Beatles 1963 Concert Poster – Grafton Ballroom in Liverpool

An authentic, rare Beatles in-person poster from the Grafton Ballroom in their native Liverpool on January 10, 1963.

What’s remarkable about this poster is that January 10, 1963 is the day before EMI/Parlophone released the Beatles’ “Please, Please Me” single, which would rocket them to national stardom in just a few short weeks.

But history aside, the first thing that strikes you about this beautiful Beatles Grafton Ballroom concert advertisement is the gorgeous Day-Glo colors. The bright red, orange and yellow/green really stand out against the black backdrop.

If you’re a graphic artist, it’s also interesting to note how white was used only for the important slug line directly above the Beatles’ name, and then in one little star down below. Interesting touch.

As was the standard of the day, this Beatles Grafton Ballroom window poster measures 20 by 30 inches.  It was printed on thin paper, not cardboard or durable paper, so these things become very fragile after turning half-a-century old.

Gerry & The Pacemakers were also on the bill on this Beatles Grafton Ballroom ticket poster. Anyone who listened to Top 40 radio in the mid-’60s knows them for hits like “Ferry Cross the Mersey” and “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying.” They were managed, in fact, by Beatles manager Brian Epstein.

And yet, at the beginning of 1963, nobody on this poster was actually famous yet, so the Pacemakers got no better billing than the other unknown acts listed.  Even the M.C. got similar billing.

Focusing back on the headliners, you just have to love the way the Fabs’ name dominates this Beatles Grafton Ballroom tour poster… the big oval in the center, their name tilted at an angle, the huge lettering and catchy type used, and of course the coloring… you could see this thing from a block away!

Here is all the wording, just as it reads on the poster:

(Yellow stripe at top): The Grafton Ballroom (Also in yellow): Thurs. Jan 10th from 7:30 to 12:30

(In white): First 1963 Appearance on Merseyside of THE BEATLES

(And then the under-billed acts, all in red): Also Gerry & the Pacemakers, the Billy Ellis Trio, Sonny Webb & The Cascades, the Johnny Hilton Showband, and Master of Ceremonies – The One & Only Bob Wooler

Tickets 7’, In Advance 6’. From NEMS – Lewis’s – Cranes – Rushworth’s – Hessy’s – & the Grafton

Wooler’s name is interesting to see on this Beatles Grafton Ballroom concert announcement because all he did was introduce the boys to their future manager Brian Epstein in late 1961. He was the DJ at the famed Cavern Club, and quite a local music impresario at the time.

Wooler himself actually saved a lot of original Beatles concert posters, and sold most of them off before his death in 2002. I spoke with him on the phone a couple of times, but I don’t recall if he had this one or not.

In this video, I show you vintage photographs of a couple of the opening acts on this Beatles Grafton Ballroom appearance poster. Since the poster itself has no photos, I often like to enhance my videos with that kind of visual aid.

In fact, I also show you a picture of the Beatles on stage this week. Not this very night, I couldn’t find a photo of that, but one from 48 hours later (that Saturday night) in Kent, England.

So with great pleasure, this Beatles Grafton Ballroom street poster is discussed in depth by first-generation Beatles fan Pete Howard of San Luis Obispo, California – a long way from Liverpool! But that’s me, and I can be reached at 805-540-0020 or through the Internet at  And I don’t own this poster so I will pay TOP DOLLAR IN THE WORLD, should you run across one for sale.

And to feast your eyes upon a couple more original Beatles English concert posters, just go see this page right here on my Web site:

Posted in **All Posters, *Beatles, British Invasion | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Louis Jordan Concert Poster 1950s Wild, Colorful Boxing-Style

An authentic and highly collectible Louis Jordan window card from Richmond, Virginia on Halloween night, 1951.

This beautiful poster is simply riveting with its bright colors, splashy graphics, multiple cool pictures of Jordan and plenty of song titles. It’s a real winner.

Now the bad news: my Louis Jordan show placard is not complete… the bottom third or so was torn off somewhere along the line (I suspect back in 1951).

I’m guessing that’s the result of a construction worker finding this poster under several layers of plaster and sheet rock in a building that was being torn down. That’s why you see all the dripping paint, plaster and other stuff on two edges of the poster. This thing was hammered, but at least it survived! (Sort of.)

Some collectors might, indeed, complain about not being able to see the missing portion of this awesome Louis Jordan tour placard… but my position is, until I find a fully intact one, this is better than nothing. (smile) And in my video, I take the trouble to show you a picture of a complete one, and linger on it for a little while.

In fact, this is comparable to a concert ticket that’s been torn in half, isn’t it?  I felt this Louis Jordan street poster was worth keeping – and putting in my video blog – because Jordan’s name is fully intact, it has not one but five pictures of him, and the complete ticket information is still there in the upper right.

So what I’ll do here is give the complete wording found on this poster as it read originally, including the words missing from the bottom:

Mosque Ballroom / Richmond – Wed. Oct. 31, 8:30 to 12:30 / Advance Admission $1.75 – at door $2.00

The Greatest “Little” Band Becomes a Great BIG Band – In Person! – Louis Mr. Personality Jordan

(And now in the red stripe, which is partially gone): For the First Time… His Exciting New Full Size 14 piece Band – Featuring Musical Entertainment At Its Best! – With 14 Music Makers, Hand Picked by Jordan Himself

“Run Joe,” “If You’re So Smart, Why Ain’t You Rich?,” “Louisville Lodge Meeting,” “How Blue Can You Get?” (those four are on my poster piece, whereas the following two are missing): “Three-Handed Woman,” “Fat Sam (From Birmingham)” – Globe Poster Corp. – Baltimore

One of the most amazing things about this Louis Jordan fence poster is how they so portrayed his zaniness… Jordan is shown as a bow-legged pirate, wearing a sombrero and playing maracas, wearing oddball glasses and reading from a book, etc. Jordan obviously believed in offering a full range of entertainment!

Actually, the craziness of this piece nicely matches the occasion on which this particular concert was held… Halloween 1951. But remember, this poster was a “tour blank,” used for much of ’51 and likely beyond. The only information that changed from show to show was the red printed text in the upper-right white box.

And speaking of that area, did you notice the cheap ticket price on this Louis Jordan street sign? It’s extra amazing when you realize that was for a full 14-piece outfit, not just a solo artist!

Jordan had achieved three Top 10 R&B hits earlier in 1951, btw. But going forward from the date of this poster, Louis’s charting days were over… he’d never show up again. But he definitely kept on performing.

This Louis Jordan appearance poster is examined and discussed by collector and poster enthusiast Peter Howard in California. I can be contacted by calling 805.540-0020 or by email at  As a serious poster collector and fan, I will pay TOP DOLLAR for a fully intact copy of this vintage Louis Jordan boxing-style concert poster – or any others of this era.

If you’d like to see some more cool, old jazz & big-band concert signs, head over to this page right here on my Web site:

Posted in **All Posters, Boxing-Style Concert Posters, Jazz & Big Band, Soul and R&B | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jefferson Airplane 1966 Concert Poster BG-1 Very First Printing

Today I show you the absolute first printing of Bill Graham’s very first poster for his famous series of numbered concerts at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, on February 4, 5 and 6, 1966.

This Jefferson Airplane Fillmore Auditorium poster is referred to by poster collectors as “BG-1,” with the initials representing Bill Graham, of course. It alludes to the fact that this was concert #1 in the new series of weekend shows Graham would host at the Fillmore, directly following his involvement in the popular Trips Festival two weeks prior.

The center image on this BG1 Jefferson Airplane show poster is that of a running horse with a man strapped to its back, and directly behind that is an old bi-plane in the style of the Wright Brothers. Some people think it’s actually a “horse-airplane” hybrid, because the dense red ink sort of runs everything together.

The man who created this Jefferson Airplane appearance poster for the Fillmore Auditorium is one Peter Bailey. On the poster I show you today, Bailey’s name is detectable in very light print down in the corner. However, his name was quickly removed on Graham’s orders.

It’s not known why Graham wanted Bailey’s credit immediately yanked from his Jefferson Airplane Fillmore Auditorium window display, but the most common theory is that Graham wanted all of the spotlight for himself and his new business. That may be a flimsy theory, however, because every BG poster following this one, for years on end, carried the poster artist’s credit.

So this first poster lacked any hint of psychedelic artwork. Graham didn’t quite have that vision yet when he had this BG-1 Jefferson Airplane Fillmore window card designed. Sure, the image is a bit crazy, but nothing like the wild psychedelic artwork that would quickly follow when Wes Wilson got involved (starting with the BG-2 poster).

In this video, I’m very pleased to be able to show you a “stone mint” version of this Jefferson Airplane BG-1 Fillmore concert poster. Clearly, it was never used; most of these things were used, so they usually have creases, light stains and so forth.

So this BG1 Jefferson Airplane poster is a primo copy.  It has no creases, tape residue, folds, bends… heck, it looks like it was printed yesterday. Somebody took very good care of this one.

It should be noted that there’s a small handbill version of the Jefferson Airplane BG1 Fillmore street poster. It’s red and white in color, with no yellow, and has an extra notice that “black light will be provided.” I’ll blog the handbill separately.

As I usually try to give you, here is the entire text as it reads on this Jefferson Airplane Fillmore window poster:

(First the upper left): Bill Graham Presents Three Dance Concerts

Fri, Sat & Sun – Feb 4, 5 and 6


with Sights and Sounds of the Trips Festival!

Fillmore Auditorium

(and then in tiny print): Fillmore Street at Geary Boulevard

9 till ?

Donations: $2

(and all of the following is in tiny print):


City Lights Bookshop, San Francisco

The Psychedelic Shop, 1535 Haight Street, San Francisco

Hut T-1, San Francisco State College

ASUC Box Office & Campus Records, Berkeley

(and then way down in the lower left-hand corner):

Design: Peter Bailey, East Wind Printers

As I’ve indicated, Bailey’s designer credit can barely be seen on this Jefferson Airplane Fillmore Auditorium broadside. It’s so hidden that it really makes you wonder what problem Graham had with it. Another theory might be that Graham didn’t mind “Peter Bailey” but objected to the print shop getting advertised for free, so he had it all taken off.

It’s funny how promoter Graham tried to tie in his first concert to the success of the Trips Festival two weeks earlier, with that line of copy directly below the Airplane’s name on his BG1 Fillmore poster. It’s even more of a stretch when you realize that the Airplane didn’t even play at that Trips Festival. (But then again, Bill was the coordinating producer of that important event.)

It’s worth noting that no opening acts are listed on this Jefferson Airplane Fillmore Aud. event poster. Graham was just starting out on this new path, and perhaps didn’t realize the value of having additional bands on board to bolster his attendance.

Peter Bailey had designed a few other things for Graham prior to doing this Jefferson Airplane Fillmore ticket poster, but following this, he would do only one more poster in Graham’s regular numbered series. It would be more than a year later, when he did poster # BG-59 for Graham.

I love the early innocence that this Jefferson Airplane February 1966 Filmore concert poster represents. I love that it pre-dates all of Graham’s famous psychedelic show posters that would follow. A Wright Brothers airplane and a galloping horse? Obviously, things weren’t being taken seriously at all yet.

This Jefferson Airplane Fillmore Auditorium concert announcement is so early that it dares to label the $2.00 ticket price a “donation.” Yeah, a donation to promoter Graham’s pocketbook (not to be cynical). But then again, Graham was just getting going, and his three Mime Troupe benefit shows had used the term “donations” instead of “ticket price,” so he just carried over the term. And only once.

As I demonstrate for you in the video, this first printing of the BG-1 concert poster was done on yellow paper, so only red ink was needed in producing it… unusually, there is no white or black involved at all.

This and all other aspects of the red & yellow Jefferson Airplane poster from the Fillmore are dissected and discussed by veteran collector Pete Howard. That’s me, and I can be reached through or by calling 805-540-0020. As a serious collector, I will pay ABSOLUTE TOP DOLLAR for a pre-concert BG-1 poster, or any of the early numbers in Graham’s series.

To see a few more psychedelic rock-concert poster images from the glorious 1960’s, simply tune in to this page right here on my Web site:

Posted in **All Posters, **Psychedelic Posters Only, Fillmore Auditorium | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beatles 1963 Parlophone Promo Display – Fabulous 3-Panel Day-Glo Beauty

A really choice 1963 Beatles EMI Records promo display which helped sell the British public on the Fab Four’s discs, back before they were even heard of in America.

Dezo Hoffman’s well-known photo of the Fabs serves as the centerpiece of this Beatles Parlophone Records record-store display. In addition, EMI took that small, center poster made of paper (which is glued onto the display here) and sent it out as a promo merchandising piece as well. For collectors, that is much more commonly found than this hefty cardboard display.

As you can easily see, this particular Beatles EMI Records in-store display shown in my video has been flattened out for purposes of framing. Its common state, however, is much more three-dimensional, because the two folding panels on either side are what allow it to stand on its own, on a flat surface.

It was not difficult to ascertain the exact month this Beatles Parlophone Records window display was rolled out – August 1963 – because it clearly says “8/63” in the fine print you see way down in the lower corner of the left flap.

Radiant Day-Glo colors of orange and yellow-green are what stand out on this Beatles EMI Records stand-up. The yellow is reserved for just the group’s name and the words “Now On Sale Here” on the right panel.

This Beatles Parlophone Records merchandising display was manufactured on rigid cardboard, and was cut and assembled so that it folds in thirds. This allowed it to naturally stand up on its own, with no need for an easel on the back.

It’s a little awkward to state the dimensions of this Beatles EMI Records counter display, because it has three different heights (each panel is different). But suffice it to say that it measures a little over 27 inches wide.

From my American viewpoint, it’s worth noting that 45 RPM singles were neglected by this Beatles Parlophone Records retail display. Even though the boys’ singles were white-hot #1’s, for whatever reason this sign only plugs their “LP & EP Records.”

While I’m at it, I’ll just write out all the text on this Beatles EMI Records display, moving from left to right:

(White lettering) Here They Are – The (orange) Fabulous (yellow) Beatles

(Little banner over the photo) The Beatles – Parlophone Records. (Then below the photo) EMI – The Greatest Recording Organisation [sic, British spelling] in the World.

(Then the right flap) Hear Their Latest Parlophone LP & EP Records – Now On Sale Here

In case this looks partly familiar to you, some versions of this Beatles Parlophone Records standee were sent out without the right-hand panel. That version utilizes a slightly different frame from Dezo Hoffman’s film, literally a second before or after the other photo, and doesn’t have the orange background (or the banner) that this one has.

The record label deliberately – and smartly – designed their Beatles EMI Records promotional display to not become dated in a matter of weeks.  To avoid this from happening, they left off all mentions of the Fab Four’s specific records, such as their newest single “She Loves You.”

That makes even more sense when you realize that significant manufacturing costs surely went into this Beatles Parlophone Records 3-D display. The combination of thick poster board, bright Day-Glo inks and folding hinges undoubtedly busted their marketing budget.

It’s also worth nothing that in 1963, the Fabs were releasing a new EP about every 60 days, so it would’ve been fruitless for this Beatles EMI Records store display to try to identify them… obsolescence would have been built in, so EMI officials just left it generic in nature.

About half-a-year after this Beatles Parlophone Records point-of-purchase display was issued, Capitol Records over in the U.S. would produce a a similar item using the same Dezo Hoffman photo, but raise the stakes considerably by implementing battery-driven moving parts. (I’ve already video-blogged that item separately.)

You can’t say the record label was hiding with their Beatles EMI Records countertop display. It says “EMI” once, “Parlophone” twice and then displays the Parlophone Records logo as well (on the right-hand panel).

This Beatles Parlophone Records standup is enthusiastically discussed by collector Pete Howard, who can be reached by writing to or calling (805)-540-0020. I will pay TOP DOLLAR, PERIOD for this display, or any other early Beatles merchandising promotional pieces.

To see a few other early British Beatles marketing items, in this case concert posters from 1961-62, take a look at:

Posted in **All Posters, *Beatles, British Invasion, Promo Posters & Displays | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Janis Joplin Concert Poster 1969 – Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

An authentic Janis Joplin window card from Duke University in Durham, NC on Saturday, March 1, 1969.

The first thing you notice about this Janis Joplin broadside is its unusual color scheme… red and white printing on a pink background. It’s a contrast nightmare, but very effective in getting people to come in for a closer look.

And then there’s the white stripe down the right-hand side of this this Janis Joplin billboard. For the life of me (and several friends), I can’t figure out whether that is a printer’s flaw, a faded portion due to florescent lights or sunlight, or the poster designer’s idea of something cool & different. Once I see a second copy of this Janis Joplin window display, my question will probably be answered. Can you help?

Still, I find myself not annoyed by that stripe, because possessing any vintage Janis Joplin poster is a big thrill for me; we lost Pearl way too soon.

You gotta love the ticket-buying information as it’s conveyed on this Janis Joplin telephone-pole poster… tickets were sold only at “the main quad,” three Record Bar stores and by mail order.  No computer outlets like Ticketron – how sixties!

And then you fall in love with the prices, as shown in the lower left-hand corner of this Janis Joplin show placard… no seat in the house even reached three bucks!

This Duke Janis Joplin show poster was printed on light card stock, somewhat flexible in nature, but not nearly as thin as regular paper.

This Janis Joplin tour poster measures out at 14 x 22”, the most common size for concert posters of this vintage.

If you look carefully, you can see that this Janis Joplin placard has a few white marks along the very top. Those are known in the hobby as “tape lifts”… they’re what remain when Scotch (or any kind of) tape was used and then later peeled off.

It’s always a bonus when your Janis Joplin in-person poster has an exciting image of the headlining act, and indeed, this Duke poster has a great action photo of Janis on stage. In fishnet stockings, no less.

The students of Duke got a bit carried away with their credit across the top of this Janis Joplin event poster. It states, “The Duke Student Union Major Attractions Committee Presents… Janis Joplin.” Quite a mouthful!

I’d estimate that about 5% of vintage rock-concert concert posters state the year as part of the show’s date like this, because they were all intended to be discarded after the show. This Janis Joplin concert announcement falls into that 5% category.

I want to point out that you can see the bass player standing behind Pearl on this Janis Joplin appearance poster. That’s Brad Campbell, bass player for the Kozmic Blues Band.

I guess it would’ve been asking too much if guitarist Sam Andrew had appeared in the photo on this Janis Joplin concert placard instead, because he was the one member from Big Brother and the Holding Company whom Janis carried forward into her new band in 1969.

By the way, there’s a reason why this Janis Joplin window poster doesn’t name the Kozmic Blues Band by name: they didn’t have a name yet. They really wouldn’t be dubbed the Kozmic Blues Band until Janis’s first solo album came out much later in ’69.

It’s always nice to have an opening act, and this Janis Joplin street sign indeed names the James Cotton Blues Band, a regular presence on her ’69 tour, right below Janis’s name.

You have to remember, this Janis Joplin ticket poster presented the songstress just a couple of months into her solo career… she had played her final gig with BBHC only in December.

In fact, Big Brother’s spectacular Cheap Thrills LP was still nestled in the Top 20 of Billboard magazine’s Top LPs chart at the time this Janis Joplin concert advertisement was distributed. Her Kozmic Blues LP wouldn’t be released for another seven months or so.

A genuine Janis Joplin street poster is a fun collectible, but a lot of people felt that Janis was at the top of her game with Big Brother & the Holding Co., so they opt to collect those posters instead.

But if you prefer a solo Pearl poster, there are lots of opportunities to acquire a Janis Joplin tour placard because she was on tour with her new backing band for most of 1969.

I find it interesting that no printer’s credit is shown at the bottom of this Janis Joplin concert sign, so maybe it was printed up in Duke University’s student print shop.

This Janis Joplin fence poster is lovingly discussed and explained by Pete Howard; that’s me, and I can be contacted at or 805-540-0020. I pay the VERY BEST PRICES, PERIOD for old, vintage Janis Joplin concert posters.

If you haven’t laid eyes upon my poster-hobby Web site, you’ll see some more fine examples of collectable rock & roll posters here:

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