The Beatles’ drop-T logo

Drop-T drum head number two

Starr used seven different drop-T bass drum heads between 1963 and 1967, each with a slightly different logo.

Following Ivor Arbiter’s original, the second drop-T head is commonly known as the Sullivan Head, as it was the one used during The Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on 9 February 1964.

The Beatles' Drop-T logo, number two

In January 1964, while The Beatles were preparing for their first US trip, Ivor Arbiter was asked to prepare a second bass drum head. Once again Eddie Stokes painted the logo, this time onto a 20″ Remo Weather King skin.

Drum City was an authorised dealer of Remo heads, whose distinctive logo was a small crown situated at the top of the head near the rim.

For the second head, Stokes painted The Beatles’ logo much larger, spanning the entire skin from edge to edge. A wider typeface was also used.

Rather than shipping Starr’s drums to America, a new drum kit was purchased for him to play there; only the snare and cymbals were brought over, as well as head number two. Manny’s Music Store in Manhattan delivered the kit, to which the head was attached, just before the taping of their historic appearances for Ed Sullivan.

The second skin was used throughout The Beatles’ first US tour, including three Ed Sullivan shoots, two Carnegie Hall concerts and their live US début at the Washington Coliseum. During the tour a scratch, most likely caused by a hi-hat cymbal being packed in the same case, ran from the letter B through to the A.

The new drums were sent to EMI Studios in Abbey Road after the first US tour. The head was not seen again in public until it was auctioned at Sotheby’s in London 1984. It was sold to George Wilkins, an Australian restaurateur, before being sold once more 10 years later at Sotheby’s, where it was purchased by collector Russ Lease.

Drop-T drum head number three

The Beatles began recording and filming A Hard Day’s Night almost immediately after returning from America. It was decided that a brand new bass drum head would be needed for their film début.

Once again a Remo Weather Master was chosen, onto which a logo was hand-painted by Eddie Stokes. This time the group’s name was narrower than on the Ed Sullivan head. The Ludwig logo, too, was different: the L extended below the subsequent letters.

The Beatles' Drop-T logo, number three

This third head was used throughout filming, and was used during The Beatles’ appearance at the New Musical Express Annual Poll Winners’ All-Star Concert on 26 April 1964.

Afterwards it was seen just once more in public, during the You’re Going To Lose That Girl recording studio sequence in the Help! film. The scene was filmed on 30 April 1965.

Head number three has never appeared at auction, suggesting that, after the kit was sawn around by Clang in the film, it was never recovered from the store room under the studio floor.

Drop-T drum head number four

On the morning of 31 May 1964, prior to a live appearance at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London, Ringo Starr took delivery of a new Ludwig kit, which included his first 22″ bass drum. A new head was therefore required, and Eddie Stokes once again painted the group’s logo onto a Remo Weather King.

This time around, Stokes’ lettering was similar to that on the original head. The Ludwig logo was also painted on.

The Beatles' Drop-T logo, number four

The drums and head were used exclusively for all The Beatles’ appearances from 31 May 1964 through to 1 August 1965, when they appeared on the Blackpool Night Out television show. Aside from the studio scene in Help!, Starr never again went back to his two 20″ kits.

13 responses on “The Beatles’ drop-T logo

  1. brian

    Previously I would have guessed that Ringo or The Beatles as a whole came up with the “drop T” idea. Its was certainly a big improvement on the previous drumskin that had beetle bug antennas (antennae?) on top of the letter B.

  2. Kevin Michael

    In the days of Jesus, the cross used to crucify people was actually a ‘T’ shape, just like the T in the BeaTles’ logo. I wonder – is that part of the reasom for their success? Maybe the Fab Four are Our Lord’s chosen band! I wonder if Brian Epstein was a Christian at heart, and used this as a subconscious marketing ploy….

    1. mr. Sun king coming together

      Epstein was Jewish. It’s meaningless. Religion and the Beatles are linked enough without crazy theories. What next, Jesus sent codes in certain vinyls to tell the truth of Paul’s death? Religion and the Beatles mixed rarely, but not here

      1. Edgar Anciano

        Religion was a part of the Beatles growing up years. it was clear that they knew who God was , as evidence we can listen thru there music. But just because of christians brothers who persecute & judge them. they stumble in believing in jesus. John Lennon knew about this, that’s why he wrote “Imagine there’s no religion” & the religious people attack him again. they are stumbling block to John.
        Cause religion can not save us. But only a personal relationship with Jesus !!

    2. Bruno Madsen

      “Our Lord’s chosen band”? Thanks Kevin, I haven’t laughed so hard in quite a while… I think we can safely credit the Beatles themselves for their massive success – with a little help from their friends.

  3. Dave Golding

    I was the Manager/Drum Repairer at Drum City throughout this period and was actually involved in the whole business of supplying the kit, fitting the Spurs and the Rogers ‘Swivomatic’ Tom tom fitting (at a later date with Mel Evans) and arranging for Eddie Stokes to paint the ‘Beatles’ logo on the head, and to selling Ringo’s now Second Hand kit in store.

  4. stuartgardner

    I’ve always admired the use of the logo in the Anthology openings. The notion of The Beatles dwarfing the four men into virtual insignificance beneath an incomprehensible weight threatening to crush them is as neat a thumbnail of their epic as we could have, and the beautifully smooth animation communicates that idea perfectly.
    Thanks for an interesting read.

Leave a reply