Thursday, June 12, 2014

The girl who was prettier than Ringo

Of all the research and stories I have located about the Beatles Australian tour, this has to be my very favorite.   It is the story of the girl who was at the Adelaide Beatles press conference and came in and sat down with them as the "Ringo Starr look alike."   I have seen the clip from the press conference of her and have wondered about  her forever.    The newspaper, the Advertiser tracked her down for the 50th anniversary and she shared her memories of that day.   It is really a charming story.   It was written by Craig Cook (who seems to have written almost all of the stories about the Beatles in Adelaide for the 50th anniversary...he has done a great job!)

Her name is Adele Minns (nee Emanuelle) and she has lived in Melbourne since 1966.

The 67-year-old mother of two daughters, Natasha and Karina, remembers every moment of her 15 minutes of fame, including the fact the Ringo look-alike competition is a myth.

A former Brighton High School student who lived on Brighton Rd, Adele was a devotee of the Adelaide music scene and knew pop star Bev Harrell, along with leading bands The Clefs and The Viscounts.

She was also a regular at the popular Princeton Club where radio host Bob Francis was the resident DJ.

“Bob was the first person to call me Ringo,” Adele, said from her Melbourne home this week.
“He’d even call out to me in the street with ‘G’day Ringo’ and everyone would turn to look at me.”

Francis, who led the campaign to convince the Beatles to perform in Adelaide, introduced the “dead ringer” for Ringo to Ron Tremain, managing editor of Young Modern magazine, who was heavily involved in organising The Beatles’ Adelaide concerts.

Tremain was aware of an opal signet ring (worth $3000 today) being made for Ringo, famous for wearing dress rings, as a memento of his South Australian visit.

“It was Ron who decided that I should present Ringo with the opal ring that Adelaide was making for him,” Mrs Minns added.

“When Ringo couldn’t come to Adelaide because of tonsillitis, Ron organised for me to be presented at the press conference as Adelaide’s answer to Ringo Starr.”

On the big day Adele left her work at the Town Planners office in the police building in Victoria Square at lunchtime and made her way through the madding crowds outside the Town Hall on her way to the South Australian Hotel where the Beatles were staying.

“I still have the magic letter that allowed me into the South Australian Hotel and the press conference,” she said.

“I was taken to a downstairs room where we were offered refreshments until it was our time to go up to see The Beatles.

“I was such a big fan and I couldn’t believe I was going to meet them.”

The press conference was in full swing when Adele, dressed in a smart blue mod suit she made herself, was presented as the ‘Adelaide Ringo’.

Paul McCartney in particular looked confounded she was a young woman.

A gallant John Lennon stood up and offered her his seat and a lovely compliment.

“He told me, ‘You’re much prettier than Ringo’,” Adele said laughing.

“It was a very low stool and when I sat down I thought I was going to disappear from view as I’m only 4 foot 11.

“Paul offered me a cigarette which I said no to and he said ‘that’s good’.

“Ernie Sigley was one of the people asking questions and when I spoke to him later he was very excited because he had interviewed John Lennon about his book In His Own Write.”

And then it was a mad rush to get to the Beatles concert at Centennial Hall at the Wayville Showgrounds for 6pm.

Still dressed in the blue wool suit, she caught a train to Goodwood station and walked along with the thousands of other fans descending on the venue.

Inside she was determined not to be one of the many that screamed their lungs out as she wanted to hear every word of the world’s most famous rock band.

At the end of the concert she was picked up by her father and with two friends driven back to Brighton to end the most remarkable day of her life.

And Adele’s favourite Beatle?

Just like the majority of young girls at the time it was Paul, not Ringo, and there she is sitting next to her idol, like a dream, 50 years ago.

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