On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2

This was social media in Great Britain in 1963, during the first flash flood of Beatlemania: George Harrison singing "Do You Want to Know a Secret" for Deanne and Jenny in Bedford; Paul McCartney belting "The Hippy Hippy Shake" for a student at the bassist's old grammar school in Liverpool; Ringo Starr stumbling over names on a request card from Yorkshire. That year, the Beatles ran riot over the BBC, even landing a weekly radio series of studio performances, dedications and wisecracks, Pop Go the Beatles – a vigorous innocence and outreach that propels this second culling of the group's Beeb work. The Beatles are enjoying the speed and lunacy of stardom here: tugging their roots forward in Little Richard's"Lucille" and a sparkling cover of Buddy Holly's "Words of Love" a year before they cut it for a record; going deep into their Cavern-era song bag for Chuck Berry's "I'm Talking About You" and Carl Perkins'"Glad All Over." The mounting hysteria of concerts seeps into "Misery," taped at a BBC theater in March 1963; the live audience can barely contain its screams in the middle. You also hear the distance growing: "It's amazing that you can hear us as we're in America now," Lennon cracks in a pretaped chat in early '64. There would be no more dedications to schoolgirls in Liverpool. The Beatles now belonged to the world.

From The Archives Issue 1196: November 21, 2013