A need to present a British tribute to the Fab Four drove a group of friends to come together and form the Bootleg Beatles in 1980.
The tribute band has been singing The Beatles' songs ever since, and comes to Wellington for the first time next week.
In 1979, Andre Barreau, Neil Harrison, David Catlin-Birch and Jack Lee Elgood became part of the cast of West End's version of the New York broadway show Beatlemania.
The show closed in 1980, but the singers decided a British tribute show was needed, and formed the Bootleg Beatles.
Barreau, who sings as George Harrison, said they found Beatlemania very American.
"It was very cheesy.
"The English guys in it thought we could make it more of a personal, funny, rocking experience," he said.
"We decided to try our own version, which was less theatrical and more about being a band and about the music.
"The Beatles were quite loose and spontaneous individuals, trying to play the music the best they could.
"That was more our ethos."
Barreau said he had always been a fan of The Beatles' music.
"I was very young, going around the house trying to sing Twist and Shout.
"My grandmother said she would get me the EP.
"She picked me up from school- I can still see it now. She was holding this little EP with a cover.
"It was my first record and I've still got it. The centre of it, which was black, is white from overplaying it."
He said the band had met two Beatles and been endorsed by the group's producer.
"We met George Harrison at a party. He was really friendly to us. He allowed us to record any of his songs that we would like to.
"We met Paul McCartney at Buckingham Palace.
"The biggest direct endorsement we got was when George Martin, their producer, was interviewed on BBC radio in 95 and he was asked directly: ‘What do The Beatles think of the Bootleg Beatles?'
"He said: ‘They're very happy about it because the standard is high and it is another thing that keeps their music alive'."
The band has travelled a long and winding road in the past 33 years. Some members have left and been replaced, but the band continues to perform to large audiences.
They have performed nearly 5000 shows and shared the stage with Rod Stewart, Elton John, David Bowie and Bon Jovi.
The current Bootleg Beatles are Barreau (George Harrison), Adam Hastings (John Lennon), Hugo Degenhardt (Ringo Starr) and Steve White (Paul McCartney).
The Bootleg Beatles perform at the St James Theatre from October 25 to 28.
- The Wellingtonian