When police held back screaming fans as Fab Four took city by storm
JUST when you wonder where to start looking for local stories to tell about The Beatles, it suddenly strikes you that there's one almost right under your nose.
Semi-retired Bygones editor Andy Smart recalls seeing the band's first TV appearance on a regional programme.
"It was presented by a rather bemused Bill Grundy when they played Love Me Do," he said.
"It wasn't hard to spot their star potential because we had never seen anything like it before. No one could have predicted just how big they were to become, but there was no doubt they were heading for the top.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
"As far as I can recollect, I saw them live only once, at the ABC Theatre in Blackpool in August 1963, while on holiday there as a 16-year-old. I went along, dressed in my new round-collared Beatles jacket with my hair brushed down a la John Lennon.
"I certainly saw them up there on the stage – but I didn't hear a single note, such was the incredible noise created by the screaming girl fans."
Even though he missed The Beatles when they appeared twice in Mansfield at the Granada early in 1963, Andy can rattle off details of the visits.
"On one tour they supported Helen Shapiro and a month later they were back with American singers Tommy Roe and Chris Montez," he said. "On that gig their set list consisted of Love Me Do, Misery, A Taste Of Honey, Do You Want To Know A Secret, Please Please Me and I Saw Her Standing There."
The group's first appearance in Nottingham on March 7, 1963, went pretty much unheralded.
Even though they were high in the charts with their single Please, Please Me, John, Paul, George and Ringo appeared at the Elizabethan Ballroom, above Co-operative House in Upper Parliament Street, in what was called A Mersey Beat Showcase, also featuring the likes of Gerry and the Pacemakers, Billy J Kramer, The Dakotas, and The Big Three.
Beatlemania was making the headlines when they appeared at the Granada in Mansfield on February 23 and March 26 of the same year, and the same could be said about their first appearance at the Nottingham Odeon on May 23, 1963.
By the time they returned on December 12 that year, Beatlemania was in full swing and all police leave was cancelled as the city prepared for their concert at the Odeon, with special constables and a fleet of ambulances being brought in.
The Beatles gave two performances that day as the police decided on decoy tactics to get the group inside the cinema.
Only a small group of teenagers who had been gathering since before 2pm were present as a police van drew up at a side entrance shortly before 4pm.
Teenage girls rushed towards it. Immediately afterwards a second police van arrived near another entrance.
John, Paul, George and Ringo, still in the dark coats they had been wearing only minutes earlier while holed up at city police headquarters, sprinted for the entrance. They got inside with only a handful of people spotting them.
George Gunby, 61, the man who staged the annual East Midlands Beatles Convention from 1995 to 2000 at what was then the George Hotel, in Hockley, never actually saw The Beatles – but he knows someone who did.
"My wife Kath saw them on numerous occasions, including their final one at the Nottingham Odeon on November 5, 1964," he says.
It's a good description, because as Kath, now 67, confirmed at their Belper home, the sheer wall of noise which greeted you hasn't been exaggerated over the years.
"I can remember very little about the shows except the screaming, the hysteria and the sheer excitement," she said. "You certainly couldn't hear anything else.
"Before the Nottingham show I took along some jelly babies and a teddy bear which I passed on to The Beatles roadie Mal Evans. He was very kind and polite – although it was probably the umpteenth time he had taken gifts that day."