The day The Beatles rock and rolled into Fleetwood
Guitarist Alan Wright talks about the day he shared the stage with The Beatles
It was August 25 1962 and little did the Fleetwood crowd know that they were about to see a rock and roll band on stage that would become the greatest in the world.
The Beatles rocked up at the Marine Hall coolly clad in jeans, boots and leather, polar opposite to Fleetwood band The Trespassers, who were playing on the same bill.
They conformed more to The Shadows or Cricket’s style, immaculately dressed in their crisp blazers and bow ties.
For Alan Wright, The Trespasser’s guitar player, he remembers the night well.
With his band he had played at the Marine Hall on many occasions, they were regulars on the music scene.
But on that memorable night, he simply didn’t rate The Beatles.
“We didn’t know The Beatles,” he said, “they turned up in a van and they were just hanging around.
“They came on the stage behind us and got their cigarettes out, smoking, they actually turned their backs to the crowd.
“The girls liked them of course, but they didn’t play much at all and the audience booed them. In fact the man who was running the concert at the Marine Hall was horrified! He was very posh and I remember he came up to the stage and said ‘well, get off the stage and never come back to Fleetwood again!’
Alan recalled how the management team, who had escorted The Beatles to Fleetwood, were not happy at all and they apologised.
He said: “They really were very sorry and I remember them saying how it wasn’t the way they had wanted it to go.”
Alan and the band continued with their gigs and as time moved on and The Beatles reached their fame, he didn’t really relate the two.
“Curiously I didn’t connect them with The Beatles who achieved so much fame later. I became an ardent fan of them and with hindsight I wish I had made more of our only meeting.”
The Trespassers got together as school pals. Their music did take them to many gigs and on a few occasions they were asked to branch further afield, which could possibly have opened up more opportunities.
But unfortunately for Alan, his parents weren’t keen on the idea and wouldn’t let him go, opting instead for a normal job.
“I had the chance to go to Hamburg but they wouldn’t let me go!”
Alan met various artists and band managements over the years including blues artist John Lee Hooker who sang Dimples. He asked him up on stage once.
He was also approached at the Tangerine Club in Blackpool to support as backing to Jackie Trent whilst she was singing Blue Moon. She went on to marry Tony Hatch a famous impresario. Alan, who lives with his wife Bridgette in Fleetwood, still visits the museum childhood home of John Lennon in Liverpool where he has been known to sing a tune whilst taking in the surroundings. Although he lost touch with his band members, Eddie ‘Nick’ Nicholas, Bob Harper, Ray Simpson and Keith Hornby, he fondly remembers the good times.
“They were lovely days in many ways.”
As well as their global fame, The Beatles went on to perform in Blackpool, notably in 1964, just two years later, after conquering America and it was a completely different scenario. The Gazette headline at the time reported how all police leave had been cancelled to cope with the crowd.
The Beatles performed two Sundays at the Opera House. The first saw them mobbed as news leaked of their arrival and thousands of fans crowded the airport and town centre. The second was a softly-softly affair as the Beatles’ arrival was kept a closely-guarded secret.