In the early hours of 10 December, following their disastrous show at the Palais Ballroom in Aldershot, The Beatles headed to London where they gave another impromptu performance at a Soho club.
After the Aldershot show The Beatles got drunk and caused a commotion in the venue. When they emerged at 1am the police were waiting for them. They were told to leave the town and not come back.
Having nowhere to stay locally, they drove to London and ended up in the Blue Gardenia Club, run by Brian Cassar, the former frontman of Cass and the Cassanovas. It was a small, little-known venue on St Anne’s Court, and the few late-night drinkers present were treated to an unplanned performance by The Beatles.
The Aldershot gig had been arranged by Sam Leach, a Liverpool promoter trying his hand at getting The Beatles a name in the south of England. Also at the show was Dave Johnstone, a friend hired to be Leach’s driver, and Terry McCann, another friend who had driven The Beatles on the nine-hour journey from Liverpool.
I said let’s go up to London, it’s not far away. So we headed off to the Blue Gardenia Club, run by an old mate, Brian Cass of Cass and the Cassanovas. We used to call it the all-nighter because when people finished playing their gigs they used to end up there. They’d all meet up and jam on stage. I think Georgie Fame was in that night.
We had a great time. People said that George Harrison didn’t join in, but I seem to recall he did because someone noted ‘that’s a fine guitar player you’ve got there’ and that would have been George.
Anyway, they really enjoyed it and stayed until about 3am or so and then it was straight into the van and the drive back to Liverpool.
On the way back to Liverpool, the group’s van ran out of petrol. McCann managed to refuel by spending his last £5, which he had kept secret from The Beatles.
The boys never knew I had it, otherwise I wouldn’t have still had it! They would always be borrowing your last anything – ciggies, two bob, whatever.
McCann dropped each of The Beatles back at their homes at around midday on 10 December. Later that evening they performed at Hambleton Hall in Huyton, Liverpool.
Also on this day...
- 2011: Paul McCartney live at Ericsson Globe Arena, Stockholm, Sweden
- 2009: Paul McCartney live at Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, Paris, France
- 1976: Album release: Wings Over America by Wings
- 1969: George Harrison live at Falkoner Theatre, Copenhagen with Delaney & Bonnie
- 1969: John Lennon and Yoko Ono meet the parents of A6 Murderer James Hanratty
- 1968: John Lennon rehearses for The Rolling Stones’ Rock And Roll Circus
- 1965: Live: Odeon Cinema, Hammersmith, London
- 1964: Ringo Starr leaves hospital
- 1963: Live: Gaumont Cinema, Doncaster
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1961: Live: Hambleton Hall, Liverpool
- 1960: John Lennon leaves Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.