Saturday, October 18, 2008

Did You Ever See The Beatles Live?

...or know anyone who did?

I'm working on a project and I'm anxious to contact people who did, either by email or by phone. I'd love to know what it was really like. Could you really hear nothing? Or maybe you saw them before the screaming set in.

The Beatles during 1961 performed around 250 gigs and by the time their first single – Love Me Do – was released in Britain on 5 October 1962 they had performed close to another 250 gigs. Of course up to this point they were just another pop band struggling to make it.

The Beatles stopped playing live on 29 August 1966 when they gave their final concert for the 25,000 people at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. A few days earlier they had performed at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles in front of a crowd of 45,000. These and other stadium shows in America meant that the Beatles played to many more Americans than they did to people in Britain; for the most part, after they became famous, it was shows at Gaumonts, Odeons, Astorias and Palais at home. They did appear once more on the roof of the Apple building on 30 January 1969 but it could hardly be called a concert.

The picture above was taken on Sunday 15 September 1963 at The Great Pop Prom held at London's Royal Albert Hall. This was the first time that the Beatles and the Rolling Stones shared the same stage. It was an afternoon show, more normally associated with classical music and home to the Promenade Concerts, this beautiful Victorian building that had opened in 1871 had never seen anything like it.

Also appearing on the bill were The Viscounts, Kenny Lynch, Susan Maughan, Shane Fenton and The Fentones (Shane later became Alvin Stardust), Clinton Ford, The Vernon Girls, The Lorne Gibson Trio, Arthur Greenslade and The G-Men, Helen Shapiro, and Karl Denver.
It was The Stones who opened the show and it was the first time that they’d played such a prestigious or such a large venue. Somewhat bizarrely they came off stage and headed west to Richmond, a few miles down the A4, to play the Crawdaddy Club to a few hundred fans. After the Beatles final number of Twist and Shout they fled the stage to a waiting cab and headed off for a two week holiday. John went to Paris with his wife Cynthia, George to the USA, while Paul and Ringo went to Greece.

“We opened the show, and The Beatles watched us. They told us years later that they were very nervous with the reception we got.” – Bill Wyman

I'd love to hear from you if you have any memories. My email can be found on my web site.


CherryPie said...

A bit too young, but it must have been a good experience!

Anonymous said...

I'm also too young but I saw Paul McCartney live at Anfield this summer and he was much better than I thought he would be.

Richard Evans said...

Richard, I saw The Beatles (with Pete Best on drums) at the Embassy Ballroom, upstairs from Burtons the Tailors, in Rhyl on 14 July 1962. I think it cost 2/3 to get in - that's about 14p in today's money - and then I saw them a year later, with Ringo in the group, on Saturday 20 July 1963 at the Ritz Ballroom on Rhyl promenade.

r morris said...

I wish...
i remember seeing them live on the ed sullivan show when i was about four or five. i drew a picture of it with crayons and my mom still has it.
sorry couldn't help out on this one.
i have been lucky enough to see the Stones--minus Bill Wyman and Brian Jones.
i have a friend who was at woodstock if you ever need info on that.

Ellee Seymour said...

I'll give this a plug for you too. It may, or may not, help. But good luck.

Richard Havers said...

CP, you're the lucky one :)

LL, you're right he's a lot better than people give him credit for.

Mr. E. You'll be contacted :)

Rob, I love the idea of your drawing! I might want childhood memories of the Sullivan show.

Ellee, thanks xx

r morris said...

Richard E, I'm jealous. You even saw the original lineup with Best.

Richard H, on the drawing, I had my mom write "Yeah Yeah Yeah" over the Beatles heads as I was still, at that time, illiterate. ;)

Richard Havers said...

Rob, I think you need to scan this picture and publish it. It may be great art! :)

r morris said...

I'll check with my mom. She saved all my 'great art' from childhood.
that's what mom's do!

Ellee Seymour said...

Hi Richard, a blogger in America who is a TV presenter has written about this on his blog too. His brother might be able to help you:

r morris said...

your other bloggers only serve to reinforce in my mind how poorly-connected i am. if you ever need any info about idaho, i'm your man.


Ursula said...

Hi Richard,
I was at this show. I was 15 at the time. It was the first time I saw The Beatles live, after that show I saw them perform at 8 more concerts. I'm actually thinking about writing a book! It truly was a wonderful time and you never forget. It was quite loud,but I know I added to the noise!! It was all part of the fun.

Chris Mitchell said...

I was playing in a trad band,accompaning Clinton Ford, we did aSunday night at the Cavern,in October 1962.Clinton had the big billing, but the wonderful Liverpool girls were there for the Beatles. The writing on the wall was there for our type of music. I was also a very good friend of Ian Stewart (Stu) ,pianist by the Stones. I now live in Switzerland , but when theycome here , Charlie or Keef get me a backstage pass.