They went through a series of names and “The Beatles” was merely an abbreviation of the name before it (“Silver Beatles”):
…the whole story of the Beatles’ name began in 1957, when young Mr. Lennon assembled his skiffle group, first calling it the Black Jacks, and then the Quarry Men. The group went through several name changes, surviving monikers like Johnny and the Moondogs, the Beatals, the Silver Beetles, the Silver Beats, and the Silver Beatles, before eventually settling on the Beatles.
It sounds like the “beat” syllable might have also come from the fact that one or more of them considered themselves a “beat group”:
In more recent years, another theory as to the origins of the Beatles’ name has been suggested by George Harrison and Beatles’ press man Derek Taylor. In his second revised edition biography of the Beatles (1985), Hunter Davies intimated that Taylor told him the name was inspired by the film “The Wild One.” A black leather-clad motorcycle gang is referred to as the Beetles. As Davies put it, “Stu Sutcliffe saw this film, heard the remark, and came back and suggested it to John as the new name for their group. John said yeah, but we’ll spell it Beatles, as we’re a beat group.”
While you are here:
As well as one of my most favorite scenes, one of the most exhuberant and light-hearted in all of cinema: