Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth

Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth
Click on the cover for information about the book. Available to order now.

22 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Please join me in raising a glass to absent friends and wishing us all a very merry Christmas and peaceful New Year...

19 December 2012

Sheila Casey in memoriam

The singer Sheila Casey who, with her sister Jeanette formed the McKinley Sisters and supported The Beatles on tour in 1964, lost her long and brave battle with cancer on 16 December.
Alongside her husband, Seniors band leader and former Wings saxophonist Howie, Sheila always found time for my enquiries and kindly contributed valuable anecdotes and memories to Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth.
A personal tribute can be read here.

4 December 2012

Beatles in Bournemouth A Go! Go!

Jon Kremer with Paul backstage at the Winter Gardens Bournemouth on 15 May 1973
This photo appears in a new book, Bournemouth A Go! Go! (£19.95, Natula Publications) with a remarkable account of just how accessible Paul and Linda and Wings were on their first UK theatre tour.
Little more than a year after the McCartneys took their new band on the infamous University Tour, Wings took flight in support of their Red Rose Speedway album and to launch the Live and Let Die single from the Bond film of the same name. The fourth date on the tour, at the Winter Gardens in Bournemouth, had been well received even though author Jon Kremer (that's him on the left) suspects a sizeable portion of the audience was there as much to see a Beatle in the flesh as hear anything Wings had to offer. After the show Jon made his way backstage with friends and before long found himself in conversation with Paul and Linda, talking about reggae and writing songs for films. It being the 1970s, there was no hesitation when it came time to 'flash the ash'...
"Accepting a proffered Rembrandt International before setting fire to it in the usual way McCartney ripped the filter off, discarded it, and continued to chat. I'd not see such a casually displayed craving for a maximum nicotine hit before, and found myself entertaining a bizarre thought regarding Beatle etiquette: when next offering him a cigarette should you detach the filter first? What would you do?" asks Jon.
Bournemouth A Go! Go! also features a comprehensive account of the episode outlined in Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth in which the young Jon and his friend Al Stewart negotiate a backstage audience with John Lennon following The Beatles' opening show of their summer season at Bournemouth Gaumont on 19 August 1963.
:: Copies of Bournemouth A Go! Go! can be ordered from
:: Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth is available at along with art prints of a selection of the 200 rare and previously unpublished images featured in the book. There's also a set of colour photos of Wings performing at the Winter Gardens on 15 May 1973.

25 November 2012

The Beatles, Bournemouth: Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

August 1963: The Beatles on the balcony at the Palace Court Hotel, Bournemouth. 
Photo by Harry Taylor ©  Dave Robinson

Incredible as it may seem for a small resort town on the south coast, The Beatles played 18 gigs – two shows a night – in Bournemouth in just 14 months.
Kicking off with a six-day summer season run at the Gaumont cinema in August 1963 as She Loves You went to number one; they returned on 16 November 1963 at the much bigger Winter Gardens; and twice more at the Gaumont in 1964 – on 2 August and 30 October.
What’s more, at least one photographer was there to record them at every step.
Harry Taylor was among the first paparazzi.
A larger than life figure, Flash Harry as he was affectionately known to the Bournemouth social scene by the early 1960s, had moved from his native London to the south coast of England during World War Two and built landing craft in a factory on Poole Harbour. After the War he started to promote his photographic abilities towards the local press, finding a ready home at the weekly Bournemouth Times.
During their first stay in Bournemouth, on 23 August 1963, The Beatles’ third single She Loves You was released. Written earlier that year in Newcastle while on tour with Roy Orbison, the song remains the biggest selling Beatles single in Britain today. Having gone into the charts at number one, it stayed there for 31 consecutive weeks – and charted again the following April – returning to number one the week The Beatles arrived back in Bournemouth to play the Winter Gardens in November. 
But during the landmark week in Bournemouth in August 1963, not only did The Beatles land their biggest hit to date, they also sowed the seeds from which would spring the phenomenon of Beatlemania.
While staying at the Palace Court Hotel, the first of the band’s most iconic photo shoots took place. Easily ranking along Peter Blake’s Sgt Pepper sessions and Iain Macmillan’s cover shot for Abbey Road, the half-shadow photos by the band’s then official photographer Robert Freeman number among the most instantly recognisable symbols of the Swinging Sixties.
Freeman was paid £75 – three times the normal rate.
Also at the Palace Court during that week George Harrison wrote Don’t Bother Me, his first song for The Beatles, holed up in his hotel room suffering a heavy cold.
Having left Bournemouth, happily swapping their rock ‘n’ roll credentials for the trappings of international stardom The Beatles embarked upon the path that was to bring them far more then they could ever have dreamed of.
By the time they came back to Bournemouth, to play the Winter Gardens in November, the die was well and truly cast.
The screaming audiences that night were beset by the demands of American television as reporter Alexander Kendrick directed camera crews that lead to the three major networks – CBS, NBC and ABC – showing footage of The Beatles live at the Winter Gardens. It was the first time America had seen The Beatles.
Having subsequently toured the States and watched the spark of Beatlemania turn into a raging fireball, nine months later The Beatles were major international stars and back in Bournemouth for a one-off show at the Gaumont in preparation for a European tour.
The two shows of 2 August 1964 were fairly typical of Beatles shows of that time. A couple of breaking acts were named as support and the compere would wind up the audience of expectant Beatlemaniacs so that by the time the boys hit the stage expectation was at fever pitch.
It was into this hotbed of old fashioned variety show tactics that one of the young support bands that night was thrown. The Kinks had a couple of failed singles behind them, but their third release – You Really Got Me – had started to make an impression on the charts. Billed to open the second half of the show, directly before The Beatles came on, Kinks singer Ray Davies has recounted how John and Paul, but particularly John, appeared backstage behind the Gaumont curtain to irritate the nervous upstarts, resplendent in their new stage gear of bright red riding jackets.
The Beatles’ final Bournemouth shows, in October 1964, were part of a UK tour that saw them fly the flag for the music of black America that had influenced the songwriting of Lennon and McCartney from the earliest days.
Principal support act Mary Wells became the first Motown act to perform in the UK and the first female singer to open for The Beatles. Red hot from her biggest hit, My Guy, Mary Wells was named as The Beatles’ favourite American singer. Ironically though she was in major dispute with Motown, affording her time to tour with The Beatles, but effectively ending her Motown career.
And that was the last Bournemouth was see of The Beatles as a performing band for although there was to be one more UK tour, in December 1965, before they quit playing live altogether the following year, they stuck to major cities only.
But the south coast continued to play its part in Beatles history.
In mid-1965 John’s aunt Mimi sold Mendips, her house in Menlove Avenue, Liverpool – just up the road from Penny Lane – and John spent £25,000 on 126 Panorama Road, a waterside bungalow at Sandbanks, between Bournemouth and Poole. John, his first wife Cynthia and their son Julian visited Mimi frequently at the house.
Lennon remained close to Mimi, phoning her every week and visiting as often as he could – being spotted by locals in either a Mini Cooper or, later, in his famous psychedelic Rolls Royce. He even visited during the hectic run up to the release of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967 when he was photographed with Mimi and Julian close to the nearby Sandbanks chain ferry.
It was on one such visit, on 14 March 1969, just after Paul McCartney had married Linda Eastman, that John and Yoko announced they were to get married. John asked his chauffeur, Les Anthony, to drive to Southampton and ask if he and Yoko could marry at sea. Having been told that would not be possible they chartered a private jet to take them to Paris, but were unable arrange a wedding at short notice so opted for Gibraltar near Spain, as related in The Beatles’ final number one single, The Ballad Of John and Yoko.
And it was to Aunt Mimi in Poole, as well as to Cynthia in Liverpool and Yoko in New York, that the world reached out its hand in sympathy when John Lennon was murdered. Then, in 1992, Lennon’s two wives were seen together with their sons Julian and Sean at Poole Crematorium for Mimi’s funeral service – Paul, George and Ringo all sent wreaths.
:: The full versions of these and many other stories are included in Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth, along with more than 200 rare and previously unpublished photographs. Copies can be ordered at

15 November 2012

Mary Wells, The Beatles & Bournemouth

Three of the Four backstage at the Gaumont

The Beatles’ final Bournemouth shows, back at the Gaumont on 30 October 1964, were part of a UK tour that saw them fly the flag for the music of black America that had influenced the songwriting of Lennon and McCartney from the earliest days.
Principal support act Mary Wells became the first Motown act to perform in the UK and the first female singer to open for The Beatles. Red hot from her biggest hit, My Guy, Mary Wells was named as The Beatles’ favourite American singer.
Ironically though she was in major dispute with Motown claiming money made by My Guy was being used to promote The Supremes' breakthrough hit, Where Did Our Love Go? 
It lead to Wells being kept out of the recording studio, affording her time to tour with The Beatles, but effectively ending her Motown career.    
Mary always spoke favourably of her time with The Beatles.
'I admire them very much and as far as I'm concerned they're the best,' she told Merseybeat's Bill Harry backstage at the Manchester Apollo on October 14.
After talking to her Bill went into The Beatles' dressing room and told John she'd said she wanted to record a Beatles' song. 
'He was thrilled and said he had a number for her to record, but nothing came of it,' remembers Bill.
:: Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth is available from

5 November 2012

Bearded Beatles in Bournemouth!

Long before they sprouted facial hair in public, it seems The Beatles at least toyed with the idea of beards as far back as August 1963, as they trod the boards in Bournemouth during their summer season at the Gaumont.
Jim Cregan, photo by Rankin
Jim Cregan, who’s best known for co-writing and producing a string of hits with Rod Stewart including Forever Young, Tonight I’m Yours and Blondes (Have More Fun), grew up in Poole and was at one of the Bournemouth Gaumont shows that summer.
“I was one row back from the front of the balcony,” he remembers. 
“One of them wore a huge false beard for the first song – it might have been George. My friend, who saw an earlier show, said it was worn by someone different.
“They played for half an hour and it was almost impossible to hear them for the screaming.
“It was the only time I saw them although I got to meet them all at different times. More recently I played with Ringo at a benefit. 
"What a life!
A couple of years after the Gaumont shows Jim moved to London where he established himself as one of the foremost guitarists of his generation, playing with The Ingoes, Blossom Toes, Julie Driscoll, Stud, Family and Linda Lewis before joining Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel in 1975, for whom he created the instantly recognisable guitar solo on Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me) – in Studio 3 at Abbey Road.
“I’d only just joined the band so it was pretty exciting just recording in there. I remember there was cupboard under the stairs in the studio full of all these toys The Beatles had played around with.”
He joined the original Rod Stewart Group in 1976 and was musical director until an amicable split in 1995. More recently he played on the first two Katie Melua albums and now fronts his own band Cregan & Co with former X-Factor singer Ben Mills, playing the songs he wrote and performed with Rod Stewart.
:: Christmas is coming and Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth is available to order from as is a selection of art prints of photos featured in the book.

14 October 2012

Beatles Blog Carnival feature

Roll up, roll up... 
The Beatles Blog Carnival is featuring The Beatles & Bournemouth blogspot this month alongside such major players in the field as thebeatles.comThe Beatles Bible and our old friends In the Life of... The Beatles
Exalted company indeed.
The Beatles Blog Carnival is a lively, informative monthly round up of Beatles-related blogs and websites. To tempt further subscribers to the Carnival the first 25 each month can swap their postal address for a generous helping of Beatles memorabilia. 
Last month the Carnival sent out original 1964 Topps collectors' cards, like these, from the third of the three series issued that year. Very nice.

9 October 2012

A lad in ZANI...

Ever wondered what happened to Alan McGee, the man who signed Oasis, Primal Scream, Jesus & Mary Chain and Kevin Rowland, as well as his own dad (and Nick Heyward!)?
Well, the former Creation Records boss has recently invested in the really-rather-good e-zine, ZANI. Covering music, film and telly, sport and culture in general, the site's editor Matteo Sedazarri recently demonstrated his good taste by reproducing the This England magazine article about Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth.
You can see the coverage right here. While you're there, take a good look around the site as it's packed with good stuff.

8 October 2012

Paul hat 'mystery' solved

A few weeks ago this photo was shared on Facebook with a suggestion it had been taken in the lounge bar at the Palace Court Hotel in Bournemouth during the week in August 1963 that The Beatles stayed at the hotel while appearing at the Gaumont Theatre next door.
Thanks to eagle-eyed Beatles fan John Cherry we're happy to confirm the photo was taken at the Palace Court by 60s celebrity snapper Fiona Adams who took the famous Beatles Jumping shot that appeared on the Twist and Shout EP cover, as well as countless other iconic images of the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Marc Bolan, David Bowie and Michael Caine.
It seems Adams was on assignment for Boyfriend magazine and took several shots including these, copies of which can be ordered from her website,

Photos © Fiona Adams

Fiona remembers: "Maureen O'Grady of Boyfriend and I travelled to Bournemouth where The Beatles were staying in a hotel, the name of which escapes me. This photo (above left) was taken of John in the hotel lounge."
She also took a shot of Paul in the lounge of the Palace Court, before the hat came into play.
"From somewhere this bowler hat appeared and Paul started fooling about with it."
:: There are just four days left to catch Richard Latto's fine documentary for BBC Radio Solent, The Fab Four Down South, on the iPlayer here.
And if all this media attention has prompted you to think early about the impending Christmas festivities, it's worth remembering copies of Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth are available from as is a selection of art prints of photos from the book.

3 October 2012

More Bournemouth, Beatles & the Beeb

As BBC local radio remembers 50 years since the release of The Beatles' Love Me Do on Friday, the Beeb's regional evening magazine show South Today has been running a series of films exploring the links between the Fabs and the south, specifically Bournemouth.
The content of Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth is heavily featured, as is author Nick Churchill and interviewees including Jon Kremer and Howie Casey, reprising his riff from Wings' Jet.
Viewers also see the town's few remaining locations such as the Gaumont Theatre (now Odeon) and Palace Court Hotel (now Premier Inn) on Westover Road, as well as the Pavilion Theatre in front of which crowds gathered to watch the Gaumont and Palace Court opposite. There's also a section of maplewood stage from the Winter Gardens theatre on show at the Beacon Hotel and an interview conducted within sight of where Mimi's home stood at Sandbanks.
You can see Monday's film here.
Then click here to see Tuesday's and here to see Howie Casey in Wednesday's film.
The Fab Four Down South is broadcast on BBC Radio Solent at 7pm on Friday, presented by the legendary Tony Blackburn.
Listen here on the iPlayer.
Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth can be ordered here, as can a selection of art prints of some of the rare and previously unpublished photos from the book.

22 September 2012

Bournemouth, Beatles & the Beeb

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of Love Me Do on 5 October, BBC regional radio producers have been making a series of documentaries about the Fab Four and their links to the various local areas.
Radio Solent has signed up none other than British broadcasting legend Tony Blackburn, born in Poole and a mainstay of Bournemouth’s beat group scene in the early 1960s before he became the first DJ to play a record on Radio 1 in 1967, to present an hour-long documentary, The Beatles in the South.
Bournemouth features prominently in that story and several of the interviewees featured in Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth, as well as author Nick Churchill, have contributed to the programme.
BBC South Today presenter Alex Dyke also spoke to Nick and several others for a series of films to be broadcast on BBC One over four days leading up to the Radio Solent documentary on Friday, October 5.
The whole project sounds fascinating and it would be good to think the BBC will somehow make a compilation of programmes available – these are predominately fans’ stories and previously untold anecdotes from people whose paths happened to cross the unstoppable force of Beatlemania in the early 1960s.

One of the stories to feature in the first of the South Today films is the episode in which The Beatles were accidentally trapped outside the Gaumont Theatre, Bournemouth on 2 August 1964 as captured in this photo from the Evening Echo.
‘Earlier in the day the Echo photographer had caught the group escaping from a crush of fans after being locked out of the Gaumont. The confusion arose as a result of the management’s attempt to throw fans off the scent by posting most of the police guard outside the main emergency exit in Hinton Road, leaving the lower emergency exit clear to admit The Beatles. The scheme would have worked, but nobody had told the doorman inside so while the message to unlock the door was relayed, the star attractions were trapped outside.’
Extract from Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth. Available to order from