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How Did The Beatles Get Their Name?

Today, improbably, there is a new song from The Beatles. The song, “Now And Then,” was written by John Lennon in 1994, but the demo tape it was on couldn’t produce the audio quality required to turn it into a full-fledged release. However, thirty years and an explosion in assisted learning technology later, Paul McCartney and Peter Jackson were able to pull out John’s voice, and then add instruments, turning it into a real song.

For The Beatles’ generation, this is a massive accomplishment. But for later ones, this all might be confusing. Why are boomers so enthused about these four guys with floppy hair — and just what the heck even is a Beatle?

If you were wondering just how The Beatles got their name, here’s the story: Three of the original members, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison, were already a group called The Quarrymen. After adding bass guitarist Stuart Sutcliffe and drummer Pete Best, they eventually became The Beatles, with a few attributions for the name’s inspiration — all sort of apocryphal.

One story has it that the name was inspired by the 1953 Marlon Brando movie The Wild One, with John Lennon saying he identified with the biker gang in the movie, The Beetles. However, the movie was banned in the UK until 1967, well after the group’s debut. Another story has Lennon suggesting the name as a tribute to Buddy Holly and the Crickets. This one’s the most likely, as it’s the one told on John Gilliland’s The Pop Chronicles radio show in 1969.

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