From the Cavern to the Palladium
On March 21, 1961, the Beatles made their first appearance at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. It was the first of many performances there that would help solidify their Liverpool audience, and ultimately open them up to a wider audience. George was now eighteen, and the following month the Beatles returned to Hamburg, the first of several short return trips there that year. The Beatles' first recording was an exciting development on this trip. They backed a singer named Tony Sheridan on a song called “My Bonnie (Lies Over the Ocean),” as Tony Sheridan and the Beat Boys. The single was a hit in Germany and later released in Britain, this time as Tony Sheridan and the Beatles. John wasn't too excited about the production values: “It's just Tony Sheridan singing, with us banging in the background. It's terrible. It could be anybody.” Regardless, it marked a major milestone for the band.
Did You Know
The “Beatle haircut” was courtesy of Stuart Sutcliffe. This style was long and combed down, not greased and combed up as had been the style of most rock and rollers in those days. At first the other band members laughed at this style, but gradually each adopted it. It would become the group's trademark.
When they returned to Liverpool in July 1961, a newspaper called Mersey Beat had appeared, dedicated to the young Liverpool groups popular at the time. The Beatles were performing a lot in clubs, building on their local following, and attracted the attention of one of the paper's writers. John, who was always the sly wit of the group, did an interview and shed some light on the group's name: “Many people ask what are Beatles? Why Beatles? Uh, Beatles, how did the name arrive? It came in a vision—a man appeared on a flaming pie and said unto them: ‘From this on you are Beatles with an A'”