Anniversary of Beatles debut St Helens concert marked

The Beatles playing St Helens for the first time 50 years ago
The Beatles playing St Helens for the first time 50 years ago
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LEGENDARY British band The Beatles played their first gig in St Helens 50 years ago this week.

Next Monday (June 25) will mark the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s debut St Helens concert - at the old Plaza Ballroom.

The gig was The Beatles’ first booking with Whetstone Entertainments, a company which ran two other ballrooms - in Liverpool and Chester.

Before the performance manager Brian Epstein wrote a note to the band telling them that Whetstone “control 16 venues in the North West”.

He was telling the truth, but 13 of those 16 venues were devoted exclusively to bingo!

The Beatles, at the time with Pete Best on drums, not Ringo Starr, were paid the princely sum of £25 for the gig and returned to the Duke Street venue a further four times in the next 21 months.

On July 2, 9 and 16, 1962, they completed their four consecutive Monday night bookings at the venue.

They also returned to the Plaza on March 4, 1963 - this time with Ringo Starr on drums - for their last ever concert in St Helens. It was their first ever £100 booking.

To date, the only item of memorabilia that has been found from that first St Helens gig is a handbill poster which was used to promote the performance.

Today, the handbill is estimated to be valued at around £750.

There has also been a substantial increase in the value of specific types of Fab Four keepsakes - mostly notably signatures, concert posters, some novelty items and certain albums.

A Beatles concert poster from St Helens in decent condition could now bring £4,000 to £5,000, compared with £2,000 five years ago, a small ticket stub £50, a larger, more elaborate one, such as those that were issued in 1962 or early 1963, would bring around £150.

Beatles programmes bring between £25 and £35, with handbills typically realising between £300 and £500.

Similar items relating to The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd The Who and Bob Marley, in particular, are also highly sought after.

* Were you at any of the Beatles’ St Helens concert. Get in touch with our newsdesk on 01744 611011 or email andy.moffatt@lep.co.uk