Beatles Window Card ’60s Aldershot, U.K. – Just 18 Paid Customers! – Part 2

An authentic Beatles window card printed up for a dance/concert in Aldershot, England on December 9, 1961. This is Part Two of my two-part video, so be sure to check out Part One first.

The Beatles’ 1961 Aldershot concert will be forever remembered due to the fact that only 18 paying customers attended this event in the snoozy burg of Aldershot, England, located west-southwest of London. To make matters worse, there were blizzard-like conditions swirling around that night.

This occasion marked the first time the Beatles had played down in the southern part of England, and the results were anything but auspicious. The boys and their small crew got up before daybreak in Liverpool and, without their right-hand man, Neil Aspinall, made the long, tough nine-hour slog down to Aldershot, in two vehicles.

The poster advertised this as a “Battle of the Bands – Liverpool versus London” at the small venue. However, no such “battle” took place, and the whole thing was almost a non-event. When a group of girls arrived at the door and asked what time the Beatles went on, the doorman said, “What time would you like them to go on?”  LOL!

A principal Beatles promoter at the time, Sam Leach, had attempted to advertise the event in the local Aldershot News, but he had remitted a check instead of cash, so the paper turned down the ad. With no newspaper ad or radio spots, this poster and a small, blue & white Beatles Aldershot flyer were the only avenues to get the word out. And they largely failed.

But in spite of these very difficult circumstances, the boys gamely played for three full hours for the 18 attendees. In his book, Leach says that John, Paul, George and Pete (Best) performed like they were playing for thousands of punters back home at Liverpool’s Tower Ballroom.  At the end of this night, when the remaining dancers demanded an encore, the Fab 3 + Pete returned with a 10-minute version of Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” – which they later recorded for Parlophone.

It’s pretty funny to see how the Liverpool lads are billed on this window card as “Liverpool’s Number One Rock Outfit – Direct from Their German Tour: The Beatles”… when they had never really toured Germany, of course… they had just played the low-brow clubs of one city, Hamburg.

You might take note that this Beatles Aldershot advertisement states plainly, “Every Saturday, Commencing This Saturday, December 9.” However, the boys never returned after enduring the undignified spectacle of playing before just 18 people.

I have to be sure to give credit to promoter Sam Leach’s book The Birth of the Beatles for its great storytelling about this historic date in Fab Four folklore.

My name is Peter Howard, I made this video, this window card is part of my long-term collection and I will pay the BEST PRICES for another copy or any original, vintage Beatles concert poster from England (or America, too, but very few were made).  You can reach me at pete@postercentral.com or by phoning (805) 540-0020.

If it would be fun for you to see still another Beatles concert poster also from Dec. ’61 – a sizeable, attractive Christmas one from their native Liverpool – just hop over to this page located here on my Web site: http://www.postercentral.com/beatles.htm

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