“I saw the Beatles in 1964.”

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Yes, 18 June 1964 was the date my two sisters and I caught the bus from Matraville to Rushcutters Bay, Sydney town, to see The Beatles – “see” being the operative word, because they were very hard to hear above the incessant screaming – mostly from the girls, of course.
The supporting acts – Johnny Devlin, Johnny Chester, The Phantoms, Alan Field and Sounds Incorporated (an instrumental band) warmed up the Sydney Stadium crowd to mixed reactions – but at least you could hear them.
That all changed when The Beatles were introduced!
My sisters were either side of me, one screaming for Paul, the other for George. The Beatles played 12 songs – their time on stage was around 35 minutes.
The Sydney Stadium (known as the Old Tin Shed) was built in 1908 and used predominantly as a boxing venue.
It had tiered wooden seats and was hot as hell. It was occasionally used for music concerts.
Reports stated Frank Sinatra hated performing there and Bob Dylan almost passed out in the oppressive heat.
It had a revolving stage, where it would move around about halfway before rotating back, giving most fans a reasonable look at the artist.
The photo below is from the 18 June concert. Part of the meagre PA system is visible next to John – a far cry from the huge PAs pumping out megawatts these days by artists.
415. . . but we came away from the concert saying how fab The Beatles were, but deep down we knew we had barely heard them.
At least we can say “we were there”!
The official program is now a collector’s item and can fetch some decent money in mint condition.
Yes, I still have mine, but I wish I had also kept the tickets. art-353-668950294-300x0
The Beatles’ music, to me, is still just as fresh today as it was back then – is still played frequently on the radio – and still recorded by many artists around the world.
I challenge anybody to name an artist of today whose music they think will still be popular and played regularly 50 years from now. Come on, name one – there is no solo artist or group to touch the talent or popularity of The Beatles – there never has been and, probably, there never will be.

One thing’s for sure – I know I won’t be around in 50 years time to hear any of today’s artists’ or groups’ music which may be played on the radio – or whatever the listening apparatus will be then!
Stolen Biro

25 thoughts on ““I saw the Beatles in 1964.”

  1. Good story which brought back many happy memories Nick, and I agree about the artists and music of today, but as far as talent and popularity are concerned, I immediately also think of Elvis and Bob Dillon (solo), then the Rolling Stones and the Eagles (groups) for their great music and longevity.

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  2. Thanx, Kevin – nice to hear from you.
    Four mammoth stars there you mention – and three of them still going – unbelievable!

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    • Oh dear!
      How could I spell Dylan’s name wrong after so many years in the editing and marketing ‘games’?!
      Mea culpa.
      And Kym Frost would be most surprised if I didn’t mention my favourite Oz group, the Little River Band. Ah! Glenn Shorrock, from playing at the Westbourne Park Memorial Hall (Twilights in 1964) to some great songs with LRB.
      Maybe other comments will highlight their favourite groups/bands.
      Hope so.
      What about Dave Copley and his band? Is he still playing in Adelaide?

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  3. Did Nick miss the Dylan “blue”? Struth he must be getting old. I would love to hear from DC who has promised lots of wonderful tales of the Guv. But he’s a gunna. Right Nick? Can anyone remember Hans Poulsen, “Boom Sha La Lo.”
    Rod

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  4. I let the “Dillon” slip by. I didn’t want to get stuck into Kev this early!
    Kevin mentions LRB and Glenn Shorock. While holidaying in Coolangatta a couple of years ago Wendy and I went to see them at Twin Towns. They are one of the greatest live bands you will ever see! Fabulous!
    Next day, while having a pint in a surf club near there, who should walk in – Glenn Shorrock and his lead guitarist. I plucked up the courage and went across to speak to them – they were also downing pints. I apologised for busting into their free time, then shook their hands and introduced myself.
    I mentioned to Glenn I saw him play with The Twilights back in 1968 at The Octagon in Elizabeth. He said that was the last time he played in SA before moving to Sydney. We got talking about Elizabeth and the old times. He lived in Elizabeth East; I was in the Fields.
    A nicer man you couldn’t meet. That was a brush with one of my heroes I will never forget!

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  5. As for Dave Copley and The Gunnas – you will never hear from DC, nor Bulldog, nor Chook – there are plenty of Gunnas out there!
    . . . and it’s “Boom Sha La La Lo”, comrade. You left a “La” out!
    Kevin, I and Rod have asked readers of this illustrious site many times in the past to comment – including asking about bands – I’m afraid it falls on deaf ears, so to speak.

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    • My girlfriend Sue (now wife for 46 years this Sunday) and I saw Glenn perform several times at the Adelaide venue I mentioned above and at the Burnside and Glenelg town halls, plus in Melbourne and Canberra with Brian Cadd. Glenn even turned up on RocKwiz a couple of weeks ago and still sounded pretty good.
      Nick, your story and these comments have been great and started a good conversation over here (in Canbrrrrrr).
      Our daughter mentioned ABBA!
      Now there’s a group, love ’em or not, which will be danced to, sung along with and remembered by millions around the world for many years to come.
      Even if it is in the privacy of their home!
      Music! A topic of conversation that can go on forever!
      Too bad that more people don’t join in.

      Cheers guys.

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  6. Rod, I am a little perplexed by your comment here:
    “Nick,
    This a great story. Send it to me Please.
    Rod”
    Please explain.

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  7. I’m glad I have sparked interest in at least one OGL – and that’s Kevin, from Canbrrrrrr!
    Yeah, I saw RocKwiz also. Glenn looks much better WITHOUT a hat, though!
    Music is my passion, as Rod knows – so, come on people – join in the love!
    Tell us your stories of a great concert, a chance meeting with your hero, or maybe a “record blunder” (like mine), or a treasure you’ve found.
    Kev, Rod and I are waiting.
    PS There’s nothing wrong with ABBA, either!

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  8. Agnetha Faltskog (the blonde one) released a very good album a couple of years ago, simply titled “A” – check it out.
    Rod, I don’t have “rock star mates”; however, I did go to John (Swanee) Swan’s house in Elizabeth West as a teenager for a seance one evening – believe it or not!

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  9. Okay!
    I admit it!
    During a break at a Burnside Town Hall show in circa 1966, and chatting to Glenn Shorrock, he invited Sue and me to a party they were going to after the show.
    But, hard to believe it now, I said no, because I had to get my girlfriend home by midnight!

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  10. I agree with you, Rod – I would have gone to the party, “to hell” with my future father-in-law, and took a chance Sue didn’t change into a pumpkin!

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  11. We’re getting a good laugh over here with your comments, after watching both episodes of ‘Blood and Thunder’ on the ABC and iview.
    Gotta luv the great Aussie groups, bringing back so many wonderful memories with their awesome music.

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  12. That show was a great insight into how The Easybeats and AC/DC, especially, began – very interesting.
    I have pulled out an Easybeats record ready to spin tomorrow – Friday On My Mind, Sorry, She’s So Fine, I’ll Make You Happy, Women – can’t wait!

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  13. Nick, your story and these comments have been great and started a good conversation over here (in Canbrrrrrr).
    Music is my passion, as Rod knows – so, come on people – join in the love!

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  14. Incredible! Thank you for sharing your story and photos! I agree – no other band in history will have a lasting effect on fans such as the Beatles did (do). I am a millennial and even I have Beatlemania! Currently listening to the White Album as I type…

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