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.

31 January 2012

Lennon cover

The February issue of Dorset magazine features an exclusive extract from Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth that details how John came to buy a home for Aunt Mimi on the shores of Poole Harbour at Sandbanks. 
The incredible cover shot has been licensed from photographic artist Jayson Hutchins whose nan Rose Payne owns the photo having inherited it from her friend Betty Derrick. John is wearing the famous Afghan coat he wore to the press launch of Sgt Pepper on 19 May 1967 and is holding a bucket and spade in one hand and four-year-old Julian in the other. It looks as if they have just stepped off the ferry at Sandbanks, a few yards from Mimi's home - perhaps they had just been across the water to Shell Bay to play in the sand?
Intriguingly, the man to left of the cropped image appears to be holding a film camera... could this footage survive somewhere? Was it something official? John appears to be looking directly at the camera, did he know what the film was for?
Do you know the answer? If you can shed any light on the mystery email me here.
In a tidy little footnote to the story, years later Julian Lennon bought the coat back for his personal collection.
The full story - and many others relating to John's visits to Sandbanks - can be found in Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth which can be ordered at the special price of £14.95, here.
You can order a copy of Dorset magazine from here.

24 January 2012

Photos shine at Lighthouse

John and Ringo at the after show party in the bar at the Bournemouth Gaumont with reporter Tony Crawley and his wife, the actress Jeanette Wild. Photo by Harry Taylor © Dave Robinson

An exhibition of photographs from Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth and Poole will be displayed on the top floor foyer at Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts from 1 February to 10 March.
The exhibition features photographs, posters and stories from the book and author Nick Churchill will be at Lighthouse for the launch of the exhibition on 1 February to sign copies of his book from 6.30pm.

With stunning images of The Beatles taken in and around Bournemouth and never-before-seen images of John Lennon’s aunt Mimi at home in Sandbanks, the story is told using first-hand accounts from the people who were there – the fans, reporters, photographers, venue staff and musicians.

Exhibition highlights include Robert Freeman’s iconic half-shadow photo that adorned the With The Beatles album sleeve which was taken in the restaurant at the Palace Court Hotel in Westover Road (now a Premier Inn) during the Beatles’ week-long summer residency at the Gaumont in August 1963. Also on show are

 posters from Beatles shows at the Bournemouth Gaumont and Winter Gardens, plus a remarkable colour photograph of John Lennon by the Sandbanks Ferry in Poole with his Aunt Mimi and four-year-old son Julian.

Lighthouse also hosts a Beatles Film Special on 28 February, with a screening of Richard Lester’s classic A Hard Day’s Night, which perfectly captures The Beatles in all their irreverent glory.

Nick Churchill comments: “Interest in The Beatles is as strong as ever and this part of the world played a significant part in their incredible story. The reaction to the book and these remarkable images has been astonishing and I’m really excited to see these photographs showcased in one of the south’s premier arts venues.”

Nick would love to hear new stories from anyone who saw The Beatles in Bournemouth and especially from people who met them.

“The links between this area and The Beatles are made even stronger by people’s memories of seeing the Fab Four or meeting them,” he says. “I’m sure there are lots more stories to be told by hotel and venue staff, fans or even passers-by who may have encountered John Lennon on a trip to Sandbanks to visit his Aunt Mimi.”

Paul Tucker, communications officer for Lighthouse adds: “Lighthouse is thrilled to have such an extraordinary exhibition in the building and it’s incredible to see photographs of members of such an iconic group in such recognisable local locations like Sandbanks and Westover Road. The top floor foyer is an ideal space to display exhibitions and we are using it regularly now, with particular focus on work either by local artists or that has an interesting local connection.”

Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth is published by Natula Publications, and will be available from Lighthouse ticket office shop or

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

23 January 2012

Praise be to Blog

Thanks to the mighty Beatles Blog for it's thorough appreciation of Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth. The support of the online Beatles community has been absolutely vital in spreading the word about this endeavour and it is massively appreciated.
See what the Beatles Blog has to say in situ here. Words reproduced below...

There’s a new book which came out just before Christmas with what you might think is a slightly unlikely title: “Yeah Yeah Yeah – The Beatles and Bournemouth”:
On first seeing the title you wonder if there could be so many links with this southern UK city to warrant a whole book on the subject? After all, the Beatles hailed from the far more well-known and much larger northern English city of Liverpool….
Bournemouth is a large seaside resort town – well south of London:
Well, the book’s author – journalist and Beatle fan Nick Churchill – has been in touch and I can now vouch for the fact that there are a great number of very interesting links and stories connecting the world’s most famous band to Bournemouth. His book on the subject contains a wealth of fascinating material and a great number of previously unseen photographs. Nick uncovers often surprising connections….for example the house John purchased for his aunt Mimi at Sandbanks in the Bournemouth area in 1965. In mid-1965 Mimi had sold Mendips, her Liverpool home, and so John bought her a waterside bungalow where she lived until her death in 1991. On various visits he was spotted in the area by locals in either a Mini Cooper or in his famous psychedelic Rolls Royce. 
The book has a foreword written by Howie Casey, of Howie & the Seniors. Howie, originally from Liverpool and a long-time friend of Paul McCartney, played with Wings in the 1970s and since coming off the band’s 1980 tour has lived in Bournemouth. He shares his memories of seeing the Beatles from their very earliest days in Liverpool and in Hamburg.
“Yeah Yeah Yeah – The Beatles and Bournemouth” features over 200 rare and previously unpublished photos as well as lots of memorabilia, show posters and tickets from the time. Local photographer Harry Taylor was there to record the groups visits at every step – and until now his images have remained largely unseen. Here’s one of them, taken on the balcony of the Palace Court Hotel in Bournemouth on the 19th or 20th of August, 1963:
If you’re wondering what the boys are chomping on its probably a hard, sticky English toffee known as rock which is still very popular at British seaside towns. Maybe it was some “Bournemouth Rock”?
It was while staying at the Palace Court Hotel that August in 1963 that one of the band’s most iconic photo shoots took place, the half-shadow shot by Robert Freeman that appeared on the sleeve of their second album, “With The Beatles”.  George Harrison wrote “Don’t Bother Me” at the same hotel during that week. It was his first song for the Beatles, penned while he was holed up in his room suffering a heavy cold at the time.
There’s a wonderful photo of John with baby Julian and Aunt Mimi by the ferry near Mimi’s house (which was just around the corner on Panorama Road at Sandbanks) in 1967 – as well as photos from inside Mimi’s house including John’s gold discs – and lots of first-hand accounts from those who met and worked with the Beatles.
Seems like John gave his Aunt Mimi the gold records the band received for three US releases. I can just make out (l to r): “The Beatles Story” (Capitol); “The Beatles Second Album” (Capitol); and what looks like the United Artists pressing of “A Hard Days Night”:
There are many, many great stories in this book proving that Bournemouth really did play a big part in the lives of the Beatles. It was there, at the very beginning of their success, that they played 18 gigs during a six-day season between the 19-25th August, 1963. They then returned in November, 1963 to the much bigger Winter Gardens venue; and then twice more at the Gaumont Theatre on 2 August and 30 October 1964. The band played more shows at the Gaumont than at any other UK theatre outside London. During their first stay in Bournemouth the Beatles’ third single “She Loves You” was released. That was on the 23rd of August 1963 and it stayed in the charts for 31 weeks, returning to number one the week they arrived back in town to play the Winter Gardens in November.
They were exciting times and Nick Churchill has captured it all in “Yeah Yeah Yeah – The Beatles and Bournemouth”.  Through the stories and the often evocative images he gives us a feel for the times – the mood of the early to mid 1960s. Nick also highlights the importance of regional touring in those days and the role that smaller towns and cities played in feeding talent through to London, and on to the world stage. Underlying all this is a sense of it being a more innocent time, too.
The Beatles Rarity page has also written about the book here, and Happy Nat conducted an interview with Nick which you can access at this page.
You can visit the “Yeah Yeah Yeah – The Beatles and Bournemouth” site for more, you can order the book here (where I notice it is on sale at a special price at the moment!), and you can find out more about Nick and read more of his work at

10 January 2012

All you've gotta do is call

Thanks to the wonder of the trans Atlantic phone line, the estimable Happy Nat from the excellent Beatles Rarity website interviewed author Nick Churchill yesterday.
You can hear their conversation in full right here.
Nat has also sent the interview to to be streamed as part of his regular contribution.
In case you're wondering, Happy Nat takes his name from a character played by actor Nat Jackley, the Rubber Man on the Magical Mystery Tour bus (pictured).
'There was a dream scene from the MMT film that has him by the seaside with one or two pretty young ladies in bikinis,' explains Nat. 'The scene was deleted though due to time constraints, but can still be seen in the MMT comic strip booklet packaged with the LP and British double EP. Originally Nat was a pantomime comic who had a very cool rubber-neck dance as his trademark. So there you go... a dirty old man with a rubber neck. My hero!'

9 January 2012

The interview that never was...

The response to Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth has been incredible. Not only is the book finding favour with readers all over the world, a host of new stories relating to The Beatles and their adventures in Bournemouth has come to light.
One such is from Edward Petty, who has been prompted to set up a blog called In My Lifetime to record some of his memories.
Edward met The Beatles at the Gaumont on 20 August 1963 under the pretext of interviewing them for a college magazine – he was a student at Bournemouth College of Art & Design in those days, studying to be a commercial artist.
Having gone to the show with a girlfriend, Jacquie, and friend Melvin, while queuing to get in Edward spotted the Gaumont manager who he knew and asked him if there was any chance of meeting The Beatles. The three teenage fans were told to wait while the manager made his enquiries. Soon after The Beatles started their first half set a man approached Edward and Jacquie (desperate to see his heroes Melvin had gone to take his seat) and introduced himself as The Beatles’ road manager.
Edward takes up the story…

‘I understand you would like an interview with The Beatles, he said! My heart was now thumping like Ringo’s drums as I fell into this suggestion. Off the top of my head I said: ‘Yes! I’m here to write an article on them for the college magazine.’ ‘OK,’ he said, ‘in ten minutes or so they will be having an interval, so you can meet them in their dressing room,’ and asked us to follow him.
‘I have never been so butterflied out in my life as he led Jacquie and me through the main doors to the aisle that led down through the theatre. I can remember to this day, the look of horror and disbelief on my friend Melvin’s face as he watched us from his seat as we walked by him and down to the side steps that lead up to the door that took us to the side of the stage. We were now stood in the wings watching our idols performing to all these screaming people out in their seats, where we should have been. We felt very privileged. It was a moment to cherish. They finished their set and retired to their dressing room before the next act took over, this was Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas.
‘The road manager returned to us and took us into the dressing room where The Beatles were sitting having a drink and a smoke. It was quite an intimate room and seating consisted of two three- or four-seater bench-type couches and a chair at one end. We were ushered in and I squeezed in between John Lennon and Ringo Starr, while Paul McCartney got Jacquie to sit on his lap on the chair. Opposite me sat George Harrison and as an extra surprise we were to learn about and meet John Lennon’s wife Cynthia.
‘It was not a known thing at the time that he was married.
‘It soon became obvious to everyone that we were not there to do an interview for any magazine. John was very quick to point out that I had neither notepad or paper or any device to record anything. Very soon we were laughing and joking about this. ‘Good on you.’ he said and we were not thrown out. I think they admired our cheek. ‘Noticing my college scarf that I wore in those days of yellow and blue stripes, John indicated he would like it.
‘I suppose we were with them about 15-20 minutes in all, it went too fast to recall every detail but before we were asked to leave I had to ask them for their autographs. This they all agreed to but again pointed out I had nothing to write on. My thinking quickly revealed that I had a wide tan coloured leather belt on and suggested they all signed this for me.
‘Different,’ they said, but all agreed and duly signed all around this belt including Cynthia next to John’s name. I was made up and over the moon. They were now expected back on stage, so we all shook hands with a few kisses for Jacquie and made our farewells.

- Read the full story, including an all too familiar sting in the tail, at In My Lifetime.

- Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth is available to order here.

- The photo above of Billy J Kramer with The Beatles in their dressing room at the Gaumont was taken between houses on 19 August 1963, when The Beatles held a party to celebrate Billy’s 20th birthday and his single Bad To Me – penned by Lennon and McCartney – getting to number one. Copies of the photo and many others are available to order here.

2 January 2012

The French connection

Happy New Year all you good good people...
And we begin 2012 with a great, big, heartfelt 'merci' to our bon amis at The Cornershop blogspot for posting a lovely review of Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth this very day. What a great way to start the year.
Read the full piece right here.
Echoing the theme of The Cornershop piece, if there's anyone still in need a little late Christmas treat, then look no further than the selection of previously unpublished photos from the book which are available to buy, printed to order, from