Though Andy Lothian Jr. had the opportunity of working with Scotland’s top promoter, Albert Bonici in the early ’60s, it was Jack Fallon of Cana Variety/London who worked with the promoter to secure the Beatles bookings in Scotland though it was not the start of “Beatlemania” as promoter, Andy Lothian Jr. suggests in his recent interview with the BBC. Before The Beatles became a touring band in 1963, promoter Tony Calder was introducing the Beatles recording “Love Me Do” to the disco scene around London when he sent out copies of the tune. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-42564203 Also, booking agent/promoter Jack Fallon was booking the band into clubs around the city before helping to arrange their first tour in Scotland for Albert Bonici. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/albert-and-brian-bring-beatlemania-to-scotland/ Jack Fallon, who was inducted to the London Hall of Fame in 2015, was also recognized by the Beatles when he played the fiddle on their 1968 recording, “Don’t Pass Me By”. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/fallonbonici/ Along with Aberdeen promoter Gordon Hardie, Andy Lothian’s first time seeing the Beatles was upon co-managing the Beatles gig in the Bridge of Allan. Gordon, who hired the Beach Ballroom to present the Beatles and other groups, explained how Mr. B set up tour patterns to attract talent to come to Scotland for a week or 10 days. https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/scottish-news/256514/we-track-down-the-scots-fans-who-enjoyed-the-beatles-magical-mystery-tour-50-years-on/ Gordon Hardie, thought the Beatles were too loud [powerful amps in a small venue] though Lothian realized they had something special. According to Andy Lothian jr, he met Brian Epstein in January 1963, the day after The Beatles first tour of Scotland when accompanying Mr. Bonici who flew to Liverpool to sign the Beatles for return visits to Scotland. In an earlier interview, Andy states that he negotiated terms to play in Dundee where he was based. Mr. Lothian also became editor for The Scottish Beat magazine [sponsored by his employer Malcolm Nixon Agency].
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05rtcp4 In light of BBC1 broadcast [31Dec17] where Andi Lothian says that he brought the Beatles to Scotland besides maintaining that “Beatlemania started in Dundee”. I am re-posting documents that indicate that it was promoter Albert Bonici who brought the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and other popular groups to Scotland in the 1960s. When spending an afternoon with Gordon Hardie, I asked him about his and colleague Andy Lothian’s working relationship with Albert Bonici. He related that both of them often worked for Albert’s LCB Agency besides their own business ventures. Both promoter worked as free-lance when managing a venue for Albert and would have to pay basic cost of the gig and hall fees from ticket sales. Most tasked were done by staff members and they managed venues since Mr. Bonici was often in his Elgin office working into the wee hours of the evening. Tasks from ticket sales, working with rented halls, to handing out pack packages, were part of the functions of the impasario’s team. He would dictate letters to his secretary, meet daily with the concessions manager, even send out staff to poster advertisements regarding coming events.
Albert Bonici also worked with other promoters throughout the north of Scotland with similar agreements though he used staff members to run shows in Elgin and Nairn. Neil Patterson was the promoter who managed programs at Bonici’s own Two Red Shoes though their was a full staff to performed various functions from operating lights to watching the door. The resident band leader also kept an eye on the operation and pointed out good talent along the way.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09l52qv/scotlands-big-night-out [available to 22Jan18] The presenter reports that Lothian “pulled off a greater feat” than a Twist marathon in Dundee in 1962 when he signed the Beatles to play in Scotland. Andi Lothian: “I brought the Beatles to Scotland in 1963 and lost money on it… the Beatles arrived and nobody noticed”. As The Beatles bookings in Scotland were paid for by Albert Bonici who recovered the basic amount he paid per show from those who managed the shows. The presenter said that Mr. Lothian “lost a mint in Elgin”. Albert Bonici owned the Two Red Shoes Ballroom [300 floor capacity and concession area] and though only 80 tickets sold in the first half according to band leader Alex.Sutherland, a ticket taker told me that their were about 200 after the nearby tavern closed. Though promoter Bonici had to pay the house-band, he made money on concessions besides tickets sold.
Beatles in Glasgow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdftSAnH8dw Beatles home movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzcJpcIpYTo Dusty interviews Beatles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Vl1OH2dXwg
Andy Lothian Jr. appeared a as “Andy Lothian and his The East Coast Jazzmen with Sheila on vocal” at Albert Bonici’s Two Red Shoes Ballroom on 15 June 1961. The band didn’t gain notoriety though Andy Lothian was hired by Albert Bonici to help manage some of his bookings. There were local promoters throughout Scotland that Mr. Bonici worked with to maintain and develop this business [LCB Agency]. He had promoters sell tickets and manage programs and subtracted the basic cost of a single gig. This usually worked out for colleagues, though they didn’t always make money off the deal. When The Beatles booked for a “New Years Dance” in Keith followed by four more shows, no one knew that it would be one of the coldest Scotish winters with snow storms and ice.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOb7aSy0jDU Andy Lothian interviews: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17rmIWXViFE and https://vimeo.com/84891860
‘”The first time Scottish concert promoter Andi Lothian booked the Beatles, in the frozen January of 1963, only 15 people showed up. The next time he brought them north of the border, to Glasgow Odeon on 5 October, they had scored a No 1 album and three No 1 singles, and it was as if a hurricane had blown into town. The night almost unraveled when nervous local police insisted Lothian bring the Beatles on early to satisfy rowdily impatient fans, even though his bouncers were still in the pub. “The girls were beginning to overwhelm us,” remembers Lothian, now 73 and a business consultant. “I saw one of them almost getting to Ringo’s drumkit and then I saw 40 drunk bouncers tearing down the aisles. It was like the Relief of Mafeking! It was absolute pandemonium. Girls fainting, screaming, wet seats. The whole hall went into some kind of state, almost like collective hypnotism. I’d never seen anything like it.” A Radio Scotland reporter turned to Lothian and gasped, “For God’s sake Andi, what’s happening?” Thinking on his feet, the promoter replied, “Don’t worry, it’s only… Beatlemania.” The coinage is usually attributed to a Daily Mirror story about the Beatles’ London Palladium concert eight days later but Lothian insists it came from him, via Radio Scotland. Either way, the phenomenon predated the label. Throughout 1963 there had been reports of teenage girls screaming, crying, fainting and chasing the band down the street; police escorts were already required. But catchy new words have a magical power in the media. Once it caught on, it seemed to cement the phenomenon in the collective imagination.”‘ https://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/sep/29/beatlemania-screamers-fandom-teenagers-hysteria
Besides seeking followers as an inspirational speaker as “entrepreneur and founder of Insights Discovery” https://vimeo.com/84891860 Andi Lothian Andi [aka Andy Lothian Jr] seeks to cement his name in Beatles history through several interviews relating to the early days of The Beatles on tour in Scotland. I have addressed in earlier posts though will reiterate in light of the recent BBC 1 broadcast https://www.bbc.co.uk/…/ep…/b09l52qv/scotlands-big-night-out [31Jan2017] where he takes credit for the work of promoter Albert Bonici, I will attempt to separate fact from fiction. Listening to various interviews with Andi Lothian, it is easy to spot inconsistencies in his testimony which contradict the paper trail. He states in on interview that he and Albert Bonici hired the Beatles for a 10 day tour of Scotland, that he settled on a set amount of £500 per night to get the Beatles back, and so-forth. It is impassible that Bonici took Lothian with him when flying down to Liverpool to negotiate further tours in Scotland though it is an embellished version when Andi speaks about his involvement with the Beatles tours…
Whilst Andi Lothian now claims that he brought the Beatles to Scotland and lost money on the deal, it was actually Elgin promoter, Albert Bonici who arranged the booking through his friend and associate, Jack Fallon.
According to personal communications between Cana Variety’s Jack Fallon and Albert Bonici, it was noted on a few occasions that Malcolm Nixon put off some of the localized promoters in Scotland which gave Mr. Bonici an advantage. However, Nixon hired young agents to man the new Dundee office including Andy Lothian Jr, who had run shows for Albert and eventually started his own promotions known as ALP [Andy Lothian Promotions]. According to Andy, he accompanied Albert Bonici on his first trip to see Brian Epstein. The intent of the visit was to negotiate tours featuring the Beatles besides co-hosting other bands. In 1964, Lothian was editor for “The Scottish Beat” for Malcolm Nixon in Dundee. Albert who did a joint show with Andy in Dundee that summer, advertised in the periodical. Editor Lothian listed Malcolm Nixon Agency and Albert Bonici as the two largest promotion agencies in Scotland. By the end of 1962, Albert Bonici through his London booking connection Cana Variety Agency, was posed to bring many of the emerging jazz and beat bands into Scotland which included a new group to hit Luxembourg radio’s top 20, The Beatles.
‘I was a jazz man and didn’t really listen to the pop groups much. On the Monday, I travelled to Aberdeen Station and was picked up by my associate, Gordon Hardie. We went as usual to Chivas Restaurant in Union Street, only this time we were surrounded by waitresses clambering, “Who are these Beatles?” The group had apparently visited the restaurant earlier in the day and made a great impression. I don’t know if it was their personalities or the smart blue suits and rain coats into which the name “Beatle” was sewn, but they had certainly impressed the girls, and that made an impression on me.’ [Albert Bonici, Promoter/entrepreneur] https://bonici.wordpress.com/
Securing the Beatles for Scotland gigs:
Jack Fallon – 6 February, 1963: Dear Albert, This is just a recap letter on some of the points we are discussing. “THE BEETLES. As you will see by the charts, this group are in the charts in three places, jumping in at number 9 with their latest record. He [Brian Epstein] is asking £100 for a period in April, £150 for a period in May, available May 11th – 15th; let me know.” Note: Brian Epstein replied to Albert’s response through Jack at Cana Variety 6 March. Mr. Epstein’s correspondence is currently missing from the Bonici Archives.
By the start of 1962, the Two Red Shoes Ballroom had become a popular place to go for top entertainment in the north of Scotland. Ron Murray, a regular to the hall, was aged 33 when he and his wife went to the Beatles performance at “boots”. “We [the attendees] liked the Beatles… they were fun to listen to. They looked smart [smartly dressed] with matching navy blue suits, “winkle pickers” [pointed toed shoes], and smart-looking hair cuts.” By then, music fans were regularly lining up around the hall for venues though their January appearance was during one of the coldest winters in Scotland. Here’s a bit of my notes regarding the early days of the Beatles when they started touring here in Scotland…
“a five night trip around various Scottish towns” thanks to a contract signed between Brian Epstein and Albert Bonici through Jack Fallon’s Cana Variety Agency in November of 1962. The original advert [12 Dec 62] billed the Beatles with the Dave Sisters [Dale] but they took another date. By the end of the month, the Beatles song “Love Me Do” was becoming popular and Bonici then coined, “Love Me Do boys” to promote the band in Scotland. John took the opportunity to fly back to Liverpool for a few hours, returning to Scotland early on the morning of the 3rd in time to get to the Elgin gig.
Albert Bonici would have likely seen the Photo-Cast advert to book the Beatles in November 1962 as the 1963 Edition was released early [the acts had until August ’62 to get their photos to press]. Jack Fallon of Cana Variety, London also advised Albert about new acts and had already booked the Beatles into his dance halls.
Bonici – Fallon correspondence
Above is a reproduction of the first contract signed between Brian Epstein and Albert Bonici  as The Beatles [with Ringo Starr] were to embark on their first tour of Scotland. The booking was handled through Jack Fallon at Cana Variety Agency in London. Albert Bonici who began promoting bands with London contact Tito Burns, had been working with Jack Fallon since the late 1950s.
Albert Bonici who originally hailed from Inverness, Scotland began promoting musicians and vocalists regularly in the mid ’50s though did a charity event with friend Henry Roberson [aka producer Harry Robinson] in 1952. He built a stage in the family owned cafe, the Park Cafe where Harry Robinson performed piano recitals and musicals. The modest stage was also frequented by various local talent including jazz entertainer Alex. Sutherland who became the first band leader of The Two Red Shoes which opened in the summer of 1960 in Elgin, Scotland.
In 1962, Albert was concerned about a rival agency Malcolm Nixon who had begun pushing acts into the north of Scotland. He wrote to Jack that he may have to offer 10 day tours instead of 5 which became the case in 1963 after the Beatles did their short tour. He had already added a clause that gave him rights to represent return acts in Scotland which included The Beatles to the chagrin of his rivals. However, in the course of renegotiating the Beatles return to Scotland, Albert agreed to dismiss the clause after Brian Epstein agreed to having Mr. Bonici’s young band, The Copycats, on the bill for The Beatles Show. Brian continued to let Albert oversee the Beatles gigs in Scotland.
The first Beatles mini tour of Scotland was to begin in Keith and finish in Aberdeen but didn’t happen as planned as the snow delayed them and they first played at the Two Red Shoes, Elgin. The Keith gig, billed as a New Year’s Dance [2 Jan 63] with The Beatles and Johnny and The Copycats, went on minus the “Love Me Do” boys. The tour which began on the 3rd in Elgin was originally billed as a “pop package” [Northern Scot -1Dec62] was planned as The Beatles with the Dale Sisters. Instead, the show went on with the Alex. Sutherland sextet [Two Red Shoes house-band] and the Beatles did two sets. (The Dale Sisters trio performed on the 2nd in nearby Forres and at the Two Red Shoes the following week).
Beginning with the 3 Jan ’63 performance in Elgin, the group toured extensively and appeared on several UK television programs in that year. By 1964, they gained international success after agreeing to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York. Here they are live at the Cavern Club singing Beautiful Dreamer with Ringo on the drums http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_md_z_g8sk Long time business associate, Jack Fallon, acted as a go between to book acts for Albert from his London office.
Joe, editor of the exhaustive Beatles site, http://www.beatlesbible.com/ wrote: “Jack Fallon was (with Bill Reid) one half of Jaybee, which ran a number of clubs across Britain in the early 60s. The Beatles played at a number of their venues. Fallon also played fiddle on Don’t Pass Me By on the White Album.” “Fallon was also involved in the industry as a booker/promoter, having established the booking agency Cana Variety in 1952. Cana booked primarily jazz artists in its early stages but expanded to rock acts in the 1960s, including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Perhaps it was because of a long association during their early years of gigging, Fallon was asked by the Beatles to play fiddle on the song “Don’t Pass Me By”. Fallon continued to play jazz locally in London and in the studios into the 1990s. He published a memoir entitled From the Topin 2005, and died the following year at age 90.” After the first and second contracts were signed between AA Bonici and Brian Epstein, the two men brought several acts into Scotland and held mutual respect for each other. They both acted in a professional manner as Brian and Albert worked together to give several musicians an opportunity to build a fan base in Scotland. The tour was to commence with a New Year’s Dance in Longmore Hall, Keith with The Beatles and The Copycats sharing a bill 2Jan63. The Copycats who were already fans when Liverpool lads began charting with Love Me Do, were disappointed when it was a no show for the Beatles because of snowy conditions. However, Mr. Bonici made it up to the teenaged Johnny and The Copycats when they shared a bill the following year.
Above: This Beatles photo was the first that most booking agents and promoters saw. Photos had to be in by August 1962 for distribution and book would have hit the market by November when Bonici sought to book them through Cana Variety – London.
The Beatles were dubbed “Love Me Do boys” by AA Bonici in December 1962 as the song got into Luxembourg Radio’s top 20 just before their 1963 touring began. During their January tour of Scotland, Aberdeen beat fans took notice of them around town in their collarless suits before their performance. They had charisma and a smart look besides dynamic arrangements of cover tunes and a few compositions of their own in their performances.
The Beatles were meant to start a five day tour in Keith where they had played as a back-up band before reforming the group with Ringo Starr under Brian Epstein’s guidance. Because of snow conditions, their New Year’s show was canceled and they played their first performance at Elgin’s Two Red Shoes on the 3rd of January, 1963. A original band member from Alex Sutherland’s group, told me that they were impressed with their take on popular covers of the time. Though it was the dead of winter, their thursday night performance attracted 200 according to one of the ticket takers. Promoter Albert Bonici dubbed them, “Love Me Do boys” as Love Me Do was their first song which entered the charts, though Please, Please, Me soon took the number one stop on Luxembourg radio.
Fit Like, New York?: An Irreverent History of Rock Music in Aberdeen and North East Scotland [written by Peter Innes/published by Aberdeen Journals, 1997] is an interesting read and includes this bit about Aberdeen promoter Gordon Hardie and The Beatles first tour that finished with a performance at Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom. Ten years after the book was written, Gordon told me that he worked for Albert Bonici on several occasion and that it was Albert who brought the Beatles to Scotland besides many other musicians.
In an interview with Jim Wilke [published in Blue Suede Brogans] Mr. Bonici said that The Beatles were paid £300 per night for shows in 1963 and £1000 per night in 1964 though document below eludes to Brian Epstein asking for £200. According to co-promoter Andy Lothian who announced the Beatles in Dundee said Albert Bonici paid £500 for shows [unverified]. In any case, Albert Bonici [with an exclusive contract later renegotiated] stepped up to the plate to sponsor the Beatles mini-tours in Scotland. Though a large sum in those days, it was a calculated risk as he wanted exclusive rights whenever the Beatles played in Scotland. Unfortunately for fans, Albert was not confident that young beat music fans would be willing to pay a large ticket price in the north of Scotland so the group didn’t make a second appearance in Aberdeen. Note: The Beatles were paid £42 a night in the January tour and the Aberdeen Beatles appearance cost 6 shillings a ticket during that first tour of Scotland 1963 [less than £1].
promotion photo from 1962 was seen by promoter Albert Bonici and booked them in November and promoted the show as “Love Me Do Boys” when their first song climbed the charts on Luxembourg radio
Jack Fallon – 6 February, 1963: Dear Albert, This is just a recap letter on some of the points we are discussing. “THE BEETLES. As you will see by the charts, this group are in the charts in three places, jumping in at number 9 with their latest record. He [Brian Epstein] is asking £100 for a period in April, £150 for a period in May, available May 11th – 15th; let me know.” Note: Brian Epstein replied to Albert’s response through Jack at Cana Variety 6 March. Mr. Epstein’s correspondence is currently missing from the Bonici Archives. Also see: https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/beatles-tour-contract-nov63/
From Fit Like New York – Peter Innes
Bonici – Fallon correspondence
Bonici – Fallon correspondence c.Bonici Archives
C. Bonici Archives.
In an effort to keep his business viable against competitor Malcolm Nixon Agency [London and Dundee], Albert Bonici began signing groups for up to 10 day tours [8 evening of work] in 1962 though only signed signed The Beatles for 5 days of work.
Note that in January 1964, it was made clear that Albert Bonici remained at the helm when working with Andy Lothian Jr.
c.Bonici Archives The Beatles returned to Scotland for gigs in 1963 and 1964. Though Albert Bonici agreed to drop his “exclusive rights” clause concerning the Beatles shows in Scotland during negotiations, Brian Epstein continued to accept Mr. Bonici’s terms concerning the Beatles and other acts from Liverpool.
- Promoter Gordon Hardie kept diaries of groups booked through LCB Agency which included The Springfields, The Beatles, and the Rolling Stones. He and Andy Lothian Jr were promoters who worked with Mr. Bonici though Gordon had his own promotion business [Stag] and Andy who was associated on with a Malcolm Nixon agency [Dundee] started his own business in 1964
Beatles reflect on Edinburgh performance  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB0xqtSQjWg
After managing a successful Beatles performance in Dundee, Andy Lothian Jr. gained recognition as a pop promoter working along side Scotland’s premiere promoter/impresario Albert Bonici. My guess is that there was a fall out between the two men as they severed their business relationship. One of the other popular acts Mr. Bonici shared with Andy Lothian was The Rolling Stones when Albert designed another “pop package” of bands/vocalists rise. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/rolling-stone-1964/ In 1965, Albert arranged a second of several trips the Rolling Stones made to Aberdeen where they were well received. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/stones-in-aberdeen/
More of my research/writing on the Beatles with negotiations, adverts, contract, etc. : https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2016/09/09/beatles-tour-scotland/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/scottish-beatles-tour-1963/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/fallonbonici/
https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/the-beatles-1963-advert/https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/scottish-beat-february-1964/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/the-silver-beetles-in-fraserburgh/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/the-silver-beetles-1960-part-1/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/silver-beetles-part-2/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/johnny-gentle-and-the-silver-beetles/