Exhibition - Now Open!
A new exhibition marking the 60th Anniversary of The Beatles’ visits to the city…
1963, the start of the swinging sixties and Beatlemania, a phenomenon that was to change the course of music, art and fashion and the year that The Beatles would play at Portsmouth Guildhall – twice!
‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, – The Beatles at The Savoy and Portsmouth Guildhall 1963’ gives a fascinating insight into the rock sensation’s visits to the city from a variety of perspectives including those who were there and press reports of the time accompanied by images and articles, many of which have been reproduced with the permission of The News, Portsmouth.
When The Beatles first visited the Guildhall on 30th March 1963, they had been billed at the bottom of a package tour starring America’s Chris Montez and Tommy Roe, but by the time they reached the venue with what was the 20th and penultimate date of the tour, their fame had eclipsed that of the headliners and they played songs including Please, Please Me, Love Me Do and I Saw Her Standing There.
Their second Guildhall performance, due to take place on 12th November 1963, was postponed after Paul McCartney collapsed in his dressing room with gastric flu just hours before the show. With security measures “fit for an atom base” in place to combat near-riot warnings, police cars toured the city with loud-hailers to announce that the show was off.
The rescheduled show took place on 3rd December 1963, where it is widely reported the concert could not be heard above the screaming fans.
Mass hysteria, a black market of tickets amongst school children, “strong-armed men” to stop a rush on stage, how The Beatles were smuggled into the city in a van, burst water hoses, disappointment over fish and chips and much more – you can find out about it all!
Curator of the exhibition and souvenir brochure, Nigel Grundy, had joined the throng of fans outside the venue who didn’t have a ticket but wanted to get a glimpse of the fab four. Nigel said “I didn’t get a ticket because my pocket money didn’t stretch that far. Waiting outside, rumour after rumour spread through the crowd – “they were at a window”, “they had been seen in Commercial Road” etc. Security tried to confuse fans about which exit The Beatles would leave from by leaving vehicles at each but as luck would have it, I happened to be standing at the east door when a car dew up and seconds later The Beatles rushed out passing within inches of me – I didn’t see The Beatles play, but I almost touched one!”
‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, – The Beatles at The Savoy and Portsmouth Guildhall 1963’ is part of The Portsmouth Music Experience at Portsmouth Guildhall which is FREE to visit Monday – Friday, 10am – 4pm (subject to availability, please check before travelling) with a limited number of souvenir brochures of the exhibition also available to purchase.
Situated on the first floor of Portsmouth Guildhall, The Portsmouth Music Experience, celebrating its 10th anniversary, showcases the rich history of music and venues the city has enjoyed since the 1960s where along with The Beatles exhibition you will find the most comprehensive exhibition ever staged of the 1968, 1969 & 1970 Isle of Wight Music Festivals, a display about the filming of The Who’s rock opera, Tommy and a new photographic exhibition for 2023, Icons of Rock – Portrait and Performance, which features the photographs of Barrie Wentzell, Chief Photographer for Melody Maker from 1965–1975.
For more information and to check exhibition opening times before your visit click here.