January 1963 Beatles gigs, Scotland

Beatles feb 8, '08https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/beatles-tour-contract-nov63/

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 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 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 e…nd 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. 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… 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 unsubstaniated 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 temperture?” Sounds like something the cheeky young Lennon would have said…. 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], told me that he asked if he could use their PA system as the opening act. He mentioned 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. He said that 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”

 

Dingwall Beatles clippings compiled by Ross Scott

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

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
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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 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.

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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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