Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ritz Cinema in Luton

The next stop was on November 4, 1964 when the Beatles performed two houses  at the Ritz Cinema in Luton.    Standing at the very front of the queue for many hours were some 14 year old girls with a a huge banner that read, "We love the Beatles."   These fans had been there since 10am to get inside to see the Beatles and they had a method of checking around the back of the cinema in case the boys were arriving.  One of the fans, Marilyn said, "We've got tickets and we'll stay here until the show starts."  Her friend, Celia piped up and added, "We've got sandwiches as well."

The concert was a sell-out, with all 4, 200 tickets being sold quickly.   Once the Beatles arrived, they were taken  backstage where a local TV company had set them up with the luxury of a television.   While backstage, John Lennon met up with Joe McGrath who was the producer of the TV show, Not Only....but Also and spoke with him about appearing on the program in the near future.   The Beatles appeared to have been relaxed and happy backstage while talking to the press.

On stage they were wearing dark suits with velvet collars and had extra energy for this performance after enjoying a day off from the tour.   One fan in the audience, Paul went to 10 Beatles concerts during their touring days and recalls this particular show as  being one that was extraordinary, "I kept a diary and when I look back now it says that the November 4, 1964 performance at The Ritz in Luton was one of the best.  I don't' know why that was.  Perhaps the girls didn't scream as loud, or perhaps it was the PA, but it was one of the best shows I saw.  Mary Wells was good, but to be honest it didn't matter who was on, they were just getting in the way.  We knew the Beatles liked her so we felt that we should, but the truth is you just wanted other people to get off so The Beatles would be on."

Two young sister, Julie and Susan were in the audience as well, "It was a birthday treat for us and I was so excited to be there to see the Beatles.  I was a big fan of Paul's, but the screaming was so loud that we had to go early because Susan got an earache.  However, I do remember that at one point, due to the noise of the screaming, John just took off his guitar, put it down and shrugged his shoulders."

One of the screamers was 17 year old Pam, "I don't think we heard much of the singing, just the ear-splitting screaming!  Of course I was one of the screamers, as well as crying and pulling my hair.  I screamed so loud and hard that for the following few days, it hurt every time I breathed.  It was over far too quickly but that evening has remained in my memory  I adored the Beatles then and I still do."

Boyfriend and girlfriend, John and Anne (both 19) were at the show, up in the circle, "  There was plenty of screaming going on and we could barely hear the music at times, but the Ritz had a steep balcony which gave us a very good view.  I was quite impressed by the Beatles, but looking back now of course I wasn't aware that I was in the presence of a history-making group.  I certainly feel privileged to have witnessed The Beatles performing live. "

Here is an autograph signed in Luton in 1964


  1. I don't know....John doesn't look too happy with his arm full!

    Once again, Sara, just great.....in my mind, as I've said before, this was just a quick little breeze of a tour while they were REALLY working, recording "Beatles For Sale". How wrong I was! They're working their butts off! Every day I keep expecting the tour to be over! Those poor guys! Really happy they got a lighter schedule in '65 and '66!

    1. Yeah---I thought the tour ended on November 2 after the returned from Belfast because that was all of the photos I had in my files. I was wrong! This was one long tour! Not a lot of photos from the last week of the tour, but I am finding a few things. I think this photo from today's date was great!

  2. What was the Ritz Cinema is still there on Gordon Street in Luton - unfortunately now a tacky nightclub called Liquid