8th August 1963

The Beatles tour Jersey and Guernsey

The Beatles played four dates at Jersey’s Springfield Ballroom in August 1963 for a fee of £1000. They popped across to Guernsey during their stay, where they played two concerts at the Pavillion in Candie Gardens.

The “fab” four travelled between the islands by plane, trusting that their equipment would follow on the ferry. After the Guernsey concerts, John Lennon met up with his friend Royston Ellis, who he knew from Liverpool. Ellis was working as an engineer and had taken a flat in the island. Various accounts claim this moment was the origin of the Beatles song Polythene Pam, which appears on the Abbey Road album. Why? Some say that Ellis’ girlfriend, Stephanie, dressed in polythene for John’s amusement.

Work and holiday combined

However, the Beatles’ time in the Channel Islands wasn’t entirely taken up working. They spent much of their free time in Jersey relaxing by the pool at their hotel in St Sampson and also went go-karting.

The Liverpool Echo quoted Paul McCartney describing the extended run in Jersey as making a “very welcome change from one-nighters”, although it did mean that the group had had to fly straight to Blackpool for their next concert. They had flown to Jersey from Liverpool Airport, which was later renamed to honour John Lennon.

1963 was a big year for the Beatles. Although they had been playing together for several years and had released their first single in 1962, it was the year they recorded and sold their first albums.

The band’s debut album, Please Please Me, was famously recorded in a single day but remained in the charts for more than six months. Their next seventeen singles reached number one in the UK charts.

After 30 months at the top of the album chart, Please Please Me was finally topped… by the group’s own follow-up album, With the Beatles, which had already attracted more than 270,000 advanced orders.

The tour of the Channel Islands thus came not only at the start of the band’s commercial career, but also at a moment of extraordinary commercial success.


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