Beatles came close to playing on a Sussex pier

Copy of photo taken at Hastings carnival 1970. The photo shows Hastings Pier in the background.''Photo copy was taken through glass, so not fantastic quality. ENGSNL00120101214075635
Copy of photo taken at Hastings carnival 1970. The photo shows Hastings Pier in the background.''Photo copy was taken through glass, so not fantastic quality. ENGSNL00120101214075635

The Beatles played in Sussex at the Royal Hippodrome in Brighton in June 1963, but how many people realise that the Fab Four were actually once lined up to play on Hastings Pier?

An article, carried in the Hastings and St Leonards Observer in May 1963, featured an interview with the Pier Ballroom promoter, who actually confirmed the Beatles were booked to play that September.

Local DJ and music historian Andre Palfrey-Martin, who has written extensively about bands who played on the Pier Ballroom, shed light on it.

He said: “I have often been asked ‘Did the Beatles ever play The Happy Ballroom - Hastings Pier?’

“The answer is sadly no.

“However, this almost came about, as the Pier Manager Mr Bob Knights is reported to have said in a press interview with the Hastings Observer in the edition of 18th May 1963 “ The Spring Fields and booked for August [ 31st ed] and the Beatles in September.

“On checking the Pier Schedule for the month of September, the Saturdays were filled by “Merseybeat “ groups: 7th Billy J Kramer, 14th Gerry & Pacemakers, 21st The Checkmates and 28th Gene Vincent? October 5th Rob Storm & Whispers and 12th The Undertakers.

“It could have been that the Pier’s promoter had booked a series of Merseybeat groups and the Beatles would have been included.

The date that might have been originally intended for them was filled in the last minute by Gene Vincent – certainly not a Merseybeat act.

“At this time the Beatles were heavily engaged with The Winter Tour in the UK and Sweden plus A royal Variety Command Show and the start of their Christmas Show in London, also promoting their second album “With The Beatles” recorded in London between 18 July – 23 October and Released 22 November 1963.”

Hastings Beatles Day takes place on Sunday April 7 at the White Rock Theatre and raises momney for charity.

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