Wednesday, September 05, 2007
APEC 07: Welcome to (the cage of) Sydney!
The Beatles in Adelaide
Originally they were going to miss Adelaide however DJ Bob Francis (now a shock jock) saw fit to arrange a little bit of a detour from their Eastern Australian gigs. Francis recalls in an interview at the Australian Broacasting Commision.
You know, in 1964 I was working as a disc jockey, I had a bit more hair in those days, and we had some fabulous news -- The Beatles were coming to Australia. The bad news is they weren't coming to Adelaide and I had to get a little help from my friends. And we worked out that through the power of radio, we could change the course of history. The excitement of The Beatles was just amazing. They had five number one hits in the Top 40 chart. It had never been known before. And so when we had the information that The Beatles weren't coming to South Australia, that really got me mad. And I thought, is it worthwhile asking on air why don't we get some signatures together. Get some signatures together? We got 80,000 signatures in about three weeks, which was just marvellous. The telegram came back within a couple of days saying, "Beatles now coming to Adelaide." And that was just fabulous news. I'd never seen it happen before. People actually camped from the Friday night after work and the Monday morning the tickets were going to go on sale.
We set up a studio on the terrace to be able to have music playing out of the trees in speakers. Ah, people were bopping all over the place. It was just such a -- a fantastic atmosphere. And the lovely part was everybody behaved themselves. There was no booze, it was just a different era, a different time.
Fabulous time. Well, the stage was set. 11 June 1964, they said, "Bob, would you like to go to Sydney?" And I said, "Yes, sir." Off to Sydney, on a Fokker Friendship, to meet The Beatles. (Laughs) Just the greatest thing in my world had happened on that day.And here's where it gets a little interesting in Johnno world. My Mum and Dad were dating and had not yet been engaged. Anyway, Mum wanted tickets and my grandmother obliged by being one of those who camped out. I took a browse of the book and found a photo of her in front of John Martin's on Rundle Street.
She's the old lady in the black overcoat at the front of the queue.
Here's the closeup. The old establishment type with the horn rimmed glasses, tie, tweed jacket and lapel pin looks remakably like my Grandfather too. I have no idea who the elegant dear in the white jacket is! Their persistance resulted in front row tickets for Ma and Pa Johnno, Dad was unimpressed by the concert, unable to hear anything due to the screaming of fans.
From an ABC website
Some 300,000 people, roughly one-third of Adelaide's population, lined the route from Adelaide Airport to the city to welcome the boys from Liverpool. John Lennon later described the Adelaide welcome as "the most exciting thing that's ever happened to us in the way of crowds and appearances...especially the drive down that road, the Anzac Highway, yes, I'll never forget that".And here's a shot of the motorcade as it crawls along King William Street.
Here's another pic from the book John Lennon and Ernie Sigley with a copy of John's book "In his own Write". Current signed editions going for around US$6000 ! From Wiki
Sigley is especially remembered for his 1964 association with the Adelaide leg of The Beatles tour of Australia. His intelligent questioning of The Beatles during media meetings, was a relief for the group after the banal media probing.
In one famous press conference, Sigley's questioning of The Beatles about their rock influences, and being able to discuss them (e.g. Buddy Holly), bought about an enthusiastic response from John Lennon, which contrasted strongly from all the questions asked by other interviewers during the conference.
It is clear that Sigley knew what his fellow media associates didn't - The Beatles weren't a passing fad, and chose to treat them accordingly. Sigley's questioning allowed The Beatles, in 1964 at the height of their fame, to put on record, a rarely honest response to questions that are now historically more important than any of the questions being asked of them during their breakthrough period.
Lastly a shot of the guy responsible for pulling a lot of it together. A baby faced Bob Francis looking dapper in his tweed jacket signing autographs for some female fans!