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Beatles play the Apollo in '63. Were you there?

On a never-to-be-forgotten November night 60 years ago, the Reporter was there to capture the excitement and hysteria as Beatlemania erupted in East Manchester.

The hordes of fans heading for the ABC Ardwick (the Apollo) on Wednesday, November 20, 1963, came “to weep and scream themselves hoarse at four young men from Liverpool with long forehead fringes and a fantastic physical magnetism.” Girls in black leather coats, knee-high leather boots and small black caps waited outside for several hours before their heroes arrived - concealed in a police van.  

Tension mounted as the concert began with support acts The Brook Brothers and Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers. Amid screams and chants of ‘We Want The Beatles!’ the curtain rose slowly and the whole theatre was rocked by an explosion of sound. Everyone rose from their seats as John Lennon led the Fab Four into their first song.  

Girls screamed the name of their favourite Beatle and threw jelly babies at the band on stage - apparently George Harrison had said in a recent interview that they were his favourite sweet. Our reporter gave a vivid account of the amazing scenes which followed. “The atmosphere was alive with surging, breathtaking excitement as the words and the deep throbbing music of She Loves You (Yeah Yeah Yeah!) filtered through the screams. 

Two girls on the front row fell to their knees, eyes glassy and streaming with tears, hands clawing fervently towards the stage. Behind them, the theatre was a solid mass of waving arms and pink gleaming faces.... “As the group swung into Twist And Shout, everything that had gone before paled. ‘Shake it, shake it, baby now!’ they urged and the girls went wild. Hundreds ran down the aisles, others collapsed in a sobbing heap on the floor, pulled frantically at their ruffled locks and soaked up every morsel of the Mersey Sound.”  

For several days afterwards the Reporter offices were under siege with fans queueing at the counter with their cut-out coupons from the newspaper to claim a free copy of our exclusive souvenir photo. Dozens more were sent out by post as far afield as Glasgow and Plymouth­­­­. 

Next Sunday, 26th November, Tameside Radio’s Mike Wallbank who hosts ‘The Show That Time Forgot’ will include a special feature on The Beatles and would like to hear from anyone with memories who went to see them perform at The Apollo in Manchester back in 1963.  

Email Mike directly mike.wallbank@questmedianetwork.co.uk if you have any memories of this event !


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