Beatlemania returns to King’s Heath

Sixtieth anniversary of landmark gig to be celebrated.

Beatles fans from around the country will Come Together over the weekend of 1 & 2 July to celebrate the days in 1963 when Beatlemania came to King’s Heath and will be able to view unique photos of The Beatles on stage at their Birmingham debut.

Sity years ago on 15th February 1963 The Beatles made their Birmingham debut at King’s Heath’s tiny now burnt-down Ritz Ballroom next to the Hare and Hounds. And two fans who had travelled to the gig from Pershore managed to take five photos of The Beatles performing.

On 5th July 1963 The Beatles returned again to play a second hurriedly re-arranged gig when Ritz owners Ma & Pa Regan switched them at the last moment from playing an early evening date at one of their other clubs, the Handsworth Plaza, to the Ritz. Later that same evening they played the Old Hill Plaza.

The next time they returned to Birmingham they would play the much larger venues of the Hippodrome and the Town Hall – and the rest is history.

On Saturday 1stJuly, doors will open at 7pm at the Station pub for a special show by one of the finest tribute bands around – the Let it Beatles. Renowned for playing authentic instruments to create that perfect sound, the band regularly perform at venues around the Midlands and appeared on the same bill as Alison Moyet at the London Olympics. Included in their set will be a special medley featuring many of the songs the Beatles played at the 1963 Ritz shows, including Please, Please, Me, I Want To Hold Your Hand and Twist & Shout.

On Sunday 2nd July, doors will open at 2.15 pm for a great afternoon’s entertainment showcasing local musicians who will perform their favourite Beatles songs in a special All You Need Is Love Session. Fans can expect a range of musical styles including the acoustic sounds of Acoustica, the jazz soul of Blue Silk, the folk-rock of Mr Apollo, the sensational Abi Budgen and Dan Wilkins, the irrepressible Rob Peters & the Slapdash Cowboys, the incredible Jack Goodall & the Kick, the legendary Eggmen plus talented vocalist Matilda Pratt who has sung before thousands at Twickenham!

Tickets for The Let It Beatles and the All You Need Is Love Sessions each cost £8. A strictly limited number of weekend tickets have already sold out.

Tickets are available from The Station pub, 7 High Street, B14 7BB or here.

Jane Chapman, who took the five photos of The Beatles, said: “I travelled from Pershore to the gig although I used to live in Cambridge Road not far from the Ritz. I remember I went with my friend Annie Clifford and two others and we had to queue a long time to get in. Luckily one of their boyfriends lent us a camera so I was able to take the photographs. We were standing at the front and to the side of the stage so I was able to get John, Paul and George in the photos but not Ringo who was on drums at the rear of the tiny stage. There was a lot of screaming that night!”

Joint organisers Bob Prew and Ken Whittaker said: “We are really grateful to Jane for letting us have copies of her photos and are delighted that our mini Beatles festival is returning after a three year COVID-related absence. It is quite amazing to think that The Beatles made their Birmingham debut at a tiny club on King’s Heath’s York Road. We are expecting Beatles fans from far and wide to come to this sixtieth anniversary celebration and have deliberately kept ticket prices as low as possible. We would urge fans to buy tickets as early as possible. Weekend tickets have already sold out but tickets are still available for both single days. When these are gone they are all gone!”