Only 18 people watched The Beatles’ first show in the South of England

When The Beatles decided to make their mark on the South of England performing in Aldershot on December 9th 1961, it’s safe to say that they didn’t quite make the splash that they will have originally envisaged. Whether it was the bizarre location or the lack of an audience, rock and roll wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

The Beatles’ friend Jack Leach had come up with the intuitive plan to spread the word of The Fab Four into new territories outside of the North West and the band, which consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best at this point, we’re more than happy to go along with it. Leach promised the show would get eyes on them from all the top London based label executives.

What Leach didn’t account for, however, was Aldershot not being a hip part of London with a thriving music scene. Instead of finding a scene of swinging hip cats he and the band found a military town that is situated 37 miles away from the capital. It meant no execs, no screaming girls and no chance of enjoying their night very much.

Former Beatle Pete Best remembered the gig in question a few years ago and revealed more details about the strange night: “Halfway through one number, George and Paul put on their overcoats and took to the floor to dance a foxtrot together, while the rest of us struggled along, making enough music for them and the handful of spectators. We clowned our way through the whole of the second half. John and Paul deliberately played wrong chords and notes and added words to the songs that were never in the original lyrics.”

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[bloggers note – The ‘Beatles’ friend’ was Sam Leach, not Jack as it says here.

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1 thought on “Only 18 people watched The Beatles’ first show in the South of England”

  1. A C says:

    I am glad you corrected that. It was Sam Leach! Most interesting…puts ‘success’ into perspective. Thanks!

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