Beatles Casino Anniversary51 years ago, John Lennon debuted his new Epiphone Casino on Sunday, May 1, 1966 during The Beatles' appearance at the NME Poll Winner’s show. Footage of the presentation survives--check it out below towards the end. However the Beatles' performance was not filmed due to a disagreement with the cameraman's union and Beatles manager Brian Epstein and so the cameras were turned off when the lads took to the stage. And it's a pity since their set would turn out to be their last formal UK appearance.

Their performance included “I Feel Fine,” “Nowhere Man,” “Day Tripper,” “If I Needed Someone,” and “I’m Down.”  The Spencer Davis Group, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and The Small Faces were also on the bill (whew!) which was held at the Empire Pool in Wembley, London for a bedeviled audience of 10,000 that sounded like 100,000.

Beatles Casino Anniversary The Epiphone Casino, which has remained virtually unchanged since Epiphone reintroduced the legendary archtop twenty years ago, would remain the premier Beatle guitar for John as well as George and Paul for the rest of their recording career. (Paul bought a Casino in 1964 and still uses his original on stage today).  Read more about The Beatles and their guitars in our exclusive interview with Beatles Gear author Andy Babiuk.

Nineteen-Sixty-Six would turn out to be a harrowing year for The Beatles personally but an excellent one professionally. Though they were harassed in the Philippines, threatened with assassination in the U.S., and toppled in the UK charts by none other than Engelbert Humperdinck, the music they made was beyond category. Tracks like "Penny Lane," “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Tomorrow Never Knows," "Rain," and “Eleanor Rigby” were radically different than anything heard from a pop group before. Thanks to for the cool pics. Read our feature on the history of the Epiphone Casino and keep your Beatle-dial on Epiphone for our feature on the 50th Anniversary of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band next month.