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BBC reveals one of the earliest EVER recordings of The Beatles

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BBC reveals one of the earliest EVER recordings of The Beatles performing at a Buckinghamshire boarding school – just two weeks after releasing their debut album

The BBC have released one of the earliest ever known recordings of The Beatles before their meteoric rise to fame.

The famous foursome took to the stage to perform at a boarding school Stowe, Buckinghamshire in 1963, just two weeks after releasing their debut album Please Please Me.

The recording was made by student John Bloomfield, who was just 15, at the time, after his peer David Moores booked the group for just £100.

Moores went onto become heir to the Littlewoods empire and future chairman of Liverpool FC, before his death in July 2022.

At the time, John had no idea of the band’s rising popularity, and only realised when he noticed female’s students’ reaction to the surprise 22-song set.

Blast from the past! The BBC have released one of the earliest ever known recordings of The Beatles before their meteoric rise to fame

Blast from the past! The BBC have released one of the earliest ever known recordings of The Beatles before their meteoric rise to fame

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, John who is now in his 70s, said the event seemed ‘ridiculous in retrospect’.

He said: ‘No one knew who the Beatles were at this school but they turned up and played an incredible concert and that was the beginning of the 60s as far as we were concerned – it was fabulous,’ 

John also admitted that he was ‘very miffed’ that the ‘unknown’ group took away his own band’s performance slot that evening, adding: ‘This all seems so completely ridiculous in retrospect.’

Detailing the Beatles arrival at the school, he said he’d been expecting ‘something a bit more dramatic.’

He said: ‘Them and their gear and their crew all arrived in two saloon cars. I was expecting a big bus or something – nope.

‘Two Ford Zodiacs turned up and out of it came everything including their stage suits – it was a bit of a let down, I was expecting something a bit more dramatic.’

The group kicked off with their album’s opening track I Saw Her Standing There and then switched it up by performing Chuck Berry’s Too Much Monkey Business.

John added that he only revealed he owned the recording of the band when the BBC visited the school to make a radio show about the concert. 

Classic: The famous foursome took to the stage to perform at a boarding school Stowe, Buckinghamshire in 1963, just two weeks after releasing their debut album Please Please Me

Classic: The famous foursome took to the stage to perform at a boarding school Stowe, Buckinghamshire in 1963, just two weeks after releasing their debut album Please Please Me

He also revealed that the band did take requests from the audience, with some femail students watching from the back.  

‘It wasn’t until they started playing that we heard the screaming, and we realised we were in the middle of Beatlemania,’ John added.

Speaking on Front Row, Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn had to ‘pick myself up off the floor’ when he was told about the tape. 

The Beatles at Stowe School is on Front Row on BBC Sounds. 

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