The Beatles’ 50th anniversary celebration of their debut release began in Liverpool today with over 1,600 people gathering to break a Guinness World Record and mark the start of the ‘Love Me Do’ weekend.
Fans flocked from all over the world to the cruise liner terminal, Princes Dock, in order to take part in an attempt to break the previous world record of 897 people singing simultaneously as a collective “in the round”, as singers perform the same song but starting at different times.
In total, 1,631 revellers were in attendance, including 934 from local choirs, as their voices resonated through the mid-morning breeze with their emphatic rendition of the Beatles first single, ‘Love Me Do’.
Organised by the city of Liverpool and the Beatles Story attraction, the weekend is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the release of the Fab Four’s self-written hit, which reached number 17 in the charts in October 1962.
Silé Macraghnaill from LJMU’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Choir told JMU Journalism: “We have been practising for weeks now. I remember the Beatles and it’s great that so many young people can join in because some of them didn’t know the words to the song. Singing really improves health and wellbeing.”
Managing director of the Beatles Museum, Jerry Goldman, was initially unsure of how to commemorate such a momentous Beatles landmark, but was offered the idea of attempting to break a world record by one of his team members.
After liaising with The Guinness World Book of Records it gave him the inspiration he needed to achieve his vision.
Jerry told JMU Journalism: “We had great help from Sense of Sound and the company’s artistic directors because we know they have contact with very many choirs around Merseyside, so they put a call-out. There’s everyone involved from very young school choirs to pensioners, there’s all ages… it’s wonderful.
“I can’t think of anywhere else better in the world that should be celebrating such an anniversary; the Beatles changed the world and they changed Liverpool forever.”
When talking about the record-break Rosie Murphy, 26, marketing manager at The Beatles Story told JMU Journalism: “People have made the effort to come from everywhere; there are TV crews from Canada, Brazil, Norway, Germany and America. This is going to be aired all over the world.”
BBC Radio Merseyside DJ Billy Butler recalled 50 years ago to the day when the song Love Me Do was released. He told JMU Journalism: “I have always proud to be from Liverpool. I was working in a record shop at the time this song was released and so many people would come in and ask for this Beatles song.
“Many didn’t actually like it. I told them to listen to the other side of the record and a lot of them bought it for that.”
Everyone who gathered was part of record-breaking history, including LJMU student Jade Bagnall, 19 from Lowestoft, who said: “I wanted to be part of this it’s really amazing.”
The weekend festivities will continue with bars and restaurants playing live music, entertainment and food.
Later in the year other events will be on in the city to celebrate the 50th anniversary, including a play about the life of Beatles manager, Brian Epstein, which will take place in the newly-titled Epstein Theatre.
Additional reporting by Joshua Nevett