THE BEATLES

I was born in 1963 and so I am almost the same age as The Beatles, not the actual Beatles of course.  I am nowhere near as old as Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, but John Lennon was younger than I am now when he was assassinated and I am the same age as George Harrison was when he died.  And so, in fact, I am younger, older and exactly the same age as the actual Beatles. I am, of course, referring to the phenomenon that is The Beatles and the music which has been around for all of my life. 

My mum didn’t have any Beatles’ records but as a child growing up in the Sixties, I must have been exposed to it – it is inconceivable that I wasn’t and amazingly I’m not fed up with their music yet.  The first albums I went out and bought for myself were Revolver and Rubber Soul – still my favourites but I’ll happily listen to anything by The Beatles from ‘Love Me Do’ right on through to ‘Come Together.’ 

People often talk about ‘The Fifth Beatle’ and they have different opinions about who it is.  When the band first went to play in Hamburg there were actually five members, two of whom were prime contenders for the accolade of Fifth Beatle.  Ringo Starr hadn’t joined yet and the original drummer was Pete Best but he got the shove because he wouldn’t let Ingrid Kirchner cut his hair in the same style as the others (I bet he’s kicking himself now).  And the other member was Lennon’s friend, Stuart Sutcliffe, who was pushed out because Paul wanted to play the bass and, by all accounts, he was rubbish at playing guitar and they couldn’t keep him in the band just because he looked cool could they?  Anyhow, I suppose Best and Sutcliffe are vying in pole position.  I mean, they did actually play in the band but it was just fleetingly and at the very beginning and neither of them appear on any of the iconic recording so….. 

I asked Christine who she considered to be the Fifth Beatle and she said either the fans or Brian Epstein.  This got me thinking that Epstein was in fact one of the first fans.  He heard a record by The Beatles and liked it so much that he searched them out and offered to be their manager.  So, he’s definitely in the running and let’s not forget Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans, The Beatle’s roadies who both became integral to the band and neither of whom ever spoke to journalists about what they witnessed in that trusted circle. But is one of them the Fifth Beatle? No, I don’t think so. 

In my opinion, George Martin is the Fifth Beatle. He recorded and produced all of the Beatle’s music up to and including The White Album. He was the one who encouraged Lennon and McCartney to begin writing their own material. He was there in the studio with them, helping to define their sound. He even played piano every now and then. 

Admittedly, he decided not to make the switch from mono to stereo even as their music was becoming more experimental and, when he did eventually go back and re-mix everything, he cocked it up but I don’t think his heart was really in it and he knew he could not improve on those original recordings and he was right. In my opinion, the Fifth Beatle IS George Martin even though he was rubbish at stereo. 

4 thoughts on “THE BEATLES

  1. I’ve always considered Billy Preston the fifth Beatle. Lennon wanted him in the band but McCartney nixed the idea. Nonetheless, he is the only recording artist to be credited with The Beatles on a track (Get Back; The Beatles with Billy Preston.) He also performed with them in the famous rooftop concert and did several recordings with Harrison when he went solo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Pam. Yes, Billy Preston is definitely a strong candidate, he really re-energized the band when they were working on the ‘let it be’ album.

      Liked by 1 person

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