Meet the Beatles and Ray, Joe, Susan, Mike and Mark ; IT'S AUGUST, 1963 AND THE ILLUSTRATED LEICESTERSHIRE CHRONICLE IS PROFILING SOME OF THE POP ARTISTS ON THEIR WAY TO DE MONTFORT HALL. THERE ARE ONE OR TWO SOME OF YOU MAY JUST RECOGNISE...
De Montfort Hall celebrates its 100th birthday this year. Designed by local architects Stockdale, Harrison and Son and built for the then princely sum of Pounds 21,013 in 1913, the grand hall quickly attracted a first-class reputation for its acoustics. There are only three halls in Britain worth singing in, said Opera prima donna Luisa Tettrazini. There's one in Glasgow, one in Edinburgh and the De Montfort Hall in Leicester. Exactly 50 years ago, in the summer of 1963, She Leicester Chronicle was given a backstage pass to speak to the stars performing at the venue. There were some surprises, including an up-and-coming young band from Liverpool. Here's the report.
1. THE BEATLES A group who arrived with a bang recently on the record scene with their own Liverpool Sound were The Beatles.
John Lennon, aged 22, lists among his likes the colour black, dark clothes, Brigitte Bardot and steak and chips.
Twenty-year-old Paul McCartney likes polo neck sweaters, Ray Charles and plays the piano, drums, guitar and banjo. Although, not all at once, obviously, he says.
George Harrison, also 20, names as his main ambition to make lots of money - a common factor amongst the four - while Ringo Starr, aged 23, enjoys Paul Newman, girls and drums.
The group make the news this week with their EP, Twist and Shout, which jumps into the charts at number 13 - a rare occurrence for an EP - while their hit parade entries include Please, Please Me and From Me To You.
2. RAY CHARLES Two packed houses greeted Ray Charles, his orchestra and The Raelettes when they visited Leicester recently and a measure of the enthusiasm with which he was received can be made when the audience rose to applaud him at the end of the performance.
Born Ray Charles Robinson in 1932, he has been blind since the age of eight, and it was at a special school for the blind in Florida that he learned, by Braille, to play the piano and write music.
He now lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three sons.
A skilled pilot, Ray has his own 50-seater plane. His latest record, still in the hit parade, is Take These Chains From My Heart.
3. JOE BROWN Equally popular with mums and dads as well as a teenage audience is blonde-haired Cockney, Joe Brown. His personality on stage, together with his backing group, The Bruvvers, have made all his audiences feel at home.
His chart hits began with Picture This and since then he has added to them with That's What Love Will Do and his current hit, Nature's Time For Love.
4. SUSAN MAUGHAN Twenty-one-year-old Susan Maughan was born at Newcastle Upon Tyne. She wanted to be a PT instructor but when her family moved to Birmingham she had an audition and was signed to accompany Ray Ellington and his band as their vocalist.
This has now expired but her success with records encouraged her to go it alone.
She was awarded a silver disc for the sales of Bobby's Girl and her latest activities include a film What A Crazy World and a new record, She's New To You.
5. MIKE SARNE Paddington-born of Czechoslovakian parents, Mike Sarne, is 22.
Due to much travelling around the world, he speaks five languages and was recently awarded a scholarship to study in Austria while at school. He sang around the nightclubs as he studied.
He returned to England to study Russian literature at London University. Somehow, he found time to make records. His first big hit was Come Outside. He has also made a film called No Kidding with Julia Lockwood. His latest release is Code of Love.
6. MARK WYNTER Relaxing with a book called Relax and Live, Mark Wynter really introduced himself to popular record fans with the song Venus In Blue Jeans. He followed up that success with another Go Away Little Girl.
Since then his successes have been mainly confined to his own following, although he hopes that his latest release, Shy Girl, may do something to improve the situation.
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