Fringe Box

Socialize

Twitter

Night The Beatles Made Their Audience Go Wild At Guildford Odeon

Published on: 21 Jun, 2013
Updated on: 21 Jun, 2013

By David Rose

Fifty years ago today (Friday, June 21) the Beatles made their one and only visit to play in Guildford.

The venue was the Odeon cinema in Epsom Road and the Fab Four were topping the bill as part of the Jimmy Crawford Package Show, which was touring the UK that summer featuring a host of beat groups.

000862 - The Beatles Concert Poster Odeon Guilford 21st June 196

Beatles concert poster from their appearance at Guildford Odeon on June 21, 1963. Picture: Tracks Ltd.

Beatlemania was sweeping the country and all the screaming and shouting by young fans was just as loud in Guildford as it was elsewhere on the tour.

The Fab Four: Picture from Beatles writer Martin Creasy's website. His book Beatle Mania – The Real Story of the Beatles UK Tours is a great read. It can be ordered via Amazon or check out Martin's website, see link at foot of page.

The Fab Four: Picture from Beatles writer Martin Creasy’s website. His book Beatlemania! – The Real Story of the Beatles UK Tours is a great read. It can be ordered via Amazon or check out Martin’s website, see link at foot of page.

In fact, the noise being made by the fans was so loud that at the end of the performance the management at the Odeon played the recording of the National Anthem over the PA system very loud, in an attempt to calm them all down before they left the auditorium!

Previous research by me some years ago revealed that after the concert scores of fans stood outside the Odeon, some banging on the lavatory windows hoping that John, Paul, George and Ringo would hear them and come outside to sign autographs. Unfortunately, they didn’t (as far as I know).

The Beatles and the other artists on the tour (Jimmy Crawford, Lance Fortune, the Hayseeds, the Vampires, Rockin’ Henri, the Messengers, the Vikings with Michael London), played two shows that day – at 6.15pm and 8.30pm.  The compere was Vic Sutcliffe, but how many of the others on the bill are remembered today?

Before the concert there was a long queue of fans stretching up Jenner Road and into Sydenham Road behind the Odeon. It’s a safe bet that they had only come to see one band! Evidently, some girls tried to get into the Beatles’ dressing room, climbing over a high wall. Someone fell, landing on a pile of coal and injuring their leg. Others tried to force their way in through the stage door.

It has been said a precedent was set that night. Screaming, while bands played, had not been the done thing before, but it was from then on, and security inside the Odeon, that often featured live music at the time, became much tighter.

The Odeon cinema when it was 'at the top of the town'.

The Odeon cinema when it was ‘at the top of the town’.

Tracks Ltd, a firm that leads the way in Beatles and rock ‘n’roll memorabilia, reports that interest in concert tickets, posters, signed photographs, personal possessions, magazines, lyrics, and so on, are as popular as ever with collectors.

It invites people to make contact. It says its service is an opportunity for people to have an item of memorabilia that they own appraised. Sometimes people want to know the history of the items they have had stored in their attics for the last 30 or 40 years. What is it? Where was it made? How many were made? Is it real or fake? And most important of all… what is it worth?

The last five years has seen a significant increase in the price of Beatles memorabilia. Tracks Ltd says that although the rise doesn’t apply to all types of Beatles items, there has been a substantial increase in the value of specific types of Fab Four ephemera, mostly notably signatures, concert posters, some novelty items and certain albums. Most of the items in these categories have doubled in value in the past five years.

A Beatles concert poster from Guildford in decent condition could now bring £4,000 to £5,000, compared with £2,000 five years ago, a small ticket stub £50, a larger, more elaborate one such as those that were issued in 1962 or early 1963 would bring around £150 (more than triple this if it were complete). Beatles programmes bring between £25 and £35, with handbills realising between £300 and £500.

If you have any of these items and would like a free valuation, call Tracks Ltd, PO Box 117, Chorley, Lancashire PR6 0QR. Tel: 01257 269726. Email: sales@tracks.co.uk

Flyer featuring the Ricky Tick Club, one of its venues being the Wooden Bridge, and dates there played by the Rolling Stones. Picture: Tracks Ltd.

Flyer featuring the Ricky Tick Club, one of its venues being the Wooden Bridge, and dates there played by the Rolling Stones. Picture: Tracks Ltd.

Hot on the heels of the Beatles in 1963, were the Rolling Stones. August 2 and 23 of that year saw them play at the Wooden Bridge in Guildford. This is another topic that I have previously spoken to people about. I am always keen to hear from others who saw either the Beatles or the Stones in Guildford, or any of the bands at the time who went on to become well known. Email me at drosedragon@gmail.com or call me on 01483 838960.

Alternatively, why not leave a message in the reply box below.

Hand-decorated shirt said to have been owned by George Harrison.

Hand-decorated shirt said to have been owned by George Harrison.

And finally, another piece of Beatles memorabilia that belongs to a collector friend of mine. It is a hand-decorated shirt once owned by George Harrison. The provenance is that George gave it to his housekeeper when he lived at St George’s Hill in Weybridge. She was my friend’s neighbour in Molesey and many years ago gave the shirt to him as a present. The shirt appears to have been designed for stage wear as the buttons are in fact quick release poppers. It is understood that the shirt was ‘painted’ at the time the Beatles hooked up with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who became their spiritual leader or guru, in 1967-68. It has George’s name handwritten in the label.

My friend says it is rather valuable. A ‘meal Ticket To Ride’ perhaps? Or no truth in the saying ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’!

Click here for Beatles’ writer Martin Creasy’s website.

Label in the shirt with George Harrison's name written in ink.

Label in the shirt with George Harrison’s name written in ink.

 

Share This Post

test 2 Responses to Night The Beatles Made Their Audience Go Wild At Guildford Odeon

  1. Martin Creasy Reply

    June 22, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    What a cracking piece on the anniversary of The Beatles’ Guildford gig.

    My God, 50 years. Where does the time go? Reading it brought back memories of researching my Beatlemania book. They developed a tactic by their autumn 1963 tour of disappearing rapidly through a side door into their waiting car while the National Anthem was played.

    The idea was that at least some of the girls would stand respectfully – but of course, not many did. It’s interesting that they were already employing that tactic in June 1963.

    They had not long finished a May/June UK tour with Roy Orbison and Gerry and the Pacemakers and the evidence seemed to be that by the end of the tour they were already being overwhelmed by the screaming and the chasing girls.

  2. Martin Suchecki Reply

    December 1, 2020 at 6:14 am

    I was there on the night. I keep telling people I saw the Beatles in Guildford in 1963, but I now live in South Africa and I don’t think many believe me. My mother took me to the show to see “a famous group”. I had no idea who the Beatles were or that they would be so famous.

    All I could remember were the women screaming wildly, and I am sure I saw some underwear being waved above their heads, nothing else really appealed to me. I preferred going to the Guildford station and seeing the locomotives (little boy thing).

    But I have been a music lover all my life and now cherish that moment.

    It seems that I was not the only Martin that attended.

    I am gifted with incredible memories of my youth, including Guildford. I lived at 44 Agraria Road. There was a hill in the distance at the end of the road. A cathedral was built on the hill. We went to watch it being built.

    To raise funds they were selling bricks. My mother bought me a brick and a bricklayer cemented it in place while I watched. They erected a huge angel on the top that could be seen from our house. My mother insisted that it was an angel, but I believed it was a teddy bear.

    Thanks for the blast from the past.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *