Dec. 9, 1961
The Beatles in Aldershot
In December 1961, Sam Leach landed his musician friends from Liverpool a series of gigs at the Palais Ballroom in Aldershot, Hampshire. This would be the first gig in the south of England for Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Pete Best, who called themselves the Beatles.
The hope was that the gig would attract the attention of London record executives — unfortunately, Leach did not realize that Aldershot was a military town 37 miles outside of London.
Additionally, the advertisement that Leach had paid to have appear in the local papers never materialized, because Leach paid with a check instead of cash and did not provide contact information.
The gig was billed as a battle of the bands between Liverpool’s Beatles and London’s Ivor Jay and the Jaywalkers. The opponents never showed.
When the Beatles arrived after being driven nine hours from Liverpool by Leach’s friend Terry McCann, their posters were nowhere to be found, and they had to wait to be let into the venue.
That night, the Beatles played their usual covers of Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis to about 18 very bored people.