Concert program, 'Official Souvenir The Beatles Australian Tour 1964', paper, printed and published by Southdown Press Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1964
This concert program has significance as a reminder of the impact of the Beatles' 1964 visit to Australia. The Melbourne promoter Kenn Brodziak scored a coup when he visited London in July 1963. On the advice of his London representative Cyril Berlin, he negotiated with the Beatles' manager Brian Epstein and signed the relatively unknown group for an Australian tour for the modest sum of 1000 pounds a week. Within a few weeks the Beatles had shot to fame. When they finally arrived in Australia in June 1964, 'Beatlemania' had swept the world.
The first concerts of the tour were in Adelaide, where the Beatles arrived on Friday 12 June to the biggest welcome of their career. A reception was held at the Town Hall. Opinions vary as to the size of the crowd that lined the streets to welcome them, but 200 000 is one of the more conservative estimates. Adelaide had originally been left off the tour itinerary but its late inclusion cannot alone explain the intensity of its response. As pointed out by Lawrie Zion in his article 'Beatletown, Elizabeth, SA' (published in the 'Real wild child' CD-ROM, 1997), over the previous ten years the proportion of South Australia's population who had migrated from Britain had doubled. In the outer northern suburb of Elizabeth, British immigrants outnumbered Australian-born residents. Many had witnessed the development of the skiffle and beat booms that paved the way for the Beatles' emergence in Liverpool. There was perhaps an element of national pride and loyalty to the British lads who were redefining rock 'n' roll. The Adelaide concerts were unique because during four shows over two nights at Centennial Hall, Jimmy Nicol sat in on drums for Ringo Starr, who was recovering from tonsilitis.
The concerts consisted of an eleven-song, half-hour set. The support acts were compere-comedian Alan Field, Sounds Incorporated (an exciting English instrumental band), Johnny Chester, the Phantoms and Johnny Devlin. The primitive amplification systems and the incessant, deafening screaming of the crowd meant that not much music could be heard, but it didn't seem to matter. It was as though the audience came not to hear the Beatles, but to see them. The group ignited wild scenes of mass adulation. It was clear that pop music and its (mostly female) fans had become a social and economic force to be reckoned with. One of the 17 June Melbourne concerts (with Ringo back in the saddle) was recorded for television by GTV-9, screening to a huge national audience in early July as 'The Beatles Sing for Shell'.
A host of British groups emulated the Beatles. Inspired by the 'British invasion' a new crop of local beat groups, many containing young migrants, revitalised Australian rock 'n' roll. When, like the Beatles, these bands began to write their own songs, they found they too could have hit records. The Beatles continued to set trends that influenced Australian music for the rest of the decade.
Edited and produced by Southdown Editorial Services, for the concert promoter Aztec Services Pty Ltd. Printed and published by Southdown Press Pty Ltd, 33 Rosslyn St, Melbourne in 1964.
Purchased by the donor at one of the Beatles' Adelaide concerts, on 12 or 13 June 1964. Unlike most of Adelaide, she did not line the streets or stand outside the Town Hall to see the Beatles on the day of their arrival.
Caroline Berlyn remembers:
'I saw the Beatles in Adelaide. It was my first pop concert. I was 12 years old and Beatle-mad. I went with the daughters of my neighbour, and their mother chaperoned us. The older daughter camped out overnight, queuing up for tickets. I joined the queue in the daytime. There was excitement when the disc jockey Bob Francis came along and talked to girls in the queue.
'It was very exciting when the Beatles came on stage. Everyone just screamed. I can still see the stage arrangement. Ringo was not there as he had tonsillitis. They flew out a replacement.
'They sang 'Love Me Do'. I had the single. It was my first record. I bought the program and it is the only Beatle memento I kept.' (Caroline Berlyn telephone interview with Peter Cox, 1 May 2007).