I looked on the web a bit and didn’t find any specific information, but does anyone know how much time elapsed between The Beatles forming to their first show? A couple months? weeks? The more specific the better, thanks!
It depends. Mostly on whether you count the Quarrymen (which had John, Paul and eventually George in its ranks) or if you want to go with the first real line-up as The Beatles (I think they dropped the “Silver” before Pete Best joined). This version formed sometime in the summer of '60 and left for Hamburg very shortly thereafter, but if I recall they played in Liverpool before making the trip (though maybe not - I’ve got the information somewhere, but I’ll have to dig it out). So, either a few days, weeks, or, at most, about a month. Sorry for the lack of specificity - like I said, I’ll look it up.
It depends on how you define “The Beatles.” Do you mean the first time they played under that name? Do you mean from when the line-up consisted of the four members we are so familiar with it, or do you count the days with Pete Best and Stu Stucliff? Paul and John played together as the Quarrymen (Paul sat in on a skiffle band that John had started) on the first day they met.
John and Paul met in July 1957, when John was playing in a skiffle group called The Quarrymen, which John invited Paul to join. George Harrison was added to the Quarrymen in February 1958. By 1959, the lineup of The Quarrymen was John, Paul, George, and Ken Brown, who left in the group either in October 1959 or May 1960, according to whom you believe.
John’s art school buddy Stu Sutcliffe joined as bass player in January 1960, and it was Sutcliffe who suggested the group renamed itself The Beetles [sic], in honor of Buddy Holly’s group The Crickets. The name was modified to the Silver Beetles for a nine-day tour of Scotland in May 1960.* Pete Best became the group’s drummer in August 1960. The spelling of the group’s name varied that year from Beetles to Beatles, finally settling on The Beatles in August for an engagement in Hamburg, Germany. Stu left the group in December to stay with his girlfriend in Hamburg, and Paul shifted to bass to replace him. The group replaced Pete Best on drums with Ringo Starr in August 1962, in time for their first EMI recording session.
- Their manager wanted to call them Long John Silver and The Beetles; The Silver Beetles was a compromise.
A few additions: Tommy Moore was drummer for The Beetles/Beatles in May-June 1960, quitting when his girlfriend wanted him to get a real job. The versatile Paul substituted on drums a while, and then Norman Chapman sat in as drummer for three weeks, but was drafted into the British Army. Pete Best came aboard for a two-year run in August.
The Beatles’ first professional recording session came in Hamburg in June 1961, when they were hired to back singer Tony Sheridan, with whom they had worked in live shows. When the first single, My Bonnie, came out in Germany in October, they appeared on the record label as “Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers”. The single sold well, making the top twenty on the German record charts. When the single was released in Britain in January 1962, their name on the record label was “Tony Sheridan & The Beatles”.