The Event:

On 22nd November 1963 two events took place, one in Dallas, Texas, and the other in Stockton on Tees. Both had a major impact on those who witnessed them.

At the Globe Theatre, Stockton on Tees, the Beatles were about to go one stage. The group – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr had their first hit, “Love Me Do”, in late 1962. They soon acquired the nickname “the Fab Four” as Beatlemania grew in Britain and by the time of their appearance at The Globe were on their way to becoming international stars.

On the other side of the world, the President of the USA, John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas. John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), commonly referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination. Kennedy’s time in office was marked by high tensions with communist states in the Cold War, including the Cuban Missiles Crisis. The charismatic Kennedy presided over the establishment of the Peace Corps and supported the African-American Civil Rights Movement, and was very popular with the public not only in America but across the world.

The Beatles heard the news of the assassination via word of mouth before they went on stage. As one of the support acts, The Vernon Girls, made their way to the stage, Lennon said to one of them, “Have you heard John Kennedy’s been shot?”.

The Beatles went on stage and performed their act, including some songs from their second album, ‘With The Beatles’, which had been released that day.

The Beatles finished their act – to a chorus of screaming fans – and came off stage. It was then that they heard that President Kennedy was dead.

The group were due to perform again later that evening, but there were rumours that following the news from America the second house would be cancelled. The rumours were wrong and the Beatles were soon back on stage to perform for a second time.

The Beatles would make another visit to the Globe eleven months later. It would follow a record-breaking tour of the United States, during which they had challenged the practice of segregated audiences in the Deep South. The return visit took place on 15 October 1964 – the day a General Election was taking place in Great Britain. In a pre-show interview Paul McCartney was asked if he planned to become Prime Minister, but he expressed no interest, saying it would be “a hard day’s grind”, a reference to their first movie ‘A Hard Day’s Night’.

The Beatles would not visit Stockton again.

Ironically, John Lennon, like John Kennedy, would die as a result of an assassination.


The Significance:

The Beatles were not only one of the most successful pop groups of the twentieth century, but also arguably the most influential.

The group have had estimated sales of over 800 million physical and digital albums worldwide, and more number-one albums on the British charts and sold more singles in the UK than any other act. They are also the best-selling music artists in the United States, with 178 million certified units. In addition, they have received seven Grammy Awards, an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score and fifteen Ivor Novello Awards.

The Beatles were collectively included in Time magazine’s compilation of the twentieth century’s 100 most influential people.

The only venue that they played at on Teesside was The Globe, Stockton on Tees.

That their first concert took place the same night as a momentous event in the USA makes the event all the more memorable.


Suggested Places to Visit:

The Globe – but you will need to wait until it is restored.

The Globe – a Grade II listed Art Deco theatre, in Stockton-on-Tees – was built in 1913 and rebuilt in 1926. It was a popular theatre, cinema and concert venue before becoming a bingo hall, and eventually closing in1997. The Theatres Trust included The Globe on its ‘at risk’ register. However, restoration work is currently being undertaken, overseen by English Heritage, and it is expected to reopen as a 3,000-seat live entertainment venue in Spring 2019.

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