The audition lasted for a couple of hours and that was it. We left and went back to our hotel. George Harrison, Anthology
Recording 15 songs and reasonably confident of being offered a recording contract they return to Liverpool.
We went back and we waited and waited, and then we found out that they hadn't accepted it; we really thought that was it then, that was the end.
When you hear the tape, it's pretty good. It's not great, but it's good and it's certainly good for then, when you consider that all that was going on was The Shadows - especially in England. But they were so dumb, when they listened to these audition tapes they were listening for The Shadows. So they were not listening to it at all - they're listening like they do now - you know how these people are - for what's already gone down. They can't hear anything new.
It was pretty shaky then, because there's nowhere else to go if you don't get the records. We didn't think we were going to make it at all. It was only Brian telling us we were going to make it, and George. Brian Epstein and George Harrison. John Lennon, Anthology
It's said that nobody though to break the bad news about Decca to Pete until March. When he asked why they'd waited to tell him they said 'they didn't want to dishearten him.'
While we are on the subject of disheartened drummers, what was Ringo up to in January 1962?
It was amazing, even for someone who'd learned to live on his wits in the hard streets of the Dingle, and it wasn't just the patrons of the Top Ten you'd be watching out for. On stage there were issues with Sheridan, who Ringo would remember as 'really volatile.' Ringo admired him as a player but was frustrated by Sheridan's penchant for performing songs he had not rehearsed with the band, as well as his appetite for jumping off the stage, mid-number and getting into fist-fights with anybody showing an interest in his lady. Ringo and the rest of the group would keep on jamming until Sheridan returned, 'covered in blood if he'd lost.'
Aintree Institute: 27 January 1962.
The complete film, which is now owned by the Best family, also contains non-Beatles images shot in various clubs. It shows people drinking, playing snooker and watching the band. The Beatles are seen in two separate segments running in total for about 30 seconds, which capture two different songs being performed.
In the first segment, George is seen singing, thought to be 'Dream', the lead song on what was then the latest EP by Cliff Richard and the Shadows.
In the second segment, Paul is singing Gene Vincent's 'Dance In The Street' which the Beatles amended to 'Twist In The Street' to appeal to the latest dance craze. John chews gum throughout while Pete is unfortunately obscured in the shadows and can't be seen at all.
Remarkably these colour stills (taken from individual frames of the film) are the first colour images we have of The Beatles. Only Mike McCartney's two colour photos of the Quarry Men from 1958 pre-date them.
It was a choice of making it or still eating chicken on stage. We respected his views. We stopped champing at cheese rolls and jam butties; we paid a lot more attention to what we were doing, did our best to be on time and we smartened up. John Lennon, Anthology
We started to get a lot of respect. A lot of our tracks may not have been 'cool'. (I think if we'd just been cool, we wouldn't have made it how we did.) But that was a great aspect of us. John would do 'A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues' or 'You Really Got A Hold On Me' - you could call that cool. But then we'd have something like 'If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody' - which was actually more cool because it was probably the first R&B waltz that anyone did.
Guys would ask where we'd got a song like 'If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody' from - we'd explain it was on a James Ray album. The Hollies came to see us once and came back two weeks later looking like us! We were in black turtleneck sweaters and John had his harmonica and we were doing our R&B material. The next week, The Hollies had turtleneck sweaters and a harmonica in their act. This is what had started to happen. We would come back to Liverpool and Freddie and the Dreamers would be doing 'If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody' as their hit number. (Freddie Garrity saw us playing that song in the Oasis Club in Manchester and took it.)
So we were a big influence on those people. We had too much material anyway. We couldn't record it all when we did get a deal, so other groups took songs from our act and made hits out of them - like The Swinging Blue Jeans with 'The Hippy Hippy Shake', which was one of my big numbers. Paul McCartney, Anthology
Bought Zodiac. Knotty Ash, Orrell, then Sam Leach's engagement party. Had row with Eileen. Got home 6.
And this is where Sam Leach's account of what must have been a notable milestone in his personal life gets thrown into question, because according to Byrne's diary, the date of Sam's party was 17 FEBRUARY 1962, exactly one month earlier.
On that particular night the Beatles were playing at the Cavern, while the Hurricanes had a double booking, the Village Hall in Knotty Ash, followed by the Orrell Park Ballroom in north Liverpool.
It was not unusual for members of both groups to meet up after finishing their respective engagements. As we saw in the 1961 post, Joe's Café in the city centre was a popular late night-early morning hangout, as was Rory Storm's family home in Broad Green. It's not unreasonable therefore to assume that on 17 February they all travelled back through Liverpool to attend Sam's party in Huyton.
In his book Sam Leach has a distinct memory of 'a gang of us' (presumably including Beatles and Hurricanes) travelling to the party from Knotty Ash in a van. Their driver (not Neil Aspinall) pulled out from the Village Hall into the path of a speeding articulated lorry which seemed to have appeared from nowhere. Everyone braced themselves for the inevitable impact but miraculously the lorry, its brakes screeching hysterically, managed to stop less than a foot from the side of the van. Shocked, stunned, shaken and stirred, everyone in the van travelled the 1.5 miles to the party in complete silence.
You'd think Johnny Guitar might have mentioned this near death experience but then, according to his diary entry, the Hurricanes would have been travelling to the party from Orrell Park.
Paul, George, Joan McEvoy, John, Pete and Rory with two unidentified ladies at the engagement party.
George always fancied Joan and when I began dating her, he asked her to let him know when she finished seeing me. 'But don't tell Sam,' he added. 'He’d batter me!' Today she probably feels like battering me for spoiling her chances. Sam Leach, The Rocking City
As we can see in the above photo, Pete Best, who, you might have read, never socialised with the other Beatles after a gig, was at the party, socialising with the other Beatles, after a gig. Various sources report that Pete normally went home to West Derby with Neil Aspinall in the Beatles' own van. There are no photos of Neil at the party. Of course that's not proof that he wasn't there, but we know Neil had other things on his mind at this time so he may have dropped the Beatles off at the party after their Cavern engagement (if this was 17th February) and then retired to West Derby, leaving the Beatles to make their own way home. You could also make the argument that they all expected to have plenty to drink so used taxis or public transport that night. 
Referencing the St Patrick's Night Rock Gala in Tune In, author Mark Lewisohn mentions that the Hurricanes were still without Ringo.
If Johnny Guitar's diary entry is correct, and the party took place on 17 February, then Ringo would not have been able to attend because he was still in Germany with Tony Sheridan. Co-incidentally, the night of 16-17 February saw Hamburg devastated by flooding which effectively brought Ringo's two month contract at the Top Ten club to an end. Buildings collapsed, 20,000 people were made homeless and 343 died. The Reeperbahn escaped the water because it was uphill but there were power failures and the Top Ten shut for a few days.
With the club closed there was no point in hanging around Hamburg and Ringo made his way back to Liverpool soon afterwards.
Lewisohn says Ringo was in no immediate hurry to re-join the Hurricanes. He signed back on the dole, went for long drives on his own and mourned his beloved Nana Starkey who'd passed on 7 February while he was still in Hamburg. Perhaps this latter event is why the usually gregarious drummer was feeling unsociable. He was back with the Hurricanes by 31 March when they set off for France having secured a gig playing American air bases.
17 February 1962 (Johnny Guitar's date)
- The Beatles play the Cavern Club in the evening then make their way to Sam's party.
- Rory Storm and the Hurricanes play Knotty Ash Village Hall and the Orrell Park Ballroom before Rory and Johnny (at least) attend the party.
- Ringo is not present because he is still in Hamburg.
- The Beatles and Rory Storm and the Hurricanes play Knotty Ash Village Hall before going on to the party.
- Ringo is back in Liverpool but does not attend because he is mourning his grandmother and considering his future.
- (OR) Ringo is back in Liverpool and does attend, but there are no photos of him.
She went out with Paul, on and off, until July 1962, around the same time that Cynthia Powell discovered she was pregnant.
It was later put around that I had betrayed our leather image but, as I recall, I didn't actually have to drag anyone to the tailors. We all went quite happily over the water to Wirral, to Beno Dorn, a little tailor who made mohair suits. That started to change the image and, though we would still wear leather occasionally, for the posh do's we'd put on suits. It was suits for a cabaret gig. We were still on the edge of breaking in a big way and cabaret was well paid. So that was something of an end to the Hamburg era. Paul McCartney, Anthology
The Parlophone audition was in June 1962. It went not too badly. I think George Martin felt we were raw and rough but that we had some quality that was interesting. We did 'Love Me Do', 'PS I Love You', 'Ask Me Why', 'Besame Mucho' and 'Your Feet's Too Big', among others. ('Your Feet's Too Big' was Fats Waller. That was Paul's dad's influence.) George Harrison, Anthology
Note: A study of the EMI paperwork since the release of the Beatles' Anthology reveals the 6 June session was a recording session, not an audition.
- Anthology (The Beatles)
- Beatle! The Pete Best Story (Pete Best & Patrick Doncaster)
- Bob Wooler, The Best of Fellas (Spencer Leigh)
- How They Became The Beatles: A Definitive History of the Early Years, 1960-1964 (Gareth L. Pawlowski)
- Mike McCartney's Early Liverpool (Genesis, 2022)
- The Cavern Club: The Rise of The Beatles and Merseybeat (Spencer Leigh)
- The Rocking City (Sam Leach)
- Tune In (Mark Lewisohn)
- Various issues of Mersey Beat (Bill Harry) (author's own collection)