There are several big dates in Beatles history. Feb. 9 (number 9, number 9), the Beatles’ first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” is one U.S. Beatle fans know well.
But there are big reasons why Nov. 9 is very significant.
The biggest is that on Nov. 9, 1961, Brian Epstein ventured to the Cavern with his assistant, Alistair Taylor, to see a group called the Beatles.
“I saw the Beatles at a midday session, and I liked them enormously. I immediately liked the sound I heard,” Epstein said. “They were fresh, honest and had, what I thought, a sort of presence and star quality, whatever that is.”
Taylor had a more mixed review. “We were particularly impressed that they included original songs. But they were absolutely bloody awful and yet they were incredible. They were scruffy, loud, not very good musicians, but their soul hit you in the chest.”
The two arranged a meeting with the group afterwards to discuss Epstein’s managing the group.
David Bedford, author of “Liddypool,” observed,
“Fifty years ago today, Brian Epstein walked down the steps into the Cavern Club with his assistant Alistair Taylor to watch a group he had hard about called The Beatles. He was transfixed as the group were loud, scruffy, eating drinking and smoking on stage in this strange, sweaty cauldron of noise. But he was amazed at the crowd’s reaction and couldn’t help tapping his toes! Epstein decided that day that he wanted to manage The Beatles. What a day!”
“Where would they have been without Brian? He cleaned them up, stopped them swearing, eating, smoking and shouting on stage: he polished the rough diamond that had taken Hamburg and Liverpool by storm. Without Brian, I doubt they would have progressed beyond the north west of England. Brian Epstein didn’t understand the meaning of the word ‘no’: that just meant try someone else. He did, and thank God he did!
This year, Liverpool has renamed the Neptune Theatre as the Brian Epstein Theatre, and today The Cavern have unveiled a brick with his name on it on The Cavern Wall of Fame. Another fitting tribute to the genius that was Eppy.”
History changed that night.
Also in 1966 on Nov. 9, John Lennon visited Yoko Ono’s art exhibit at the Indica Gallery.
“Then I went up to this thing that said, ‘Hammer a nail in.’ I said, ‘Can I hammer a nail in?’ and she said no, because the gallery was actually opening the next day. So the owner, Dunbar, says, ‘Let him hammer a nail in.’ It was, ‘He’s a millionaire. He might buy it,’ you know. She’s more interested in it looking nice and pretty and white for the opening. That’s why she never made any money on the stuff; she’s always too busy protecting it!
“So there was this little conference and she finally said, ‘OK, you can hammer a nail in for five shillings.’ So smart-ass here says, ‘Well, I’ll give you an imaginary five shillings and hammer an imaginary nail in.’ And that’s when we really met. That’s when we locked eyes and she got it and I got it and that was it.” (from the Lennon 1980 Playboy interview)
History changed that night.
Finally, in 1967, the first issue of Rolling Stone was published with a Nov. 9 cover date. John Lennon was pictured in a “How I Won the War” outfit.
The issue featured several pieces of news on the Beatles. One was “Apple and the Beatles” with a picture of three Beatle wives (Cynthia Lennon, Patti Harrison and Maureen Starr) and a sister-in-law (Jenny Boyd) about the opening of the Apple boutique.
Also in the issue: “Beatles Top English Poll,” a report that the Beatles had topped the Best Group and Best LP categories in the Melody Maker poll, and small items that the Beatles had finished filming “Magical Mystery Tour” and Ringo was signed for a role in “The Magic Christian.” Publisher (and co-founder) Jann Wenner also reviewed “How I Won the War.” It was the first of many Beatles moments in the magazine that included major articles like Lennon’s 1971 interview with Wenner.
Rolling Stone became a game changer in rock ‘n’ roll publishing. It has evolved over the years, but is still there and still a musical force.
And it all happened on Nov. 9.