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The Beatles live: Swimming Baths, Leyton, London

This was The Beatles’ only performance at this leisure centre on the High Street in Leyton, east London.

This show is commonly listed in Beatles reference books as having taken place on Friday 5 April 1963, but it actually took place three days later.

Advert for The Beatles at the Swimming Baths, Leyton, London, 8 April 1963

In the early months of 1963, I was working as a disc jockey at Leyton Baths in East London, an indoor swimming pool that had been converted into a dance hall. Every Friday night well-known groups of the time would play there live.

By now the Beatles had already established themselves with ‘Love Me Do’ and ‘Please Please Me’ and also completed successful tours appearing with Helen Shapiro, Chris Montez and Tommy Roe. Plans were also underway for the group to tour with Roy Orbison and Gerry and the Pacemakers. However despite this, Brian Epstein had insisted that the Beatles would still appear at the remaining outstanding dance hall dates that had been previously made.

So it was that in April 1963 the Beatles appeared at Leyton Baths (also on the bill was Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers). In front of a packed crowd of dancing, screaming fans, the Beatles wore maroon mohair suites with velvet collars and played most of the tracks featured on the Please Please Me album and gave a preview of their forthcoming single, ‘From Me To You’. After the show I went backstage, complete with camera to congratulate the boys.

I introduced myself and offered to buy them all beers, they accepted and over a few drinks we had a good chat, talking mostly about music and their favorite artists, the Beatles going out of their way to be jovial, obliging and friendly. I asked if I could take a photo of them “of course” they replied. “Just a minute” said Paul “I must clean my teeth first.” After a while Paul was ready and John positioned the group for their photo.

“Right” John said to me, “When I say three, we’ll all smile and you take the picture.” John commenced to count “one, two, THREE” John literally yelled THREE making the other Beatles and myself nearly jump out of skins. I wasn’t able to take the picture, but Paul was the worst “casualty,” he had still been holding the open tube of toothpaste and when John had shouted, Paul had squeezed the tube and a long length of toothpaste had shot down Paul’s trouser leg. After much laughter I finally got my photo with Paul keeping his hand over the embarrassing stain on his trousers.

Norman Scott, disc jockey
Beatles Now, 1982

The Beatles at the Swimming Baths, Leyton, London, 8 April 1963

John Charles Julian Lennon, son to John and Cynthia Lennon, was born early on this day at Liverpool’s Sefton General Hospital. As The Beatles were on tour at the time, John didn’t get to see Julian until 11 April.

Last updated: 25 January 2024
Julian Lennon is born
Radio: Pop Inn
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