• The Beatles In Adelaide

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Adelaide was not included in the original itinerary for the Beatles' tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1964. However, after much lobbying from Adelaide fans, in which Bob Francis, (at the time of 5AD) played a prominent part, and after John Martin's had accepted promotional and financial responsibilities for their appearances, the Beatles arrived in Adelaide, on 12 June 1964, to the biggest reception they would ever receive.

The crowd of an estimated 300,000 people, about a third of South Australia’s population, lined the streets from the airport to the city and assembled outside the Southern Australian Hotel where the band were staying.

Ringo Starr was unwell with tonsillitis and remained in a London hospital. He was replaced by session drummer Jimmy Nicol. The Beatles played four shows over two nights (at 6 pm and 8 pm) at Centennial Hall. Ringo joined the rest of the band in Melbourne on 14 June for the remainder of the Beatles’ Australian tour.

Source: AAP

Alison Painter from SA Historians paints the picture perfectly;
A huge crowd, said to be the 'noisiest and most excited ever assembled in the State, but wonderfully well behaved', greeted the 'Fab Four', the Beatles, when they arrived in Adelaide on 12 June 1964. Many thousands cheered them on the way from the airport to the Town Hall where they were given an official welcome to Adelaide in front of an enormous gathering. Later in the afternoon another large crowd, including hundreds of schoolchildren, congregated in front of the South Australian Hotel on North Terrace, spilled on to the road, and covered Parliament House steps. They chanted 'we want the Beatles' until the group appeared on the balcony.

Back in April, when the tickets to the shows went on sale, the city was packed with people all week-end as the queues formed outside Allan's in Rundle Street and John Martin's in North Terrace, ready for opening time on Monday. Within five hours all 12,000 tickets to the four concerts were sold. For the 28 minutes the group was on stage at Centennial Hall the adoring fans screamed, cried, and jumped up and down, as their heroes performed their hit songs. 

On Sunday afternoon the group was farewelled by an even bigger crowd that the one which welcomed them. It was probably the first time such a reception was given to entertainers in the usually quietly conservative Adelaide. After two hectic days the Beatles were on their way leaving behind a rather bemused city.

125 Years of the Advertiser,  Advertiser Newspapers Limited, 1983, p. 180.
The Advertiser, 3 January 1994, p. 36.

We've also compiled some of the original video footage from the 1964 Australian Tour, including some great Adelaide moments.


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