Royal Command Performance • Monday, November 4, 1963

ConcertBy The Beatles
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United Kingdom
Prince of Wales Theatre

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From Anthology 1 liner notes:

Unabashed stone-the-crows merriment followed the Beatles’ televisual triumph on Sunday Night At The London Palladium and the enthusiastic reception on the viewing terrace at London Airport that greeted their return from Sweden. In what was fast becoming a new order passion, these two events were followed by the Beatles’ appearance in the 1963 Royal Command Performance (also known as the Royal Variety Show) on 4 November 1963. Not on this scale, not by anyone or anything, neither before nor since, has Britain allowed herself to be so happily consumed as she was in those jolly winter months of 1963/64 when the Beatles were rampant. The Four had become speedily and most emphatically Fab, with a capital F.

To prove the point, were this necessary, ratings indicate that almost 40 per cent of the population tuned in to watch ITV’s Sunday 10 November recording of the Royal show, while those without television sets – and there were three million, still – could listen to highlights on “the wireless”, broadcast the same evening by the BBC. Certainly, whether they were viewing or listening, it was the Beatles whom everyone was eager to catch because, in the six days between performance and broadcasts, the newspapers had been full of little else.

For the Press at least, it was all good, clean fun. Outside the Prince of Wales Theatre, by Leicester Square, happy, screaming teenagers were being held valiantly in check by rows of arm-linked bobbies, helmets slipping down over determined teeth. Inside, the Beatles were living up to their role as good-time cheeky chappies, with a roguish word here, a sprinkling of impudent wit there, and, of course, already in danger of being overlooked, the music…

The Beatles performed four songs in the Royal Command Performance, three of which are presented here. She Loves You was unquestionably at the heart of Britain’s blooming love affair with the group. Released as a single at the end of August, it raced to number one on the BBC’s Top 20 within a fortnight and was at the top for five weeks, right through September, not leaving the top three until January 1964, four months after release.

As Paul announced, Till There Was You originated in The Music Man – a stage musical since 1957, with Peggy Lee’s 1961 recording proving influential. The Beatles’ stage performances of this song often were prefaced with a joke: this time Paul told the audience that it had also been recorded by their “favourite American group, Sophie Tucker”.

It was these jokes as much as the music that caused the Beatles’ appearance in R&B stomper Twist And Shout, recorded in 1962 by the Isley Brothers whose version inspired the Beatles’ cover. By way of a best-selling EP, its inclusion on the Please Please Me album (30 weeks at number one) and TV, radio and stage shows, Twist And Shout had become established as the Beatles’ ultimate crowd-pleaser – but before launching into this performance John Lennon hushed the regal gathering and made a request. It was usual for the Beatles to ask audiences to “join in and clap your hands”. Now, as he surveyed the glitterati, there was a chance. “For our last number I’d like to ask your help,” John challenged. “Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewellery.”

Paul McCartney in "Conversations With McCartney", by Paul Du Noyer:

The ‘rattle your jewellery’, which was fabulous. I remember being in the car on the way there and we just made up these things. We never planned that much. We did the singing, we knew what songs we’d rehearsed. And I knew John would say something here and I’d say something there. And he just come up with that.

[‘For our last number I’d like to ask your help. Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewellery]

He used to do this ‘clap your hands’ sort of spastic, a bit un-PC now. But he come up with that rattle your jewellery and it was like, ‘Oh yes! Classic line.’ I mean, none of us had heard it before, he’d never used it. Fucking great. So we almost heard it for the first time there and then.

It was a really good gig and looking back on those tapes, we were really pro, live. I like watching George’s solos, the way he does them nonchalant. Professionalism. So that was a great one for the public.

November 4, 1963: The Queen Mother talks to the Beatles after a Royal Variety Show at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London. George Freston / Fox Photos via Getty Images
November 4, 1963: The Queen Mother talks to the Beatles after a Royal Variety Show at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London. George Freston / Fox Photos via Getty Images

Last updated on May 17, 2019

Prince of Wales Theatre

This was the 1st concert played at Prince of Wales Theatre.

A total of 2 concerts have been played there • 1963Nov 4th1964May 31st

Setlist for the concert




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