This was The Beatles’ second live appearance at the Plaza Ballroom in Old Hill, following their show on 11 January 1963.
Also on the bill were Denny and the Diplomats, a local band led by Denny Laine, who would later join The Moody Blues and Paul McCartney’s band Wings.
Preceding The Beatles on stage – wow, this was something else indeed! Remember that this was the beginning of Beatlemania. John, Paul, George and Ringo had already had big hit records with Love Me Do and Please Please Me and had just registered their first number one with From Me To You.
They were currently topping the LP charts with their debut album Please Please Me. Because of our popularity in the Black Country, Joe Regan decided we were best suited for the unenviable task of being the group on stage directly before the biggest pop phenomenon since Elvis Presley.
Actually, the huge crowd – literally hanging from the rafters – was very good to us and many of our own fans were in the audience. Nevertheless we still got the occasional chant of ”We want The Beatles, we want The Beatles” from the dominantly female crowd. This night was a double-header for the mop tops and their small roadcrew.
Firstly they were booked to appear at the Regans’ other Plaza in Handsworth. Unsurprisingly, they ran late and our scheduled half-hour spot became an hour or more. Usually we would perform several Beatle songs in our set, but obviously we had to drop those from our repertoire.
Truth was, we were running out of songs to play and reverted to a couple of ambitious instrumentals. We included Hava Nagila (which had Denny playing lead guitar behind his back ) and the Dave Brubeck Quartet classic jazz piece Take Five, which featured me playing a drum solo in 5/4 time.
We realised The Beatles had finally arrived and we could hear them talking backstage. Then we saw them all watching us from the side of the stage. We finished our set, the curtains closed, the crowd now in a state of nervous, near hysterical anticipation.
The Plaza was a major music venue in the 1960s, and hosted a number of acts on their way to the top, including The Rolling Stones. It was converted to a bingo hall in the 1970s, and later became the Platinum Plaza, a venue for Asian weddings and banquets.
Also on this day...
- 2014: Ringo Starr live: Global Event Center, Winstar World Casino, Thackerville, Oklahoma
- 2014: Paul McCartney live: Times Union Center, Albany, New York
- 1968: Recording: Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
- 1966: The Beatles leave the Philippines
- 1963: Live: Plaza, Handsworth
- 1962: Live: Majestic Ballroom, Birkenhead
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.