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The First Beatles Record

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Most any musical history book will tell you that the first Beatles record was "Love Me Do."


Sure, "Love Me Do," released October 5, 1962. It went to #17 on the British charts.


Ringo Starr had the great indignity of having to play a lousy tambourine on a few takes instead of his customary drums, and a substitute session drummer named Andy White was called in to play drums in Ringo's stead.


Ringo is featured on the single of "Love Me Do," but it's Andy White's drum we hear on the album version of the song.

Yes, that's all true. But let's go back a few years in our imaginary time machine.

Back to a Sunday afternoon on July 14, 1958—the day The Beatles actually did make "their first record."

Meet The Quarrymen!

This was pre-Ringo—it would actually be a full four years before Ringo would find his niche of immortality as the Fab Four's drummer.

The "Beatles" line-up—they were actually called "The Quarrymen" at this early point in their young career—did, however, include John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison. The 15-year-old George had only been with the band for a few months at this time. Colin Hanton was the band's drummer and John "Duff" Lowe played the piano.

The five young and excited musicians had rehearsed earlier on that fateful summer day at Paul's house. They trooped off to the bus stop and boarded the local, each carrying his own instrument. A piano must have already been in the studio; obviously Lowe didn't carry one onto the bus.

The five broke band members got the fee together and plunked it down at the Percy Phillips Recording Studio in Liverpool. The fee was roughly $2.00.

Two songs were recorded at this historic session. One was buddy holly's classic "That'll Be the Day." John sang the lead on this number. Even at this early point, Lennon displays a bit of panache as we listen to the first strains of his trademark slightly-nasal voice. For a 17-year-old novice, he displays considerable talent.

Lennon mimics his idol, Holly, in a pretty dead-on hiccuping singing style and tone that belies both his youth and complete lack of experience.

“McCartney-Harrison.” But Mostly McCartney.

But the second song is a bit more interesting. It's called "In Spite of all the Danger." Most every source credits this song to "Paul McCartney-George Harrison," which makes it the only "McCartney-Harrison" song ever recorded.

(Although it's credited to Paul and George, Paul later claimed it was "his" song, written without George's help. Paul does admit that George played lead guitar on this record. Paul claims he wrote the song when he was 14, part of an early batch of songs he wrote at the time).

Another oddity: John sings lead on this song, too.

This is strange, in view of the later unalterable iron-clad agreement between John and Paul throughout all the years of the band: Whoever wrote the song, or a majority of it, automatically would sing the lead.

"We ran through it very quickly," Paul said. "Quarter of an hour and it was all over."

After the 10-inch 78 rpm record was pressed and given to the boys, an agreement was made. Each band member could keep it for a week, then that member would hand it over to the next.

So, John held the treasured record for a week, then Paul held it for a week, then George held it for a week, then Colin for a week, then "Duff" Lowe got it and held it—for 23 years!

The Rarest Record in the World

Somehow, long after Lowe had left and the band had moved on, the record had remained in his possession. In the mid-1960s, he did put in a call to The Beatles, informing them that he still had their "first record."

His call was never returned.

(Who knows why this call was ignored? Maybe the message never got to John or Paul? Maybe at the time they were so busy they couldn't be bothered?)

In the 1980s, Paul discovered the treasured artifact and bought it from Lowe for an undisclosed amount. He made 50 pressings of it and gave them away as Christmas presents to a list of special friends—two of whom were named George and Ringo.

According to Record Collector magazine, this double-sided single is "The rarest record in the world." It's estimated to be worth somewhere between $150,000.00 and $300,000.00. This is probably a conservative estimate.


Eddie Deezen has appeared in over 30 motion pictures, including Grease, WarGames, 1941, and The Polar Express. He's also been featured in several TV shows, including Magnum PI, The Facts of Life, and The Gong Show. And he's done thousands of voice-overs for radio and cartoons, such as Dexter's Laboratory and Family Guy. Eddie is a self-confessed Beatles nut and has read over 600 books on The Fab Four. This month, he'll be contributing a handful of Beatles stories to mentalfloss.com. Make him feel welcome!

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Space
Google Street View Now Lets You Explore the International Space Station

Google Street View covers some amazing locations (Antarctica, the Grand Canyon, and Stonehenge, to name a few), but it’s taken until now for the tool to venture into the final frontier. As TechCrunch reports, you can now use Street View to explore the inside of the International Space Station.

The scenes, photographed by astronauts living on the ISS, include all 15 modules of the massive satellite. Viewers will be treated to true 360-degree views of the rooms and equipment onboard. Through the windows, you can see Earth from an astronaut's perspective and a SpaceX Dragon craft delivering supplies to the crew.

Because the imagery was captured in zero gravity, it’s easy to lose sense of your bearings. Get a taste of what ISS residents experience on a daily basis here.

[h/t TechCrunch]

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6 East Coast Castles to Visit for a Fairy Tale Road Trip
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Lucy Quintanilla/iStock

Once the stuff of fairy tales and legends, a variety of former castles have been repurposed today as museums and event spaces. Enough of them dot the East Coast that you can plan a summer road trip to visit half a dozen in a week or two, starting in or near New York City. See our turrent-rich itinerary below.

STOP 1: BANNERMAN CASTLE // BEACON, NEW YORK

59 miles from New York City

The crumbling exterior of Bannerman Castle
Garrett Ziegler, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Bannerman Castle can be found on its very own island in the Hudson River. Although the castle has fallen into ruins, the crumbling shell adds visual interest to the stunning Hudson Highlands views, and can be visited via walking or boat tours from May to October. The man who built the castle, Scottish immigrant Frank Bannerman, accumulated a fortune shortly after the Civil War in his Brooklyn store known as Bannerman’s. He eventually built the Scottish-style castle as both a residence and a military weapons storehouse starting in 1901. The island remained in his family until 1967, when it was given to the Taconic Park Commission; two years later it was partially destroyed by a mysterious fire, which led to its ruined appearance.

STOP 2. GILLETTE CASTLE STATE PARK // EAST HADDAM, CONNECTICUT

116 miles from Beacon, New York

William Gillette was an actor best known for playing Sherlock Holmes, which may have something to do with where he got the idea to install a series of hidden mirrors in his castle, using them to watch guests coming and going. The unusual-looking stone structure was built starting in 1914 on a chain of hills known as the Seven Sisters. Gillette designed many of the castle’s interior features (which feature a secret room), and also installed a railroad on the property so he could take his guests for rides. When he died in 1937 without designating any heirs, his will forbade the possession of his home by any "blithering sap-head who has no conception of where he is or with what surrounded.” The castle is now managed by the State of Connecticut as Gillette Castle State Park.

STOP 3. BELCOURT CASTLE // NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

74 miles from East Haddam, Connecticut

The exterior of Belcourt castle
Jenna Rose Robbins, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Prominent architect Richard Morris Hunt designed Belcourt Castle for congressman and socialite Oliver Belmont in 1891. Hunt was known for his ornate style, having designed the facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island, but Belmont had some unusual requests. He was less interested in a building that would entertain people and more in one that would allow him to spend time with his horses—the entire first floor was designed around a carriage room and stables. Despite its grand scale, there was only one bedroom. Construction cost $3.2 million in 1894, a figure of approximately $80 million today. But around the time it was finished, Belmont was hospitalized following a mugging. It took an entire year before he saw his completed mansion.

STOP 4. HAMMOND CASTLE MUSEUM // GLOUCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS

111 miles from Newport, Rhode Island

Part of the exterior of Hammond castle
Robert Linsdell, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0

Inventor John Hays Hammond Jr. built his medieval-style castle between 1926 and 1929 as both his home and a showcase for his historical artifacts. But Hammond was not only interested in recreating visions of the past; he also helped shape the future. The castle was home to the Hammond Research Corporation, from which Hammond produced over 400 patents and came up with the ideas for over 800 inventions, including remote control via radio waves—which earned him the title "the Father of Remote Control." Visitors can take a self-guided tour of many of the castle’s rooms, including the great hall, indoor courtyard, Renaissance dining room, guest bedrooms, inventions exhibit room, library, and kitchens.

STOP 5. BOLDT CASTLE // ALEXANDRIA BAY, THOUSAND ISLANDS, NEW YORK

430 miles from Gloucester, Massachusetts

It's a long drive from Gloucester and only accessible by water, but it's worth it. The German-style castle on Heart Island was built in 1900 by millionaire hotel magnate George C. Boldt, who created the extravagant structure as a summer dream home for his wife Louise. Sadly, she passed away just months before the place was completed. The heartbroken Boldt stopped construction, leaving the property empty for over 70 years. It's now in the midst of an extensive renovation, but the ballroom, library, and several bedrooms have been recreated, and the gardens feature thousands of plants.

STOP 6. FONTHILL CASTLE // DOYLESTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

327 miles from Alexandria Bay, New York

Part of the exterior of Fonthill castle

In the mood for more castles? Head south to Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where Fonthill Castle was the home of the early 20th century American archeologist, anthropologist, and antiquarian Henry Chapman Mercer. Mercer was a man of many interests, including paleontology, tile-making, and architecture, and his interest in the latter led him to design Fonthill Castle as a place to display his colorful tile and print collection. The inspired home is notable for its Medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles, and with 44 rooms, there's plenty of well-decorated nooks and crannies to explore.

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