60 years Ago: Beatles at the BEEB

The Beatles spent a good part of the first week of April 1963 recording songs for broadcast on BBC radio, affectionately known as the BEEB. On April Fool’s Day the group was at the BBC’s Piccadilly Studios in London to record songs for two editions of the show Side By Side, during which a guest group would perform songs “side by side” with the host group, the Karl Denver Trio. The show’s format had the host and guest open with a duet on the song Side By Side. Then the Karl Denver Trio and the guest act would alternate performances for the remainder of the program.

The first set of songs, recorded during the afternoon, was broadcast on April 22. They were aimed at promoting the group’s debut album and latest single, From Me To You. In addition to the single, the Beatles also recorded BBC versions of I Saw Her Standing There, Do You Want To Know A Secret, Baby It’s You, Please Please Me and Misery.

The second set of songs, recorded during the evening, was broadcast on May 13. Once again, the program’s focus was on promoting the LP and new single, with the Beatles performing both sides of the single, From Me To You and Thank You Girl. The album tracks included A Taste Of Honey, Chains and Boys. And just for fun, the group rocked out on an exciting cover of Little Richard’s Long Tall Sally, which would not be recorded at Abbey Road until the following year.

After a rare day off, the Beatles spent Wednesday evening as guests on the BBC program Easy Beat, hosted by Brian Mathew and recorded in front of a live audience at the Playhouse Theatre in London. The group performed their two most recent singles, Please Please Me and From Me To You, as well as the album track Misery. John and Paul were panelists on the record review segment. The show was broadcast on April 7.

On April 4, the Beatles did another session for Side By Side, this time recording a mix of the usual tracks to promote singles and albums, Love Me Do, From Me To You and Boys, and two tracks that were never recorded by the group for EMI, Too Much Monkey Business and I’ll Be On My Way. That afternoon, the group was played a concert at Stowe, a boy’s public school in Stowe, Bucks.

On Friday, the Beatles gave an early evening performance for record company executives at EMI House, where they were awarded a silver disc (signifying sales of 250,000 units) for the single Please Please Me. Later that evening, the group performed at the Swimming Baths in Leyton, London.

The weekend concluded with a Saturday show at the Pavillion Gardens Ballroom in Buxton, Derbyshire, and a Sunday concert at the Savoy Ballroom in Portsmouth, Hampshire.


Today’s trivia questions are about the Beatles on the BBC.

  1. What was the only Lennon-McCartney song performed for the BBC that the Beatles never recorded or performed live?
  2. Who recorded a version of the song referred to in the above question at Abbey Road?
  3. Which recording artist had more of his songs covered by the Beatles during their BBC programs than any other artist.
  4. Name as many of those songs as you can.


  1.  The Lennon-McCartney song I’ll Be On My Way was never recorded or performed live by the Beatles.
  2. I’ll Be On My Way was recorded by Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas at Abbey Road on March 14, 1963. It was released in the U.K. as the B-side to Do You Want To Know A Secret on April 26. Note: Billy will be at this weekend’s Fest For Beatles Fans!
  3. Chuck Berry had more of his songs covered by the Beatles during their BBC programs than any other artist.
  4. Too Much Monkey Business, Carol, Johnny B. Goode, Memphis Tennessee, Roll Over Beethoven, Sweet Little Sixteen, Rock & Roll Music, I Got To Find My Baby, Talking About You. The first eight appear on Live At The BBC.

roll-over-beethoven johnny-b-goode

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