Although the Quarrymen had entered the competition the previous year without success, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison travelled to Manchester for another preliminary audition for the ABC TV’s talent show TV Star Search.
Instead of the Quarrymen, the group renamed themselves Johnny and the Moondogs for this event. The auditions were held by ‘Mr Star-Maker’ Carroll Levis at the Ardwick Hippodrome.
The precise date is unknown, but is likely to have been a Saturday in October 1958.
The Moondogs had had no drummer, and only McCartney and Harrison played guitar on this occasion. Lennon’s Gallotone Champion guitar had recently finally been retired – “smashed in half”, Lennon said. However, when leaving the theatre he stole a guitar belonging to another act.
It wasn’t even a nice guitar shape and I never once saw John play it. I said to George, ‘Couldn’t he have nicked something better?
Tune In, Mark Lewisohn
Johnny and the Moondogs successfully passed the audition, and were invited to return to the Hippodrome a second time in the week commencing Monday 24 November.
They were long thought to have auditioned in 1959 but, according to Mark Lewisohn’s Tune In, their only attempts to appear on TV Star Search were in 1957 and 1958.
The Ardwick Hippodrome was demolished in 1964. It was sited on Arwick Green opposite the ABC Cinema (later the Manchester Apollo).
Also on this day...
- 2023: Paul McCartney live: Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide
- 2015: Ringo Starr live: Fox Theatre, Detroit, Michigan
- 2014: Ringo Starr live: Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, Jacksonville, Florida
- 2013: Paul McCartney live: Covent Garden, London
- 2010: Remastered Red and Blue albums and Harrison/Shankar Collaborations are released
- 1999: UK album release: Working Classical by Paul McCartney
- 1974: UK single release: Walking In The Park With Eloise by Paul McCartney
- 1968: Tape copying: Yer Blues, Don’t Pass Me By
- 1968: John Lennon and Yoko Ono are arrested for drugs possession
- 1967: The Beatles attend the première of How I Won The War
- 1965: Recording: If I Needed Someone, In My Life
- 1964: Recording: Eight Days A Week, Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey!, Mr Moonlight, I Feel Fine, I’ll Follow The Sun, Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby, Rock And Roll Music, Words Of Love
- 1963: Television: Scene At 6.30
- 1961: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)
- 1961: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1960: Live: Kaiserkeller, Hamburg
- 1957: Paul McCartney’s debut with the Quarrymen
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.