Operation Big Beat • Friday, November 10, 1961 • Evening

ConcertBy The Beatles • Part of the 1961 Liverpool Area Concerts
See all concerts in United Kingdom on the map
United Kingdom
New Brighton
Tower Ballroom

Spread the love! If you like what you are seeing, share it on social networks and let others know about The Paul McCartney Project.


From tracks.co.uk – A photograph of Pete Best and Paul McCartney in 1961. The black & white image was developed in the 1980s from the original negative and shows the pair posing with singer Emile Ford. It was taken at the Tower Ballroom, New Brighton during the Operation Big Beat concert on 10th November 1961. The Beatles performed at this event along with Rory Storm & The Hurricanes, Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Remo Four and Kingsize Taylor. There is a Dick Matthews copyright stamp on the reverse along with names and the date in blue pen. It measures 21.5cm x 16.5cm (8.5 inches x 6.5 inches). There are some patches of sticker residue on the front and some creasing to the corners and edges. The condition is very good minus.
From Songs We Were Singing: Image (wordpress.com)

From The Guardian – ‘If you want to be bigger than Elvis, do what the photographer tells you’ … John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Pete Best and George Harrison backstage at the Tower Ballroom in the early 1960s. Photograph: Mike McCartney

When it comes to Paul’s extraordinary band, this is one of my favourite photos. It was taken in the dressing room at the Tower Ballroom, New Brighton, in ’61 or ’62. It had gone from holding ballroom dances into rock’n’roll, so while our kid was on the bill experimenting with his music, I was doing the same with photography. In those days, the Beatles were supporting people like Joe Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard. Can you imagine? Those gigs were extraordinary, absolute magic. I’d be shooting from the ballroom balcony and the bouncers would sometimes throw the drunks off on to the floor below!

They’d just played the show when I took this photo backstage in the dressing room. They’ve been in their leathers and they’ve come offstage. That’s why John’s hair is all slicked back. That’s not Brylcreem – it’s sweat. I’d taken a more serious photograph before this one. It wasn’t hard to direct them. I’d say to John: “If you want to be bigger than Elvis, do what the photographer tells you.” Then I told them: “Now let’s have a daft one. Do whatever you like.” […]

I call our kid “Rambo Paul” in this photo, because his look reminds me of Stallone. I think Pete was doing one of the silly voices from The Goon Show. Then there’s nipple-shooting George. I have no idea why he’s pointing at Paul’s nipple. And we can’t ask him now.

The most important thing this photograph communicates is joy. It’s all about the fun, the camaraderie. They were totally relaxed in each other’s company and bounced off each other. All this business about the Beatles’ arguments – we all have arguments, for Christ’s sake. This photograph is a much stronger reflection of the reality.

Mike McCartney – From The Guardian, December 1, 2021

Last updated on December 4, 2021

Too bad, there is no song listed for this concert. If you've been there, help us fill the set list for this concert by writing a comment!


Have you spotted an error on the page? Do you want to suggest new content? Or do you simply want to leave a comment ? Please use the form below!

Deborah Harris 3 years ago

Is This photo still available for sale? and would you have anything on Emile Ford and the Checkmates or the Original Checkmates

The PaulMcCartney Project 3 years ago

Hi Deborah, this photo is not available on tracks.co.uk anymore - this was the website where I took it. There is another photo of Emile Ford and The Beatles available at https://dannyfriar.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/0475-what-do-you-want-to-make-those-eyes-at-me-for-emile-ford-the-checkmates-1959/ . That's unfortunately all I can do to help you. All the best

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *