Aldershot • Saturday, December 9, 1961 • Evening

ConcertBy The Beatles
See all concerts in United Kingdom on the map
United Kingdom
Palais 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.



In December 1961, Sam Leach landed his musician friends from Liverpool a series of gigs at the Palais Ballroom in Aldershot, Hampshire. This would be the first gig in the south of England for Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Pete Best, who called themselves the Beatles.

The hope was that the gig would attract the attention of London record executives — unfortunately, Leach did not realize that Aldershot was a military town 37 miles outside of London.

Additionally, the advertisement that Leach had paid to have appear in the local papers never materialized, because Leach paid with a check instead of cash and did not provide contact information.

The gig was billed as a battle of the bands between Liverpool’s Beatles and London’s Ivor Jay and the Jaywalkers. The opponents never showed.

When the Beatles arrived after being driven nine hours from Liverpool by Leach’s friend Terry McCann, their posters were nowhere to be found, and they had to wait to be let into the venue.

That night, the Beatles played their usual covers of Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis to about 18 very bored people.

I often wonder what happens when those youngsters now talk about the night the Beatles came to Aldershot and hardly anyone turned up to see them. I can just hear it. ‘Oh, there we were, all 18 of us, watching the Beatles on stage… and they did an encore.’

Sam Leach
Photo: Dick Matthews
Photo: Dick Matthews
Photo: Dick Matthews

Halfway through one number George and Paul put on their overcoats and took to the floor to dance a foxtrot together, while the rest of us struggled along, making enough music for them and the handful of spectators. We clowned our way through the whole of the second half. John and Paul deliberately played wrong chords and notes and added words to the songs that were never in the original lyrics.

Pete Best
Photo: Dick Matthews
From Beatles Reproduction Concert Poster Aldershot UK Available – Etsy Canada

Last updated on February 14, 2023

Palais Ballroom

This was the 1st and only concert played at Palais Ballroom.

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!

Alan Hope 2 years ago

I was there and appearing as Kerry Rapid at a venue less than half a mile away. I know what really happened when The Beatles came to Aldershot and I had a big part to play in the reasons why only 18 people turned up to watch them. There is a whole chapter in my autobiography “ The Great White Hope “, available from Amazon, about The Beatles at Aldershot in Dec 1961.

The PaulMcCartney Project 2 years ago

Wow, thanks Alan ! I want to know more, and will read your book !

Alan Hope 2 years ago

The Paul McCartney project.
Call me 07946292557, I am Alan Hope aka Kerry Rapid !

Ed Mayne 1 year ago

You can hear the full story of the events in the lead up to and on the night, including my interviews with Alan in the newly released podcast, The Beatles: First Time South:

This is an award winning documentary made for the 60th anniversary of the night and was aired on the BBC 9th November 2023.

The PaulMcCartney Project 1 year ago

Thanks Ed for sharing!

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