The definitive account of the connections between the greatest rock 'n' roll group that ever was and a small town on the south coast of England with previously unseen and rare photographs of The Beatles taken in Bournemouth, photos licensed from Beatles Monthly and unpublished images of Mimi at home, the story is told using first-hand accounts from the people who were there – the fans, reporters, photographers, venue staff and musicians.
Some interesting facts about The Beatles and Bournemouth!....
- Including a six-day season 19-25 August 1963, they played 18 gigs in Bournemouth – two shows a night – they returned on 16 November 1963 at the much bigger Winter Gardens; and twice more at the Gaumont on 2 August and 30 October 1964. They played more shows at the Gaumont than any other UK theatre outside London.
- Harry Taylor was there to record them at every step – and his photos have remained largely unseen since. A larger than life figure, Flash Harry moved from his native London during WW2 and built landing craft in a factory on Poole Harbour. After the War he started to promote his photographic abilities towards the local press.
- During their first stay, on 23 August 1963, The Beatles’ third single She Loves You was released. It stayed in the charts for 31 weeks, returning to number one the week they arrived back in town to play the Winter Gardens in November.
- While staying at the Palace Court Hotel that August, one of the band’s most iconic photo shoots took place, the half-shadow shot by Robert Freeman that appeared on the sleeve the second album, With The Beatles.
- Also at the Palace Court during that week George Harrison wrote Don’t Bother Me, his first song for The Beatles, holed up in his hotel room suffering a heavy cold.
- The Winter Gardens shows on 16 November 1963 were filmed by crews from the three major US TV networks – CBS, NBC and ABC. Consequently, the first footage America saw of The Beatles was filmed in Bournemouth.
- Although it was a one-off date, the two shows of 2 August 1964 were reported in Disc magazine and were also notable for the inclusion of The Kinks on the support bill. Ray Davies has recounted how John set out to intimidate the nervous Kinks and sparked the first battle of Britpop – the Blur vs Oasis of its day.
- The Beatles’ final Bournemouth shows, in October 1964, were part of a UK tour that saw them fly the flag for the music of black America as principal support act Mary Wells became the first Motown act to perform in the UK and the first female singer to open for The Beatles.
- In mid-1965 John’s aunt Mimi sold Mendips, her Liverpool home, and he bought her a waterside bungalow at Sandbanks.
- On various visits, John was spotted by locals in either a Mini Cooper or, later, in his famous psychedelic Rolls Royce. He even visited in the run up to the release of Sgt Pepper when he was photographed with Mimi and Julian at Sandbanks chain ferry.
- On another visit, in March 1969, just after Paul and Linda married, John and Yoko announced they were to get married. John sent his chauffeur, Les Anthony, to Southampton to ask if he and Yoko could marry at sea, as related in The Ballad of John & Yoko, the Beatles’ final number one.
- Finally, in 1992, John’s two wives were together with their sons Julian and Sean at Poole Crematorium for Mimi’s funeral service.