McBean’s guest house

McBean's guest house

The daughter of the Mr and Mrs McBean kindly provided this photo of her parents and eventually expect to chat with their son. If there is any regret from the offspring, it would be that the guest book with signatures of those checking into Myrtle House bed and breakfast was tossed out after the McBean business came to an end. The guest book from the b&b on Lossiewynd in Elgin, would have been of great interest as many of Britain’s top beat, jazz, and folk musicians stayed there in the 1960s.

The guesthouse was near the Two Red Shoes and the Park Cafe where musicians and various performers could have coffee and sustenance after their show before turning in at McBean’s guest house. There were countless well-known musicians who stayed there when they were starting out in the music business. One of the stories I heard was when Paul and Ringo were staying there, John was sitting on a window ledge flirting with some young nurses boarding there at the time. They attracted the girls wherever they went. It was suggested that Mrs. McBean wasn’t pleased with the commotion John created with the local girls…

“Elgin was one of the strangest gigs we played. We’d got all the way to the outskirts of Scotland to find an L-shaped room – and we were playing at the wrong end! I have this vision of the audience all wearing wellies; farmers and country people. The bar was and we were in the other, and you could tell which side was doing the business. In those days they were still laughing at us because we’d be out there in the leather and stomping. Then we got in my car and slid all the way to the next gig. On that tour we were staying in one of those theatrical boarding – houses. The rumour went round that before we came they’d had a hunchback staying, and we all got a bit worried that we’d be having his bed. George and John went to stay in another place but Paul and I took a chance that we wouldn’t catch the hunchback.” Ringo [Rich Starkey] Starr of The Beatles [ref. On The Road page 86/The Beatles Anthology]

Note: The comments about the odd-shaped hall, folk in wellies, and sliding to the next gig after the Beatles first performance touring [1963] refers to it being one of Scotland’s worst winters. The snow and icy conditions prevented the band to join Johnny and The Copycats for a New Year’s Dance in Keith so they stayed at the guest house and hotel in Elgin to open at the Two Red Shoes. Related posts:


My research began in 2007 as a visitor to the north of Scotland. Growing up a few miles from San Francisco, I would frequent the active music scene on weekends besides being a fan of British BEAT music and never missing Shindig! on television. When first visiting the small community of Elgin in 2007, I was surprise to learn how the Beatles and many other vocalist and musicians came to perform during the early days of their careers. In the early 1950s, Albert Bonici began promoting dances though it had been an ambition since his teenage years. When he and Henry Robertson co-organized a string of jazz dances in the north Scotland, they could not have predicted the enormous success of the venture. Albert Bonici became one of the most respected promoters in the UK having arranged a high volumn of music venues throughout the north of Scotland which delighted music lovers during the height of the jazz and beat music era. Whilst known for booking the Beatles at the beginning of their 1963 tours, Albert Bonici brought most of the top British acts to north-east Scotland besides working with Scottish musicians to boost their careers. SCOTBEAT was created to share a bit of history about the BEAT years in Scotland and also a tribute to a man with a vision who, with the help of his family and staff, created a happening that is still fondly remembered by those who attended dances and concerts. Albert A Bonici hosted many up and coming bands who went on to gain international acclaim for their contributions. Besides other local resources and interviews, SCOTBEAT presents exclusive photos, adverts, and documents from the A Bonici Archives [circa 1960s]. Unless otherwise agreed, materials are not to be used for financial gain and ask that you respect the terms below. Materials presented are not to be used for financial gain without consent. © 2014-2019 All rights reserved. No part of this web site may be copied, redistributed, broadcast or published in any form without crediting this blog and/or copyright websites mentioned. All correspondence, flyers, programs, and photos from the Bonici Archives are not to appear in print other than through the propietor of SCOTBEAT. Use of the site signifies your agreement to all of these terms without condition. Please reference when sharing materials found here as the site is continuously updated to present the subject matter accurately and as a historical resource. Thank you.

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Posted in 1960's pop music

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