Saturday's Daily Echo Magazine carried a two-page cover story by features writer Pat Gough about Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth, complete with a selection of Harry Taylor's photos. In case you missed it, here's the text...
BEATLEMANIA is set to return with the release of a new book that charts the Fab Four in Bournemouth.
Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth by author Nick Churchill offers a complete account of The Beatles’ connections to the town.
It turns out that Bournemouth was closely involved in the infancy of The Beatles. Yes, you did read that correctly.
While Liverpool was where the fledgling Fab Four played early gigs under such names as The Quarrymen and The Silver Beetles, The Beatles played the Bournemouth Gaumont more often Bournemouth than any other UK theatre outside
London, even though Bournemouth seems as far from the group’s north-west origins as The Frog Chorus is from Twist and Shout.
Yet while Dorset can lay little claim to spawning the world’s biggest pop group, the region hosted some crucial – and less-than-crucial, though interesting – episodes as the Beatle legend unfolded here, there and everywhere.
Just ask former Bournemouth Daily Echo journalist Nick Churchill who has unearthed stories of Bournemouth Beatles lore and eyewitness accounts before they disappeared forever.
“Most people’s reactions were that they didn’t know there were any strong connections. There’s nothing in the town to mark the association with The Beatles, let alone that Beatlemania ever happened here,” says Nick.
The Beatles played four Bournemouth engagements in the early 1960s. The first, at the Gaumont, involved two shows a night for six days back in August 1963.
“They were already big stars in the UK at this point, with recent single From Me To You at the top of the charts. As for Beatlemania, there was a bit of screaming, but it was all quite sweet-natured,” says Nick.
“The audience was mainly teenagers, but there are reports of curious holidaymakers wandering in and buying tickets,” he added.
While on their first jaunt to Bournemouth, The Beatles had time to shoot the artwork for their second album, With The Beatles.
The sleeve featured Robert Freeman’s iconic half-shadow photos taken in the restaurant at the Palace Court Hotel in Westover Road during the Beatles’ week-long summer residency at the Gaumont.
“Also at the Palace Court, George Harrison penned Don’t Bother Me, his first Beatles song, while confined to his room with a nasty cold.
“In a letter written to a fan at the time, Harrison expressed his views on the screaming: ‘We don’t mind girls screaming in the noisy numbers, but I think we would prefer them to be a little quieter in the slow songs’.”
As for the actual shows, The Beatles headlined a bill that included Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas, Tommy Quickly, Gary and Lee, The Sons of Piltdown Men, compere Billy Baxter and light entertainers the Glamorous Lanas and Tommy Wallis & Beryl.
Luckily, the chief technician at the Gaumont recorded one of the Bournemouth shows for his own personal use.
This tape, bought by Apple in 1998, is thought to be the only high-quality concert recording from the period and has never seen the light of day.
The Beatles second appearance, at the Winter Gardens on November 16, created media interest from around the world. American film crews from CBS, NBC and ABC were all present to capture the action.
“The audiences were far wilder than those at the Gaumont, all but drowning out the group who had been driven to the Winter Gardens in an unmarked police van. One Beatle fan was so hysterical that she had to be treated in hospital.”
Six months later the Fab Four were back at the Gaumont on August 2, 1964. By this point, Beatle fever had started to spread across the globe with A Hard Day’s Night in cinemas and a full US tour in the offing.
The final show, at The Gaumont again, on October 30, 1964, marked the final
Bournemouth appearance by the Moptops.
“The final shows were part of a UK tour that saw them champion the music of black America that had influenced their songwriting from the earliest days. Support act Mary Wells was the first Motown act to perform in the UK.”
No sooner had The Beatles said hello, than it was goodbye to Bournemouth and the last they ever saw of the legendary group.
Although individual band members continued to frequent the seaside town as Nick Churchill explains.
“Lennon bought a seafront bungalow home at Sandbanks in 1965 for his beloved Aunt Mimi, who brought him up following the death of his mother.
“The Beatle famously phoned her every day and made regular visits to Dorset to visit her.
“Paul returned to Bournemouth in the 70s with his band Wings and of course Ringo continues to visit and was here at the BIC this year.”
Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth by Nick Churchill is available now from www.beatlesandbournemouth.com