances.

“Seems to me,” says the unidentified interviewer, “that after the show is when your problems begin…” before asking Paul how he copes. George says it can be worrying if “there’s a big mob”, while to the amusement of the others, Ringo denies they set out to cause the mayhem: “The police say don’t look out the window…you’ll excite them…”

In November, a few weeks after this nervous little chat, She Loves You was still topping the charts and their success was recognised with an appearance on the bill of the Royal Variety Performance. John Lennon asked the richer members of the audience to “rattle their jewellery” and the rest is history…