Montez and Roe

It was the second national tour for The Beatles – beginning on Saturday March 9, 1963 at the Granada Cinema in East Ham, a small matter of six days after they finished their stint on the Helen tour.

This time it was American singers Chris Montez and Tommy Roe who were the bill toppers, but once again – on the back of their success with their second single, Please Please Me – it was The Beatles who stole most of the screams as England recovered from what had been one of the worst winters on record.

Also on the bill was singing trio The Viscounts who were veterans of the rock ‘n’ roll tours with the likes of Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and Billy Fury.

This time they would be on hand to witness a Merseyside revolution as John, Paul, George and Ringo brought crowds to their feet night after night in town after town.

Ronnie Wells – one of those three Viscounts – is one of more than 20 pop stars who toured with The Beatles who recalls in the pages of Beatlemania! just what it was like.

Standing out was the reception they received in Liverpool – plus the japes and scrapes on the touring coach which at that point still frequently contained John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Montez and Roe were accorded the back seat as the star turns – but who were the favourite raves for the teenagers at show time? Yet more eye witnesses line up to give their account of a tour of which again there has been so precious little recorded.

The tour line-up included singer Debbie Lee and the backing band was The Terry Young Six. The compere was Tony Marsh.

It was clear that people also had fond memories of the star of that first tour – the talented Helen Shapiro – and here’s a little tip for you: Google in “Helen Shapiro” and “Beatles” on youtube and check out some footage of Helen singing her hit Look Who It Is to The Beatles on Ready Steady Go. Beatlemania! includes a picture of Helen waltzing with John that was taken during a break in filming that day.