Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Beatles Christmas Shows

6:00 pm on 24 December, 1963 at Astoria Cinema in Finsbury Park, London The Beatles preformed in their first Christmas Show along with several other acts.

Tickets for the show went on sale 21 October, 1963 and by 16 November all 100,000 tickets were sold out. The shows went from 24 December to 11 January with three days off ( 25 December, 29 December, and 5 January) making a total of 30 shows, preforming two shows a day except for 24 December and 31 December were only one show was preformed).

The night went as followed;
First Act
  • Barron Knight and Duke D'Mond
  • Tommy Quickly and The Foremost
  • Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas 
Second Act
  • Barron Knight and Duke D'Mond
  • Cilla Black
  • Rolf Harris
  • And The Beatles 
The Beatles ended the show preforming nine songs;
  • Roll Over Beethoven 
  • All My Loving
  • This Boy
  • I Want To Be Your Man
  • She Loves You
  • Till There Was You
  • I Want To Hold Your Hand
  • Money (That's What I Want"
  • Twist and Shout
The Beatles during the show
Throughout the night The Beatles would appear in between acts putting on little skits.

"The Beatles were never much for rehearsing. That never really mattered as far as songs were concerned, but the fact that they were so bad at doing the sketches was an added extra for the show- it was organised chaos but it was very funny chaos." -Tony Barrow
The Beatles spent Christmas with their families in Liverpool on a private viking aircraft provided by Brian Epstein and returned back to London on Boxing Day.

"The big trick was to get them out of the theatre before the national anthem had finished. The audience dutifully stayed, chanting "We want The Beatles,' by which time they were in their car and away'."- Tony Barrow

Right: John Lennon dressing room for The Beatles first Christmas Show

Left: Cast of the show

Another Beatles Christmas Show

The following year, 24 December, 1965 Brian Epstein promoted another Christmas Show except this time at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. It was very much like the previous year in which The Beatles would preform skits in between acts then close the show with several of their songs.
The night went as followed:

First Act:
  • The Mike Cotton Sound preforming Georgie Fame's "Yeh Yeh"
  • Michael Haslam joining the Mike Cotton Sound singing "Scarlet Ribbons"
  • The Yardbirds
  • The Beatles dressed as Antarctic Explorers searching for the Abominmal Snowman
  • Freddie and The Dreamers singing "Rip it Up", "Bachelor Boy", and "Cut Across Shorty"
Drawing by John on the back of the programme
Second Act:
  • Elkie Brooks
  • Sounds Incorporated
  • Jimmy Savile introduced The Beatles
  • The Beatles
The group once again ended the night singing;
  • Twist and Shout
  • I'm A Loser
  • Baby's in Black
  • Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby
  • Can't Buy Me Love
  • Honey Don't
  • I Feel Fine
  • She's A Woman
  • A Hard Days Night
  • Rock And Roll Music
  • Long Tall Sally
Two weeks later at a press conference in Toronto the group was asked if they were preforming in a third Christmas Show for the following year where John replied;
"Ask Mr. Christmas Epstein"
and George added,
"Mr. Epstein, may have a Mr. Epstein Christmas Show"

"Because it was new to them they didn't make a fuss. But as the run went on I think they relised it wasn't really working. They wanted to be songwriters and pop stars, they didn't want to be actors." -Barron Knights, Pete Langford.
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