The Beatles’ only live Top Of The Pops appearance

Although by June 1966 it had been running for over two years, The Beatles had never before appeared live on the BBC music show Top Of The Pops. They had pre-recorded exclusive performances in BBC studios, or sent promotional clips to be played on the show.

That changed on this day, with a studio performance of new single ‘Paperback Writer’. The Beatles had agreed two days previously, when manager Brian Epstein passed on a request from Top Of The Pops producer Johnnie Stewart. Unusually, on this occasion The Beatles agreed.

The group arrived at BBC Television Centre at 2.30pm for a rehearsal for the camera, and to pose for publicity photographs and conduct press interviews. More rehearsals followed between 4.15pm and 5.30, and from 6.30pm to 7pm.

The Beatles on Top Of The Pops, 16 June 1966

The live broadcast took place between 7.30pm and 8pm on BBC One. The Beatles were the final act to appear, and mimed to both ‘Paperback Writer’ and its b-side, ‘Rain’. They were introduced by host Pete Murray.

The Beatles’ only appearance on Top Of The Pops was, with the exception of the worldwide satellite transmission of ‘All You Need Is Love’ on 25 June 1967, their final live television appearance as a group.

Last updated: 5 May 2020
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