Beatlemania hadn’t yet arrived when the band turned up at the small Birmingham ballroom.
The concert had been booked before the group had really taken off – but by the time of the show the single Please Please Me had just been released.
This meant hordes of girls were now lying in wait at the small venue – so that when they arrived, the band were forced to climb over a fence at the rear to get in.
In fact, legend has it that the four were in fact only three when the numbers were counted after their arrival on February 15, 1963.
It was soon discovered that George Harrison was in the process on being hauled out of a black cab by a mob of screaming girls, after he arrived late.
After the final Beatle had been rescued they were all ready to go on for the delayed show.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the landmark event, a special concert is being planned in Birmingham featuring local musicians playing their favourite Beatles songs.
The Ritz Ballroom in York Road is long gone, and is now a Cash Converters, and the event is taking place in Fletcher’s Bar, opposite the former concert venue.
The original concert is well-remembered in the area by local people who were present at what was the dawning of the Fab Four’s huge popularity.
Originally it was meant to take place three weeks earlier but the band had been forced to cancel following heavy snow.
In between The Beatles made their debut TV appearance on Thank Your Lucky Stars singing their new single.
Owner Joe Regan made them tea and sandwiches before he realised George was missing – and went to rescue him from the fans.
The Ritz was one of four Midland venues run by Irish couple Joe and his wife Mary.
After eating their sandwiches the band began to practice before the gig – which didn’t go down well with owner Joe Regan.
According to accounts at the time he is said to have shouted: “Tell them to turn that racket down”.
But Mr Regan was a good negotiator – he persuaded their hard-nosed manager Brian Epstein to allow them to perform for their previously agreed fee even though they had stormed the charts in the intervening period.
Residents Bob Prew and Ken Whittaker who are campaigning to recognise the heritage of Kings Heath, said: “We want as many as people as possible to come along on February 15 to celebrate a key event in Kings Heath’s musical heritage.
“Later in the year we will also be organising a similar event on September 14 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones playing the Ritz.
“We will also be creating further pavement stars for Fuzzbox’s Jo Dunne and rock legend Trevor Burton following on from the first last year for King’s Heath-born Toyah Willcox. All the money raised from the Beatles event will go towards establishing the Walk of Fame as a registered charity.”
The Ritz has been recognised by Birmingham Civic Society with a musical heritage plate, which was unveiled last June to recognise how large a part the venue played in the city’s heritage.
Most of the major artists of the ’60’s played there at the start of their careers including Robert Plant on April 24, 1966, The Kinks on June 11, 1966, Pink Floyd on December 16, 1967 as well as The Beatles on February 15, 1963 and The Rolling Stones on September, 14, 1963.
The Ballroom closed down at the beginning of the 1970’s when the Regans converted it into a bingo hall. Mr Regan died in 2004 and his wife in 2008, and after this the building was vacant until it became a Cash Converters shop.
Any local musicians or DJs interested in playing at the Beatles event should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Fletchers Bar on York Road will host the event from 12.30pm to 4.30pm on Friday, February 15, exactly 50 years after the appearance of The Beatles at the ballroom. Tickets only cost £2.50 and can either be purchased on the door or in advance from the Kitchen Garden Cafe on York Road. Space is limited so booking is advisable.