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It was 50 years ago today, that The Beatles came to York to play...
On February 27, 1963, four freshed-faced young musicians from Liverpool appeared on the bill at York’s Rialto concert hall. RICHARD CATTON looks back at a piece of pop history.
IT was the night exactly 50 years ago when an audience in York to got see music history in the making at a performance by a certain up-and-coming “Liverpool quartet”.
The Beatles, who on February 27, 1963, were just beginning to create the buzz which would later turn into full-blown Beatlemania, took to the stage of the Rialto in Fishergate.
Lynn Martin, a sub-editor at The Press, was an excited 13-year-old at the time and remembers the show.
She said: “I remember my mother bought me the ticket. You couldn’t hear anything because of all the screaming but we could see them on the stage.
“You just couldn’t believe that there they were in front of you. George was my hero.”
The Beatles would go on to play the venue a further three times that year, according to local Beatles fan Alan Wrigglesworth.
Alan said: “When the Beatles arrived in York that first time they had achieved only one modest chart hit to their name (Love Me Do had reached number 17 in the charts, late the previous year), but they were then currently standing second in the charts, with Please Please Me.
“The Beatles were only a support act, to Helen Shapiro. By the time of the York concert, she had been in the top ten six times, twice at number one.”
The night itself saw fans disappointed when Shapiro cancelled her performance due to flu. The Evening Press from February 28, however, told how the Fab Four went down a storm with the crowd.
Our reviewer at the time wrote: “Screams of delight greeted The Beatles – a Liverpool quartet who obliged with the songs they wrote themselves and which have taken them into the Hit Parade – Love Me Do and Please Please Me.”
According to Mr Wrigglesworth, The Beatles played the Rialto three more times that year – once without John Lennon, who was also stuck down with flu.
Their final performance there came on November 27 and by that time The Beatles topped the bill, having had their last two releases, From Me To You and She Loves You, reach the top of the charts.
Our coverage at the time noted a senior policeman who said there had been no disturbances on th night, just “good-natured enthusiasm” and that “everything went off very smoothly.”
• Do you have any memories of The Beatles in York? If so, phone 01904 567155.
Black leather jackets - we were the bee’s knees
Bill Hearld, former journalist with The Press, recalls how it felt to be at one of those very early gigs by The Beatles in York.
IT was my first concert and it was to see what was to become the biggest British music phenomenon of the century.
But, hell, it was so long ago my memories are a blur. My most vivid memory is of queueing outside the Rialto in what, as a 16-year-old lad from Goole, seemed the biggest, most excited crowd I had ever seen.
My girlfriend – who later became my first wife – and I both remember best that we had just got our first motor bike and standing there in our black leather jackets, we thought we were the bee’s knees. And so cool to be seeing The Beatles.
Inside, I recall the girls screaming hysterically, that I was disappointed in The Beatles’ live singing, but it was magical to hear Please, Please Me and Love Me Do, still my favourite Beatles numbers.
And it was my first of two encounters with the soon-to-be legends. A few months later, as a young cub reporter, I covered a case at Goole Magistrates' Court where George Harrison turned up to plead guilty to driving without due care and attention on the group’s way home from a concert in Hull. And I even had hair – cut as close to a Beatles look as my bossy editor would allow.