Friday 20 August 2021
















Look back at legendary Beatles gig as Beach Ballroom revamp plans emerge
Plans have been unveiled to breathe new life into the Beach Ballroom – and restore its place as the “jewel in the crown” of Aberdeen’s promenade.

The venue has fallen on hard times in recent decades, but the proposals could make it once again the place to be for a good night out.

Scores of couples courted there in its heyday, with its dances attracting revellers every weekend.

And the venue drew in some of the biggest names in showbiz to Aberdeen.

With the possibility of legendary acts returning to its stage once again now, we look back at one of the most storied nights in its history.
It was on a cold night at the start of 1963 that the most famous band to ever play the Beach Ballroom rocked up.

The Beatles would rocket to international stardom by the end of that year, but it was a not-quite-so-famous Fab Four that visited Elgin, Dingwall and Aberdeen that winter with Love Me Do the only hit to their name.

Author Richard Houghton’s book ‘The Beatles – I Was There’ captures the memories of more than 400 fans who saw John, Paul, George and Ringo in those fresh-faced early days.

Hamy Harwood recalled George Harrison’s grubby fingernails as he strummed a guitar in a George Street music shop earlier that day.
Fellow fan Liz Wilson chatted to them at the seafront venue, “loving listening to their funny accents”.

She added: “I’m sure they thought ours the same.”
Malcolm Strachan was in a band called The Playboys at the time, said there was a “definite aura” about the soon-to-be superstars.

Malcolm met the band as they had a cigarette and a coffee before going on stage.

He said Paul McCartney “did most of the talking”, while the rest “never stopped smoking”.

“They went down really well. They really did… Sitting chatting to those guys you definitely knew they were going to make it,” he added.

Bill Cowie, who was 15 at the time, remembers seeing them perform “a selection of rock classics” in the first of two 45-minute sets.

More excitingly, he recalls John Lennon dedicating Love Me Do to he and his friends in the front row.

Norman Shearer saw “four scruffy individuals” emerging from their van, who would later perform a “terrific concert”.

He also reported a slight snafu, when the curtains wouldn’t close at the end – forcing the Liverpool lads to repeat their show-closing Love Me Do until the hitch was resolved.

By the third rendition, the curtains finally fell and the Beatles triumphantly left the Beach Ballroom.

As the crowd shuffled out into the frosty air, little did they suspect the next stop for the quartet was world domination.
Just two months after the release of the track that shot them to fame, You Really Got Me, The Kinks played to an appreciative Aberdeen audience.

The concert took place just weeks on from the release of their debut album, and All Day and All of the Night came out two days after they visited the Beach Ballroom.
The group returned less than a year later, on August 26, 1965.
The venue was built in 1929 and 90th anniversary celebrations took place two years ago.

By the time it reaches its 100th year, who is to say it won’t once again be hosting some of the biggest acts in the land.

Council officials believe their plans will make the Art Deco ballroom the “jewel in the crown” of the city’s radical beach masterplan.












This design image shows the ambitious revamp plans.


They want the main ballroom to be “reimagined” as a multi-purpose events space, which would be linked to improved leisure facilities.

Council officials add the changes “could transform the venue, building upon and enhancing the current offer for the 1,200 capacity events space”. 


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