Tuesday, 12 February 2013

50th Anniversary Celebration of the Beatles in King's Heath

The Beatles in King's Heath
50th. Anniversary Celebration of Ritz Ballroom concert
to be held on Friday 15 February 2013

Top local musicians and DJ's are being lined up to play their favourite Beatles songs in an event to celebrate the 50th. anniversary of a Beatles concert at the former Ritz Ballroom (now Cash Converters) on King's Heath's York Road.

Fletchers Bar on York Road directly opposite the former ballroom will host the event from 12.30 to 4.30 p.m. on Friday 15 February 2013 exactly 50 years after the appearance of The Beatles at the ballroom. Tickets only cost £2.50 and can either be purchased on the door or in advance from the Kitchen Garden Cafe on York Road. Space is limited for this historic event so it is advisable to book in advance.

Local independent shops on York Road are also getting involved with themed shop window displays at vintage clothing specialists Top Banana 1 and 2 and vinyl record specialists Polar Bear.

The Beatles appeared at the Ritz Ballroom - one of 4 venues run in the 1950's and 60's by legendary Irish Couple Ma and Pa Regan - on 15 February 1963 shortly after releasing their second single "Please Please Me". Originally scheduled to appear on 11 January, they were prevented by blizzard like conditions from making the 11 mile journey to King's Heath from one of the Regans other venues - the Plaza in Old Hill.

Beatlemania was now really taking off and the Beatles were only able to enter and leave the Ritz on 15 February by climbing over the rear fence in Milford Place.

"Tell them to turn that racket down" is what Pa Regan is rumoured to have shouted while they were practising! But he was a very happy man really. He had persuaded Brian Epstein to agree to them performing for their previously agreed fee even though they were now No. 1 in the charts!

After their performance, Paul McCartney and George Harrison wrote a personal message to one of their fans in her autograph book, "To Janet, love from the Beatles", signed their names and followed this with three kisses. 43 years later these autographs were auctioned at Christie's in London.

Local residents Bob Prew and Ken Whittaker who came up with the idea of the Walk of Fame said, “We want as many as people as possible to come along on 15 Feb to celebrate a key event in King's Heath's musical heritage. Later in the year we will also be organising a similar event on 14 Sept to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones playing the Ritz . We will also be creating further pavement stars for Fuzzbox's Jo Dunne and rock legend Trevor Burton following on from the first last year for King's Heath born Toyah Willcox”.

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