Every band’s name has a distinct backstory, and the Beatles are no exception. They were just a collection of musicians trying to make it before they became the famous rock and roll sensation we know today. The Beatles, like any other band, struggled to find the appropriate moniker for their act. One explanation about the band’s name dates back to their early days, when Stuart Sutcliffe, a close friend of John Lennon from their art school days, joined the band. Stuart, who had recently sold one of his paintings and used the profits to buy a bass guitar, joined the act in January 1960. Sutcliffe advocated altering the band’s name to ‘Beatals,’ drawing inspiration from his affection for Buddy Holly and the Crickets at the time. While ‘Beatals’ was a step in the right direction, it was not their final moniker. Another idea involves a link to the 1953 film ‘The Wild One,’ starring Marlon Brando.
According to Derek Taylor, the Beatles’ publicist, Brando’s character in the film used the epithet “young beetles” to refer to his leather-jacket-wearing group. However, there is a flaw in this idea. ‘The Wild One’ was not released in the United Kingdom until 1967, some years after the band had established themselves as ‘The Beatles.’ This begs the question of whether the band members saw the film when settling on their moniker in the early 1960s. Nonetheless, George Harrison stated in an interview with Earth News radio that he seemed to concur with this interpretation of the name’s origin. He stated: “‘Where are we goin’ fellas?’ John used to say in his thick American accent.
” ‘To the top, Johnny!’ we’d say. And we used to laugh about it, but that was truly Johnny from ‘The Wild Ones.'” He explained the link: “Because, when Lee Marvin drives up with his motorcycle gang, I could’ve sworn when Marlon Brando’s talking to Lee Marvin, Lee Marvin’s saying to him, ‘Look, Johnny, I think such-and-such, the Beetles think you’re such-and-such…’ as if his motorcycle gang was called the Beetles.” The band also made several comments about how their name was spelled. During the Beatles’ 1964 American tour, Jim Steck of KRLA 1110 in Los Angeles interviewed them. When asked where their band name came from, Lennon explained: “It was beat and beetles, and when you said it, people thought of crawly things, and when you read it, you thought of beat music.” Despite the numerous hypotheses, the Fab Four were frequently evasive when asked about the origins of their moniker. The genuine tale behind it piqued the interest of both fans and interviewers.