Every band carries a unique tale behind their name, and the Beatles are no different. Before rising as the legends we adore today, they were passionate musicians seeking recognition. Like all bands, they searched for that perfect moniker.
In their early days, Stuart Sutcliffe, John Lennon’s art school friend, became pivotal. After selling a painting, Stuart bought a bass guitar and joined the group in January 1960. It was he who suggested renaming the band as ‘Beatals,’ inspired by Buddy Holly and the Crickets. While closer to their eventual name, it wasn’t the final choice.
Another story links to Marlon Brando’s 1953 film, ‘The Wild One.’ The Beatles’ publicist, Derek Taylor, believed Brando’s character mentioned ‘young beetles,’ referring to his motorcycle gang. But there’s a snag: ‘The Wild One’ wasn’t available in the UK until 1967, casting doubt on this theory.
Yet, George Harrison, during an Earth News radio chat, seemed to back this theory. He recalled:
“John would ask in an American accent, ‘Where are we headed, fellas?’ and our response was ‘To the top, Johnny!’ I think that Johnny came from ‘The Wild Ones.’ Lee Marvin’s character seemed to refer to his gang as the Beetles.”
On their 1964 U.S. tour, Lennon shared his take on their name’s spelling during a radio interview. He mused, “It was about rhythm and bugs. Speaking it reminded folks of insects, but reading it signaled the musical beat.”