The Four Tops perform at the Saville Theatre

Sunday, November 13, 1966
Timeline More from year 1966
Saville Theatre, London, UK

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On this day, The Four Tops, an American vocal quartet from Detroit, performed at the Saville Theatre in London. The venue was owned by Brian Epstein, The Beatles’ manager. The backdrop for the performance was designed by Paul McCartney.

In April 2023, Paul McCartney’s stage designs for Saville Theatre went on display at the Liverpool Beatles Museum, including the one used for The Four Top’s performance.

From BBC News, April 27, 2023:

A series of sketched stage designs which Sir Paul McCartney created for Beatles manager Brian Epstein’s theatre have gone on show. The drawings, which the then-Beatle created in 1966, were designs for backdrops at London’s Saville Theatre, which Epstein had leased. The previously unseen sketches were given to Liverpool Beatles Museum by an anonymous donor, who bought them for £25,000 at auction. Museum owner Roag Best said they were “a total one-off“.

Mr Best said Sir Paul was invited to come up with the designs in 1966 by Epstein, who had put on concerts by artists including the Bee Gees, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Chuck Berry at the theatre. One of his designs, featuring stars and stripes, was used as the backdrop for Motown legends The Four Tops.

The designs were annotated, including one with a warning of “slow moving machinery“, one with the note “this way up” alongside a sketch of an upside-down house and another reading: “This piece of the set falls on the stage, revealing red curtains through which performers emerge, smiling.” Another design showed 12 mirrors for “the audience to glimpse themselves in“, while a further sketch with glasses and moustaches on the backdrop has the note: “Plain comedy set. Comedian enters through mouth, not smiling, crawling.

Mr Best said the sketches had “never been seen in public before“.

We were contacted by the owner… who said he’d had the pleasure of these designs on his wall for two years and wanted other people to be able to share in it,” he said. “He is a collector and had spotted this at auction with a reserve of £3,000, but ended up paying £25,000. This is a total one-off and I think Beatles fans and art connoisseurs will love to see it.

Liverpool artist Anthony Brown, who unveiled the designs at the museum, said he had seen Sir Paul’s work before and it made “absolute perfect sense that he would do something like that“. “I think the designs are good; some are more complicated than others,” he said. “I think the most perfect one is the one they used for the backdrop for the Four Tops.

From BBC News – BEATLES MUSEUM – The 11 designs were created for use in Brian Epstein’s Saville Theatre in London

Beatle Paul, designer

The back-cloth for the Four Tops concerts at London’s Saville Theatre on Sunday night is from a drawing by Paul McCartney.

From New Musical Express – November 11, 1966
From New Musical Express – November 11, 1966

From Facebook, November 13, 2017 – 51 years ago today, the Four Tops performed at London’s Saville Theatre in their United Kingdom debut.
From Rest Day – The Beatles History ( – Brian Epstein with Four Tops during a press conference at the Savile Theatre, November 10, 1966.

Last updated on September 29, 2023

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Malcolm Wright 1 year ago

Note: "Saville" Theatre should have two Ls.

The PaulMcCartney Project 1 year ago

Thanks Malcolm, I'm fixing it.

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