24 January 1963
NEMS Records, Whitechapel Street, Liverpool
Assembly Hall, High Street, Mold, Flintshire, Wales
""D.D.S. Meets The Beatles" declared the banner headlines on the "Off Beat" page of the Wrexham leader of 29 January 1963, in what was perhaps the earliest of lengthy newspaper interviews with the Fab Four. The lead column read "Off Beat's David Sandison was on the scene at Mold Assembly Hall on Thursday night (24 January). The Beatles, the new name in the new wave of beat music were given a great welcome by the hundreds of fans who packed the hall. David met and talked to the group who are George Harrison, vocal and lead guitar, Ringo Starr, drums, John Lennon vocal, harmonica and bass guitar and Paul McCartney, vocal and rhythm guitar. The appearance was a screaming success, as two hundred ecstatic fans proved when the boys took to the stage. A quick return appearance seems likely for the popular Liverpool lads.
Sandison, in a two hour long interview with the Fab Four, described his meeting thus: "The door of the dressing room opened a few inches and a face peered out. 'Wrexham Leader', I said. 'Come in lad' said the face, and yelled back in the room 'Press!' A hand was pushed into mine and John Lennon, the leader of the Beatles, introduced me to the other members of the group. 'Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, sit down, if you can find a seat.'
Having found a seat, Sandison launched into a marathon interview the content of which was to be repeated a thousand times in the early years of Beatlemania.
'What don't you like about popularity?' Paul answered 'The long journey to dates. Once you you've arrived it's fine, but the hours wasted in cars and trains are enough to drive you round the bend.'
I remarked on the strong rhythm and blues touch to their music. This time John Lennon spoke up. 'That figures, because Ray Charles is our idea of the end.'
Chuck Berry another rhythm and blues specialist rates in in their wide repertoire, with numbers like Sweet Little Sixteen producing a fantastic, almost Nashville sound. Nashville, of course, is the Country and Western centre of the world, and there is more than a touch of Country Music in their arrangements. Talking about Nashville, it came out in conversation that George Harrison is a great Chet Atkins fan. The boys amusement at the other hobbies George had (food and girls) prompted me to ask them what their hobbies were. John Lennon and Paul McCartney spoke as one man in their tastes. 'Girls, song writing, eating and sleeping' Ringo Starr, the frantic drummer who supplied the force behind the Beatles was quick to answer. 'Driving, music (Dinah Washington and Ray Charles) and girls'
I was with the boys for about two hours and when the time came for them to do their act, I went ahead to take a look at crowd. The minute Paul and John came out of the door to the stage, the place was filled with screams as hundreds of girls clamoured forward. The screams were carried on through the hour they were on stage. Then exhausted, the Beatles signed autographs for the fans. 'We'd like to come back to Mold' said John 'but I don't know if they will want us back' If the committee and fans of the Mold Assembly Hall have any say, the Beatles will be asked back...but soon!."
The Beatles fee for the evening was £50, a sum that raised a few eyebrows in Mold Urban District Council chambers. The normal fee paid to pop groups was £10. Rhona Jardine-Phillips who was involved in arranging dances on Thursday evenings told the Wrexham Leader in 2001: "Some people thought it was rather alot of money for a group." The hundreds of teenagers who packed the Assembly Hall though thought it was money well spent, as did Mrs Jardine-Phillips. Of the appearance she was to say: "It was out of this world. There was talk about it for weeks afterwards. I will always remember Brian Epstein's face, he was absolutely mesmerised with the reception that the yougsters gave the band.
How they remembered it:
Bernice Sivel, of Bryn Teg, Wrexham:
I was 18 years old when The Beatles came to Mold. I lived in the town at the time. When we got in, we rushed up the stairs. There were lots of boys and girls with a big gang from Liverpool. They were doing the 'Stomp' to music by The Chariots. When The Beatles came on there was a lot of pushing and shoving again as they moved towards the stage to get close up. I clearly remember them playing Love Me Do and Please Please Me. They were fantastic that night, and we were besotted with them. At the end of their spot I tried to grab Paul McCartney's scarf, but he wouldn't let me have it. It turned into a bit of a tug-o-war and he said, 'It's the only one Ive got,' and left the room.
Owen Thomas from Cilcain:
I was at this show. I was 20 years old at the time. I went with a gang of friends. I paid about 60 old pence for the ticket. The place was packed with lots of screaming girls. Everyone was very excited, as they'd just become known through their TV appearances and the single Love Me Do. There was probably twice the normal crowd for the regular Thursday night dances. I'm certain that their manager Brian Epstein was there too, but I thought he was just the compare.
Howard Williams, Nannerch:
I was 19 years old at the time. A gang of us went to see The Beatles in Mold. I was one of the last to leave the Assembly Hall. Before I left I was asked to help move some of their instruments from the dressing room. I went down stairs and knocked on the door, and went in. They were drinking out of bottles as I recall. John Lennon said, 'Carry these things to the van!', in an abrupt voice. I told him in a very impolite way to take them himself, and left the building. That's my claim to fame.
Rupert Lloyd, Llanarmon-yn-Iâl:
I was on the Mold Urban District Council at the time. I was a doorman on the night they played at the Assembly Hall. I believe it was the first time they played in Britain as their hit Love Me Do was in the charts. They were booked to appear there in October 1962, then from the 18th to 31st December, they appeared at the Star Club in Hamburg, where they were very popular. I'm not certain if they wanted to come to Mold after that, but Brain Epstein insisted they honoured the booking. On the night, I was at the back entrance opposite the pub, where the artists came in. I didn't see the group on stage, but I can remember the noise inside, it was incredible. After the show, girls were screaming at the back entrance. I had a difficult job containing them, and I could only let two girls in at a time. The Beatles signed autographs on various parts of their anatomies! It was absolutely manic. The girls were going crazy.
Peter Roberts, Holywell:
I was at the show in Mold. The Beatles were very good indeed. After the show three of the Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo went back to The Talbot pub (now Beaufort Arms) in Holywell, with two girls from the show. Their landlady mum was in bed, but the girls got her out of bed to make sandwiches for them. Paul McCartney played songs on a rickety up-right piano for about half an hour. They were very entertaining. Apparently George had gone from Mold to see his Auntie Jinnie in Broughton. As John, Paul and Ringo left the pub, the landlady asked them to pay up, so they gave her 30 shillings for the food. They did not stay there overnight.
Wally Rees, Leeds, Yorkshire:
I was rhythm guitarist in the Chariots on the night we supported the Beatles in Mold. Lead guitarist Terry Wilcox now lives in Silverstone I believe. Does anyone know what happened to Dave Reevey the lead singer of the Chariots last heard of in Ellesmere Port? As we were setting up equipment I played a tune on the piano for Paul McCartney and he said "It's good that". I have dined out on this tale many times since!
Dr Ian M Millington from Swansea:
I was a full-time pupil at Hawarden Grammar School and part-time Roadie for Dave Roman (Revie)and the Chariots and was at Mold the night that The Beatles played in the Assembly Rooms. My enduring memories are: - Bob Wooller from the Cavern as visiting DJ / Announcer holding up a copy of that day's ? Daily Mirror with the Beatles featured in the charts with "Please, Please Me" - The equipment - Paul McCartney had a Vox 60 watt base amplifier with a transistorised head (a first in Mold) and Barry (AKA Snaz) Roberts, base player for the Chariots was invited to use it for the Chariots' slot on the bill! We couldn't get the smile off his face for weeks! - Brian Epstein very smartly dressed and wearing brown and white leather shoes which were definitely OTT for Mold on a winter's night! - Sharing the band room under the stairs that was tiny that we could hardly move with us and the Beatles in there - having to go to the pub across the alley to get a crate of beer and a bottle of Scotch for the bands because the Beatles could not go out without being mobbed by the girls that were outside in the cold (I think there was snow on the ground at the time) - seeing John Lennon eating a hot dog covered with tomato ketchup whilst still wearing his leather gloves - seeing John Lennon signing his autograph on a girl's thigh above her stocking top and down the front of her dress! - getting the autographs of John, Paul and Ringo in the band room - catching George Harrison for his autograph at the top of the stairs as he left early to visit his auntie in Hawarden on the way home to Liverpool (yes, I got all 4 on a single page and my sister still has these in a safe deposit box at her bank!) - a C&W group on the side stage as an additional supporting act (all Gibson Guitar and mean guitar picking) - coming home and telling my father that the Beatles were going places and would be very big (I was always one for understatement!)
Marilyn Cadwallader from Llanarmon-yn-Iâl:
I was 17 at the time the Beatles came to Mold. I was a Jones then from Northop and went to the dances in the Assembley every Thursday, along with Ann Catherall, Cath Piercy, and Vicky Lloyd, where we saw all the groups of the day. The night of the Beatles my younger sister was not allowed to go, but made me get their autographs for her. Not only did I get them for her, but came home with John Lennon's autograph on my arm! Unfortunatly I was at another dance the following night and so had to wash it off the next day!"
"Jennifer Hughes (Evans), Wrexham: Paul McCartney sang to me for my 16th birthday which I was celebrating that week. Happy memories.
Dave, Canada, formerly Mold: I was lucky enough to win the second door prize, it was their 1st single, a 45 record "Love Me Do". I got to go on stage to collect it. Later that night someone I knew asked if I wanted the record autographed. I said OK and we went down behind the stage to the dressing room. All the group signed the record. I was made up."
"Playwright Tim Baker is researching "Yesterday," a play based on the night that the Beatles played the Assembly Hall on High Street, Mold, Flintshire in the UK on Jan. 24, 1963, reports the Evening Leader. If you have any facts that can help him, you can write to him at Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Civic Centre, Mold, CH7 1YA, England."
"A campaign has been launched to mount a memorial to The Beatles at one of the small town venues they played in Wales.
An application has been made to put a plaque on the wall of a bank in Mold.
The band performed at what was then the assembly hall when they were starting to make it big in January 1963 - honouring a booking for just £50.
Supporters say there are only two places in north Wales left where the band played and this would be a way of putting Mold on The Beatles' trail.
An application for the plaque on the Lloyds TSB bank was submitted to the conservation department of Flintshire Council on Friday and a decision is expected within three months.
Music journalist Elly Roberts and Beatles author and historian Ray O'Brien both handed in the proposal.
Mr Roberts said he wanted the plaque to be a "lasting honour" to the Liverpool band who honoured the booking at the Mold assembly hall on 24 January 1963.
"They were booked in the October or November of 1962 for just £50 by the old Mold urban district council," said Mr Roberts.
"Shortly after that the band went to Hamburg and they released Love Me Do and Please Please Me and were really beginning to make it big,"
"From what I understand they were then charging £700 a show and were reluctant to honour the Mold commitment, but their manager Brian Epstein insisted they did," added Mr Roberts, who is writing a book about the Beatles one gig in Mold.
As well as the Flintshire town, the band played a number of gigs in Wales during the sixties, including venues in Prestatyn, Rhyl and Llandudno and Abergavenny and Cardiff in the south.
But after the gig in Mold, George Harrison went off to see his aunt who lived in nearby Broughton and the other three Beatles ended up playing the piano into the night at a Holywell pub where the landlady served them sandwiches.
Mr Roberts said he has had strong support from the community in Mold for the plaque.
Ray O'Brien said the memorial would help put the town on the map for fans.
"Liverpool is only 45 minutes away from Mold and every autumn 500,000 people go there for the Beatles convention," he said.
"I arrange Beatles tours myself and I'm sure that some of those people who visit Liverpool could be persuaded to come to north Wales to see another item of memorabilia".
Mr Roberts said if they receive the go-ahead for the plaque a live music event would be arranged at the Y Pentan pub behind the old hall for its unveiling on 24 January next years, exactly 43 years since the Beatles were in Mold."
Source: BBC News, 27 May 2005
"Freelance journalist, broadcaster and photographer Elly Roberts talks about his campaign for commemorative plaques at the venues where The Beatles played in Wales.
"The spark of inspiration came when I met Beatles author Ray O'Brien on Spencer Leigh's BBC Radio Merseyside in February 2005.
"On returning home I decide to try and get a plaque, initially, on the venue in Mold. My application for a plaque outside was declined because it's a listed building. Instead I decided to put one inside Y Pentan pub next door, where the Beatles went to before the gig in January 1963.
"The plaque was designed by Tony Booth who did the very first Beatles illustration of the group, just after Ringo had joined, at the request of their manager Brian Epstein.
"On April 14 2005 I was commissioned to write a piece on the project for the Western Mail, which was published on 2 August 2005.
"The Mold plaque was eventually unveiled on Tuesday 15 November 2005. with ITV Wales and BBC Radio Wales covering the event. It was later included in a BBC Radio Wales Christmas Special broadcast about the group."
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