THE Beatles are universally acknowledged as the greatest band of all time.
Everywhere they went, the Fab Four stirred up hysteria, and in their early days, they really did go everywhere.
Fifty years ago this week (November 19), they were bringing Wolverhampton to a standstill, with a headline appearance at the Gaumont, and a handful of lucky locals got to meet them backstage before they went on.
One of them was Valerie Lloyd, who won a competition in a music paper and came over from Shrewsbury, wagging the day off school. “I would never have been able to concentrate on lessons anyway,” she told The Beatles Book, the official band magazine of the time.
“My parents took me down to Wolverhampton by car, and I met my brother and the other two winners and their companions, in the theatre.
“After what seemed an eternity we were taken to meet The Beatles. Their dressing room was so small that we had to go in three at a time.
“The first thing I saw was an orange face (stage make-up!) and a floppy mop of hair. It was George. I shook hands with him and the rest of The Beatles.
“Then, because Ringo is rather small, he got up on a chair and started shaking hands with everyone (including John, Paul and George) all over again. Then Paul, with the sexiest of voices, said: ‘How ya doin’ luv?’ Well what would YOU do? I couldn’t think of anything to say, and just turned a muted shade of puce! “When The Beatles came on, and throughout their act, there was continual screaming. It was so loud that you had a job to hear what they were singing — and we were in the front row!” The show Valerie saw turned out to be the last Beatles visit to Wolverhampton. The set list was just ten songs long in those days, but at least half of them are now regarded as classics.
They kicked off with I Saw Her Standing There, and followed up with 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.
WERE you there at the Gaumont that night? Were you one of the winners such as Valerie Lloyd, who is on the left of the middle row next to Ringo? Or did you see the Beatles at another local venue in those early days before they retired from live performance? Share your memories with us: write in, give us a call, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org