The Beatles 1963 trip to Guernsey!
On Thursday, August 8th 1963, "The Beatles” came to Guernsey in the Channel Islands; (my home for 26 years).
As the ‘fab four’ alighted from the plane, all hell broke loose; the noise of the screaming was deafening! For some unknown reason, screaming, fainting and hysteria was definitely ‘in’ back then (and that was only the men)!
Largely, it was teenage girls and women who filled the crowd that day. Some even pushed through the barriers and flocked around John, Paul, George and Ringo; they took it all in their stride and seemed to be having a great time! Their success was still relatively new at the time, so they were fresh and enjoyed all the attention; there was no such thing as (or need for) bodyguards at that time. They played two amazing shows at Candie Gardens (which were filled to capacity) and little did we know at the time, they would become the most famous recording group ever.
On March 30th 1963 a performance contract was drawn up between Jersey-based concert promoter Les De La Mare and The Beatles manager Brian Epstein, for the Beatles to play four dates at the Springfield Ballroom, Jersey during August 1963. Included in this deal was a two show trip to the neighboring island of Guernsey. For their efforts The Beatles would receive the sum of £1000 (approx.$1,600).
On 6 August 1963 the group arrive in Jersey; (which is a larger island than Guernsey with a bigger population), they spent the day go-carting and relaxing by the pool, before playing the first of four nights at the ballroom. The TV showed us film of them having a great time; with John larking around on his sun lounger and Paul dancing around the pool, or pretending to be a strongman. Some fans had found out where they were staying, but they were happy to chat and be photographed with them (those photos will be highly treasured today no doubt)! The next day they went onto the beach and Ringo was filmed climbing over some rocks and walking towards the camera smiling.
After two days in Jersey and a few introductions at the airport, the Beatles board a 12-seater plane to make the 30 mile trip to Guernsey where they played two concerts at Candie Gardens. Their equipment was sent over by ferry. They then flew back to Jersey the next day and played a further two concerts at the Springfield Ballroom.
I was eleven at the time and not really old enough to appreciate what I was seeing. I wish I had photos, but a camera was hard to come by in those days. Even live they were brilliant; as good live as on record. We were so close to them on a couple of occasions (both at the airport and at the live concert) we could easily have asked for autographs – I just can’t believe we didn’t, with hindsight! The rest is history: The Beatles went on to define and inspire 'the sixties' on both sides of the Atlantic; their diverse music and wonderful lyrics ranged from music hall to Indian sitar music, via Chuck Berry and Bob Dylan.
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