The colourisation artist spent countless hours painstakingly researching and adding colour to these black and white images. Pete Best (left) was the original for The Beatles, but was to be replaced in 1962 by Ringo Starr. mediadrumimages/@john_colour

By Alexander Greensmith


RARE COLOURISED snaps of The Beatles’ early years have been revealed ahead of John Lennon’s 80th birthday.

Enchanting digitally coloured images showed the Fab Four when they were in fact a fivesome, as they performed at clubs in Hamburg and Taunton’s Wyvern Social Club.

Another captivating image displayed a boyish-looking George Harrison in colour, taken in 1961, when he was just 17 years old.

17-year-old George Harrion in RabenstraĂźe Stop. Hamburg, Germany, Spring 1961. Photographer: Jurgen Vollmer mediadrumimages/JurgenVollmer/@john_colour

The incredible images which date from 1960 to 1962, show the Liverpool legends honing their craft at small gigs before the release of their 1963 debut album Please Please Me.

Some of these black and white images have been professionally colourised for the first time, thanks to artist Daffa Anargya Sandjono (19), from South Tangerang, Indonesia. He has revealed his favourite images of the band’s early years ahead of what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday, on October 9.

“I couldn’t find most of these images colourised on the internet before. Most colourists tend to focus on the mid-late period (1964-1970), from Beatlemania to the end of their career,” said Sardjono.

George Harrison and Paul McCartney plays in the Casbah Coffee Club, West Derby, Liverpool, 12 February 1961. Paul purloined three piano strings and converted his Rosetti Solid 7 guitar into a makeshift bass because Stuart Sutcliffe (bassist) at the time was in Hamburg. Paul McCartney would later take bass in The Beatles’ iconic recorded line-up. Photographer: Phillips mediadrumimages/Phillips/@john_colour

“My favourite is the image number three, because it shows five young men from Liverpool took the stage at Indra club for the first time in Hamburg with lilac-colour jackets, far from the style we know them for. This shot took me a day to add colour to, as I had to research the correct shade of colour for the jacket.

“They then started to build their reputation playing clubs there and the band would later make history. I love this period because of how hard these lads from Liverpool worked to become one of the greatest of all-time.

“This first Beatles song I was interested in was actually their cover of Long Tall Sally, which they would play during these early concerts.

This stunning black-and-white photo has been digitised in colour. It was taken in Taunton on May 10, 1960 at the Wyvern Social Club. They were auditioning for Promoter Larry Parnes who looking for bands to back up his stable of singing stars. The drummer at the back was Johnny Hutchinson. He had a group known as Cass and The Casanovas. His band was there that day. Beatles drummer, Tommy Moore was late so Johnny was aked to sit in until Moore arrive. Photographer: Cheniston Roland. mediadrumimages/ChenistonRoland/@john_colour

“I have colourised about 200 images in five years, by using I use Adobe Photoshop CC and GIMP. My first attempt on colouring was in September 2015, At the time I was just 14 years old kid.”

The images feature original drummer Pete Best, who was dismissed from the group in 1962 for Ringo Starr. Scottish bass guitarist Stuart Sutcliffe was also part of The Beatles’ original five piece but left just months before he died from a brain haemorrhage at just 21.

To commemorate what would’ve been John Lennon’s 80th Birthday, Paul McCartney is to appear on a special BBC Radio 2 programme hosted by Lennon’s son, Sean.