Roy Orbison, The Beatles, and the Pacemakers


Mean Woman Blues Roy recollects touring with The Beatles

Five months had passed since The Beatles started touring in 1963 and they were gaining in popularity around the UK and Europe. The Beatles returned to Scotland for a single performance at Glasgow’s Odeon Theatre on the Roy Orbison Tour. The Beatles would have been pleased sharing the bill with Roy Orbison who was one of their early inspirations…

“The Beatles had a rare day off on 6 June, but resumed the Roy Orbison tour the following day with a concert at the Odeon Cinema in Glasgow, Scotland. They quickly warmed to the enthusiastic reception from the fans, and always enjoyed their four subsequent visits to the city – three of which were also at the Odeon.”

The Beatles/Roy Orbison programme
“Roy Orbison toured Great Britain in 1963 with local bands The Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers as his special guests” The Beatles were supposed to be second on the bill but their popularity was rapidly rising, and Roy Orbison was persuaded to give them equal billing. Also on the bill were Gerry & The Pacemakers, David Macbeth, Louise Cordet, Erkey Grant, Ian Crawford, The Terry Young Combo and Tony Marsh. 7th June 1963 Odeon, Glasgow Scotland”  

‘The Beatles were already fans of Orbison and attribute his style in influencing “Please Please Me” which was the groups first number one song. ” “Please Please Me” was a John Lennon composition.  Lennon described the inspiration for the song as coming from a combination of Roy Orbison and Bing Crosby influences.  He wrote the song at his aunt Mimi’s house, having been listening at the time to some Roy Orbison tunes.  Lennon was also taken with a line from Bing Crosby’s 1932 song, “Please” – the line being, “Please lend your little ears to my pleas…”  Lennon said he loved “the double use of the word ‘please’.” Paul McCartney pointed back to Orbison’s style.  “If you imagine [Please Please Me] much slower,” McCartney said of the song, “which is how John wrote it, it’s got everything.  The big high notes, all the hallmarks of a Roy Orbison song.”’ I think that Roy was borrowing a bit from John’s inspiration when he echoed the phrase “yeah, yeah, yeah” in his defining song “Pretty Woman” a year after The Beatles released, “She Loves You”

“Touring in 1963 took a toll on Orbison’s personal life. His wife Claudette began having an affair with the contractor who built their home in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Their friends and relatives attributed it to her youth and that she was unable to withstand being alone and bored; when Orbison toured Britain again in the fall of 1963, she joined him.” THE BEATLES early interviews can be found at:

Other Beatles posts on SCOTBEAT:  Beatles tour dates


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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