Earliest Known Recording Of U.K. Beatles Concert Unearthed

The earliest known full recording of The Beatles playing a live concert in the U.K. has been unearthed.

The hour-long quarter-inch tape recording was made by 15-year-old John Bloomfield at Stowe boarding school in Buckinghamshire on April 4, 1963, when the band played a concert at the school’s theatre.

The concert, revealed on BBC Radio 4‘s “Front Row,” includes “I Saw Her Standing There” and Chuck Berry‘s “Too Much Monkey Business.”

According to the BBC, the recording “captures the appeal of The Beatles’ tightly-honed live act, with a mixture of their club repertoire of R&B covers and the start of the Lennon/McCartney songwriting partnership, with tracks off their debut album Please Please Me, which had been released barely two weeks earlier, on 22 March.”

Speaking about its significance, Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn, said, “The opportunity that this tape presents, which is completely out of the blue, is fantastic because we hear them just on the cusp of the breakthrough into complete world fame. And at that point, all audience recordings become blanketed in screams.”

He added, “So here is an opportunity to hear them in the U.K., in an environment where they could be heard and where the tape actually does capture them properly, at a time when they can have banter with the audience as well.”

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