The beetle logo shows up on TV

Two examples of the so-called “beetle logo” of The Beatles recently appeared on a television program in the UK.

Pete Best did not have his name or a logo on his bass drum while playing in The Beatles, although someone has later added a logo to one of the early photos with the group, e.g. on Hans Olof Gottfridsson’s book about the Hamburg era.

Fake logo on Pete’s bass drum.

When Ringo was hired as the group’s new drummer, his Premier bass drum had “Ringo Starr” in black tape. It had been so since his days with Rory Storm & The Hurricanes. But the Beatles, and Paul McCartney in particular, were interested in the bass drum being equipped with a designed logo that promoted the group – and he took on the job of designing it. He started from the fact that the B in the Beatles could well be changed to look like a beetle, and the name Beatles was a word play on “beetles”. He drew some drafts, and his brother Mike published these drawings in his first book in the 80s.

Pauls drawings.

The task of finalizing the logo went to another musician in Liverpool, one who also had artistic skills, “Tex” O’Hara. His sketches for the logo, as well as a finished version went under the hammer at an auction at Bonhams in 2010, achieving £8,400.

Tex O’Hara’s preliminary sketches for the logo.

The logo, in its final and finished design, was drawn on a piece of cloth, which was placed in the middle of Ringo’s bass drum.

This logo was also used in an official context, such as on the business card of the fan club.

But Ringo wanted better drums, and together with manager Brian Epstein he visited the shop “Drum City” in London and selected a set of drums from the company Ludwig. The salesman Ivor Arbiter was also a bit of an artist, and on the kick he designed a version of the logo we associate with the Beatles today, the one with the long T in the word Beatles. Ringo’s old Premier kit was traded in and the old beetle logo was still on the kit. Gerry Evans, manager of Drum City at the time, recalls taking Ringo’s Premier kit into the shop for renovation and resale: ‘…I ripped off the bit of material from the bass drum head where he’s handwritten the Beatles name and threw it away…’ (‘Beatles Gear’, Andy Babiuk, Backbeat Books, 2002, pps. 86-88)

However, Tex must have had several versions of the finished logo, because at the same Bonhams auction in 2010 he also sold this piece of cloth:

Fra Bonhams 2010-auksjon.

On May 12, 1963, The Beatles appeared on the television program “Thank Your Lucky Stars”. During the rehearsals, Ringo used his old drum kit with the beetle logo, but before the recording he was handed the new Ludwig kit with a new logo on it. See the photos.

Despite the fact that the Beatles had a new logo, O’Hara’s logo was also used after the change, i.a. on French record releases and in the fan club’s Beatles Monthly Book magazines.

French LP with the beetle logo, only “the” replaced by “les”.

The TV program Antiques Roadshow on BBC1 is popular in the UK. The concept is that the TV crew travels around with a bunch of experts on antiques, and then the local public is encouraged to come and have things they think are valuable valued. In the last programme, the TV company had set up in Palm House, Sefton Park in Liverpool, and there the beetle logo appeared again. We don’t know who brought it with them, but at least here are two close-ups taken from the TV screen.

The guest obviously knew nothing about these items, because what he explained was that they were never used because Ringo didn’t want that logo on his drums. Nonsense. The experts were obviously equally clueless, but at the same time estimated a value of £15,000. It seems one clearly had to be an expert on the Beatles to be able to determine the real value, as Beatles fans know that the logo has been in use and decorated Ringo’s bass drum in the Beatles for an important period, and was also in use later in the sixties on records and in publications.

Source: Yahoo News

In the UK, you can catch the program on BBC iPlayer

1 Response

  1. Leon says:

    Muy buena la historia. Hermoso que Paul haya dibuja y diseñado ese primer logo y como lo ponia Ringo en la batería, un trapo. Muy buenas las fotos y el relato. Gracias siempre por la dedicación. Saludos desde Argentina

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