Sunday, 16 April 2017

PETE RIGBY THE MAN WHO BROUGHT THE BEATLES TO WARRINGTON



Pete Rigby, the man who brought The Beatles to Warrington is now 76 and still lives in the same house on Grosvenor Avenue where a letter from Brian Epstein arrived all those years ago.
Dated July 17, 1962, it confirmed that John, Paul, George and original drummer Pete Best would appear at the Bell Hall in Orford three days later, on July 20.
In a characteristic Epstein flourish, the letter stated: “I would remind you that The Beatles’ spot is for a duration of one hour only.”
Bands usually played two 45-minute sets at Bell Hall.
Already The Beatles were breaking the rules.



Pete said: “It was a wonderful night. You couldn’t hear them because of the screams.
“I was there with Brian Epstein and Bob Wooler.”
Brian Epstein is justly famous as The Beatles’ manager. Bob Wooler is less well known. He was the DJ at the Cavern Club and it was through Wooler that Pete first made contact with the Fab Four.
Pete was 21 in 1962. An enterprising young man, he spotted a niche and began organising hops at the Bell Hall.
He would usually book a Warrington band and one from Liverpool, scouting them out at the Cavern.
It was here he asked Wooler if he could book The Beatles and was advised it would cost £30, a lot of money then.
Pete initially met Epstein at the Cavern and was invited to a formal meeting at Epstein’s Liverpool headquarters, NEMS.


He remembers the meeting: “Brian Epstein was a most wonderful man. He was absolutely genuine, down to the core.
“When it came to the Beatles’ fee, Brian said £25 – not £30.
“That was what he was like.”
Pete gave further evidence of Epstein’s integrity. In 1963 Gerry and the Pacemakers played the Bell Hall, honouring a contract made months earlier.
The band were number one that night with How Do You Do It.
“He could have got them a booking anywhere in the world that night, but he honoured ours,” said Pete.
So to the question of The Beatles’ second gig in the town, at the Towers Labour Club, Lodge Lane, Bewsey.
Nobody seems to know exactly when it took place.
Pete was there and said it was another fantastic event.
Some years ago he was contacted by Beatles authority Mark Lewisohn, who was working on The Complete Beatles Chronicles, a day-by-day diary.
The Bell Hall gig is in there, but Mark and Pete were unable to pinpoint the Towers Labour Club night.
They believe it’s one of three possible 1962 dates – September 20, 27 or October 4.
So, how did Pete find The Beatles?
“I found John Lennon a little bit of a difficult character to know.
“Paul McCartney was great, Ringo was laid back and George Harrison just took care of himself.”
A few years ago, he sold the Brian Epstein letter for £1,400. “I had a good holiday in Vegas,” he laughed.
Given the worth of that letter, he wonders what other goldmine he might have passed up on.
“There was a green metal bucket in the dressing room at the Bell Hall. The Beatles were in the dressing room before the show doodling on their guitars.
“Afterwards the green bucket was full of bits of paper,” he said.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...