Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Meeting the Beatles - 50 years ago!

Much has been written recently about the Beatles arrival in Melbourne 50 years ago this year. I have been reflecting on their visit 'downunder' as their first stop in Australia was my hometown Adelaide. And the only reason they visited Adelaide was because the firm to which my father was Managing Director (the department store John Martins - or Johnnies as it was fondly called) sponsored their visit and the hire of the venue. Can you believe that the promoters felt they needed the security of the visit underwritten! In fact Johnnies had listened to the disappointed fans (and their customers) who had learnt that Adelaide was to miss out on the famous four visiting Adelaide as the original itinerary only included Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. And what an amazing marketing coup it was. Not only were Adelaide fans forever grateful for this decision but John Martins was also the ticket seller for the concerts!! And 300,000 fans welcomed them to the city (half its population!) Amazing.
Inside the souvenir programme cover - 'In Adelaide THE BEATLES are presented in association with JOHN MARTIN & CO. LIMITED'

On the back cover of the programme - ooh how young they look!
And of course as a young baby in arms (joking here - I was the 'perfect' age - 18) not only did I get to meet them but of course we had the best seats in the house at the concert! And what a concert it was. The only embarrassment for me (those dreadful teenage years when having your parents attend anything with you was well....derigeur) was that not only did my parents attend but my father thoroughly enjoyed himself and led the arm-waving, stomping and leaping out of his seat. I don't recall if he screamed along with the rest of us but I think you've got the picture. Being probably the oldest in attendance he was going to have a great night whatever the look of horror from all around him! I was mortified! If only the crowd had known who he was - and the reason the Beatles were able to visit Adelaide - he may well have been swamped with screams and kisses from grateful fans!
That's me peeping over the shoulder of the Lord Mayor and right next to John clutching his koala!
Meeting John, Paul, George but alas not Ringo was pretty exciting but I have to say as a shy young thing - dressed up to the nines in a knitted suit (in those days we dressed like our mothers!) and hair sprayed to within an inch of its life (it didn't move!) was a bit intimidating! They were 'pretty cool'. Ringo didn't make it to Adelaide - he was ailing - so we had a 'stand in' Jimmie Nicol whose hair was also styled in the Beatle Cut which had by then become famous!
On the aircraft stairs arriving in Adelaide waving to the fans - Ringo stand-in Jimmie Nicol is in the light coat
Talking with the 'boys' was exciting and those Liverpudlian accents certainly added to their charm. I do wonder what they thought of us all - at the Lord Mayor's reception - it was such a stuffy affair, but I do believe that it was early days for them with fame and fortune still a novelty so perhaps they didn't laugh behind our backs. We were such a conservative lot in the city of churches. But that was the way it was 50 years ago.

So here are some photos of their autographs for me - just to prove that I was there! Lovely George called me Jane but he signed 'with love' so who am I to complain! Cos after all with both Paul and George signing 'with love' I know I sure was glad!
She says she loves you
And you know that can't be bad
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad
No love from John!
The 3 'Adelaide' Beatles - To Jane (!) love George
Paul loves me - yeah yeah yeah!
There's a Beatles in Australia free exhibition at the Arts Centre in Melbourne from 8 March - 1 July (see details here). I think I'll pop along for a bit of a reminisce even though it probably won't mention Adelaide - or Brisbane! 
Official souvenir programme
Did you go to their concerts in Australia? Did you see them elsewhere? Does this take you back? Are you jealous (well perhaps not now but maybe then!)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jan, I loved your excellent story on how you met The Beatles and your father's involvement with bringing them to Adelaide through John Martin Stores. A cherished memory. I would very much like to talk to you in more detail for a forthcoming book on The Beatles Australian Tour, your connection with the Adelaide story is vital to the social history of Australia and The Beatles visit to our shores. My website address is linked and will give you a bit more detail on the book project. I live in Melbourne and would love to hear from you. Here's my email address is: greg@thebeatles.au.com. Kind Regards Greg Armstrong