The Beatles’ world tour begins in Copenhagen, Denmark

For all the concerts they played between 1963 and 1966, The Beatles only undertook one world tour. It began on this day in Copenhagen, Denmark, and continued in the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.

In the morning The Beatles were driven by their chauffeur, Bill Corbett, to London Airport where they were taken to their aeroplane ahead of the other passengers. There they signed autographs for the captain and crew.

More than 6,000 fans awaited their arrival in Copenhagen, and Danish police had to quell crowds of around 10,000 who brought the city centre to a standstill. As they checked in to the Royal Hotel fans attempted to storm the doors.

Ringo Starr remained in London, having been hospitalised with tonsillitis and pharyngitis the previous day. His temporary replacement, Jimmie Nicol, had to swiftly adjust to life in the whirlwind of Beatlemania for the next five dates of the tour.

The group rehearsed their set in the afternoon, and Mal Evans taped the setlist to their guitars to help them remember the running order. They were also visited by the British ambassador to Denmark.

The Beatles performed two shows at the KB Hallen venue, at 6pm and 9.15pm, with 4,400 fans seeing each. The setlist for the first was: I Saw Her Standing There, I Want To Hold Your Hand, All My Loving, She Loves You, Till There Was You, Roll Over Beethoven, Can't Buy Me Love, This Boy and Twist And Shout.

Long Tall Sally was left out of the setlist as it had been performed by Danish support act The Hitmakers. The Beatles requested that The Hitmakers not perform it during the night's second show, and it was duly performed as the last show in the headliners' set.

The order of the first two songs was switched for the second show of the night, and for all subsequent dates in the tour. At the end of the evening the stage announcer told the audience that The Beatles would not return to the stage, and a potted delphinium was thrown in protest.

As the tour progressed, occasionally Twist And Shout replaced Long Tall Sally as the closer.

[John Lennon] drunk in excess. In Denmark, for example, his head was a balloon! He had drunk so much the night before, he was on stage sweating like a pig.
Jimmie Nicol

At the Royal Hotel after the second show The Beatles were treated to a local delicacy, smorrebrodsseddel, a type of jam sandwich. Paul McCartney also sent Ringo a telegram which read: "Didn't think we could miss you so much. Get well soon."

Also on this day...

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12 responses on “The Beatles’ world tour begins in Copenhagen, Denmark

  1. Andrew

    Bill Corbett who was the Beatles chauffeur was my Grandfather. As a child I remember vividly being given one of the black capes worn by the one of the Beatles in a hard days night or help – the scene with the skis…. He had a series of articles published in a sunday newspaper entitled ‘my life with the beatles.’ However, the one of the most treasured pieces of memoribillia never to found when my mother moved from her house in Richmond – was a series of hand written poems John lennon gave to my grandfather – if only we still had them…

    I recall seeing them play live at when I was 4 years old and also travelled in the same car my granfather used to drive the guys about.

    The only 2 who stayed in tough were with him were John & George….who always sent xmas cards…

    1. Joe Post author

      That’s really fascinating to hear. Many thanks for sharing with us, Andrew. They sound like great memories.

      The ski scene where The Beatles were wearing capes was in Help!. Search for ticket to ride on YouTube and you’ll find the footage. What a shame the capes and poems aren’t still with you!

    2. Ernie

      Hi Andrew;

      I am treasurer of the British Beatles Fan Club and we have had an enquiry regarding the Sunday Newspaper articles by your grandfather.

      Do you know which Sunday paper it was?

      Best wishes

      Treasurer British Beatles Fan club

  2. Joseph Brush

    I always thought that the Beatles touring of 1966 was classified as a world or global tour.
    After all, they performed concerts in Europe, Asia and North America.

    1. Joe Post author

      They did, but for some reason they were always considered two separate tours. There was the tour of Germany, Japan and the Philippines in June and July 1966, and then a final US tour in August.

      I don’t know why it was never classed as one world tour at the time. Possibly it’s because The Beatles returned to the UK for more than a month before heading for the US.

      However, the 1964 ‘world tour’ only took in Denmark, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, in less than one month, so it was hardly extensive.

  3. Thies

    At the first concert in Copenhagen The Beatles did NOT finish playing “Long Tall Sally” since the danish warm-up-band, The Hitmakers was asked do play an unexpected extra number – and chose to play “Long Tall Sally”.
    The Beatles kindly asked The Hitmakers NOT to play the song at the next show (The entire gig was played at 18.00 and 21.15)!
    Therefore The Beatles only (at the first concert) played:
    1: I Saw Her Standing There
    2: I Want To Hold Your Hand
    3: All My Loving
    4: She Loves You
    5: Till There Was You
    6: Roll Over Beethoven
    7: Can´t Buy Me Love
    8: This Boy
    9: Twist And Shout

    And at the second concert, The Beatles also played:
    10: Long Tall Sally.

    Notice: “You Can´T Do That” Was NOT played during the two concerts played June 1964 in Denmark!

  4. Jonas Svensson, Sweden

    “The order of the first two songs was switched for the second show of the night, and for all subsequent dates in the tour.”: shouldn´t it be the other way around, as I saw her standing there stayed as the opener for the other gigs on the tour.
    I recall from years ago hearing a terrible recording of the show with I want to hold your hand as the opener, and no Long tall Sally at the end. But all I can find now is a recording with Standing there first and no Sally at the end. Ah, confusion!

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