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The Fab Four didn’t always play to packed-out halls on trip to north east Scotland

The Beatles
The Beatles

They developed into the Fab Four; the most famous group in pop music history.

But were you aware that John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison – minus Ringo Starr – once toured the north east of Scotland as a backing group and were called The Silver Beetles?

Or that, during their visit, McCartney was known as Paul Ramon and Lennon had the words Long John appended to his name?

This was long before the days of the Fab Four, George Martin, and Sergeant Pepper, as the Liverpool group took the world by storm.

Instead, in the spring of 1960, the three youngsters backed singer Johnny Gentle on a series of gigs in Inverness, Fraserburgh, Keith, Forres, Nairn and Peterhead.

The gigs were staged at such venues as the Northern Meeting Ballroom in Inverness, Dalrymple Hall in Fraserburgh and The Rescue Hall in Peterhead, between May 20 and May 28. Some of the concerts were well-attended, but others attracted barely any audience at all.

And Lennon and McCartney returned home to Liverpool after losing money on the trip.

Author and music historian Richard Houghton revealed: “They were known as the Silver Beetles at the time and they didn’t have their own drummer.

“John, Paul and George were joined by Stuart Sutcliffe, who subsequently went to Hamburg with them, and Tommy Moore, who was a fork-lift truck driver and a lot older than the rest of the boys.

“The tour had been arranged by Larry Parnes, who was the Simon Cowell of his day, and they secured the gig after passing an audition against competition which included Gerry and the Pacemakers.

“They received a fee of £60 for performing seven shows in eight days and they also had to pay for their own accommodation on their travels.

“But, despite that, it was an important next step up on the ladder.”

After the Peterhead concert, McCartney recalled: “I think there are a few posters of us with the double ‘e’, but we soon dropped the ‘Silver’ because we didn’t really want it.”

A few months later, their name became simply The Beatles.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

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