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Thursday, 14 November 2013

When The Silver Beatles became the Beatles

The Beatals, 1960

There's a news story making the rounds, originatíng from Wirral News about a Beatles fan who supposedly has solved the mystery of when the Beatles decided to drop the "Silver" prefix from their band name.  Ken Harrison - manager of the Grosvenor Ballroom in Liscard, Wallasey - was looking through old newspaper cuttings from the Wallasey News hidden away in a drawer there. Especially the small advertisements caught his eyes. On Whit Monday, June 6, 1960, the fabulous Silver Beetles, direct from their tour with Jonny Gentle performed a double bill with Gerry and the Pacemakers.
The following Saturday night, June 11th, 1960 the Grosvenor Ballroom advertised a swing session featuring the sensational new group The Beatles.
Fellow Beatles fan Robin Bird said: Historians have said the Silver Beetles changed their name to the Beatles when they left for Hamburg on August 16, 1960 starting a new chapter in their amazing musical career.
However, from the old cuttings it is apparent the band changed their name before that date when they played at the Grosvenor Ballroom.
Ken now has enlarged the adverts and will be getting them framed to put on the wall.
However, there's a discrepancy at the end of the article, which reads: Violence at the Grosvenor put an end to the Beatles performances there, but they did return on September 15, 1960, making their first appearance since their German tour. Admission was 4/- and the Beatles were billed to play from 7.45pm followed by Cliff Roberts and the Rockers.

It was probably 1961.

The Beatles performed at the Grosvenor Ballroom on 14 occasions between June 1960 and September 1961. The dates were 4, 6, 11, 18 and 25 June; 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 July; 24 December 1960; 24 February; 10 March; and 15 September 1961.

Another thing is that Johnny Gentle, who toured Scotland with the "Silver Beatles" or "Silver Beetles" in May 1960 remembers them as being introduced on stage simply as "The Beatles", so the name change may have occured even earlier, although not in print. Allan Williams, their manager from that summer never got their name right, always misspelling it as "Beetles" and he also mixed up their Christian names, forgetting which one of them who was Paul, George or John.

Paul McCartney talked about the Grosvenor Ballroom in The Beatles' Anthology: "The Grosvenor Ballroom in Wallasey was one of the worst places; there would be a hundred Wallasey lads squaring up to a hundred lads from Seacombe and all hell would break loose. I remember one night a rumble had started before I realised what was happening. I ran to the stage to save my Elpico amp, my pride and joy at the time. There were fists flying everywhere. One Ted grabbed me and said, 'Don't move, or you're bloody dead!' I was scared for my life, but I had to get that amp."

Here's a set list from Grosvenor Ballrom, possibly from 1960, in Paul's handwriting:

1 comment:

georgefromhenley said...

Tune In puts the name Beatles since the Gentle Tour. All other wrong names appeared because Allan Williams had problems remembering any band name properly (and even wrote to The Beetles in April 61 to the Top Ten Club.