Tag Archives: Chris Montez

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50 Years Ago: Beatles Conclude Roe/Montez Tour

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The Beatles continued their participation in the Tommy Roe & Chris Montez tour during the final week of March 1963. After a rare day off for the Beatles, they resumed with their tour performances on Tuesday, March 26, at the Granada Cinema in Mansfield. This was followed by a Wednesday night show at the ABC Cinema in Northampton and a Thursday evening show at the ABC Cinema in Exeter, Devonshire.  On Friday night, the tour was at the Odeon Cinema in London. Saturday night’s show was at the Guildhall in Portsmith, Hampshire. The final tour performance was on Sunday, March 31, at De Montfort Hall in Leicester, Leicestershire.

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Towards the end of the tour, Beatles manager Brian Epstein gave Tommy Roe a copy of the Beatles Please Please Me album and a Beatles press kit. According to Roe, he brought the items back with him to the States and presented them to executives at his American record company in New York. After Roe said favorable things about the group, one of the executives placed the album on the turntable to give it a listen. About a minute later, he lifted the needle, removed the disc from the turntable and tossed it across the room. He told Roe to stick to singing and let them be the judge of talent.

While those executives undoubtedly later regretted the day that doubted Tommy Roe’s ability to pick an up and coming band, it probably would not have mattered because Vee-Jay Records had a right of first refusal for all Beatles releases under the terms of its licensing agreement with EMI. Still, the story provides another example of an American record company failing to recognize the incredible talent of the Beatles.

Today’s trivia question relates to the above story.

What was the name of Tommy Roe’s record company that thought the Beatles had no potential in the States?

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Tommy Roe was with ABC-Paramount Records, just one of many American record companies that failed to see the Beatles talent.

 

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50 Years Ago: First Beatles Album Released

First Beatles Album Released on March 22, 1963, during Roe/Montez Tour

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The Beatles continued their participation in the Tommy Roe & Chris Montez tour during the week of March 18, 1963. It started with a pair of regal performances: a Monday night show at the Regal Cinema in Gloucester and a Tuesday night show at the Regal Cinema in Cambridge. Next, it was easy as A, B, C, with the tour hitting the ABC Cinema in Romford, Essex on Wednesday and the ABC Cinema in West Croydon, Surrey on Thursday. The Beatles managed to sneak in a recording session at the BBC’s Picadilly Studios on Thursday afternoon, performing three songs for March 28, 1963, broadcast on the radio program On The Scene. The group performed their hit single Please Please Me, as well as two songs from their debut album, which was set for release on Friday, March 22. (The ad below is from the tour program. Notice that the layout of the text on the album cover had been completed, but EMI’s art department had yet to select a font for the text.)

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On the day their first album went on sale, the Beatles performed an evening show at the Gaumont Cinema in Doncaster. On Saturday, the tour played City Hall in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northcumberland. The following day, the Beatles were at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool, their first performance in Liverpool in over a month.

Meanwhile, across the pond, the Please Please Me single had run its course on Chicago’s WLS, peaking at number 35 the previous week, its final week on the chart. The single received air play for about a month. Program directors in a few other markets would chose to play the single in April.

Today’s trivia questions pertain to the Beatles March 21, 1963, recording session for the BBC, which was used to promote songs from their upcoming album.

  1. In addition to their hit single Please Please Me, what two songs did the Beatles record for the BBC on March 21, 1963, to promote their debut album? Hint: The two songs were the first Lennon-McCartney songs to be recorded by other artists.
  2. Who were the recording artists who recorded the songs referred to above?
  3. How did these cover versions do on the U.K. charts?

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  1. In addition to Please Please Me, the Beatles recorded Misery and Do You Want To Know A Secret.
  2. Misery was recorded by Kenny Lynch, a black British singer who became the first non-Beatle to record a Lennon-McCartney song. Do You Want To Know A Secret was recorded by Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas.
  3. Misery, which was released as a single on the same day as the Beatles first album on March 22, 1963, failed to chart. Do You Want To Know A Secret was recorded at Abbey Road Studios the day before the album’s release, with George Martin serving as producer. Kramer’s single peaked at number two, unable to get by the Beatles From Me To You.

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50 Years Ago: Beatles on Tour with Tommy Roe & Chris Montez

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Before resuming their participation in the Tommy Roe & Chris Montez tour, the Beatles spent Monday, March 11, 1963, at EMI House in London. The group taped conversation for the EMI Friday Spectacular program, which was broadcast on Radio Luxembourg the following Friday evening. Both sides of their current hit single, Please Please Me and Ask Me Why, were played on the show off the 45 RPM disc. Because the BBC was not allowed to play records on a regular basis, the show provided an opportunity for EMI to get its records heard on the radio.

On Tuesday, March 12, 1963, the Roe/Montez tour resumed with a show at the Granada Cinema in Bedford. On Wednesday, group dropped by Abbey Road Studios in London so that John could overdub harmonica on the B-side of the Beatles next single, Thank You Girl, which had been recorded the week before. That evening, they played a tour concert at the Rialto Theatre in York. The next night the tour was at the Gaumont Cinema in Wolverhampton. For all three of the shows described above, one of the Beatles was too sick to participate, forcing the band perform as a three-piece unit. (No, they were not billed as the “Threetles” for those shows and were not referred to as a “power trio.”) On Friday evening, the Beatles were once again at full strength for two tour shows performed at Colston Hall in Bristol.

On Saturday, March 16, the Beatles performed live on the BBC radio show Saturday Club, which was broadcast from the BBC’s London headquarters from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The band performed six songs, I Saw Her Standing There, Misery, Too Much Monkey Business, I’m Talking About You, Please Please Me and The Hippy Hippy Shake. The afternoon was spent traveling 158 miles to Sheffield for evening tour shows at City Hall. The weekend concluded with a tour appearance on Sunday at the Embassy Cinema in Peterborough.

At the time the Roe/Montez tour was booked, the Beatles were relatively unknown outside of the Liverpool area. But now, with Please Please Me having topped most of the British charts, the Beatles were becoming an increasing important part of the package tour.

Today’s trivia questions pertain to the Tommy Roe & Chris Montez Tour and the group’s March 16, 1963, Saturday Club BBC radio appearance, during which the group performed I Saw Her Standing There, Misery, Too Much Monkey Business, I’m Talking About You, Please Please Me and The Hippy Hippy Shake.

  1. What was Tommy Roe’s big hit single that earned him top billing on his 1963 U.K. package tour?
  2. What was Chris Montez’s big hit single that earned him second billing on his 1963 U.K. package tour?
  3. Which Beatle missed three nights of concerts on the Tommy Roe & Chris Montez Tour due to a severe sore throat?
  4. What two songs performed by the Beatles on the March 16, 1963, Saturday Club had Paul playing similar bass parts?

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  1. Tommy Roe’s big 1962 hit was Sheila. The Beatles were attracted to the song by its strong Bubby Holly influence (think Peggy Sue). Although the Beatles obviously did not play Sheila on the Tommy Roe tour, the group did play the song at some of their earlier club appearances.
  2. Chris Montez was best known, and perhaps only known, for his monster hit Let’s Dance.
  3. John missed three nights of concerts on the Roe/Montez tour with a sore throat. This required a few of the group’s songs to be rearranged and for George to handle more vocal duty.
  4. The bass part from Chuck Berry’s I’m Talking About You influenced Paul’s playing on I Saw Her Standing There.

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