1963 live tape of Beatles concert surfaces

Back in 1963, four men in their twenties called The Beatles, who were making their way in the music business, paid a visit to Carlisle.

They played a gig at the ABC – later renamed the Lonsdale – on Warwick Road on November 21.

And one man in the crowd that evening made sure he would be able to remember the event.

John Wilson, of Dalston Street, Denton Holme, went along with one of his trusted companions – his tape recorder. And his recording was played on the radio on October 5th as part of a special day of BBC broadcasting to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of Love Me Do. They played a portion of this on BBC Radio Cumbria at 5 October, just before 9am.

Almost half a century on he still has the reel-to-reel product of his amateur session with the band. It features a version of Love Me Do, which came out 50 years ago yesterday.

At that time the venue had 2,000 seats, all of which were sold out for the show, many to the group’s many female fans.

This fact had a significant effect on the recording.

“There is an awful lot of screaming girls,” joked John. “It sounds as though The Beatles are playing in the background.”

This concert was the second time that the Fab Four had appeared in Carlisle.

Previously they had played the ABC supporting then teenage star Helen Shapiro.

On this occasion they were famously thrown out of the Crown and Mitre Hotel for their appearance.

None of this seemed to deter John, 74, though who described himself as a “big fan” of the group.

His favourite singles are Love Me Do and Hey Jude.

John also has a very wide musical taste which ranges from The Beatles to country and western to classical.

Andre Rieu is a current favourite.

He was also passionate about making tape recordings and regularly took his machines out with him.

His collection includes two tapes of concerts from another of the biggest names in British pop, Cliff Richard.

And that’s the story so far, as retold by Cumbrian newspaper, News & Star.

Further investigations reveal that the concert date probably is wrong. If “Love Me Do” was indeed played, this must be their first Carlisle gig on the 8 February 63 Shapiro concert, because the group had stopped playing “Love Me Do” by November. Anyway, it certainly is a remarkable story, and this is a tape we would very much like to hear in full.


Having listened to bits of the broadcast, it’s evident that the song in question is From Me To You and not Love Me Do, so they have their date right. Also in evidence is a lot of Beatlemania and The Beatles struggling to be heard. A lot of historical value but the music is barely audible.

3 Responses

  1. jazz says:

    great story the picture is not of the ABC In Fact I think that is the Crown and Mitre hotel

  2. jazz says:

    Great story the phoito is not the ABC think it is in fact the crown and Mitre hotel in Carlisle

  3. Couthy Lass says:

    The full tape & Bournemouth is circulating amongst only the trusted few.

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