Saturday, 27 December 2014

Beatlemania Was Born In Blackpool

The Beatles 'arrived' when I was nine and nothing would ever be quite the same again. They permeated our young lives and literally became the soundtrack to my adolescence. Christmases were always awash with fabulous Beatle music (1963 With The Beatles, 1964 Beatles For Sale, 1965 Rubber Soul). We thrilled to their sound on transistors, radiograms and TV specials.

Tennis rackets became guitars, biscuit tins became drums (except no one really wanted to be Ringo) and the girls next door became groupies as we mimed to John, Paul, George and Ringo's unprecedented string of number one hits. In the playground there were mock battles between Beatles fans, Searchers supporters and those deluded few who thought the Dave Clark Five were going to take over the world. We were still all wearing short trousers - even in winter. They seemed such innocent and exciting times....
Years later, Beatles For Sale was the de rigeur LP (and then CD) of choice to be played during the annual decorating of the Christmas tree, and so the Beatles became not just part of my DNA but indelibly part of my daughters' as well... and Revolver remains my favourite album of all time.
Today's poem is one that I've just written as part of a project for Blackpool's Imperial Hotel, about some of its most famous guests and this being Christmas week, what better time to give it an airing?
This iconic image of The Beatles in Blackpool was taken on the roof of the Opera House by photographer Peter Emmett.



Beatlemania Was Born In Blackpool
Beatlemania was born in Blackpool
back in the summer of sixty-three.
The fab four rocked the town by the sea
no fewer than eight times in that giddy year,
playing Queens Theatre, the Opera House and ABC
from balmy July to sultry September,
each show a performance to remember.
None more so than their first appearance
at the Queens - nee Feldman’s - on Bank Hey Street
[now a cut-price department store]
when four thousand frenzied but ticketless fans
besieged and surrounded the sold-out venue,
completely blocking all of its doors
so that the mops
had to be smuggled in across rooftops –
the first of many a Hard Day’s Night. 

On stage their fringes shook in crazy joy,
their music, soundtrack of our unshackling,
hardly heard above the noise
of screaming girls in pheromone flow.
It was mayhem of the most wondrous kind…

…and later in Imperial pomp
the boys sipped scotch and coke to unwind,
cloistered in their hotel suite
figuring the chords to I Feel Fine. 

But the Fab Four did so much more
than light up Blackpool –
they were about to turn on a generation!
From Love Me Do to Love You To,
the Beatles soon commanded every station.
A cultural phenomenon
unparalleled in modern times,
these four young men enthralled a nation
eager to escape our post-war blues.
They switched the points -
and in doing so
allowed us to forgo
destination Squaresville
in favour of a Magical Mystery Tour.

Thanks for reading. Have a rocking New Year :-) S
Reactions:

12 comments:

Adele said...

Fab!

Anonymous said...

This one strikes a chord :-)

Steve Rowland said...

Sad to report, Peter Emmett - the photographer responsible for the shot of The Beatles I used in this blog - has just died in hospital at Blackpool. He was 84.

Anonymous said...

What a great blog and poem. I wish I'd been lucky enough to have been there. I love the Beatles.

Anonymous said...

This is so cool!

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Fabulous band. A most interesting blog and a great poem. Reading this made me quite nostalgic.

Anonymous said...

I've heard many stories about where and when Beatlemania started - so this one sounds believeble and even if its not true I really did the poem. Peace & Love.

Anonymous said...

Love this blog. Society was probably bound to change in the 60s anyway but the Beatles gave it a focus. I envy you for being there when it happened.

Anonymous said...

It was 50 years ago today Sgt Pepper taught the band to play! Great blog. Always loved the Beatles since Ed Sullivan show.

Anonymous said...

Class. Love the Beatles. Love the poem.

Anonymous said...

As others have said, what a Fab blog and poem.

Anonymous said...

Love the Beatles, love Blackpool, love the blog!