This was The Beatles’ only performance in the Norfolk city of Norwich. The concert was booked in April 1963 by local promoters Peter Holmes, Ray Aldous and Geoffrey Walker for a fee of £250.
The support act was local group Ricky Lee and the Hucklebucks, and tickets cost seven shillings and sixpence.
The concert was booked after another local promoter, Alan Lockwood, turned down the chance to have The Beatles perform. At the time they had had just one chart single, Love Me Do.
Lockwood worked in a tailor’s shop next door to Aldous, who heard about the offer and immediately called Brian Epstein to arrange a show at the Grosvenor Rooms. Aldous’ initial offer was £45, but they eventually settled on £250.
By the time of the concert, The Beatles were chart stars, with From Me To You and the Please Please Me album both at number one. The contract was signed with Epstein on 19 April, with the agreement that The Beatles would give two 20-minute performances.
An advert in the local press read:
Fabulous Attraction, Great Visit – TV Stars etc. It’s a must for those who like to twist, jive, rave. They are entertainment themselves. Please Please Me, From Me To You, who else could make such sensational recordings other than… The Beatles, the group with the 1963 sound.
The Beatles arrived in their blue Bedford van on the afternoon of 17 May, and set up their equipment on the stage themselves. They signed a number of autographs and posed for photographs with fans.
Paul was jolly. Ringo was the comedian. George never said a dickie-bird. And John was quiet. You didn’t get much out of John. He was the quiet man in the corner,” says Ray. “John was the one talking about promotion and seemed to be the leader,” adds Peter. “They were heading for the big time. You could see it.
Following a soundcheck The Beatles left for some food and watched a film at the nearby ABC cinema. Upon their return 1,700 people were in the former ballroom waiting to see the concert.
Afterwards the group ate cod and chips in Valori’s takeaway in Rose Lane.
Also on this day...
- 1971: US album release: Ram by Paul and Linda McCartney
- 1967: Recording: You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)
- 1962: Live: Star-Club, Hamburg
- 1961: Live: Top Ten Club, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.