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How The Beatles came up with their Name

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What makes a band truly iconic is categorically nothing else but their music. Their compositions are what withstand the test of time, passing on from one generation to another. And The Beatles are a testament to that. Their music is evergreen, mesmerizing each generation with its magic and intimacy. However, a band’s name can simply help their identity become more catchy to everyone’s tongue. In that department, the fab four stand tall as well. So, what is the origin of ‘The Beatles’ name?

The many conflicting stories behind the name ‘Beatles’

Just like many other bands, The Beatles undertook a lot of experimentation before arriving on this two-syllable wonder. But, the band members didn’t really indulge much in this topic among the public. John Lennon was particularly silent around this topic, saying:

I just thought of it.

However, there are several conflicting narratives to this claim by Lennon. And one of them was by Lennon himself, who wrote in The Beatles biography in 1961 that the name came to him in a dream, as he wrote:

Why Beatles? Ugh, Beatles, how did the name arrive? So we will tell you. It came in a vision – a man appeared on a flaming pie and said unto them ‘From this day on you are Beatles with an ‘A’. Thank you, mister man, they said, thanking him.

The evolution of the band’s name from The Quarrymen to The Beatles

How The Beatles came up with their Name
Wikimedia Commons

It sounds a lot like how many of Paul McCartney’s songs came to him in a dream. But, that is not the case with the origin of their name. Originally, the fab four called themselves The Quarrymen at the time of their inception. Then, in 1960, then band member Stuart Sutcliffe came up with a name we’re familiar with, but spelled very differently – ‘Beatals’. Buddy Holly’s Crickets were Sutcliffe’s true inspiration as he wanted his band to have a name similar to an insect.

But, this name didn’t last long. Afterward, the four separated their paths for a while, before reuniting with the name ‘Silver Beetles’. Brian Cassar, frontman of Cass and the Cassanovas, was the one to suggest this name to the fab four. He even suggested ‘Long John and the Silver Beetles’, but John Lennon was having none of it.

Afterward, in July of 1960, the band emerged as Silver Beatles, after which on August 17th, they officially and finally changed their name to The Beatles. And Lennon is given the credit to add the ‘ea’ into the name, seemingly because he couldn’t resist the pun intended with the ‘beat’ group, which was a name the band gave themselves ‘Silver Beats’ for a gig at the Lathom Hall in Liverpool on May 14th.

Another explanation…

On the other hand, Beatles biographer Hunter Davies gave an alternative explanation to the origin of the infamous name, saying:

Stu Sutcliffe saw this film, heard the remark, and came back and suggested it to John as the new name for their group. John said yeah, but we’ll spell it Beatles, as we’re a beat group.

Even though we don’t have a definitive answer to the story, two things are certain. Stuart Sutcliffe came up with the name ‘Silver Beetles’ and John Lennon changed the spelling into ‘ea’. Regardless of how it came into being, there is little doubt that this name is the most iconic any band has had in music history.

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