Beatles 50th Blog posts of '2013' 'April'

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Thursday, April 25, 1963

Ballroom, Fairfield Hall, Park Lane, Croydon, Surrey

This "Mersey Beat Showcase" date was arranged by promoter John Smith back in January, before the Beatles had a hit with "Please Please Me" and before Gerry and the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer and the Big Three had emerged out of Liverpool. Concerned that he might not fill the ballroom for one "house", let alone two, Smith engaged star singer/actor John Leyton to top the bill.

Three months later, however, on the day of the shows, Leyton fell ill and was unable to fulfil the booking. But when Smith posted notices to this effect outside the ballroom's main entrance there was great cheering. No one had come to see him.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Wednesday, April 24, 1963

Majestic Ballroom, Seven Sisters Rd. Finsbury Park, London

Another of NEMS' "Mersey Beat Showcase" presentations. This Top Rank ballroom was situated close by the Finsbury Park Astoria Cinema where the Beatles would play on many future occasions. 2,000 people attended this evening.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Tuesday, April 23, 1963

The Beatles at Floral Hall, Southport

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Monday, April 22, 1963

Today the Beatles took the day off :)

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Sunday, April 21, 1963

Empire Pool, Empire Way, Wembley, Middlessex and Pigalle Club, Piccadilly, London

The afternoon performance at Wembley marked the Beatle's biggest concert date yet, both in stature and size of venue, a reported 10,000 pop fans crowding into the arena to see a 14-act bill, headed by Cliff Richard and the Shadows, in the "New Musical Express" 1962-63 Annual Poll-Winner's All-Star Concert. Although the Beatles hadn't actually won any of the reader's polls, which had been conducted before the end of 1962, the NME slotted them in. They performed four songs, "Please Please Me", "From Me To You", "Twist And Shout" and "Long Tall Sally". The evening booking at the Pigalle Club was an odd one, and the Beatles only appearance at this fashionable central London restaurant/night club later to become the "in" meeting place for the Mod movement. On this evening almost the entire audience was Jewish, the only advertisement for the engagement having appeared in the weekly newspaper "Jewish Chronicle".

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Saturday, April 20, 1963

Ballroom, Mersey View Pleasure Grounds, Overton Hills, Frodsham, Cheshire

The Beatle's only appearance at this north-west venue although other top Liverpool groups had played here regularly since 1961.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Friday, April 19, 1963

The Beatles at King's Hall, Stoke-On-Trent

The second "Mersey Beat Showcase" date

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Thursday, April 18, 1963

During the first half of 1963, the BBC presented and broadcast live, three concerts direct from this famous venue, each performed in front of an audience. The Beatles appeared on only this occasion, in a show titled "Swinging Sound '63", alongside a host of other artists, including Del Shannon, the Springfields, Lance Percival, Rolf Harris, the Vernons Girls, Kenny Lynch, Shane Fenton and the Fentones, and George Melly.

The concert was a fairly complicated affair, taking place in two distinct halves, 8:00 to 8:50 and 9:10 to 10:15 pm, with an interval in between. Only the second half was broadcast; the first was not even recorded, so in essence, this could be classified as a Beatles concert appearance and the sencond half a live radio appearance. Furthermore, the BBC's General Overseas Service beamed a simultaneous broadcast across much of the globe between 9:15 and 10:00 pm, which meant that overseas listeners missed out on the Beatles by seconds, since they did not play in the second half until 10:02 pm.

This was the Beatles first appearance at the Royal Albert Hall, a venue they would remember in their 1967 song "A Day In The Life", and they spent virtually the entire day there, mostly in the dressing room. They were called at 10:15 am for a 10:45 to 11:30 rehearsal, and again at 12:45 pm for a 1:00 to 1:30 rehearsal of the concert's finale.

Fellow Liverpulian, jazz singer and arts critic George Melly introduced the Beatles on stage during both halves of the concert. In the first, at around 8:40 pm, they played two songs, "Please Please Me" and "Misery", with only the briefest of pauses in between.

In the second half, broadcast live, the group sang "Twist and Shout", and "From Me To You", again segued. They had planned on opening with "Thank you Girl" released earlier, but switched it to the more upbeat "Twist and Shout" at the last moment, unbeknown to the BBC producers Terry Henebery and Ron Belchier. In the grand finale, all the acts on the bill, including the Beatles, crowded onto the stage for an instrumental blast of "Mack The Knife", which they played for over three minutes, until the "Light Programme" broadcast was faded down at 10:15. (Written in 1928 by Kurt Weill for "The Three Penny Opera", "Mack The Knife" has since been recorded by hundreds of artists.

After the broadcast Paul first met his fiancee-to-be, aspriring young actress and "teen" TV personality Jane Asher, who (earlier in the evening) had posed, screaming for the Beatles, for a photographer from "Radio Times", the BBC's weekly listings journal.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Wednesday, April 17, 1963

The Beatles at the Majestic Ballroom, Mill Street, Luton, Bedfordshire

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Tuesday, April 16, 1963

The Beatles at Studio Four, Granada TV Centre, Manchester

The Beatle's first appearance on Granada Television in three months was this live (mimed) performance of "From Me To You", on
'Scene At 6:30', a new half hour news magazine program from North England, succeeding from People and Places. Following 3:00 - 4:00 and 4:15 - 6:00 pm rehearsals, it was broadcast between 6:30 and 7:00 pm, clashing with the Beatle's taped BBC TV appearance on "The 625 Show" which was on from 6:25 to 6:50.