Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth

Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth
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28 November 2013

Review: The Beatles, Winter Gardens, Bournemouth, 16 November 1963

As is its way, time has afforded us 20:20 hindsight with which to view The Beatles' shows at Bournemouth Winter Gardens on 16 November 1963. From a distance of 50 years they are rightly seen as a significant landmark in the history of the greatest rock 'n' roll group there ever was - the first footage shown of The Beatles on American television was shot at the Winter Gardens where crews from all three US TV news networks gathered to capture their first taste of Beatlemania.
But what of the reporters on the ground on the night? How did they react to what they found inside, outside and on stage at the theatre?
Here's what Stan Sowden at the Bournemouth Evening Echo had to say...

While everyone realised there would be some fantastic scenes at the Winter Gardens, Bournemouth on Saturday during the visit of The Beatles, no-one could have foreseen the fantastic scenes which occurred.
Twice the hall erupted into a crescendo of sound so intense one could not hear oneself shout. At one time it appeared as if everyone in the hall were on their feet, screaming and shouting.
The Beatles went through their act seemingly unconcerned. If they had stopped playing I doubt if anyone would have noticed.
There was an excellent support cast, particularly Peter Jay & the Jaywalkers. The Shadows, The Searchers, Freddie and the Dreamers and even The Beatles themselves - amid deafening screams - were mimicked excellently. The Vernons Girls brought a welcome touch of glamour, the Brook Brothers had a great reception, The Kestrels did well in that most difficult of all spots, just before the stars come on, and compere Frank Berry and the Rhythm and Blues Quartet kept things going with a swing.
But Frank's words were lost in the rising volume of noise which preceded The Beatles' appearance, and the next 20 minutes were almost beyond description.
Waving photos and banners, standing on seats, and screaming their heads off, the fans gave the TV cameramen something to record. Here and there, the odd member of the audience sat, seemingly unconcerned at the surrounding din. And here and there, girls sobbed uncontrollably.
The scenes at the Winter Gardens that night were unparalleled and are unlikely to be repeated until The Beatles come there again.
Stan Sowden, 18 November 1963
:: Photo courtesy of Bournemouth Daily Echo.
:: For the full story and more photos see Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth, which can be ordered here.

20 November 2013

It was 50 years to the day that America first saw The Beatles play

Fifty years ago to the day The Beatles played the Winter Gardens in Bournemouth, the town’s newest dining experience opened its doors.
The Bournemouth Rock Café is home to a unique collection of rock and pop memorabilia associated with nearly 60 years of music history in the town. The Beatles Room is dedicated to the many connections that link the Fab Four to the resort, including the Winter Gardens shows on 16 November 1963 that were filmed by American TV news crews and resulted in the first footage of The Beatles to be shown on US television – three months before the famous Ed Sullivan Show on February 1964.

Cutting the ribbon, the Mayor of Bournemouth Cllr Dr Rodney Cooper (pictured above with Bournemouth Rock Cafe owner Dave Robinson to the left and Nick Churchill, author of Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth on the right) said: “I can’t wait to come back here time and time again, there’s so much history on show and so many fascinating stories that relate to it.”
The music-themed menu at Bournemouth Rock Café - which can be found at the Beacon Hotel on Priory Road - showcases its specialist range of quality burgers made from locally-sourced ground beef and fresh ingredients.

Copies of Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth can be ordered in time for Christmas here.
The Daily Echo in Bournemouth also reported the event here.

3 November 2013

On the Beatles beat in Bournemouth

Bournemouth must have felt like the centre of the universe on Saturday, 16 November 1963. Not only were The Beatles in town and riding the crest of the first wave of Beatlemania, but Father Christmas chose that day to arrive at his town centre Grotto and the mighty Cherries had a home tie in the FA Cup at Dean Court. Clive Garland was a 19-year-old police constable at the time and right in the thick of it, as he remembers here...

I joined Bournemouth Borough Police in 1961 as a cadet and was sent to the training school in Folkestone in autumn 1963, returning to Bournemouth as a Police Constable in early November 1963.
All police leave was cancelled on 16 November as not only were The Beatles back in Bournemouth, but there was the annual Father Christmas parade, Bournemouth had a home tie in the FA Cup at Dean Court and the RAC rally was due to finish in town as well.
I was just back from 13 weeks of training and wasn't on the duty roster so the sergeant in the parade room at Madeira Road [police station] asked me where I wanted to go and I told him I wanted to be with The Beatles. I'd had a taste of it back in August at the Gaumont when I was being escorted round by PCs as a cadet officer before my training.
So he sent me off to the traffic office with Sergeant Nick (Noddy) Carter and Inspector Young and The Beatles were already there playing with a Scalextric set that had been sent up by [the department store] Beales. They spent the time joking and gibbing with us lot - of course, Scouse was like a new language to us Southerners!
Then about 4 o'clock they brought the Black Maria van round as that was the only vehicle we had with blacked out windows, to take them over to the Winter Gardens. There was a bit of talk about how we were going to do it as they'd heard there were thousands of fans packed around the stage door.
So they got in the back of the van and there must have been 14 or 16 of us got in after them. The instructions were to get them to the front door of the Winter Gardens. So we pulled up in front then we all leapt out, linked arms and they ran in through the front doors and straight into the theatre.

Our job then was to sit in the rows of seats while the musicians and roadies went through the soundcheck. During the shows - the first house was at 6.30, the second at 8.30 - we were told to stand off to one side and if the crowd surged towards the stage to come and stand between the fans and the stage. Well, of course as soon asThe Beatles came on the girls stood up and we lined up in front of the stage. The fans went wild. The jelly babies poured down on us, it was mayhem - bloody hilarious in one way, absolutely terrifying in another.
There were girls fainting all around, St John's Ambulance worked hard that night! The girls were pushing up against us all evening - I was only 19 at the time and I'd definitely made the right choice of duties!
We'd never seen anything like it. Even at football - and you got 20,000 in Dean Court for a Bournemouth match back then - we only had eight officers on duty inside the ground in those days.
I never saw the going of them from the Winter Gardens. The Beatles were off stage and out the door before anyone knew it really. I think we got out of the Winter Gardens at about 11.30 that night and had to walk back to Madeira Road to clock off at midnight, after a 12 hour shift.
It was a hell of a day - great fun and I've been a Beatles fan ever since.
:: Both photos used courtesy of the Bournemouth Daily Echo and appear, with more than 200 others in Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth, which can be ordered at a special price from here.