Scottish Beatles tours 1963

The Beatles first performed with Ringo Starr in Scotland on 3 Jan 1963 at Two Red Shoes, Elgin followed by another 21 shows around the country between 1963-64:

Beginning with a short tour in the north of Scotland, 1963 was an eventful year for the Beatles who performed nearly every day traveling around the Before Ringo joined the band, they performed around England besides their Hamburg gigs and a single show in Wales [1962] UK. In 1963, they were touring Europe and even traveled to Australia

Though enduring a grueling schedule of performances in 1963, the Beatles seemed like an overnight sensations having gone from working for pennies in small clubs and halls in the beginning of 1963 to performing at the Royal Variety Show [BBC] by November. Later that month, people in the USA caught a glimpse of the Beatles a couple of months before they captured the imagination of Americans from their appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. ” Note: CBS News were the first to tell a national audience about the phenomenon of Beatlemania then sweeping England. 22Nov63″ “The CBS Morning News with Mike Wallace” profiled the Beatles in a segment that was scheduled to be repeated on the nightly news show hosted by Walter Cronkite. But when President Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas that day, every other topic went onto the back burner.”

Meanwhile, back in Scotland, promoter Albert Bonici who hired the band for a few quid at the beginning of the year, found himself negotiating to get the group back for what seemed a lot of money for an act at the time. 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 a record £500 for shows [unvarified]. 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].

Years after, both Paul McCartney and John Lennon had returned to Scotland. John had pleasant childhood memories of visiting kin in Durness and Paul and Linda briefly lived in the north-west of Scotland where Paul recorded his first solo album “McCartney”. Ken McNab who authored Beatles In Scotland shared a few antidotes in this interview. Other early Beatles posts at:

Fans in Inverness to Aberdeen wanted the Beatles to do a return engagement but their career called for larger venues with a high ticket price. Promoter Bonici offered transportation to get fans down south to Glasgow and Edinburgh for special performances besides a limited amount of free tickets for some who were attended other AA Bonici events.


AA Bonici

AA Bonici


The Beatles and Billy J Kramer – “Their music is wild, pungent, hard-hitting, uninhibited, and personal.” From THE BEATLES [1963]: “Background  Stories” at end of Beatles program [selected from promotional materials]. Note: Macolm Clarke and the Crester’s drummer was Johnny Casson [not Caffen].  Promoter Andi Lothian Jr., who was one of the presenters at the Dundee show, claims to have introduced The Beatles to Scotland though Albert Bonici was firmly at the helm.

“No curtain, all the lights were put out while the equipment was being placed on stage, hush of anticipation, click, click, click as the amps (bright red lights) were switched on, possibly by the Beatles themselves, the hush then turns into the loudest rustling you’ve ever heard! …………… the engineers somehow (I still don’t know how they managed to do it!) turn the lights on at the exact same moment the Beatles strum the intro to their first song ………………… well, you can imagine and wonder how the roof of the Caird Hall didn’t ‘take off’ that night!

We were told at the beginning of the show that the Beatles wouldn’t be making any kind of appearance between the performances but instead would remain in the theatre. After the show (1st session) we got onto the pavement next to the theatre (Crichton Street I think?) and on our left coming out of the underground park was this big black limousine, we were still in very high spirits at this time and waved the vehicle passed ………………. as it drew level we looked down to see John and Paul smiling and waving back at us! (George and Ringo were on the other side) indeed, they had fooled us all and were being chauffeured around the city on a quick tour! I can’t remember much more about the evening (no memorabilia or posters and why didn’t I have a camera along with me??) except that the supporting acts would have been brilliant as the bands in those days all were. I remember going to many ‘live’ concerts way back then ………. Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, Bert Weedon, Shane Fenton and the Fentones, Billy Fury, Gerry and the Pacemakers and more. The early sixties was an era (musically speaking) that no-one had ever experienced before and we were the first generation to be ‘misunderstood’ by our elders ………. but then again, we knew what it was all about and they didn’t!” (Two sessions, sold out) Iain Le Poer Trench) who attended first session in Dundee’s Caird Hall 7 October 1963

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a Beatles Scottish tour program 1963

Beatles souvenir song album circa 1963

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The Cresters who toured with the Beatles in 1963, turned down songs written for them by the Beatles according to the article above.

In the first issue of Scottish Beat February, 1964, an article speaks about the October 1963 Beatles shows in Glasgow, Kirkcaldy, and Dundee [editor Andy Lothian Jr./publisher Malcolm Nixon Agency, Dundee]

Scottish Beat [Dundee] Feb, 1964

Albert Bonici had considered booking the Beatles for a set of gigs in 1964 which included a return to Aberdeen but it didn’t materialize. The Beatles had become the top beat act by then and likely wasn’t willing to pay the large fee to re-book them as they were playing larger venues. Another proposal was to arrange a German tour with Brian Epstein.

This was a proposal to have the Beatles on tour in Germany 1964. The Beatles had become an international act and played to audiences in the US and Australia instead.


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 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
2 comments on “Scottish Beatles tours 1963
  1. scotbeat says:

    Here’s an early version of The Beatles tour line-up that Albert Bonici was planning in ’63 – including acts that Andy Lothian managed from Dundee. Another early line-up to promote less known groups appearing with the Beatles is at

  2. great reading. Enjoyed the era and the Bonnicci experience. Very happy memories

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