The Beatles and the story behind Number 9

Find out more about why the No. 9 has had a recurring association with The Beatles over the years.

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SiriusXM Editor
May 17, 2017

The No. 9 has had a recurring association with The Beatles over the years.

The Beatles Channel launched on SiriusXM on May 18 at 9:09 am ET.

The numerals that comprise the channel number, 18, total 9 when added together (1 + 8 = 9). Ditto for the channel launch date, May 18.

Coincidence? Hardly.

Here are 9 examples that show how the number nine looms large in The Beatles’ legend:

1. John Lennon was born on Oct. 9, 1940. The first home John lived in was at 9 Newcastle Road in Wavertree, Liverpool. The words “Newcastle,” “Wavertree” and “Liverpool” each contain nine letters.

“It’s just a number that follows me around, but, numerologically, apparently I’m a number six or a three or something, but it’s all part of nine.” – John Lennon, 1980

2. As a teenager, John took the No. 72 bus (7 + 2 = 9) to Liverpool Art College, where he became friends with Stuart Sutcliffe. He soon asked Sutcliffe to join his band, The Quarrymen, which featured Paul McCartney, whose last name has nine letters, as does Sutcliffe’s. The group changed their name to The Beatles in 1960, and John left in 1969, nine years later.

3. The Beatles’ first appearance at The Cavern Club was on Feb. 9, 1961. The band’s manager, Brian Epstein, first saw them perform there on Nov. 9, 1961. He secured a record contract for the group with EMI on May 9, 1962.

4. One of The Beatles’ earliest songs was One After 909. It was originally recorded in March 1963 (that version was released on the Anthology 1 album) and ultimately was re-recorded for Let It Be, the last album released by the band in May 1970.

5. The Beatles’ historic first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show took place on Feb. 9, 1964.

6. The most significant use of the number occurs in Lennon’s song Revolution 9, from The White Album, which features a series of tape loops including one with a recurring ‘Number Nine’ announcement.

“I didn’t realize it: it was just so funny the voice saying, ‘number nine’; it was like a joke, bringing number nine into it all the time, that’s all it was.”  – John Lennon, 1970 Rolling Stone interview

7. Lennon’s song #9 Dream was released in 1974 on Walls and Bridges, his ninth non-Beatles album, and was issued in the ninth month of the year. When released as a single, #9 Dream peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in the US. The refrain in the chorus – ‘Ah! Böwakawa poussé, poussé’ – features nine syllables.

8. There are nine ‘o’s in the combined names of John Ono Lennon and Yoko Ono Lennon. Their son, Sean Lennon, was born on Oct. 9, 1975. (John’s 35th birthday)

9. The long-awaited digital remasters of The Beatles’ albums, along with the group’s Rock Band video game, were released on Sept. 9, 2009. That’s 09-09-09.

Portions of this article were excerpted from The Beatles and All We Are Saying by David Sheff.

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