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27th May, 2020

#PaperbackWriter - Pam Newton

In this episode of #PaperbackWriter, Pam explains how she would scour her parent's record collections for Beatles hits, forming Beatles pen pals from around the world and hand crocheted Beatles coasters!

I am 11 years old and come downstairs and can hear the remnants of “My baby don’t care, my baby don’t care” the end of a song that I really liked and hadn’t heard before. I ask my mum, who were they and what is that song.” The Beatles, she replied, Ticket to Ride I think” Now in 1979 there was no internet, Spotify or google. So I looked in the encyclopaedia we had, yes they were in there and the Guinness book of records (we used to get the old copies of these from the second hand book shop) I asked my mum, so have you got any of their records then? “No dear, sorry,” in the record collection were Elvis, Mario Lanza, Glen Miller and Top of the Pop albums, but not the real artists.

“I saw them though with your dad several times!” What…really, but no records? 

“I didn’t have a record player when I was a teenager dear, so I didn’t buy any records.”

I decided to take a trip to good old Woolworths, vast collections of vinyl and tapes in there, The Beatles had their own section! I had no idea what Album “Ticket to Ride” was on, so I looked through them all, found it…HELP 1965 I purchase it for the sum of around £2.99 that was a lot of money then. I wondered if all the songs were going to be as good as “Ticket to Ride” I wasn’t disappointed at all, 14 songs, 12 of them originals written by Paul and John and one by George, I loved them all, and played it over and over and over, my dad would shout up the stairs, “turn that row down” I thought…but you went to see them, you must like them, it’s not like I am playing Heavy Rock!

My mum then showed me the two programmes she had from seeing them with my dad at the regal cinema in Cambridge, she was 18 and my dad was 26, and they are still together, this was the Spring 1963 Tommy Roe/Chris Montez Tour – 19th March 1963, she seems to remember them in all dressed in black for this performance, and then for the Autumn 1963 tour in the famous silver grey collarless suits for the performance on 26th November 1963 again at the Regal, where they topped the bill along with the likes of The Kestrels and the Vernon Girls. (I still have this programme, but lost the other one, in my many house moves) The setlist was “I saw her standing there”, “From me to you”, “All my loving”, “You really got a hold on me”, “Roll over Beethoven”, “Boys”, “Til there was you”, “She loves you”, “Money (that’s what I want)” and finishing with “Twist and Shout”. The atmosphere electric but with so much screaming you couldn’t really hear them, but that didn’t matter.

I went on to collect all the Beatles albums through the eighties and when John was murdered there was a new resurgence of Beatle material for me to digest, I got books from the library, bought books, had Beatle pen pals where by you wrote to them and waited for the letters, you also could send tapes of songs and messages through the post. There were fan clubs my mail order and you could order the “Beatles monthly” magazines. I was obsessed, I had posters on my wall. John dying really affected me, I was so sad, it was so pointless, at 12 I realised the world could be a nasty place, but the music got me through so many of life’s dips and turns.

I was lucky enough to see Paul McCartney in concert with my Mum on his “Back in the World Tour” in April 2003 at Earls Court London. I could not believe I was there, and it was a fantastic show, we had good seats and could see him without the big screen! I have been to a Pete Best talk many years ago and got a poster signed by him.

For me The Beatles represent something I discovered at just the right age, it was belonging and being part of a worldwide fan kingdom, but it has never left me, still at 52 I love them, I have a Beatles mug and coasters, and my mum has crocheted them! 

So much has been written and debated about them and their lives, but at the end of the day I love them and their ability to write and perform a great song, they evolved so quickly like “forced Rhubarb in a greenhouse” as George once said during the Anthology series.

I have been to the August Beatle Conventions a few times about 25 years ago in Liverpool and I really hope to go again next year. I like to see Beatle Tribute bands, good ones, the Bootlegs and the Fab Four are fantastic, it keeps their music alive in a Live Act setting and the atmosphere is great. I love all sixties music and fashion. But I think If you like the Beatles you like all types of music as it has all been influenced by them somewhere along the line.

My Daughter has a favourite genre of music, it is K-POP and I see the same level of interest and excitement as I had, I tease her as she likes B.T.S……well its BeaTleS isn’t it, just saying!!

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