More from year 1963
Oct 04, 1963 • From BBC
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They were also interviewed by Dusty Springfield (“Let me see your scabs”) and, while Paul judged a dance contest (won by Melanie Coe – later the subject of ‘She’s Leaving Home’), the other three joined 17-year-old singer Helen Shapiro (who’d headlined their first English tour earlier in the year) to promote her latest single.
“A friend was designing sets for ‘Ready, Steady, Go!’ and he invited me to their first live TV performance,” recalled Peter Blake who, just over three years later, would help design the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ cover. “They were wearing the famous grey, buttoned-up suits which really stood out at the time. I was the only one at the rehearsal… to me it sounded like very good rock ‘n’ roll. But it wasn’t just the music, it was their personalities, the way they looked, the whole thing.”
Melanie Coe inspired Paul McCartney to write “She’s Leaving Home” in 1967.
In one of the more astonishing coincidences in Beatles history, Coe had actually met the band more than three years before “She’s Leaving Home” was written, during their first appearance on the English television program Ready, Steady, Go! on October 4th, 1963. Then just 14 years old, she had been booked to compete in an on-air lip-synching contest. To pass the time during the hours of rehearsals, Coe and her young competitors chatted with the newly minted pop sensations, who had scored their third British Number One with “She Loves You” just a few months earlier. “At this point they were big, but they weren’t the huge success they were about to become,” she recalls. “Ringo was just adorable. He had all these rings on and he let us try them on. He was a lovely guy. So was George; he stood and chatted with us and asked us about our schools and what we were thinking of studying. They were both very sweet. Paul said hello and that was it, and I remember John was busy talking to some of the studio producers and directors and didn’t really acknowledge that we were there.”
Coe earned the top prize with her high-spirited miming to Brenda Lee’s “Jump the Broomstick,” and McCartney presented her with an autographed Beatles album. Unfortunately, the moment proved to be somewhat underwhelming. “I was very disappointed because there had been two shows before mine, and on both of those shows the girl that won went out on a date with the pop star. I thought I was going to have dinner date with the Beatles, so I was terribly disappointed with my prize!” she laughs now. What’s more, she was mortified when McCartney’s firm handshake nearly caused her false nails to come loose. “I don’t think I’d ever worn them before, but I wanted to have everything perfect. You can imagine what a treat that was for a 14-year-old girl to go on that show and spend a day with the Beatles.”From Meet the Runaway Who Inspired Beatles’ ‘She’s Leaving Home’ (rollingstone.com), May 23, 2017
Last updated on January 1, 2024
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