As many know the town's Beatles connection actually started in Southampton when Bournemouth-based reporter and photographer Tony Crawley and Harry Taylor were dispatched to interview French singer Louise Cordet who was appearing with The Beatles at Southampton Gaumont on 20 May 1963 - three months before they got to Bournemouth.
The report featured a selection of photos from the book including previously unpublished shots of The Beatles with Louise Cordet and Gerry and the Pacemakers.
Here's the text from feature writer Keith Hamilton's article...
We loved them, yeah, yeah, yeah. Those cheeky, mop-headed, Fab Four hailed from Liverpool, but John, Paul, George, and Ringo also had close connections here in the south.
Think of The Beatles and immediately Merseyside and the Cavern Club come to mind, after all they were an irreverent bunch of Scousers who took the world by storm. But dig down into their story and it doesn’t take long to undercover fascinating links with Hampshire.
A new book, Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth by Nick Churchill, containing rare and previously unpublished photographs of the Beatles, is published on October 6 and is the definitive account of the connections between the greatest of all rock ’n’ roll groups and the seaside resort.
A wonderful nostalgic trip for the baby boomer generation, the book goes back over the years to those far off days of Beatle jackets, Beatlemania, Beatle haircuts, Beatle magazines and posters, and of course, the unforgettable music.
Back in the 1960s, Bournemouth was still part of Hampshire and the Beatles’ initial, highly significant shows did much to establish and form their characters. Hence the group can arguably be claimed as part of the county’s culture heritage.
It was on August 19, 1963 when The Beatles began a six-day season at the former Gaumont theatre in Bournemouth, performing twice nightly in a total of 12 shows before returning a few months later in November to appear at the Winter Gardens, a much bigger venue.
The following year they were back for two more dates, returning to the Gaumont on August 2 and October 30.
“Surprisingly, this means The Beatles played more shows at Bournemouth’s Gaumont, now
the Odeon, than at any other UK theatre outside London,’’ said Nick, a former journalist
on the Daily Echo’s sister newspaper in Bournemouth.
“A tape of a full Beatles concert recorded during their first visit to Bournemouth is the earliest known example of their theatre show.
“Despite the excellent quality of the recording it remains unreleased.’’
One of the great strengths of the new book is the remarkable pictures taken by local photographer, Harry “Flash’’ Taylor, images which, up to now, have never before been published.
“A larger than life figure, ‘Flash’ Harry moved from his native London during the Second World War and built landing craft in a factory on Poole Harbour,’’ said Nick.
“After the war he started to promote his photographic abilities towards the local press, and was always on hand to record the event whenever The Beatles were performing in the area.
“For instance, he was in Southampton when The Beatles were on stage at the old Gaumont Cinema, now the Mayflower Theatre, on May 20, 1963.
“It was then he took the photographs of the Beatles with Gerry and the Pacemakers.’’
By the time The Beatles appeared in Southampton they had had three hits, Love Me Do, Please Please Me, and their first number one, From Me to You. They began the tour co-headlining with Roy Orbison and closed the show every night.
The Beatles returned on December 13 the same year to perform the last concert of their autumn tour, while their final visit to Southampton’s Gaumont was on November 6, 1964.
During John, Paul, George, and Ringo’s first stay in Bournemouth, they released their third single, She Loves You, which stayed in the charts for 31 weeks, returning to number one when the group arrived back in November, 1963.
The rather stuffy, British establishment, at that time, found the refrain “yeah, yeah, yeah” controversial. National radio in the form of the BBC broadcast the single, but in some quarters it was seen to “hail the collapse of civilised society”.
Some critics panned the song, dismissing the “yeah, yeah, yeah,’’ as “uncouth slang from a fad band’’, however, the “yeahs’’ were to have a great effect on The Beatles’ image. Indeed, in some parts of Europe, it was said, they became known as the Yeah-Yeahs.
While staying at the Palace Court Hotel that August, one of the band’s most iconic photo shoots took place, the half-shadow shot by Robert Freeman, which appeared on the sleeve of the second album, With The Beatles.
The occasion was a bittersweet time for George Harrison as he spent much of his time holed up in his hotel room suffering from a heavy cold, but during that week he wrote his first song for The Beatles, Don’t Bother Me.
The Winter Gardens shows on November 16, 1963 were filmed by crews from the three major US TV networks, CBS, NBC and ABC. Consequently, the first footage America saw of The Beatles was filmed in Bournemouth.
Although a one-off date, the two shows on August 2, 1964 were reported in Disc magazine and were also notable for the inclusion of The Kinks on the support bill.
Ray Davies has since recalled how John Lennon set out to intimidate the nervous Kinks and sparked the first battle of Britpop, the Blur versus Oasis of its day.
The Beatles’ final Bournemouth shows, in October 1964, were part of a UK tour, which saw them fly the flag for the music of black America with principal support act Mary Wells. She became the first Motown act to perform in the UK and the first female singer to open for The Beatles.
John Lennon enjoyed a close relationship with his Aunt Mimi, with whom he lived for most of his childhood, even though she could be highly dismissive of his musical ambitions, his girlfriends, and wives.
She often told teenager, John: “The guitar's all right, but you'll never make a living out of it’’.
Despite later losing touch with other family members, John kept in close contact and telephoned Aunt Mimi every week until his death in 1980. In the mid-1960s he bought her a waterside bungalow at Sandbanks, near Poole, where she lived until her death in 1991. Aunt Mimi’s house in Liverpool was later donated to the National Trust, and is now open to the public.
On various visits to Sandbanks, John was spotted by locals in either a Mini Cooper or, later, in his famous psychedelic Rolls-Royce.
He even visited in the run up to the release of Sgt Pepper when he was photographed with
Aunt Mimi and his son, Julian, at Sandbanks chain ferry.
In March 1969, just after Paul McCartney married Linda Eastman, John and Yoko Ono
announced they were to get married.
John sent his chauffeur, Les Anthony, to Southampton to ask if he and Yoko could marry at
sea, as related in The Ballad of John & Yoko, the Beatles’ final number one.
Finally, John’s two wives were together with their sons Julian and Sean at Poole Crematorium for Mimi’s funeral service.
- Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth is published by Natula Publications, and is available at www.beatlesandbournemouth.com