Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth

Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth
Click on the cover for information about the book. Available to order now.

29 November 2011


Bournemouth's independent what's on guide, BHbeat has published a great little feature about the book. The text is below, or you can read it online here.

A Bournemouth-based writer has published a book about the Beatles and their connections with the town.

Nick Churchill, whose first musical memory was singing along to the band’s I Wanna Hold Your Hand, worked to compile a collection of memories, images and reports which would form the book named Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth.
He met with Dave Robinson, owner of Bourne Beat hotel, and the owner of one of the largest collections of music memorabilia on the south coast.
In the collection was an array of unseen photographs of the Beatles, which would become the inspiration and idea behind the book.
The book gives an insight into the life of one of the biggest bands in music history, with stories from the people who were there – the reporters, photographers, musicians, venue staff and of course, the fans.
In the band’s early days, they played a six night summer season residency at the Gaumont Cinema (now the Odeon) and they stayed at the Palace Court hotel in Westover Road, Bournemouth. One of their biggest hits, ‘She Loves You’, was released on the Friday of their residency.
Author, Nick Churchill, said: “The Beatles played 18 times in Bournemouth overall between August 1963 and October 1964 which is quite a lot in 15 months.
“They actually played in the Bournemouth Gaumont more times than any other theatre outside of London.”
Contrary to popular belief, the book talks about the band’s first American television appearance which was filmed in Bournemouth Winter Gardens. The report aired on CBS on the morning of Friday, 22nd November 22, 1963 – the morning that President John Kennedy was assassinated. Of course by lunch time, Kennedy was dead, and the Beatles were forgotten.
Luckily for the Beatles, the show was re-broadcasted in December of the same year.
The Natula publication also tells the story of John Lennon and his Aunt Mimi. Lennon bought a £25,000 bungalow in Sandbanks for his Aunt who was like a mother to him, so she could escape the hassle of ‘Beatlemanie’ then rife in Liverpool.
Nick concluded: “I am pleased that the story is out there because it’s very much a Bournemouth story. Bournemouth is an area I have written about for 25 years or more so it is something I care about and I just hope everyone shares my passion.”
The book can be purchased in Waterstones and various local book shops. For more information,

23 November 2011

Marvel-ous interview!

By the power of email, author Nick Churchill was interviewed by the highly rated Comic Books and Movie Reviews website this week. The text is reproduced below by kind permission or you can read it in situ here.

Do you know what? I was always confused by the Beatles song 'Money Can't Buy Me Love'. Well, I just presumed that it was about a bad past experience that the band once had, with a disgruntled prostitute in Hamburg. How the hell was I suppose to figure out that it was about the eminent social reforms in Greece, complied with a subliminal message about smoked beetroot!!! True story - my mate, Nick Churchill, told it to me, just before he started to tell me about his Bournemouth and Beatles book, ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’.

For more than over 25 years now, writer, Nick Churchill has been writing professionally about music and many other things in the public eye – most of them for the Daily Echo in Bournemouth. He is a passionate music fan with broadening tastes, as well as having a love for film, theatre, art, and literature. Presently, he is 45 years old and lives in a Dorset village with his partner, who, in conjunction with his 17-year-old son, Jack, has been kind enough to pull him back whenever he has gotten lost in Pepperland whilst writing his book.

What now follows is an interview I conducted with Nick about his book.

CBAMR: What book?
NC: Now ‘this book’ – entitled ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’ – is the definitive account of the many and unexpected connections between a small town on the south coast of England and the greatest rock 'n' roll group the world has ever seen. It's a kind of biography of the relationship, plotting the story of both parties before they met and after the stopped seeing one another. The connection goes back to the very first time John, Paul, and George, played together as the Silver Beetles right up to the funeral of John's aunt Mimi in 1991 – which was attended by Cynthia, Julian, Yoko, and Sean. Also, the subsequent sale and eventual destruction in 1994, of the home John had bought for her at Sandbanks - back in 1965. John was a frequent visitor until he and Yoko left for New York in 1971, enjoying boat trips around Poole Harbour and up the River Frome to Wareham ('picture yourself on a boat on a river...'!) and called it 'one of the loveliest places I know'.

CBAMR: In your opinion, which Beatles song best represents 'Yeah, Yeah, Yeah', and why?
NC: Now there are a couple of contenders, but I would have to say it is ‘She Loves You’. The title of the book is taken from the song's refrain and was chosen because ‘She Loves You’ was released on the Friday of The Beatles' six day summer season of shows at the Bournemouth Gaumont from 19-24 August 1963. Although they were already big news and chart topping stars, those shows were among last they played before full scale Beatlemania broke out. All week they introduced ‘She Loves You’ as their new single and encouraged the audience to buy it. After it came out on Friday 23 August 1963, it went on to become their biggest selling UK single – and still is.
The sound of them singing 'yeah yeah yeah' became shorthand for Beatlemania as it headed for the number one spot. They played two shows a day for six days and while they were certainly lively, with some screaming, not all of them were sold out.
A recording of one of the shows captured the band on great form - their version of ‘Baby It's You’ is particularly impressive with its close harmonies and John's chilling lead vocal. The point being, you can actually hear them play and understand the banter with the audience. The term Beatlemania was coined by the Daily Mirror just two weeks before they came back to Bournemouth to play the much larger Winter Gardens venue on 16 November 1963. By then the screaming in the audience all but drowned out the band.
The Beatles went on the play more shows (16 in total) at the Bournemouth Gaumont than any other UK theatre outside London.

CBAMR: If Bournemouth was a Beatle, which one would this costal town be, and why?
NC: That's an interesting question. Much like The Beatles, Bournemouth has many different faces. It's quite a young town (it celebrated its bicentenary in 2010) and can't boast the thousand years of history of its neighbours Poole and Christchurch. Like John, it can be brash, a little wild and irreverent, not always getting things right but brim-full of the confidence to try. Like Paul, it is charming, sweet but fiercely ambitious and quite calculating in its methods. Like George, it has a quite confidence with a mysterious side that has seen literary figures like Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, Percy Florence Shelley and Paul Verlaine drawn to the town. Like Ringo, Bournemouth likes a good time, is generally cheerful and holds a rock solid beat. It could also be Brian – whose father, Harry, died in Bournemouth in 1967 – because it is naturally conservative, profitable and shrewd.

CBAMR: What was the main reason for you to write this book?
NC: I grew up about 15 miles from Bournemouth and have been sharing stories about The Beatles playing in Bournemouth since I was a kid. I sang along to their records on the radiogram as a child and a fascination with their music and story stayed with me all throughout my youth and into my professional life as a journalist. A few years ago, a contact of mine bought a set of rare and unseen photos of The Beatles taken in Bournemouth at auction. The photos were by Harry Taylor, a freelance press photographer who had worked for the Bournemouth Echo and the Bournemouth Times in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. He captured The Beatles in their dressing room, posing on a hotel balcony, at dinner, at a party, being interviewed etc. He had incredible access to the band and produced wonderful documentary-style photos. Coupled with the various significant connections between Bournemouth and The Beatles, the photos made a book the next obvious step. When I was made redundant by the Bournemouth Echo last Christmas, I suddenly found that I had the time to write the book as I established myself as a freelance writer.

CBAMR: Is there any exclusives in your book, that would make it any different to any of the other Beatles related publications?
NC: Many of the photos have never been seen before, or not seen since 1963 or 1964. Harry Taylor had incredible access to The Beatles and got some great photos that neither the Bournemouth Echo nor Bournemouth Times of the day made full use of. There are also the memories of photographer Tom Hanley and the day he spent with Mimi at her home – at John's request just before he left for New York – in 1971 photographing and generally making a fuss of her. The photos and story of David Stark's weekend at Mimi' house in 1981, a few months after John's death, have never been published before. There are various anecdotes about The Beatles, such as the fleet of ice cream vans used to distract fans as they were ferried from their hotel to the venue in August 1963, that have never been published before.

CBAMR: What is your favourite Beatles Album, and why?
NC: That's a tough question, it changes all the time. I've always loved ‘Revolver’ because it is their most complete record and a real triumph of creativity when you consider they were still touring when they wrote the songs and recorded the album. They had more time to spend on ‘Sgt Pepper’ and it shows, but on ‘Revolver’ they managed to meld so many musical ideas and produce great lyrics as well. They sound like they're enjoying their freedom as well. That said, ‘Rubber Soul’ comes close to it for exactly the same reasons - George's guitar playing is particularly effective. Lately I've given more time to earlier albums like ‘With the Beatles’ (the cover shot was taken at the Palace Court Hotel in Bournemouth) and ‘A Hard Day's Night’ which are more subtle than many people think – there's a lot of music going on there from country & western to show tunes as well as John's throat-ripping rock vocals. Abbey Road also has some splendid moments that makes me wonder what they cold have gone on to achieve had they stayed together.

16 November 2011

Cracking the Colonies

NBC footage of The Beatles at the Winter Gardens broadcast on 3 January 1964

Many people believe Ed Sullivan introduced The Beatles to America, but their first television appearances used the footage shot in Bournemouth – initially on CBS and then on NBC’s Jack Paar Show, a month before the Ed Sullivan Show.
Until the Winter Gardens footage was shown though, the group’s track record in America was virtually non-existent.
At first, Capitol turned down the group and their debut single, Love Me Do, was not even released. The follow-ups, Please Please Me and From Me To You, both flopped on the Veejay imprint, before EMI struck a deal with the Swan label to release She Loves You on 16 September 1963. It bombed.
But with coast-to-coast airplay, I Want To Hold Your Hand topped the US Billboard charts on 1 February 1964. A week later The Beatles landed in New York – at the newly renamed John F Kennedy Airport – and on 9 February made their debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. The show was watched by 73 million people; 40% of the entire population.
Beatlemania was in its pomp and after seven weeks at number one I Want To Hold Your Hand was replaced by, of course, the re-released She Loves You.

This extract is taken from Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth which is available to order from

14 November 2011

Listed magazine review

 Another great review, this time from Listed magazine...

While drawing links between Bournemouth and the biggest pop band the world has ever known at first seems tenuous, did you know the Beatles played more theatre shows at Bournemouth Gaumont that any other concert venue in the UK outside of London? That the first appearance of the band on American TV was filmed in the town’s Winter Gardens? John Lennon even bought his dear Aunt Mimi a home in nearby Sandbanks.
Author Nick Churchill, a reporter for the Bournemouth Daily Echo for more than 25 years (not quite true, but it was a long time! –NC), reveals this and more in his thoroughly researched biography, Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth. Churchill is clearly a fan of the Fab Four to have been inspired to write this history, but is never sycophantic. The book is brimming with facts and figures documenting the rise and fall of the band and how a seaside resort acted as a backdrop along the way.
However, Yeah Yeah Yeah is not a dry, paperweight of a tome. Rather it is elegantly written and never loses its train of thought amongst the vastness of its sprawling subject. It is also broken up with many previously unpublished pictures of The Beatles and you can even dip in and out as you like and enjoy the wealth of information resigned to the side panels, such as the band’s further travels in Dorset and their rivalry with The Kinks.

Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth is available to order from It would make a great Christmas present!

8 November 2011

It took me years to write, will you take a look?

Beatles fans Arthur Macfarlane (left) and Martin Bartlett, who appears in the book, with me at the Beatles Day launch event in Bournemouth in September. Photo by Richard Crease, Daily Echo

People keep asking me, so how did I come to write a book about The Beatles?  After all, it’s not like there’s any shortage of Beatles books, many of them written by people far more qualified to do so than me. But the thing with The Beatles, more than any band before or since, is their music belongs to all of us.

Nearly 50 years after they released their first single, The Beatles’ music is almost part of human DNA, something that connects young and old alike across national boundaries, a shared consciousness. Man.

Which is a roundabout way of explaining how The Beatles left their mark on my tender ears growing up in the late 1960s and 1970s in the village of Stoborough on the Isle of Purbeck in South Dorset, at least hundreds of miles away from anywhere to do with The Beatles. Or so I thought.

I don’t know why dad and mum had three Beatles' singles in the radiogram because they weren’t fans, but those records constitute my earliest musical memories. I used to tape a hairbrush to the Ewbank carpet cleaner and sang along to I Want To Hold Your Hand, I Feel Fine and Can’t Buy Me Love so many times I still know the words by heart.

All through the punk rock wars and into my immersion in the Mod revival, those songs stayed with me. They were there when I was dancing to Northern Soul all night and right at home next to later passions like The Stone Roses. By the time their mix of classic guitar pop and dance music’s sensibilities had morphed into Britpop I was less concerned with music of the moment and far happier in the broad church of sound to which The Beatles ministered.

(It’s worth noting that childhood exposure to The Beatles also instilled in me a healthy distrust of heavy metal and it’s bratty American cousin, grunge. I Hate Myself and Want To Die? Not round our way, Kurt!)

And so to Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth

I first heard stories about Beatles’ concerts as a kid. They always seemed to be told by hairy hippy types with acoustic guitars and too many folk records who had ‘grown out of all that’, but when pressed would reveal they had such tremendous fun. By the time I heard the first Clash album I already knew about The Beatles playing in Bournemouth so when Clash fans rioted in the Winter Gardens in 1977 and the town’s burghers called for punk rock to be banned, I knew it couldn’t have been much worse than Beatles fans wetting the seats more than a decade earlier.

I was further tantalised a few years later when an old boy on Wareham Quay correctly spotted the Beatles reference in the Nelson cap I was sporting on top of my teenage Mod regalia and told me John Lennon had a drink in the Quay Inn one night. He couldn’t add to the story, didn’t talk to the Beatle, just noticed he’d come in the pub. A few months later I got up to go to school and dad told me John Lennon had been shot dead. That made me sad.

And ever since then I’ve never been far from a Beatles story with a Dorset connection. There’s the waterside home John Lennon bought his beloved aunt Mimi at Sandbanks, the instantly recognisable half-shadow cover shot for With The Beatles that was taken in the Palace Court Hotel in Bournemouth, George Harrison writing his first song in the same hotel, American newsreel footage of the Winter Gardens concert, people who met The Beatles and McCartney’s ex-Wings-man, sax player Howie Casey who was there the first time John, Paul and George played as the Silver Beetles. He said they were rubbish, but when they joined him in the fleshpots of Hamburg a few months later they were well on their way to becoming the greatest band the world has ever known.

The stories mounted up, my interest only grew, but was I alone? Who else could share this passion for the improbable links between The Beatles and Bournemouth? 
The die was finally cast when, after more than 20 years plying my trade in regional journalism, I was granted access to a cache of rare and previously unpublished photographs of The Beatles taken in Bournemouth. 

What else could I do but start writing?

- Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth is available now from
- An exhibition of rare and previously unseen photographs from the book can be seen at the Central Library in Bournemouth until 18 January. Copies of selected prints from the book can be bought here.

1 November 2011

Unseen Beatles photos

This photo by Harry Taylor of The Beatles eating sticks of Bournemouth rock on the first floor balcony of the Palace Court Hotel overlooking Westover Road is just one of some 200 rare and previously unpublished photos of the Fab Four to be found in Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth.
An exhibition of those photos opens on Monday, 7 November at the Central Library in Bournemouth and runs until 18 January 2012. Nick Churchill will be on hand to sign copies of the book from 5-7pm on Monday.
And with Christmas on the horizon we thought we'd produce our own version of those Beatles Fan Club Christmas presents and make a selection of these very special photos available to buy from the official website here.

NOTE: The exhibition has now been expanded to include new images and moved to Lighthouse, Poole where it will run until 10 March. The venue is hosting a special screening of A Hard Day's Night on 28 February and the book Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth is now on sale at the Lighthouse ticket shop.

ANOTHER NOTE: The photos are on show again this summer, from 9 July until 5 September in the Bourne Lounge at Bournemouth International Centre.

All together on the wireless machine ... again

BBC Radio Solent presenter - and ardent Beatles fan - Alex Dyke interviewed Nick Churchill in The Big Hour feature on his show today. Listen here. The interview starts around 2 hrs 39 mins.