January 1963 Beatles gigs, Scotland

Beatles feb 8, '08 [Correction: The Northern Scot announced the Beatles coming to Elgin in Jan/1963 on 8 Dec 63 – above clipping from Northern-Scot Newspaper, Elgin, Scotland circa 2007]

“…a five night trip around various Scottish towns thanks to a contract signed between Brian Epstein and Albert Bonici [through Cana Variety Agency] in November of 1962. The original advert [12 Dec 62] billed the Beatles with the Dale Sisters [misspelled Dave Sisters] for 3 January 1963 but the Beatles shared the bill with Alex. Sutherland’s Two Red Shoes house band. 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… https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2016/09/09/beatles-tour-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. The Elgin gig was noted for the L-shaped ballroom which meant that some of the audience couldn’t see the Beatles on stage… two red shoesKeith Longmore hall

‘”Modern Dancing Enterprises presents the boys of ‘Love Me Do’ fame, “The Beatles” in a Special New Year’s Dance in the Longmore Hall, Keith on Wednesday 2 January 1963 from 9pm until 1 am. Tickets cost 5/-“‘ The New Year’s Dance happened though The Copycats were the only band performing that night. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/my-dear-watsonjohnny-and-the-copycats/

beach ballroom

Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen

Thanks to Jimmy Russell and others who remember the ’60s music scene in Elgin, I’ve heard interesting stories about various entertainers such as Lulu, Pink Floyd, and the Beatles…

John, Paul, and George had a bit of history with NE Scotland as they had backed Johnny Gentle in 1960 when they were under fianced. This came to mind when Jimmy told me about their arrive in the Park Cafe which was attached to “Boots” [nickname for the 2 Red Shoes]. The Beatles knew that touring as nearly unknowns meant they’d need to budget themselves, if not “tightening their belts” along the way.

The account goes that Jimmy’s daughter was working in the sweetie shop and had called her dad when the Beatles arrived. Besides letting him know they were at the hall, she mentioned and that they had a funny smell about them. According to the story, the fab four had bathed in a nearby river and had the odor of weeds. The story goes that Albert had Jimmy take them over to his house for a proper bath before they performed and again the next day before they went on to Dingwall for their second performances.

Jimmy, recalling the night of the third, said that whilst there were only a few dozen in the beginning of the Beatles performance, there were about 200 by the end of the night. By cover band leader Alex Sutherland’s account there were about 80 there but Jimmy was taking tickets. Boots often had larger crowds since kids came from surrounding towns but it was decent considering the weather. The Dingwall gig was said to have a poor showing of less than 20 but the booking was in conflict with a traditional Irish band and it was a smaller hall.

After the performance in Elgin, Jimmy sat with the Beatles for an hour or so whilst they were treated with food and coffee. From what he could remember, they were dressed in black that night and were friendly young men though he didn’t think to get an autograph. Though ‘Love Me Do’ was just hitting the pop charts, most people didn’t suspect that they’d have two singles by the end of the month.” https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/beatles-tour-contract-nov63/  Dec 27 [1962]: “Modern Dancing Enterprises presents the boys of ‘Love Me Do’ fame, “The Beatles” in a Special New Year’s Dance in the Longmore Hall, Keith on Wednesday 2 January 1963 from 9pm until 1 am. Tickets cost 5/-

beatles 1962 parlament recording

THE BEATLES: Those who listened to the top 20 song chart from Amsterdam had already heard The Beatles tune, “Love Me Do” which had hit number 17. Johnny and The Copycats, a teenage beat band from Buckie, were disappointed that The Beatles were unable to do their first gig in Keith. The following night at Elgin’s Two Red Shoes, 80 young people showed up on unusually snowy January evening to see the band. According to a ticket taker, there were 200 attendees for the second half as they rocked the house with their original tunes and thoughtful arrangements of popular songs. However, the next night didn’t go well for the band as the Scottish group, The Melotones,  were playing four miles down the road to a packed house. The Beatles didn’t do their second set in Dingwall though they finished their four day tour in Scotland to a welcoming audience in Aberdeen.

Here’s another account about the Beatles coming to Dingwall:

Original Beatles Fans enjoy Dingwall Reunion Gig [by Jackie MacKenzie]

FIFTEEN of the “Dingwall 19” the meagre group of fans who turned out to hear The Beatles play the Town Hall in 1963 were reunited last Friday night at a concert in the same venue. But this time round it was a Beatles tribute band who were on the stage, The Upbeat Beatles, an event organised by the Dingwall Business Association to help promote the town as a shopping and visitor centre.The association tracked down 15 of the original 19 folk who turned out to hear the little-known Beatles on January 4 1963 while over 1,000 local lads and lasses were dancing to popular local band The Melotones just up the road in Strathpeffer. Just 10 days later The Beatles’ first No 1 hit was released, Please Please Me, and their careers went stratospheric and Dingwall’s snubbing of the biggest band of all time has become the stuff of local legend.

Business association member Billy Shanks, who traced the few fans who did attend the 1963 gig, said: “It was a great reunion and we tried to get all the people who attended the original gig sitting down the left hand side of the hall so they could all chat. What stories they had of back in the day, and then we got them all on the stage. “It was a great get-together and there was a lot of swapping of email addresses and phone numbers so it’s put a lot of local people back in touch which each other which is nice. “The concert itself was super you forget just how many good songs The Beatles had and there wasn’t a seat left in the hall. It was so encouraging to see such a good response from Dingwall folk and everybody had a terrific night.”Highland Councillor Margaret Paterson, whose idea it was to bring the Upbeat Beatles to Dingwall, said: “It was a fantastic concert and it was attended by more people than was at the original Beatles concert in 1963! “The tribute band was superb and had the whole place rocking. It was like a step back in time. People travelled long distances for the gig and it was tremendous for Dingwall.” Among the Dingwall 19 who got in touch with Billy following his appeal were Ian MacKenzie, now in New Zealand, and Stanley Ferguson who lives in South Africa.

A special plaque is now proudly installed on the wall of the Town Hall, telling of the venue’s association with the “Fab Four”. http://www.north-star-news.co.uk/News/Original-Beatles-fans-enjoy-Dingwall-reunion-gig-6774674.htm

“I remember The Beatles were late in arriving and when they came on stage one by one they were wearing three-quarter-length leather jackets, long scarves – one was trailing his on the ground behind him – and winkle pickers” Olive Lees, 64, was among the 19 audience members and stayed to the end of the gig even though her father Jimmy Stewart was band leader of the Melotones at the time. She said: “My father told me the mini bus to the Strath was full so I’d have to go to the town hall. I wasn’t bothered because the Melotones would come round to our house and play in the sitting room… I remember The Beatles were late in arriving and when they came on stage one by one they were wearing three-quarter-length leather jackets, long scarves – one was trailing his on the ground behind him – and winkle pickers.” Olive Lees One of the Dingwall 19 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-13004514

Mr Shanks, of Dingwall Business Association, said eight of the 19 had been traced so far. He told the BBC Good Morning Scotland programme a performance by local band, the Melotones, in nearby Strathpeffer had been a bigger attraction on the night. Mr Shanks said: “The Wilson brothers, who were the Melotones, were a big band here at the time.”People had heard there was this new band visiting, but they thought their music was rubbish and went away up to Strathpeffer to watch the Melotones. “They say The Beatles later packed it up and went to Strathpeffer to listen to the Melotones.” Mr Shanks went to the town hall himself to look in on The Beatles, but had second thoughts after doorman David Murray told him the music was not good. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-12757896

“Olive Lees, 64, was among the 19 audience members and stayed to the end of the gig even though her father Jimmy Stewart was band leader of the Melotones at the time.

She said: “My father told me the mini bus to the Strath was full so I’d have to go to the town hall.

“I wasn’t bothered because the Melotones would come round to our house and play in the sitting room.

“I remember The Beatles were late in arriving and when they came on stage one by one they were wearing three-quarter-length leather jackets, long scarves – one was trailing his on the ground behind him – and winkle pickers.”Everyone was laughing at them.”But they were brilliant and they chatted with the audience between songs.”http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-13004514 https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/the-melotones/

Dingwall [4 Jan 1963]:  http://www.multiplusbooks.com/630104.html

A bus will leave Buckie at 8pm going via the coast to Cullen and Deskford, another bus will run from Huntly via Dufftown http://www.buckieheritage.org/pdf/1962.pdf

The Beatles didn’t make it to the January 2nd New Year’s Dance due to poor weather. Johnny and The CopyCats were disappointed but the dance happened anyway. The Copy Cats were billed with the Beatles at a later date…
Here’s a bit of regarding the early days of the Beatles when they started touring  in Scotland… “…a five night trip around various Scottish towns thanks to a contract signed between Brian Epstein and Albert Bonici [through Cana Variety Agency] in November of 1962. The original advert [12 Dec 62] billed the Beatles with the Dave “Dale” Sisters though their appearance was rescheduled. By the end of 1963, the Beatles song “Love Me Do” was becoming popular and Mr. Bonici dubbed the Beatles as “Love Me Do boys” to promote the band in Scotland.
 The Elgin gig was noted for the L-shaped ballroom which meant that some of the audience couldn’t see the Beatles on stage… Thanks to Jimmy Russell and others who remember the ’60s music scene in Elgin, I’ve heard interesting stories about various entertainers such as Lulu, Pink Floyd, and the Beatles…
Jimmy Russell, an employee of Albert Bonici’s LCB Agency spoke about the Beatles arriving in the Park Cafe [next to back entrance of the Two Red Shoes ballroom]:
 The unsubstantiated account goes that Jimmy’s daughter was working in the sweetie shop and had called her dad when the Beatles arrived. Besides letting him know they were at the hall, she thought that the guys had bathed in a nearby river and had the odor of weeds. The story goes that Albert had Jimmy take them over to his house for a proper bath before they performed and again the next day before they went on to Dingwall for their second performances. After they had cleaned up and settled in [John and George in a local hotel], John came by the room Paul and Ringo shared, and whilst positioned by a window, seeing a young nurse boarding and the McBean’s B&B, reportedly commented, “Wow, wouldn’t you like to come over and take my temperature?”
Jimmy, recalling the night of the third, said that whilst there were only a few dozen in the beginning of the Beatles performance, there were about 200 by the end of the night. This was actually a good night for the small dance hall especially considering the cold weather and in the middle of the week. By cover band leader Alex Sutherland’s account there were about 80 there, but Jimmy was taking tickets. Boots often had larger crowds since kids came from surrounding towns but it was decent considering the weather. The Dingwall gig was said to have a poor showing of less than 20 but the booking was in conflict with a traditional Irish band and it was a smaller hall. After the performance in Elgin, Jimmy sat with the Beatles for an hour or so whilst they were treated with food and coffee. Bonici looked after the guest acts this way. From what Jimmy could remember, they were dressed in black that night and were friendly young men though he didn’t think to get an autograph. Though ‘Love Me Do’ was just hitting the pop charts, most people didn’t suspect that they’d have two singles by the end of the month.
Though Ringo Starr years later complained that some of the audience at the Two Red Shoes dance hall were less than attentive, The Beatles had their amps up for their second Scotland performance at the Dingwall hall. In Dingwall [4 Jan 1963] a support band called Heatherlea [aka DrumBeats] were booked by an Inverness promoter on behalf of Albert Bonici who arranged the gig featuring The Beatles [advertised as the “Love Me Do Boys”]. This was The Beatles first sit down event in Scotland though they played to around 20 people.
 Alan Scott, the lead vocalist/guitarist of the Heatherlea Dance Band [AKA Drum Beats], relates that he asked if he could use their PA system as the opening act. In a phone conversation, he said that Beatles who were sitting quietly along the side of the hall, were a well dressed, professional group and were nice guys and accommodating to Alan who used their equipment to do an acoustics check before the show. Their amplification was so loud that in a hall that echoed “it almost blew the place apart” during his testing session.
The Heatherlea’s were a “50-50” dance band who played both Scottish and modern pop music with a piano, accordion, button key accordion, guitar, and drums. After their performance, the dance band members went off to a local pub and some of the audience went over to see the Melotones at the Strathpeffer but Alan Scott stayed behind to watch the Liverpool group.  He said some of the “locals weren’t ready for their kind of music” but “The Beatles were fantastic… I never heard anything like it. They were professional with a different sound”

 

The Beatles were on their last day of touring Scotland when Malcolm Strachan of The Playboys met them after their Aberdeen appearance. This was the beginning of tours for the Beatles with Ringo Starr.

Memories of Beatles in Dingwall: http://www.thestrath.co.uk/1963.html  The Beatles were on their last day of touring Scotland when Malcolm Strachan of The Playboys met them after their Aberdeen appearance. This was the beginning of tours for the Beatles with Ringo Starr.

The Beatles,Beach Ballroom,January 1963

 bonici-obituary
From Northern-Scot  14 Nov 08: ‘Mr [Stan] Williams has spoken to some of the people who were at the Two Red Shoes about their memories, including the late band leader Alex Sutherland. He said: “Alex remembered Paul McCartney playing so well and singing ‘Till There Was You’. At the interval, they were taken down into the cafe for something to eat. “Albert Bonici, the owner, had a complaint from one of the diners that the noise coming from The Two Red Shoes was too loud. He tried to speak to them, but when he asked Lennon if he could have a quick word, Lennon said, ‘velocity’.”‘ http://www.northern-scot.co.uk/Entertainment/Fab-Four-came-in-from-the-cold-in-Elgin-6893.htm
Related SCOTBEAT articles [Beatles 1963]: https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/the-beatles-visit-elgins-two-red-shoes/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2016/09/09/beatles-tour-scotland/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/beatles-tour-contract-nov63/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/scottish-beatles-tour-1963/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/the-beatles-1963-advert/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/the-beatles-first-visit-to-scotland/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/beatles-ad-12-12-62/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/beatles-at-two-red-shoes/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/earliest-beatles-tour-contract/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/albert-bonici-promotes-the-beatles/
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About

My research began in 2007 as a visitor to the north of Scotland. With a fascination for the beat music era that took place throughout the UK, my research investigates the late '50s through early 1970s. Relying on interviews, the Albert Bonici archives, and other resources, I continue to gather materials to tell the story of a special time in music in the mid 20th century. Scottish promoter, Albert Bonici, brought many of the top beat music acts to Scotland which delighted music lovers during the early days of the beat music era. SCOTBEAT was created to share a bit of history about the BEAT years in Scotland and remembers the contributions of promoter, Albert Bonici, 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. 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 SCOTBEAT.wordpress.com. 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 https://scotbeat.wordpress.com when sharing materials found here as the site is continuously updated to present the subject matter accurately and as a historical resource. Thank you. http://en.gravatar.com/scotbeat

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Posted in 1960's pop music
One comment on “January 1963 Beatles gigs, Scotland
  1. scotbeat says:

    I have not been able to confirm that Jimmy Russell’s recollections are true though he was there at the time the Beatles arrived at the Two Red Shoes. He told me that his daughter was working in The Park Café when they came in but was not available for interview.

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