‘We had china suits specifically made’: behaving during a Beatles Christmas shows

This wasn’t a initial time we’d common a check with a Beatles. A few years earlier, they were a warm-up band, when we headlined a Cavern in Liverpool. We unequivocally dignified them.

I was a trombonist in the Mike Cotton Sound, a footnote to a 1960s song scene. On this occasion, we were their support band; we are graphic here during a press call for Another Beatles Christmas Show, a follow-up to their successful prolongation a year earlier.

The uncover non-stop on Christmas Eve and ran until 16 January, and consisted of accumulation performances, with sketches and comedy that seemed anachronistic even then. Produced by a crony of Brian Epstein, it was lavish, with cascading waterfalls that flooded a stage. We started a night on a revolving lectern and a leads kept removing tangled up. Jimmy Savile was compere; nothing of us favourite him. He was an awful show-off.

At a press call, John Lennon knew all a photographers and journalists, and called out to them: “How do, Daily Express? How’s it going, Sunday Times?” So we called out, too, reflecting a squalid status: “Hello there, Willesden Chronicle!”

I’m station subsequent to a thespian Elkie Brooks, apparently with a thatched roof on my head. We wanted to demeanour like a Beatles, and copied their hair and wore a same boots: Cuban heels from Anello Davide, that became famous as a Beatle Boot. Mike Cotton, on my left, was penetrating to do something special for a show, so we had china suits specifically made. We’re both from London and had famous any other given we were 18. I’m from East Ham, Mike from Tottenham.

Our pursuit was to play immaterial song and accompany Elkie; we had a mark of a own, too. At a commencement of any show, any act done a brief walk-on appearance, and we had to play a few bars of suitable music. You couldn’t hear anything a Beatles played since of a screaming. we consider we was one of a few people during that time who got to hear their live shows clearly, since we watched a few of their afternoon rehearsals during a almost-deserted Hammersmith Odeon, as it was called then.

A residency like this was singular for us; we were customarily touring. At a time, we were personification about 300 gigs a year. We had a good time, working as a organisation of immature group do when they’re on a road.

In 1965, a keyboard player, Dave Rowberry, was poached by a Animals. We auditioned a lot of people to reinstate him, including Joe Cocker and Elton John, who we knew afterwards as Reg. We were an appealing tender as we warranted some-more than some bigger bands. Joe and Elton both unsuccessful their auditions – not for low-pitched reasons, of course. Joe didn’t demeanour right, and Elton was so bashful and vulnerable, he wouldn’t have propitious in. He’s substantially beholden now.

The Beatles’ Christmas shows were a hit; no one though them could container a Hammersmith Odeon twice nightly for some-more than dual weeks. They were full of normal songs, as good as their possess hits. It doesn’t get some-more Christmassy than this.

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