The Beatles attend a concert by Procol Harum

Wednesday, May 24, 1967
Timeline More from year 1967
The Speakeasy Club, 48 Margaret Street, London, UK

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On this day, May 24, 1967, The Beatles went to watch a Procol Harum concert at the Speakeasy Club in London.

In April 1967, Procol Harum began recording their debut single, “A Whiter Shade of Pale“, at Olympic Studios in London. The song received an enthusiastic response from listeners of the pirate radio station Radio London, which prompted their record label, Deram Records, to rush-release the single on May 12, 1967. It quickly became a worldwide sensation, holding the No.1 spot on the UK Singles Chart for six weeks and topping the charts in eleven other countries. The single became the fastest-selling record by a new group in just three weeks. Interestingly, Procol Harum played their first live gig at the Speakeasy Club in London on the same day that “A Whiter Shade of Pale” was released.

Also, on May 15, 1967, Paul McCartney met Linda Eastman, who later became his wife in March 1969, at The Bag O’Nails. It was on this occasion that Paul heard “A Whiter Shade of Pale” for the first time.

[Paul and I] flirted a bit, and then it was time for me to go back with them and Paul said, ‘Well, we’re going to another club. You want to come?’ I remember everybody at the table heard A Whiter Shade Of Pale that night for the first time and we all thought, Who is that? Stevie Winwood? We all said Stevie. The minute that record came out, you just knew you loved it. That’s when we actually met.

Linda McCartney – From “Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now” by Barry Miles, 1997

Later that night, we went on together to another club, the Speakeasy. It was our first date and I remember I heard Procol Harum’s A Whiter Shade of Pale for the first time. It became our song.

Paul McCartney – Interview with The Sunday Times, April 2008

From Wikipedia:

The Speakeasy Club, also known as The Speak, was a club situated at 48 Margaret Street, London, England, and served as a late-night meeting place for the music industry from 1966 to June 1978. The club took its name and theme from the speakeasies of the American Prohibition era. The club was owned by Iraqi-born entrepreneur David Shamoon, along with Blaises and The Revolution Club.


On 15 December 1966, when the Speakeasy was re-launched after a fire in early 1966, it was managed by Roy Flynn and later Tony Howard became manager when Flynn moved on, having previously been the main artist booker for The Bryan Morrison Agency and NEMS. The initial house D.J was Mike Vesty who had worked for Blaises. Later Laurie O’Leary, a lifelong friend of the Kray twins and former manager of the Sybillas nightclub in Mayfair, London, became the promoter and publicity manager for the club. Throughout the life of the club Jim Carter-Fea worked on the day to night management and was also associated with the other two Shamoon London clubs.


The Speakeasy was frequented by record industry and artist agency executives. It also attracted bands who played for low fees in the hope of being spotted and form the basis of the then emerging British rock scene. The club also attracted international touring bands and established artists.


Musicians and bands who played at the club (often after recording sessions) include Elton John, Cockney Rebel, The Rolling Stones, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Pink Floyd (who first appeared on 19 September 1967), The Pretty Things, Arthur Lee and Love, King Crimson, The Marmalade, The Mothers of Invention (October 1967), Yes, Jimi Hendrix (1966), David Bowie, Deep Purple (10 July 1969), The Velvet Underground (6 October 1971, Loaded Tour), Bob Marley (May 1973 Catch a Fire Tour), Jeff Beck, Reg Isidore, Ginger Baker, Jan Hammer, The Gass and Bobby Tench.


The Who refer to the club in their album The Who Sell Out (“Speakeasy, drink easy, pull easy”) (1967), referencing the club in the “Radio London/Speakeasy/Rotosound Strings” commercial insert for the same album. Elvis Costello mentioned the club in his song “London’s Brilliant Parade”, included on the album Brutal Youth (1994). The Beatles also threw a party for The Monkees during their 1967 visit to England, which later became the basis for the song “Randy Scouse Git”.

Last updated on May 4, 2024

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