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Earliest known recording of the Beatles live debuts on BBC

Bill Ellmann/Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

The BBC has debuted what is believed to be the earliest known full recording of a live Beatles concert, recorded 60 years ago by a 15-year-old named John Bloomfield.


The audio, which debuted on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, is from a concert at Stowe boarding school in Buckinghamshire, England. The band was playing the school’s theater for the birthday of a student named David Moore, who had reached out to the band’s manager, Brian Epstein. Epstein agreed to the concert, charging Moore $125 for the booking, which Moore paid for by selling tickets to his fellow students.

The now 70-year-old Bloomfield recorded the concert on a reel-to-reel tape; the show featured the band performing songs off their first album, Please Please Me, along with some covers. Bloomfield played it for Front Row, which was doing a special on the concert’s anniversary.

“The opportunity that this tape presents, which is completely out of the blue, is fantastic because we hear them just on the cusp of the breakthrough into complete world fame,” Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn, one of only two people who’ve heard the full tape, shares. “I think it’s an incredibly important recording, and I hope something good and constructive and creative eventually happens to it.”

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