On 21 October 1966 more than 150,000 cubic metres of excavated mining debris, mud and slurry from Merthyr Vale Colliery in south Wales collapsed, engulfing a school in the village of Aberfan and killing 116 children and 28 adults.
The disaster touched the nation, and a public appeal was quickly launched. Donations totalling more than £1.6 million were received within months, but the damage to the small Welsh village was felt for generations.
On this day Brian Epstein, speaking on behalf of The Beatles, turned down a request for them to appear on a television special in aid of the victims’ families. Several public figures called on the world’s biggest band to make a gesture of support, but none was forthcoming.
Although they were sympathetic to the people of Aberfan’s plight, The Beatles were reluctant to be drawn into a benefit event. At the time the notion of a charity concert was unheard of. Furthermore, having recently given up touring, The Beatles were keen to avoid any actions which would have further turned them into public property.
Also on this day...
- 2015: The Beatles’ 1 collection is reissued with remixed audio and restored video
- 1990: US album release: Tripping The Live Fantastic by Paul McCartney
- 1969: Recording: Stormy Weather by Ringo Starr
- 1967: Mixing, editing: Hello, Goodbye, I Am The Walrus, Your Mother Should Know, Magical Mystery Tour
- 1966: Paul McCartney flies to France
- 1966: John Lennon returns to England from Spain
- 1965: Recording: I’m Looking Through You
- 1964: Live: Gaumont Cinema, Southampton
- 1964: UK EP release: Extracts From The Album A Hard Day’s Night
- 1963: Live: ABC Cinema, Northampton
- 1962: Live: Star-Club, Hamburg
- 1960: Live: Kaiserkeller, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.