Category Archives: Trivia

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50 Years Ago: I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND MAKES U.S. RADIO DEBUT

WHILE BEATLES RECORD FOR THE BBC,

I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND MAKES U.S. RADIO DEBUT

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After a rare day off on Monday, December 16, 1963, it was back to work for the Beatles on Tuesday. The group spent the afternoon at the Playhouse Theatre in London recording songs for the Christmas edition of the BBC radio program Saturday Club. They performed the following six songs: the A-sides of their most recent hit singles, I Want To Hold Your Hand and She Loves You; the B-side to the current single, This Boy; two Paul lead vocals from their current hit LP, All My Loving and Till There Was You; and George given his turn on the current album track Roll Over Beethoven. They also briefly sang a parody of Dora Bryan’s All I Want For Christmas Is A Beatle (during which they changed the lyrics to All I Want For Christmas Is A Bottle) and a vocal medley of five of their songs and a Christmas classic. This so-called Chrimble Mudley lasted a mere 29-seconds, but was both humorous and impressive in its content. The show was broadcast on Saturday morning, December 21.

The next day the Beatles were back at work for the BBC, this time at its Paris Studio in London to record a special two-hour show for broadcast on Boxing Day (December 26), which was also a bank holiday. The group would record four more such specials for bank holidays. The Beatles performed five of the six songs recorded the day before for Saturday Club (all but This Boy) plus Boys, Money and I Saw Her Standing There. Although it was the Beatles show, it was hosted by Australian singer Rolf Harris and featured other recording artists.

That weekend, the Beatles headlined two concerts featuring the same acts that would take part in The Beatles Christmas Show, set to debut at the Astoria Cinema in London on Christmas Eve. The Saturday show was at the Gaumont Cinema in Bedford, while the Sunday performance was at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool.

Meanwhile across the Pond, December 17, 1963, marked another important event that helped jumpstart Beatlemania in America. Last week’s 50th anniversary post discussed the importance of Walter Cronkite broadcasting a five-minute story on the Beatles at the end of the CBS Evening News on December 10. After viewing the Beatles story that evening, Marsha Albert, a 15-year-old girl living in Silver Spring, Maryland, wrote a letter to her favorite radio station, WWDC, referencing the news story and asking “Why can’t we have this music in America?” In response to her letter, WWDC disc jockey Carroll James contacted a friend of his who was a stewardess for B.O.A.C. and asked her to bring him the Beatles latest single.

After receiving the disc, James invited Marsha down to the station to introduce the song I Want To Hold Your Hand to America on The Carroll James Show. Listener response was overwhelming favorable, so WWDC put the song in heavy rotation. James sent a dub of the song to DJs in Chicago and St. Louis, and all of a sudden, Capitol was getting demand in three major markets for a single the company had scheduled for January 13, 1964 release. This caused Capitol to rush release the single out on December 26. The impact of that decision will be told in next week’s 50th anniversary post.

 

Today’s trivia questions cover the week of December 16, 1963.

  1. What were the six songs in the Beatles Chrimble Mudley?
  2. What was the name of the Beatles radio special first broadcast on Boxing Day 1963? (Bonus: What the original working title for the show?)
  3. What song did the Beatles perform with host Holf Rarris on Boxing Day 1963 special?
  4. What was Capitol’s initial reaction to WWDC playing I Want To Hold Your Hand?

 

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

  1. The Beatles sang brief parts of their five hit singles, Love Me Do, Please Please Me, From Me To You, She Loves You and I Want To Hold Your Hand, and closed out the medley with Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. It was a reminder of how successful the group had become in such a short period of time, with five hit singles in a little over a year.
  2. From Us To You. The group recorded a theme song for the show, which slightly altered the lyrics to their hit single From Me To You. The song opened and closed the show. The shows working title had been Beatletime.
  3. The Beatles and Rolf Harris performed a version of Harris’ 1960 hit Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport, complete with Beatles parody lyrics.
  4. Capitol was upset with WWDC playing I Want To Hold Your Hand nearly a month before its scheduled release. The company’s lawyer threatened to file an injunction prohibiting the station from playing the song. After WWDC responded that they would keep on plying the song because it was a hit, Capitol realized that the air play was a good thing and pushed up the record’s release date to the day after Christmas.

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50 Years Ago: CRONKITE BROADCASTS STORY ON THE BEATLES

BEATLES CONTINUE U.K. TOUR WHILE CRONKITE BROADCASTS STORY ON THE BEATLES

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The Beatles began the week of December 9, 2013, with a tour appearance at the Odeon Cimema in Southend-on-Sea. On Tuesday the 10th, the group performed at the Gaumont Cinema in Doncaster, where they were interviewed for the BBC’s Transcription Service for broadcast in Australia. The next three nights were the final concerts on the Beatles 1963 Autumn Tour, with shows on consecutive evenings at the Futurist Theatre in Scarborough, Yorkshire, the Odeon Cinema in Nottingham and the Gaumont Cinema in Southampton (on Friday the 13th).

On Saturday, the Beatles gave an afternoon concert for their Fan Club members in the southern part of England. The event, which was held at the Wimbledon Palais in Wimbledon, London, attracted 3,000 fans, who were all given the opportunity to pass through a greeting line to shake hands with the band.

On Sunday, the Beatles taped an appearance on the ABC Television (U.K.) show Thank Your Lucky Stars. The show was another special edition the featured only Liverpool acts. The Beatles lip-synced their latest single, I Want To Hold Your Hand, All My Loving from their latest album, Twist And Shout from their first album and EP, and their previous hit single She Loves You.

Meanwhile, across the ponds, the seeds of Beatlemania were being planted. Capitol Records, having just announced the previous week that it would soon be releasing records by the Beatles, began planning its Beatles campaign. The initial plan was for a mid-January 1964 release of a single containing I Want To Hold Your Hand and I Saw Her Standing There, with an album to follow a month later.

In Worcester, Massachusetts, the Beatles single on Swan Records was getting extensive airplay. Radio station WORC, which published a weekly chart “Based on 100% requests,” had She Loves You at number 9 on its survey dated December 6, 1963, which listed Dominique by the Singing Nun at two and Louie Louis by the Kingsmen at three. The number one song that week? I’ll Get You by the Beatles!

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On December 10, 1963, CBS News Director/anchorman Walter Cronkite recalled a story prepared by the network’s London bureau on the curious response a Liverpool rock ’n’ roll band was generating among British youngsters. The five-minute story had originally run on the CBS Morning News with Mike Wallace on November 22, 1963, just hours before President Kennedy was assassinated. The story had been scheduled to run that evening, but with the day’s tragic events, the evening news was entirely devoted to the assassination. Being a few weeks after the tragedy in Dallas, Mr. Cronkite thought the country was ready for some light news. He decided to end his broadcast on the December 10 CBS Evening News with the feature story on the Beatles, which contained an interview with group, footage of their fan club and a performance of She Loves You.

Shortly after Mr. Cronkite left the set, he got a telephone call from Ed Sullivan, who excitedly asked, “Walter, what can you tell me about those bugs or whatever they call themselves?” One month before, Sullivan had taken a chance by booking the Beatles for three appearances on his show set for February 1964. At the time he made the arrangements, the Beatles were virtually unknown in America. But now, they were on the CBS Evening News! Sullivan immediately realized he had something big. Three days later, on December 13, Sullivan had CBS issue the following press release:

“The Beatles, wildly popular quartet of English recording stars, will make their first trip to the United States Feb. 7 for their American television debut on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show,’ Sunday, Feb. 9 and 16…The fantastic popularity of the Beatles in England has received considerable attention not only in British newspapers but also in the American press. Their first record release is scheduled for January.”

Also viewing the Beatles story that evening was Marsha Albert, a 15-year-old girl living in Silver Spring, Maryland. She was impressed with the band’s performance of She Loves You and wrote a letter to her favorite radio station, WWDC, referencing the news story and asking “Why can’t we have this music in America?” After receiving her letter, a WWDC disc jockey, who had also seen the Beatles story, contacted a friend of his who was a stewardess for B.O.A.C. and asked her to bring him the Beatles latest single. Tune in next week for the rest of the story of Marsha Albert and the Beatles.

As we shall see in the coming weeks, as strange as it may seem, Walter Cronkite’s decision to re-broadcast the Beatles story was the first in a series of events that jump-started Beatlemania in America! And that’s the way it was, Tuesday, December 10, 1963.

 

Today’s trivia questions cover the week of December 9, 1963.

1. Of the cities played by the Beatles during the week of December 9, 1963, which one would later be mentioned in a Beatles song?

2. What was the name of the song?

3. Who was the WWDC disc jockey that arranged for a friend of his to bring him a copy of the Beatles latest U.K. single in December 1963?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

1. The Beatles played in Southampton on Friday, December 13, 1963. The city would later be mentioned in a Beatles song recorded in 1969.

2. Southampton is mentioned in the lyrics of The Ballad Of John & Yoko. (Standing in the dock at Southampton/Trying to get to Holland or France.)

3.  The WWDC disc jockey that arranged for a friend of his to bring him a copy of the Beatles latest U.K. single in December 1963 was Carroll James.

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50 Years Ago: CAPITOL RECORDS SIGNS DEAL FOR BEATLES

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On December 4, 1963, Capitol Records issued a press release (computer re-creation shown above) stating that the company had obtained the exclusive U.S. rights to recordings by the Beatles. Company president Alan Livingston boldly predicted that the group’s popularity in England combined with Capitol’s promotion would make the Beatles just as successful in the United States. While this may have sounded like typical record company hype at the time, Livingston’s prediction of the group’s upcoming success in America would prove true, well beyond his and Capitol’s wildest expectations, hopes and dreams.

Although Capitol initially turned down the Beatles four times, the company would go on to spend approximately $40,000 promoting the group’s initial Capitol releases. In addition to creative and exhaustive promotion, Capitol had the manufacturing and distribution capacity to quickly get records in the stores. They would do an incredible job marketing the incredible music of the Beatles.

As for the Beatles themselves, the week of December 2, 1963, was another productive week combining television, radio and concert appearances. On Monday, the group taped an appearance for The Morecambe And Wise Show, a comedy program on the ATV network. The Beatles performed This Boy, All My Loving and I Want To Hold Your Hand, plus a comedy sketch with the program’s hosts, Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. The program was not broadcast until April 18, 1964. That evening, the Beatles played at the Ballroom of the Grosvenor House Hotel in London before an elite crowd of well-dressed British adults as part of a charitable fundraiser for spastics. This was not part of the group’s U.K. tour.

The following night they played another tour date, this time at Guildhall in Portsmouth. They were then given some rare time off with nothing scheduled on Wednesday through Friday.

After three full days off, the Beatles were back in action on Saturday, December 7, this time in Liverpool. The Beatles were scheduled to play an afternoon concert at the Empire Theatre in front of 2,500 members of the Beatles fan club. Prior to the concert, the BBC taped an episode of its television program Juke Box Jury, with the Beatles being the entire panel. Of the 13 records reviewed, the Beatles voted all but four to be hits. The program was broadcast at 6:05 pm that evening. For the concert, the group opened and closed the show with shortened versions of From Me To You, using the song as bookends surrounding an impressive set that included I Saw Her Standing There, All My Loving, Roll Over Beethoven, Boys, Till There Was You, She Loves You, This Boy, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Money and Twist And Shout. The BBC taped the concert for television broadcast later that evening at 8:10 pm on a program titled It’s The Beatles. Unfortunately, technical difficulties marred both of these programs. The Beatles also recorded a two-minute interview for the Christmas edition of the BBC radio program Top Of The Pops. The day’s activities continued shortly thereafter, with the group being escorted by police to the Odeon Cinema on London Road, where the Beatles tour resumed with two shows at the movie house.

By comparison, Sunday, December 8, was a days of rest, with a tour concert at the Odeon Cinema in Lewisham, London.

 

This week’s trivia questions cover the exciting first week of December 1963.

1. Before finally obtaining the rights to issue Beatles recordings in the U.S., what four Beatles singles did Capitol Records initially turn down?

2. What non-Beatles song did the group perform vocally on the Morecambe And Wise Show?

3. Prior to the April 18, 1964 broadcast of the Beatles on The Morecambe And Wise Show, what television program contained performances by the Beatles and the comedy team of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

1. Capitol Records initially turned down Love Me Do, Please Please Me, She Loves You and I Want To Hold Your Hand. After Capitol turned down the Beatles first two singles, Vee-Jay Records entered into a licensing agreement with EMI’s Transglobal subsidiary. Vee-Jay released Please Please Me and From Me To You as singles during the first half of 1963. Although it is often reported that Capitol turned down From Me To You, this is not the case as Vee-Jay had a right of first refusal to issue the song under its licensing agreement. After EMI and Transglobal unilaterally terminated the licensing agreement with Vee-Jay for non-payment of royalties, Capitol was offered She Loves You, which it also rejected as not being suitable for the American market. The song ended up on Swan Records, a small label out of Philadelphia. Capitol also initially turned down I Want To Hold Your Hand, before finally agreeing to enter into a licensing agreement for the exclusive U.S. rights for the Beatles.

2. The Beatles performed a short vocal version of Moonlight Bay on The Morecambe And Wise Show.

3.  The Beatles taped performances of Twist And Shout, Please Please Me and I Want To Hold Your Hand  were broadcast on the February 23, 1964 Ed Sullivan Show. The group had taped the songs immediately after the afternoon dress rehearsal for the February 9, 1964 Ed Sullivan Show. The three songs, along with Sullivan’s introductions and post-performance meeting with the group, were edited into a previously taped show that included a comedy sketch by Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise.

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50 Years Ago: I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND RELEASED IN U.K.

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The week of November 25, 1963, started with the Beatles at Granada TV Centre in Manchester, where they lip-synced both sides of their soon-to-be-released single, I Want To Hold Your Hand and This Boy, for the November 27th broadcast of Late Scene Extra. They also did a brief interview.

On Tuesday, the Beatles resumed their U.K. tour with two shows at the Regal Cinema in Cambridge. Prior to the concert, they did a live interview for the BBC television program East At Six Ten. The tour continued with a Wednesday night concert at the Rialto Theatre in York and a Thursday evening show at the ABC Cinema in Lincoln, Lincolnshire.

On Friday, November 29, EMI released the Beatles fifth single, I Want To Hold Your Hand c/w This Boy. The record received rave reviews and quickly shot to the top of all of the national U.K. charts. That evening, the group played two shows at the ABC Cinema in Huddersfield, Yorkshire. The Beatles rounded out the weekend with a Saturday night concert at the Empire Theatre in Sunderland and a Sunday show at De Montfort Hall in Leicester.

 

This week’s trivia questions pertain to the Beatles fifth U.K. single.

1. The Beatles fifth U.K. single was the group’s first not to feature what musical instrument on either side?

2. Approximately how many copies of I Want To Hold Your Hand were sold in the U.K. prior to the single’s release?

3. What song did I Want To Hold Your Hand replace at the top of the Record Retailer chart?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

1. Neither side of the Beatles fifth single featured harmonica, which had been present on Love Me Do, Please Please Me, From Me To You (and its B-side Thank You Girl), and I’ll Get You (the B-side of She Loves You).

2.  I Want To Hold Your Hand had advance orders of approximately one million copies before it went on sale, quickly earning the Beatles both silver disc and gold disc awards for the single.

3.  I Want To Hold Your Hand replaced She Loves You as the number one record on the Record Retailer chart.

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50 Years Ago: TALES OF TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY–THE BEATLES KENNEDY CONNECTION

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November 22, 1963, was a triumphant day for the Beatles. In their homeland, the group had dominated the record charts for most of the year. Their last three singles, Please Please Me, From Me To You and She Loves You, had all topped the U.K. charts. Earlier in the week, the band was presented with silver disc awards (indicating sales of over 250,000 units) for their Twist And Shout EP (which by then had sold an incredible 650,000 copies, making it the largest selling EP in British history), She Loves You (which by then had nearly sold a million) and their first two albums, Please Please Me and With The Beatles, even though the latter LP had yet to be released.

Although the Beatles had been creeping into the national consciousness for months, it was the group’s October 13, 1963 appearance on the television show Val Parnell’s Sunday Night At The London Palladium that elevated group had grown from a successful entertainment act to a national news phenomenon. The popular variety show was the British equivalent of The Ed Sullivan Show. That evening, over 15 million people tuned in to see the group perform From Me To You, I’ll Get You, She Loves You and Twist And Shout. The bedlam caused by the Beatles both inside and outside the theater caught the attention of British news editors. The Daily Herald heralded the coming of “Beatle-Fever!” The Daily Mirror mirrored these sentiments describing the mass hysteria as “Beatlemania!” The latter term became part of the British vocabulary and would soon be heard throughout the world.

Three weeks later on November 4, 1963, the group played before British royalty at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London as part of the Royal Command Performance. The group entertained the elite crowd with From Me To You, She Loves You, Till There Was You and Twist And Shout. Prior to the star of their last number, John quipped, “For our last number I’d like to ask you help. Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry.”

The next morning, manager Brian Epstein departed London Airport for a visit to New York City. One week after the group performed before the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret, Brian met with Ed Sullivan in hopes of arranging appearances for the Beatles on Sullivan’s popular variety show, which aired on Sunday nights on the CBS television network. The two reached an agreement that the Beatles would appear on The Ed Sullivan Show twice, first on February 9, 1964, broadcast live from New York, and then on February 16 live from the Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach. In addition, the Beatles would tape an additional performance, which could be shown later in the season. Although the group was virtually unknown in America at the time the deal was made, Sullivan thought it was worth the investment, believing that the mass hysteria caused by the group in their homeland could be duplicated in America.

Sullivan’s faith in the Beatles would soon be justified when the London bureaus of American magazines and television networks began reporting back to the States of strange happenings across the Pond. But to fully understand why it would take a few more months for Beatlemania to explode in American, one has to be aware of how different people communicated in the sixties compared to today.

In the sixties, there were no home computers. The internet had not even been dreamed of. The first communications satellite, Telstar 1, was launched on July 10, 1962, a little more than a month after the Beatles first recording session at Abbey Road. Not only were there no smart phones, but telephones were tethered to the wall. Long distance calls were considered an extravagant luxury due to their high costs. Tweeting was something that birds did. Put simply, we were not living in a global community.

The media was also drastically different. There were only three major television networks, CBS, NBC and ABC. There were no networks devoted to news or entertainment. There were only a handful of news magazines. Rolling Stone would not begin publishing until four years later. People magazine was over a decade away.

But in mid-November, 1963, two of the nation’s leading news magazines, Time and Newsweek, ran stories on the Beatles in their music sections. On November 18, NBC’s Huntley-Brinkley Report aired a four-minute story on the Beatles at 6:53 p.m. The segment, which utilized film of the Beatles and the crowd at the group’s November 16 concert at the Winter Gardens Theatre in Bournemouth, was filed by Edwin Newman, a correspondent based in New York who had previously headed the network’s London bureau. Although the broadcast was not recorded, the audio of the story was recently discovered. This can be found on the NBC Nightly News website.

The Beatles were about to get even more exposure on November 22. CBS’s London bureau had prepared a five-minute story on the Beatles that was set to air that day on both the CBS Morning News with Mike Wallace and the prestigious CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. Early in the day, the CBS Morning News covered President Kennedy’s re-election campaign tour through Texas. The President had given speeches the day before in San Antonio and Houston before heading to Fort Worth to spend the night in the Texas Hotel. On the morning of November 22, he gave two speeches in Fort Worth and then head by plane to Dallas. The Beatles story was broadcast that morning, although no one remembers at what time it was featured. Click here to see the video.

Meanwhile, back in the U.K., the Beatles new album finally went on sale. As President Kennedy and his wife were being warmly greeted by an enthusiastic crowd at Love Field in Dallas, British fans were buying copies of With The Beatles so that they could spend their evening with the Beatles. As the President’s motorcade was heading through the streets of Dallas, the Beatles were gearing up for their concert at the Globe Cinema in Stockton-on-Tees, Durham. Back in Dallas, three shots were fired at the President’s motorcade at approximately 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time. Two of the shots struck the President, with the third and final shot entering his head. Kennedy was taken directly to Parkland Hospital, where he was officially pronounced dead at 1:00 p.m. Thirty-eight minutes later Walter Cronkite broke the news to the nation (click to see the video). By mid-afternoon, all three television networks were on the air non-stop broadcasting news surrounding the day’s tragic events. Because there was no regular evening news show that night, the CBS Beatles story was not shown again until December 10, 1963, at which time it helped jump-start Beatlemania in America. But that is a story for another day.

There has been much written over what effect the Kennedy assassination had on the Beatles success in America. Some have gone as far to say that the tragic event played a key role, arguing that the youth of America, despondent over the death of President Kennedy, were looking for something to lift them out of their doldrums and that the Beatles provided the needed tonic. I believe that the connection between the assassination and the explosion of Beatlemania in America has been blown out of proportion by those looking for an explanation as to why America’s youngsters embraced the group. In my book, The Beatles Are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America, I explain it as follows:

I was part of the youth of America in the sixties and can speak firsthand on this matter. Although I was only eight and a half years old in November, 1963, I will never forget where I was and how I learned about the assassination. On that Friday afternoon, my third grade teacher was called out of the classroom by an assistant to the principal. About ten or fifteen minutes later she returned to the room looking shook up. Without saying a word, she went to the blackboard and wrote, “The President is dead. Class dismissed.” She then sat down at her desk, lowered her head and cried. I remember going to my cousin’s house and watching television coverage of the assassination that afternoon and evening. I remember hearing about Oswald’s death at Sunday School. I remember seeing highlights of the funeral procession on television. I remember the President’s son saluting the horse-drawn casket. I was shocked and saddened by President Kennedy’s tragic death, but by the holiday season of 1963, I was over it.

In early January, 1964, I heard I Want To Hold Your Hand on the school bus radio. The excitement of the music and quality of the singing immediately grabbed me. I was hooked. She Loves You, Please Please Me, I Saw Her Standing There, All My Loving and others had the same effect. The fact that they were British, had long hair and were cool was certainly part of it, but the main reason I embraced the Beatles is the same reason people do 40 years later–the quality of the music. In all due respect to President Kennedy, his death did not cause me to become a Beatles fan.

I have discussed the alleged connection between the Kennedy assassination and the popularity of the Beatles with many first generation American Beatles fans. None of these individuals believes that President Kennedy’s death played any part in his or her attraction to the group. Admittedly, this is by no means a scientific survey, but I have yet to find any evidence to support the connection, which has been written as gospel in countless books, magazines and newspapers.

When one looks beyond the United States, the connection becomes even more tenuous. The Beatles were extremely popular in England, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Canada and several other countries. None of these nations was suffering the trauma of having its head of state assassinated, yet the youth of these countries embraced the Beatles.

Although the death of President Kennedy did not cause Americans to fall for the Beatles, it may have indirectly contributed to the group’s success in the United States. The saturation coverage of the Beatles by the American press in early 1964 closely parallels the conduct of the British press a few months earlier.

Philip Norman, in his Beatles biography Shout!, theorizes that the massive coverage of the Beatles by the British press was in response to months of reporting somber events. “By the end of September, every editor on Fleet Street was looking for a diversion from this incessant heavy news – something light; something unconnected with the aristocratic classes; something harmless, blameless and, above all, cheerful.” Beatlemania proved to be the perfect escape.

Similarly, the American press had grown weary of reporting on the assassination and other depressing events. The Beatles provided a break from over two months of somber news. In the February 11, 1964, New York Daily News, Anthony Burton observed, “It’s a relief from Cyprus and Malaysia and Vietnam and racial demonstrations and Khrushchev. Beset by troubles all around the globe, America has turned to the four young men with the ridiculous haircuts for a bit of light entertainment.”

Beatlemania was fun to cover regardless of how one felt about the four young lads from Liverpool. Members of the press who found the group charming enjoyed reporting on the mass hysteria created by the band. Those who hated the Beatles or failed to understand their popularity took great pleasure in mocking the group and its fans. Their negative and condescending comments served only to strengthen the resolve of the group’s devoted followers. By keeping the Beatles in the news, the press helped fuel Beatlemania in America.

Thus, while President Kennedy’s assassination did not cause the youth of America to embrace the Beatles, it may have led the press to give more coverage to the Beatles, which in turn helped spread Beatlemania throughout the United States.

Copyright 2013 and 2003 by Bruce Spizer.

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50 Years Ago: A WEEK WITH THE BEATLES AND PRESIDENT KENNEDY

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The week of November 18, 1963, started with the Beatles at EMI House in London receiving a slew of silver disc awards, which signified sales of over 250,000 units. EMI presented the group with awards for the albums Please Please Me and With The Beatles, even though the latter LP had yet to be released. George Martin handed the group a silver disc for their EP Twist And Shout, which became the largest selling EP in U.K. history. A British music magazine, which presented silver disc awards for singles, gave the group silver discs for their She Loves You single and the Twist And Shout EP, which had sold as if it were a single.

Meanwhile, across the pond, the Beatles got their first significant national television exposure in America. The Monday, November 18, 1963 edition of NBC’s Huntley-Brinkley Report aired a four-minute story on the Beatles at 6:53 p.m. The segment, which utilized film of the Beatles and the crowd at the group’s November 16 concert at the Winter Gardens Theatre in Bournemouth, was filed by Edwin Newman, a correspondent based in New York who had previously headed the network’s London bureau. Unfortunately neither the broadcast nor the actual segment was taped. All that survives is the transcript of Chet Huntley’s lead-in and lead-out of the Newman’s story. Apparently Newman referred to 17th-century English poet John Milton as Huntley’s lead-out from the story was “Anyone looking for some mute, inglorious Milton will just have to keep on looking.”

On Tuesday, CBS’s London bureau prepared a four minute, ten second segment on the Beatles, which also featured footage of the Beatles Bournemouth concert. The story, filed by Alexander Kendrick, includes film taken at the London Beatles Fan Club, a frenzied concert scene and an interview of the group by Josh Darsa. That evening, the Beatles played a concert at Gaumont Cinema in Wolverhampton.

On Wednesday evening, the Beatles played two shows at the ABC Cinema in Ardwick, Manchester. Pathe News filmed performances of She Loves You and Twist And Shout, which were incorporated into an eight-minute color newsreel on the group titled The Beatles Come To Town. The film was shown in British cinemas from December 22 through 28. Granada TV also filmed part of the concert and interviewed the group, including talk about their upcoming February 1964 visit to the U.S., which had been arranged the previous week by manager Brian Epstein. The story was broadcast on the January 6, 1964 edition of Scene At 6:30. Prior to the concert, BBC radio’s Michael Barton conducted a two-minute interview with the group that ran later that evening on Voice Of The North. Barton also interviewed George for a few words to include on a program about the Liverpool and Hamburg rock scenes.

On Thursday, the Beatles performed at ABC Cinema in Carlisle. Meanwhile, across the pond, President Kennedy landed in Texas for a brief re-election campaign tour, which included planned stops in San Antonio, Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas and Austin. After giving speeches in the first two cities, the President headed for Fort Worth to spend the evening in the Texas Hotel.

On Friday, November 22, 1963, the Beatles second album, With The Beatles, went on sale. Back in the States, the CBS Morning News with Mike Wallace broadcast the network’s story on the Beatles that had been prepared three days earlier by its London bureau. That morning, President Kennedy gave two speeches in Fort Worth and then headed by plane to Dallas, where he and his wife were warmly greeted by an enthusiastic crowd at Love Field. As the President’s motorcade was heading through the streets of Dallas, the Beatles were gearing up for their concert at the Globe Cinema in Stockton-on-Tees, Durham. Back in Dallas, three shots were fired at the President’s motorcade at approximately 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time. Two of the shots struck the President, with the third and final shot entering his head. Kennedy was taken directly to Parkland Hospital, where he was officially pronounced dead at 1:00 p.m. It is not known when the Beatles received word of the assassination.

While America mourned, the Beatles finished the week with a Saturday concert at the City Hall in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and a Sunday show at ABC Cinema in Hull, Yorkshire.

I will have more on the Beatles Kennedy connection in my next article, which will be posted later this week.

 

This week’s trivia questions pertain to the British magazine that awarded silver discs to the Beatles and other British recording artists.

1. What was the name of the British music magazine that gave the Beatles silver disc awards in 1963?

2. What was the name of the rival music magazine it merged with in 1966?

3. Who was the owner of that other magazine?

 

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

1. Disc magazine gave out silver disc awards to the Beatles in 1963.

2.  In 1966, the magazine merged with Music Echo and was titled Disc and Music Echo magazine through 1972, at which time it reverted to Disc.

3.  Music Echo was owned by Brian Epstein.

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50 Years Ago: BRIAN LINES UP ED SULLIVAN SHOW APPEARANCES

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The week of November 11, 1963, was another busy one for the Beatles, but the real action took place in New York, where manager Brian Epstein parlayed his hard work and belief in the boys to lay the groundwork for the Beatles February 1964 invasion of America. But first, let’s see what the Beatles were up to.

On Tuesday, the Beatles had to reschedule their concert at the Guildhall in Portsmith because Paul had a bad case of the flu. They did give interviews for the TV shows Day By Day and the local BBC’s South Today. On Wednesday, they traveled to Plymouth, where they were interviewed for the TV show Move Over, Dad. With Paul feeling better, they resumed their stage appearances with a concert at the town’s ABC Cinema on George Street. Due to the large gathering of enthusiastic fans, the group had to be smuggled in and out of the theater through an adjoining building.

After Thursday and Friday night concerts at the ABC Theatre in Exeter and Colston Hall in Bristol, the Beatles played a Saturday evening show at the Winter Gardens Theatre in Bournemouth. This November 16 appearance in front of the usual mass of screaming fans turned out to be quite important, for the London bureaus of all three of the major Untied State television networks sent reporters and cameramen to the concert. Although it appears that ABC did not run a story on the Beatles in 1963, both CBS and NBC broadcast stories on the Beatles the following week. The Beatles closed the week with a Sunday concert at Coventry Theatre in Coventry.

Meanwhile, across the Pond, Brian started the week with a Monday meeting at the Delmonico Hotel with Ed Sullivan, host of a popular variety show bearing his name. Sullivan was aware of the Beatles after hearing about them from one of his European talent scouts, Peter Prichard. Legend has it that Sullivan got to see in person the mass hysteria caused by the Beatles when he was at London Airport at the same time the group returned from a tour of Sweden on October 31, 1963. (Although this story has been told consistently since early 1964, Sullivan’s presence at London Airport on that date has yet to be confirmed.) The two reached an agreement that the Beatles would appear on The Ed Sullivan Show twice, first on February 9, 1964, broadcast live from New York, and then on February 16 live from the Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach. This appealed to Brian as it would give his boys a trip to New York for the first show followed by a bit of vacation in sunny Florida.

The deal was finalized the following evening at a dinner meeting at the Delmonico Hotel’s restaurant. Bob Precht, Sullivan’s son-in-law and producer of the show, also attended. In addition to a performance fee, Sullivan agreed to pay the group’s transportation and lodging. Precht suggested that the group also be paid for the taping of an additional performance, which could be shown later in the season. In typical Brian fashion, the deal was closed with a handshake.

During his stay in New York, Brian also met with representatives of Billboard, Cash Box, the William Morris Agency, Liberty Records, Atlantic Records, Vee-Jay Records and Laurie Records (the American label for Billy J. Kramer). He also met with Gloria Stavers, editor of a magazine that would publish numerous articles on the Beatles.

Brian headed back to London on November 14, knowing that the booking of the three Ed Sullivan Show appearances could very well be the most important appearance he had ever arranged. Operation U.S.A. was definitely off to a good start. And proof of America beginning to take notice of the Beatles was now on the newsstands, with two important news magazines featuring stories on the Beatles in their music sections.

 

Today’s questions cover the week of November 4, 1963.

  1. How much were the Beatles paid for their three 1964 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show?
  2. What magazine was Gloria Stavers the editor of?
  3. What two American magazines ran stories in their music sections on the Beatles in mid-November 1963?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

  1. The Beatles were paid a total of $10,000. The payment for each of the two live shows was $3,500 and the payment for taping additional songs for future broadcast was $3,000.
  2. Gloria Stavers was the editor of 16 magazine. Brian’s meeting with Gloria was very important as the magazine soon gave the Beatles tremendous exposure among female teenagers.
  3. Time and Newsweek magazines each ran stories in their music sections on the Beatles in mid-November 1963.

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES PLAY BEFORE ROYALTY WHILE BRIAN HEADS TO AMERICA

The Beatles started the week of November 4, 1963, with one of their most important concert appearances. The group performed before British royalty at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London as part of the Royal Command Performance (also known as the Royal Variety Performance). The group entertained the elite crowd with “From Me To You,” “She Loves You,” “Till There Was You” and “Twist And Shout.” The show was broadcast on television of November 10.

The next morning, manager Brian Epstein departed London Airport for a visit to New York City to promote another one of his acts and to explore why the Beatles still had not caught on in the States. As Brian headed for the States, the group was interviewed in the back of a car in London for the television program This Week, which was broadcast on November 7. That evening it was back to their tour, with two shows at the Adelphi Cinema in Slough. On Wednesday, they performed at the ABC Cinema in Northampton.

On Thursday the group arrived in Dublin for a concert at the city’s Adelphi Cinema on Middle Abbey Street. Their interview at the airport by reporter Frank Hall was broadcast that evening on the TV show In Town. Alun Owen flew with the group from London and stayed with them for three days, observing the boys and the chaos and lunacy that surrounded them.

On Friday the group was interviewed again, first by reporter Jimmy Robinson for the Ulster News television broadcast that evening, and then by Sally Ogle for the BBC’s competing news program Six Ten. That evening, the Beatles played a concert at the Ritz Cinema in Belfast.

The next day the group headed back to London for a show at the Granada Cinema in East Ham. George Martin gave the group the exciting news that advance orders for their next single, I Want To Hold Your Hand, were expected to pass the one million mark, something that had never happened before in the U.K. Meanwhile, across the pond, New York entertainment attorney Walter Hofer threw a Saturday night cocktail party for Brian, but hardly anyone showed up. Although Brian was disappointed by the lack of interest, he would more than make up for it in few days. The Beatles closed out the week with a concert at the Hippodrome Theatre in Birmingham.

 

Today’s questions cover the week of November 4, 1963.

  1. Who were the most prominent British Royals to see the Beatles at the Royal Command Performance on November 4, 1963?
  2. Prior to the group’s rousing rendition of Twist And Shout, what did John ask the people in the cheaper seats to do?
  3. What did he ask the others to do?
  4. Who was Alun Owen and way did he spend three days with the Beatles?
  5. Who did Brian bring with him to New York City on November 5, 1963?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

  1. The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret. The Queen did not attend.
  2. Prior to the start of Twist And Shout, John quipped, “For our last number I’d like to ask you help. Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands?”
  3. This was followed by his famous line, “And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry.” Brian, who was concerned that John’s remarks were a bit risqué, was relieved when the crowd seemed charmed by John’s cheeky humor. Before the show, John had joked to Brian that he was going to ask the Royals to rattle their “fookin’ jewelry.”
  4. Alun Owen was a screenwriter who was asked to spend a few days observing the Beatles to enable him to write the script for a movie about a few days in the life of the Beatles. The film would, of course, later be named “A Hard Day’s Night.”
  5. Billy J. Kramer, who Brian was trying to develop as a crooner capable of headlining shows in New York and Las Vegas.

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Brian Epstein

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Billy J Kramer

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES WELCOMED BACK FROM TOUR OF SWEDEN

The Beatles continued with their tour of Sweden during the week of October 28, 1963. On Monday, the group appeared at a record store in Boras for a 30-minute record signing. That evening they played a concert in the city at Borashallen. On Tuesday, the group played at the Sporthallen inEskilstuna. Meanwhile, back at Abbey Road Studios, George Martin oversaw the stereo mixing of the songs for the group’s second album. He also determined the running order of the songs and banded the tracks for the album. Martin made a minor tweak to the song Money on the following day. The album With The Beatles was then ready for mastering and manufacturing.

That Wednesday, the Beatles returned to Stockholm to tape an appearance on a Sveriges Television program that featured pop music. The show, which was broadcast on November 3, was taped before a live audience. The Beatles performed She Loves You, Twist And Shout, I Saw Her Standing There and Long Tall Sally. This exciting performance can be seen in excellent quality.

 

On Thursday, October 31, the Beatles flew from Stockholm to London. Thousands of fans were there to greet the band at London Airport, adding to the growing evidence that Beatlemania was going to be around for more than a few weeks.

The Beatles started the month of November with an autumn tour of England. The Beatles were the headline and final act of the 10-act program. The group’s set included I Saw Her Standing There, From Me To You, All My Loving, You Really Got A Hold On Me, Roll Over Beethoven, Boys, Till There Was You, She Loves You, Money and Twist And Shout. By this time the screaming was becoming so loud that those in attendance had trouble hearing the group. Opening night was Friday, November 1, at the Odeon Cinema in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. On Saturday, the tour played the City Hall at Sheffield. On Sunday, there were two shows at the Odeon Cinema in Leeds.

 

Today’s questions cover the conclusion to the Beatles October 1963 tour of Sweden.

  1. What was the name of the Swedish television show on which the Beatles performed four songs on October 30, 1963?
  2. What famous American television personality claimed to have seen the wildly enthusiastic reception given the Beatles upon their return from Sweden on October 31, 1963?
  3. What influential American newspaper ran a short article on the crowd greeting the Beatles upon their return from Sweden in its November 4, 1963 edition?

 

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

  1. The Beatles performed four songs before an enthusiastic audience for the Swedish television show Drop In.
  2. Ed Sullivan claimed to have been at London Airport on October 31, 1963, at the time the Beatles arrived from Sweden. According to the account of the event, over 1,500 youngsters lined the rooftop gardens of the Queen’s Building and others congregated on the ground. Sullivan asked what all the commotion was about and was informed it was the Beatles returning from a tour of Sweden. He replied, “Who the hell are the Beatles?” Sullivan was told that the Beatles were a well known pop group. His curiosity was aroused, but he wasn’t ready to book an unkown-in-America British band at that time.
  3. The New York Times ran a short article on the crowd greeting the Beatles upon their return from Sweden in its November 4, 1963 edition. The article, which drew little notice at the time, stated that the screams of fans drowned out the whine of taxiing jets.

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES BEGIN TOUR OF SWEDEN

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The week of October 21 began with sessions at Abbey Road. On Monday, George Martin supervised a mixing session for the songs recorded the previous week for the Beatles next single. This Boy was edited and mixed for mono, while I Want To Hold Your Hand received both mono and stereo mixes. As the Beatles had the day off, they may have been present at Abbey Road. On Wednesday morning, the Beatles recorded a sixteenth and final take of I Wanna Be Your Man. They then stayed for the mixing session for I Wanna Be Your Man, Little Child and Hold Me Tight. That afternoon, the group flew to Sweden for their first tour outside the U.K. (The band had previously played numerous club dates in Hamburg, Germany, but had not done a tour out of the U.K.)

On Thursday, October 24, the Beatles played a seven-song set before a live audience for broadcast on Swedish radio on November 11. The group performed I Saw Her Standing There, From Me To You, Money, Roll Over Beethoven, You Really Got A Hold On Me, She Loves You and Twist And Shout. The first five performances were later included on Anthology 1.

On Friday, October 25, Robert Freeman photographed the group standing on a wall beside the Stadshuset (Town Hall) in Stockholm. The picture would later be used for the Long Tall Sally EP (shown above). For the Swedish tour, the Beatles opened their concerts with Long Tall Sally, followed by Please Please Me, I Saw Her Standing There, From Me To You, A Taste Of Honey, Chains, Boys, She Loves You and Twist And Shout. That evening, the group played two evening concerts at a school in Karlstad. On Saturday, the Beatles played two shows in Stockholm. Although they were second on the bill to an act from America, the crowd treated the Beatles as if they were the headliners.  On Sunday, the band performed three shows in Gothenburg.

Today’s questions cover the American band that received top billing over the Beatles for their October 26 concert in Sweden.

  1. What American band received top billing over the Beatles for their October 26, 1963 concert in Sweden?
  2. What was the big hit recorded by the band referred to in question 1, above?
  3. When and where did the Beatles see the band referred to in question 1, above, perform again?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

  1. Joey Dee & the Starliters.
  2. Joey Dee & the Starliters had a number one hit with The Peppermint Twist in early 1962.
  3. After their triumphant February 9, 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, the Beatles headed out for a night on the town, which included a visit to the Peppermint Lounge, which was the inspiration for the song The Peppermint Twist. One of the acts performing that evening was Joey Dee & the Starliters.

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES RECORD “I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND”

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Following their triumphant appearance on Val Parnell’s Sunday Night At The London Palladium, the Beatles began the week of October 14, 1963, with a well-deserved day off. On Tuesday, it was back to work with a concert at Floral Hall in Southport.

On Wednesday, the group went to the Playhouse Theatre in London to perform songs for broadcast on the October 20 edition of the BBC radio program East Beat. The group ran through I Saw Her Standing There and all four of the A-sides to their previously released singles, Love Me Do, Please Please Me, From Me To You and She Loves You. They were also interviewed by Peter Woods about their invitation to perform at the Royal Variety Show on November 4. The interview was broadcast on the BBC program Radio Newsreel.

On October 17, the Beatles went to Abbey Road Studios to record the songs for their next single, I Want To Hold Your Hand and This Boy. John and Paul wrote I Want To Hold Your Hand on piano in the cellar of the Asher residence on Wimpole Street in London. This would be one of the last times that the pair wrote an entire song together. Future songs would be written primarily by one individual with the other making suggestions and contributions of varying degrees. The song was recorded in 17 takes, with John on his Rickenbacker Capri, George on his Gretsch Country Gentleman, Paul on his Hofner bass and Ringo on drums. It would become the A-side of Capitol’s first Beatles single, leading to the explosion of  Beatlemania in America. The exquisite ballad This Boy was recorded in 15 takes. The group also attempted a re-make of a cover song and recorded the dialog for their first Christmas record, which was distributed to the members of the Official Beatles Fan Club each holiday season.

The Beatles started the weekend with an appearance on the television program Scene At 6:30, originating from the Granada TV Center in Manchester. The group played a Saturday night concert at the Pavilion Gardens Ballroom in Buxton.

On the afternoon of Sunday, October 20, the Beatles taped an appearance for broadcast on the October 26 edition of ABC Television’s Thank Your Lucky Stars. The group lip-synced three songs, All My Loving, Money and She Loves You. The show was a coup for all involved, including the fans. Most acts were only allowed to perform only one song on the show, although some were given the privilege of miming two songs. Three was unheard of. The first two songs, scheduled to appear on the Beatles next LP, made their public debut nearly a full month ahead of the album’s November 23 release.

Today’s questions cover the Beatles October 17, 1963 recording session.

  1. What was the significant change that took place on October 17, 1963, regarding how the Beatles songs were recorded?
  2. What cover song did the Beatles attempt a re-make of during their October 17, 1963, session at Abbey Road?
  3. Who came up with the concept and wrote the initial scripts for the Beatles Christmas discs?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

  1. The Beatles October 17, 1963, recording session marked the first time the group recorded on a four-track recorder. This significantly expanded what the group could do in the studio, giving them more flexibility and allowing for multiple overdubs. It also made it possible for the engineers to provide a balanced stereo mix that avoided the “vocals on one track and music on the other track” mixes that were made when the group recorded on two-track machines.
  2. The Beatles attempted a re-make of You Really Got A Hold On Me on Abbey Road’s four-track recorder during their October 17, 1963 session. Apparently they were unable to capture the magic of their earlier July 18, 1963, recording of the song. That version was the first song recorded for With The Beatles.
  3. Tony Barrow came up with the concept for the Beatles Christmas records that were distributed to members of the Official Beatles Fan Club during each holiday season. He also wrote the script for the first few Christmas records

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50 Years Ago: BEATLEMANIA IS BORN

The Beatles began the week of October 7, 1963 with a Monday night concert at Caird Hall in Dundee, Scotland. By this time, Brian had eased up at bit, giving the boys some time off in between concerts, radio and television appearances and recording sessions.

After traveling back from Scotland on Tuesday, the group enjoyed an evening off. On Wednesday, they headed to London to perform She Loves You before a live audience at the BBC’s Paris Studio as part of a taping for The Ken Dodd Show, a 30-minute radio program featuring the popular Liverpool comedian. The show with the Beatles was broadcast on the afternoon on November 3.

After another day off, the group played a Friday night show at the Ballroom in Trentham, Staffordshire.

On Sunday, October 13, 1963, the Beatles were featured on the top-rated entertainment program on British television.

The show was broadcast live throughout the U.K. on Sunday evenings from a London theatre. The hour-long show was the British equivalent of The Ed Sullivan Show in America.

The group’s performance of From Me To You, I’ll Get You, She Loves You and Twist And Shout was seen by 15 million viewers, giving the Beatles tremendous national exposure to an audience of both youngsters and adults. But as impressive as the band was on stage, it was the bedlam caused by the group both inside and outside the theater that caught the attention of the British press, who quickly elevated the Beatles from a successful entertainment act to a national news phenomenon. One paper heralded the coming of “Beatle Fever!,” while another described the mass hysteria as “Beatlemania!” The latter term became part of the British vocabulary and would soon be heard throughout the world.

Today’s questions cover the Beatles October 13, 1963 television appearance.

  1. What was the name of the Sunday night show in which the Beatles made their debut on October 13, 1963?
  2. What British newspaper coined the phrase Beatlemania?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

1.      The Beatles October 13, 1963 appearance on Val Parnell’s Sunday Night At The London Palladium and the ensuing press coverage was the official launch of Beatlemania in the U.K. Its impact was similar to that of the Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in America.

2.      The term “Beatlemania” was coined by the Daily Mirror.

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES RETURN FROM VACATION

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The Beatles began the month of October 1963 fresh from their two-weeks plus vacations. On the morning of Thursday, October 3, John, Paul and Ringo were back at Abbey Road to embellish a pair of songs destined for their second album, With The Beatles. Ringo overdubbed a new vocal onto his contribution for the album, I Wanna Be Your Man, while John and Paul overdubbed vocals onto Little Child. That afternoon, all four Beatles were interviewed at Brian Epstein’s London NEMS offices for the BBC radio program The Public Ear. Their interview was broadcast on November 3 as part of a 12-minute segment on the Beatles and the Merseyside sound.

On Friday, October 4, the group made its first appearance on an ITV television show that was normally broadcast live on Friday nights. The program featured musical acts miming their songs in front of or surrounded by a dancing audience of hip London youngsters. For their debut on this legendary show, the Beatles performed Twist And Shout and both sides of their current hit single, I’ll Get You and She Loves You. Although I’ll Get You had harmonica, John did not bother to pretend he was playing the instrument, thus making it obvious that the group was lip-syncing their way through the songs.

On Saturday, the Beatles played the Concert Hall in Glasgow, Scotland. On Sunday, the group played two separate shows at the Carlton Theatre in Sinclairtown, Scotland.

Today’s questions cover the Beatles television appearance broadcast live on Friday, October 4, 1963.

1.    What was the name of the legendary ITV Friday night music program in which the Beatles made their debut on October 4, 1963?
2.    What British female singer interviewed the Beatles on the show?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

  1. Ready, Steady, Go! The popular show’s tag line was “The Weekend Starts Here!”
  2. Dusty Springfield. Click here to see their first performance on Ready, Steady, Go!

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50 Years Ago: GEORGE BECOMES FIRST BEATLE TO PERFORM IN AMERICA

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The Beatles continued their vacations during the week of September 23, 1963. While Paul and Ringo were in Greece and John was in Paris, George continued his adventures as the first Beatle to set foot on American shore. While visiting his sister, Louise “Lou” Caldwell, in Benton, Illinois, George was interviewed on radio station WFRX by 17-year old Marcia Shafer, whose father owned the station. This made George the first Beatles to be interviewed by an American disc jockey. He also went to a double feature at a drive-in theater, seeing The Nutty Professor with Jerry Lewis and Wonderful To Be Young with British singer Cliff Richard. Another first for a Beatle.

George had some musical adventures as well. He purchased over 20 albums, including one by James Ray. He bought a new guitar. George also spent time with a fellow musician, Gabe McCarty, who played in a local band. McCarty, whose last name was similar to fellow Beatle Paul McCartney’s last name, played left-handed bass, just like Paul. On Saturday, September 28, George went to see Gabe’s band perform at the VFW (“Veterans of Foreign War”) Hall in Eldorado. After the first set, George was invited to join the group on stage for its second set. Although no one remembers exactly what songs were played, those present remember him leading the band through Hank Williams’ Your Cheatin’ Heart and rockers from the Beatles repertoire such as Chuck Berry’s Roll Over Beethoven and Johnny B. Goode and Carl Perkins’ Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby and Matchbox.

According to Lou, “You could feel the electricity in the room the moment George began to play,” causing Lou to think, “If one Beatle can cause that much excitement, imagine what it must be like with all four.” One person at the club told Gabe, “That new kids that’s trying out for your band—you’d be crazy if you don’t take him on.” Another told George, “You know, son, with the right kind of backing, you could go places.”

Today’s questions cover George’s “reconnaissance mission” to America.

  1. What song on the James Ray album purchased by George in America in September 1963 would later become his last top twenty hit?
  2. What type of guitar did George buy during his trip to America in September 1963?
  3. What was the name of the band that George played with during his trip to America in September 1963?
  4. What song did George sing lead on during both of his first two visits to America?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

  1. George purchased the James Ray album If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody, which contained the song Got My Mind Set On You. George got a surprise number one hit in 1988 with his rendition of Got My Mind Set On You.
  2. George purchased a Rickenbacker 425 electric guitar from Fenton Music Store in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. The guitar was fire glow red, but George had it sanded down and refinished black.
  3. George played with the Four Vests during his trip to America in September 1963. A picture of the group performing in 1963 is shown below. Gabe McCarty is at left playing bass.
  4. George sang lead on Roll Over Beethoven with the Four Vests during his first trip to America in September 1963 and with the Beatles during his second trip to America in February 1964. In fact, the Beatles opened their first U.S. concert with the song.

bac-49-four-vests-group-pic

 

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50 Years Ago: “SHE LOVES YOU” RELEASED IN AMERICA WHILE BEATLES ON VACATION

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On September 16, 1963, the Beatles were finally given a break in their schedule, allowing the members of the group to have some vacation time. As they headed off on holiday, their latest single, She Loves You, was finally getting its American release. The disc was issued by Swan Records, a small independent label out of Philadelphia, on or about September 16, 1963. The record ended up on Swan after a series of events that would seem quite strange knowing what we know now.

Although Vee-Jay’s licensing agreement with EMI’s Transglobal subsidiary gave the company a right of first refusal for all Beatles masters through January 9, 1968, EMI unilaterally terminated the agreement after Vee-Jay failed to account for or send royalties on the sales of the Please Please Me and From Me To You singles. The amount owed on the two discs was later determined to be $859. Next, Capitol Records, which was owned by EMI, was given the option to release She Loves You. Incredibly, the label decided to pass on the record. After a few other major labels also turned down the opportunity to issue the Beatles latest U.K. chart-topping single, a licensing agreement was reached with Swan.

The She Loves You single on Swan went virtually unnoticed upon its initial release. Philadelphia radio station WIBG may have given the disc a few courtesy spins, listing the single at number 81 in its September 23, 1963 survey. It would be nearly two months before the record charted again in a local American market and two more months before the single reached the national charts (by which time the single had been reissued in an attractive picture sleeve).

 

Today’s questions cover the Beatles on holiday and the initial release of She Loves You on Swan.

  1. Which Beatle traveled to the United States during his September 1963 vacation and who did he visit?
  2. Which other Beatle originally planned to travel with him to America in September 1963?
  3. Which Beatle or Beatles went on vacation in Greece in September 1963?
  4. Which Beatle or Beatles went on vacation in Paris in September 1963?
  5. What famous American television host had a connection to Swan Records?
  6. Why were the words “Don’t Drop Out” placed on the label to Swan’s She Loves You?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

  1. George traveled to the United States in September 1963 to visit his sister, Louise “Lou” Caldwell, who at the time was living in Benton, Illinois. Their brother Peter traveled with George.
  2. George’s sister claims that Ringo had originally planned to travel with George to America.
  3. Paul and Ringo went on vacation in Greece in September 1963.
  4. John, along with his wife Cynthia, traveled to Paris, where they were met by Brian Epstein.
  5. Dick Clark, host of American Bandstand, was one of the original owners of Swan Records. Although he was later forced by his employer to give up his interest in the company, Clark remained friends with the other owners.
  6. Would you believe that the words “Don’t Drop Out” were a warning to consumers to not to let the breakable vinyl record drop out of its protective sleeve and hit the floor? Or do you think the words were to encourage disc jockeys to keep playing the record so that it would not drop out of the charts? Actually, the words were added as Swan’s contribution to the national campaign encouraging high school students to remain in school and graduate.

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES RECORD SONGS FOR SECOND ALBUM

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After enjoying two days off on Monday and Tuesday, the Beatles spent the afternoon and evening of September 11, 1963, recording additional songs for their second album. The group began work on I Wanna Be Your Man, Little Child and Don’t Bother Me, and completed All I’ve Got To Do and Not A Second Time. The following day, the band continued work on Little Child, I Wanna Be Your Man and Don’t Bother Me (which was actually a re-make of the previous day’s version). In addition the group returned to a song previously attempted for their first album.

On Friday the Thirteenth, the group played at the public hall in Preston. The next evening they gave a concert at Memorial Hall in Northwich. On Sunday, September 15, the Beatles headlined a 12-act afternoon show at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The following day, the group started a well-earned vacation that would last past the end of the month.

 

Today’s trivia questions pertain to group’s activities during the week of September 9, 1963.

1.         What song, first attempted for the Beatles first album, was resurrected and recorded for a second time for their second album? [Hint: The answer is not Not A Second Time.]

2.         Of the acts appearing with the Beatles at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday, September 15, 1963, which one would record a Lennon-McCartney song three weeks later on October 7, 1963?

3.         What was the song recorded by the act referred to in the above question?

 

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

1.         Hold Me Tight was first attempted during the Please Please Me sessions. A re-make of the song was recorded for With The Beatles.

2.         The Rolling Stones appeared with the Beatles at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday, September 15, 1963. The band would record a Lennon-McCartney song three weeks later on October 7, 1963.

3.         The Lennon-McCartney song recorded by the Rolling Stones was I Wanna Be Your Man, which John and Paul gave to the Stones on September 10, 1963, the day before they gave the song to Ringo for his vocal on the second album. The Rolling Stones version came out first, being issued as a single on November 1, 1963. Ringo’s version would later appear on With The Beatles, which was released on November 22, 1963.

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES TAPE FOUR MORE SHOWS FOR BBC

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The Beatles started the month of September 1963 by recording the final three installments of their BBC radio program Pop Go The Beatles. After having Monday off, the group spent Tuesday, September 3, at the Studio Two of the BBC’s Aeolian Hall.

For the first program, set for broadcast on September 10, the group recorded both sides of their new single, She Loves You and I’ll Get You, plus Too Much Monkey Business, Till There Was You, Love Me Do and The Hippy Hippy Shake. The actual broadcast of the show also included A Taste Of Honey, which would be recorded later that day for inclusion in next edition of the program.

For the September 17 show, the group recorded Chains, You Really Got A Hold On Me, Misery, Lucille, From Me To You, Boys and A Taste of Honey (with the last song being broadcast in the September 10 show).

The songs for the September 24 show included She Loves You, Ask Me Why, Devil In Her Heart, I Saw Her Standing There, Sure To Fall (In Love With You) and Twist And Shout.

On Wednesday, the Beatles performed at the Gaumont Cinema in Worcester. The next evening they gave a concert at the Gaumont Cinema in Taunton. The group started the weekend with a Friday night show at the Odeon Theatre in Luton, Bedfordshire.

On Saturday, September 7, the group dropped by the Playhouse Theatre in London to record songs for the fifth year anniversary special edition of the BBC radio program Saturday Club. The Beatles recorded both sides of their current single, She Loves You and I’ll Get You, plus I Saw Her Standing There, Memphis Tennessee, and Lucille. They also knocked off Happy Birthday Saturday Club for the occasion. The program was broadcast on October 5. Afterwards, Paul was interviewed for the BBC program A World Of Sound, which aired on November 21.

The Beatles finished the week with a Saturday evening concert at Fairfield Hall in Croydon and a Sunday night show at the ABC Theatre in Blackpool (their third Sunday night concert at the venue in one month’s time).

 

Today’s trivia questions pertain to the BBC radio shows recorded during the week of September 2, 1963.

1.         On whose recording of Lucille was the Beatles BBC version based?

2.         What artist did the BBC announcer attribute the song Lucille to?

3.         What songs recorded for the BBC that week would later appear on the Beatles next album?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

1.         The Beatles performance of Lucille was based on the original version recorded by Little Richard.

2.         The BBC announcer attributed Lucille to the Everly Brothers, who had a current U.K. hit with their cover version of the song.

3.         Till There Was You, You Really Got A Hold On Me and Devil In Her Heart would be included on the Beatles next album, With The Beatles.

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES IN SOUTHPORT AND SUBJECT OF BBC DOCUMENTARY

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The Beatles spent the week of Monday, August 26, through Saturday, August 31, 1963, performing at the Odeon Cinema in Southport. It marked the third week in a row where the Beatles were the featured band at a cinema performing two shows each night for separate audiences. The group’s set consisted of Roll Over Beethoven, Thank You Girl, Chains, A Taste Of Honey, She Loves You, Baby It’s You, From Me To You, Boys, I Saw Her Standing There and Twist And Shout. In typical Beatles fashion, their days were not spent sleeping late and goofing off.

During the same week, the Beatles were filmed as the featured act in a documentary for BBC television titled The Mersey Sound. The BBC captured footage of the enthusiastic audience attending the band’s Monday night concerts. This was intercut with film of Beatles performing Twist And Shout and She Loves You, shot Tuesday morning without an audience at the Little Theatre in Southport. The following morning they were interviewed by the BBC in Manchester. Film of the boys applying makeup was shot as a lead into the concert footage. On Thursday, they were filmed on the ferry cross the Mersey, signing autographs and looking out to sea, and at the Liverpool Airport, walking downs the steps of an airplane. On Friday morning, the BBC filmed the boys in Liverpool. Ringo was seen exiting his home at 10 Admiral Grove and getting into George’s convertible sports car. Another seen involved Ringo walking through a women’s hair salon, a reference to his often-stated career objective of owning a chain of hair salons. The program was first broadcast on October 9, 1963.

After wrapping up their Southport concerts and their participation in the BBC documentary, the Beatles spent Sunday at ABC’s Manchester studios taping lip-synced performances of From Me To You, She Loves You and Twist And Shout for the television show Big Night Out. The program was broadcast on Saturday, September 7, 1963.

Today’s trivia questions pertain to the BBC documentary The Mersey Sound.

1.         On what program did footage taken from the BBC documentary The Mersey Sound first appear on American television?

2.         What was the song performed by the Beatles on the program referred to in the above question?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

1.         Footage taken from the BBC documentary The Mersey Sound first appeared on The Jack Paar Show on January 3, 1964. This preceded the group’s live appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show by over a month.

2.         The Beatles were shown performing She Loves You.

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES IN BOURNEMOUTH, SHE LOVES YOU RELEASED

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The Beatles spent the week of Monday, August 19, through Saturday, August 24, 1963, performing at the Gaumont Cinema in Bournemouth, Hants.  As was the case with the previous week’s concerts, the Beatles performed two shows each night for separate audiences. On Wednesday, the Beatles may have traveled to Abbey Road Studios in London to observe part of the mixing session for the songs recorded for their second album. On Thursday, the Beatles traveled to Southampton to tape a lip-sync of “She Loves You” for the Southern Television program Day By Day, which was broadcast later that evening at 5:55 PM.

The broadcast of She Loves You on Southern Television was good timing as the singles was set for release the next day on August 23, 1963. The Beatles got additional television exposure on the Saturday broadcast of ABC Television’s Luck Stars (Summer Spin), which showed the group miming both “She Loves You” and the B-side “I’ll Get You.” The show, which had been taped on August 18, was shown at 6:05 PM. During the day, Beatles fans got to hear the Beatles perform both sides of the new single plus four more songs on the BBC radio program Saturday Club, which was broadcast from 10:00 AM to 12:00 noon. (The group had recorded the songs for that program on July 30.)

The Beatles closed the week with a Sunday, August 25, 1963, concert at ABC Theatre in Blackpool.

Today’s trivia questions cover an important photograph taken during the Beatles stay in Bournemouth during the week of August 19, 1963.

1.         What important photograph of the Beatles was taken during the group’s stay in Bournemouth during the week of August 19, 1963? [Hint: The picture has been with the Beatles for 50 years now!]

2.         Who was the photographer who took the picture?

3.         On what U.K. records issued in 1963 and 1964 was the picture used?

4.         On what U.S. records issued in 1964 was the picture used?

5.         At what hotel was the picture taken?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

1.         The photo that would be used for the cover of the group’s second U.K. album, “With The Beatles,” was taken during the group’s stay in Bournemouth during the week of August 19, 1963.

2.         The iconic black and white photograph was taken by Robert Freeman.

3.         In the U.K., the photo was used on the cover of the “With The Beatles” LP and the “All My Loving” EP.

4.         In the U.S., the photo was used on the cover of Capitol’s “Meet The Beatles!” album. It was also used on the cover to the Capitol compact 33 juke box disc of the same album and on the sleeve of the first Beatles open-end interview disc issued by Capitol.

5.         The picture was taken at the Beatles hotel, the Palace Court.

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES IN WALES; SHE LOVES YOU READY TO GO

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The Beatles spent the week of Monday, August 12, through Saturday, August 17, 1963, performing concerts in Wales. The performances took place at the Odeon Cinema in Llandudno, Caernarvonshire, where the Beatles gave two shows each night for separate audiences. During mid-week, the group traveled to Manchester on Wednesday, August 14, to tape two songs for the Granada TV show Scene At 6:30. The group’s rendition of Twist And Shout was broadcast that evening. The Beatles performance of their soon-to-be-released single, She Loves You, was shown on August 19.

Sunday, August 18, was no day of rest. The group traveled from Wales to Birmingham to lip-sync both sides of the new single, She Loves You and I’ll Get You, for the Saturday evening, August 24 edition of the ABC Television show Lucky Stars (Summer Spin). This was the perfect promotion for the single, which was set for release the day before on Friday, August 23. On Sunday evening, the Beatles played two evening concerts at the Princess Theatre in Torquay, Devonshire.

While the Beatles were in Wales, EMI was preparing the She Loves You single for release on Parlophone R 5055. The company’s marketing manager recommended an advance production run of 350,000 units, which was well above even the most optimistic forecasts of the day. Managing director Len Wood balked at the number, but reluctantly agreed to 250,000.

Today’s trivia questions are about the advance orders and sales of She Loves You in the U.K.

  1. What was the total of advance orders for She Loves You? (A) 225,000 units  (B) 375,000 units (C) 500,000 units  (D) 800,000 units
  2. How many copies of She Loves You had been shipped by the end of 1963?  (A) 900,000 units  (B) 1,300,000 units  (C) 1,500,000 units (D)  1,750,000 units
  3. How many copies of She Loves You were sold in the U.K.?  (A) 1,270,000 units  (B) 1,550,000 units (C) 1,890,000 units (D) 2,125,000 units

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

  1. C. She Loves You had advance orders of 500,000 units.
  2. B. EMI shipped 1,300,000 units of She Loves You by the end of 1963.
  3. C. Total U.K. sales of She Loves You are estimated at 1,890,000 units.

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