Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth

Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth
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26 January 2013

Beatles' Bournemouth review 2

When the Rank Organisation booked The Beatles for a six-day summer season at the Gaumont in Bournemouth, hardly anyone at cinema knew who they were. But their kids did and The Beatles' arrival in town on 19 August 1963 caused great excitement with fans crammed into the alleyway by the stage door craning their necks for a glimpse of their idols as the soon-to-be Fab Four drew up in their Ford Zephyr.
By then the papers were on full Beatles alert and in Bournemouth it fell to already seasoned showbiz scribe Tony Crawley and the characterful photographer Harry Taylor to cover the group's stay in town, at the Palace Court Hotel, and keep abreast of the shows for the Bournemouth Times. As a weekly paper the Times could afford to circumspect than the somewhat breathless reviews of the Evening Echo's Stan Sowden.
This is how the Bournemouth Times reported those first shows in August 1963...

Cinema manager Charles Booth says he has a minute to relax, "Well, 45 seconds." He sits down. Somewhere between the pile of programmes, stack of autograph books, and the last mail delivery. (Most of the letters are marked "You're fab" on the envelope.)
"We've never had anything lie it," he says. "I've been in this business for 30 years. I've arranged film premieres, and big stage shows. But never have I experienced a week of demand and commotion like this."
Mr Booth is general manager of the Gaumont. And he'd right. His cinema has never witnessed such a commotion for visiting stars.
Not even Cliff Richard, Adam Faith or Billy Fury have won such screams, cheers, shouts, stomps, than is currently happening with ear-piercing regularity twice-nightly at this cinema.
The reason? Britain's most revolutionary and extraordinarily successful records stars: THE BEATLES.
It's their first visit to Bournemouth since virtually ruling the Top Ten for the last nine months. Holiday-makers, too , are making sure they don't miss the town's biggest attraction.
There are even dedicated fans on special one or two-day trips from - honest - as far away as Edinburgh and Hull.
Policemen on duty in the auditorium agree they have never heard anything like it.
Once the four, long, lean and lanky Liverpool lads come on-stage, real pandemonium sets in. Girls scream, jump up and down. Boys yell, stamp their feet. And hands are lifted outwards, upwards.
Fortunately, 99 per cent of the packed audiences (26,000 by tomorrow) know the Beatle songs by heart. I say fortunately, because no matter how much they pay, they don't hear them at the Gaumont.
Surprisingly, as these Liverpudlians don't claim to be the quietest quartet in the business. Their audio-histrionics, raucous voices, and electric guitars are loud, lusty - gutsy.
They yell, howl, stomp with gay abandon. So do their audiences.
The Beatles have won a sensational brand of success that has escaped even Cliff or Elvis.
Success like two successive no.1 hit single discs; an LP and EP (the first ever to crash the Top Ten) both selling way past the 100,000 mark; and a new single out today, She Loves You, which will be in the top three by next week as the advance orders for it already total 235,000.
They've every right to be big-heads. But off-stage, they are quiet, almost reserved, gently-spoken, expertly-mannered - and good fun.
Lead guitar is George Harrison, 20; Ringo Starr, the oldest as 23, is the drummer; the others are the singers and songwriters Paul McCartney, 21, and John Lennon, 22.
They write the main songs and the two hits by Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas; and now more songs for their other partners in the success, Tommy Quickly, The Fourmost, etc.
When do they get time to write?
"Oh anytime," murmurs a pensive Paul. "In the train, dressing room, in bed, in our sleep," adds John.
How about the fans? "We love them all,"smiles Ringo. "They made us."
And their screams? "Sam thing," grins George. "Wed start worrying if they stopped."
Also in town this week is Beatle no.5 - their ex-Etonian manager Brian Epstein, suave as their suits.
Tony Crawley, Bournemouth Times, 23 August 1963

:: This, and all the local press reviews of The Beatles' shows in Bournemouth can be read in Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth, available for order at

17 January 2013

Billy J Kramer on The Beatles and Bournemouth

Billy J Kramer has been recalling his remarkable career in a brand new interview with the excellent ezine ZANI. Have a good read here.
Loaded with anecdotes and laced with rare insights, Billy seems to be in fine fettle although we have to take issue with his memories of Bournemouth. He recalls his 20th birthday party well enough, but seems to think John Lennon played him Bad To Me in a corridor when, in fact, the single was already topping the charts when he arrived in Bournemouth on his birthday - 19 August 1963 - to open a six-day summer season at the Gaumont Theatre on Westover Road.
To mark the achievement The Beatles hosted a party in their dressing room that evening between the first and second shows. Later on the boys sent Billy a telegram that read: "Happy birthday from your proud parents, The Beatles."
Bad To Me stayed at number one until it was replaced by She Loves You, released the Friday of their Bournemouth run.
:: The photo above (by Harry Taylor, copyright Dave Robinson) is taken from the book Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth, available to order here.

6 January 2013

The Beatles' first review in Bournemouth

The Beatles arrived in Bournemouth on Monday 19 August 1963 to open a six-day summer season at the Gaumont cinema on Westover Road. By the time they left town on the Saturday, the single they had been touting all week - She Loves You - had been released and the die was cast ... within months they would be the biggest group in the world.
Here's what the Bournemouth Evening Echo had to say about that historic first show:

Into Bournemouth last night on a wave of enthusiasm almost unprecedented in pop history came The Beatles, the four young Liverpool men who have really set the world of pop music alight.
Little known outside Merseyside until a year ago, the group then travelled to London and made Love Me Do. Then followed Please Please Me and after that, also into first place on the Hit Parade, From Me To You.
But the proof of their popularity came with their new EP, Twist and Shout, which made musical history by not only getting in the Top Ten but also challenging for the no.1 position.
To a smaller degree they’ve made history locally because they are the first pop group to be booked into a local cinema for an entire week. Advance booking at the Gaumont theatre was good and queues all day yesterday look like being repeated all week. There are more than 25,000 seats to be sold at the Gaumont’s 12 shows this week and a fairly high percentage of them will go, I feel sure, after yesterday’s performances.
The audience enthusiasm was terrific, making most of the numbers completely inaudible, as is usual with these shows. Trying to listen, I suddenly realised why pop records sell so well. The fans buy them so they can listen to the words at home, then they know where to scream when they see their lads on the stage.
As well as writing most of their own material, The Beatles have been penning a couple for another group, The Dakotas, who were joined in January by tall, good-looking Billy J Kramer.
Yesterday, Billy celebrated his 20th birthday, and a welcome present was the news that his latest record, Bad To Me, was on top of the Hit Parade. This was written for him by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, but I’ve a feeling that The Beatles’ own She Loves You, tried out on the audience yesterday and to be released on Friday, will soon be at the top.
Completing the line up are newcomer Tommy Quickly, the Three Lanas, versatile Tommy Wallis & Beryl, brash compere Billy Baxter – some poet! – and the oddly named but effective-sounding Sons of Piltdown Men, with Gary and Lee.

Stan Sowden, Bournemouth Evening Echo, 20 August 1963

Reviews of all The Beatles' shows in Bournemouth can be found in Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth. Order here.