The Story of a Beatles Autograph
On 11 June 1964, a press conference was held at the Sheraton Hotel in Kings Cross for a young English band. While they were already top of the charts in the UK, The Beatles were in the early days of the world tour that would set them alight globally.
On hand that day was a young journalist who was lucky enough to meet the musicians and get a much-cherished autograph. Here, she shares some memories of the day Australia had its first taste of Beatlemania.
In the News
“In 1964 senior electronic media News managers had clear views on what constituted a News Bulletin. Politics, conflict, disaster, triumph, sport, with a ‘light’ item before or after the weather.
“An occasional overseas Pop star’s arrival in Australia rarely ousted anything involving cute animals to become that light story.
“One day I was called into the boss’s office and asked why we should attend a press conference for The Beatles on their arrival in Sydney. Two generations, two very different views about the public interest level in an English band touring Australia.
“I remember that press conference in the Sheraton Hotel, in a dull room with reporters and camera crews crowded into the small space facing a sofa. They eventually trooped in and sat together on the sofa – John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison (with replacement drummer, Jimmie Nicol). So alike. Thin, with thick shining dark hair cut identically – in a style that was at once familiar from photos and film footage yet so different to every other man’s hair style. Until then.
“It defined The Beatles long after they split up. Probably always will.”
The First Taste of Beatlemania
“The usual questions were asked and answered. They seemed a bit overawed by the crowds that had greeted their arrival in Australia, and that even then were gathering on the street outside the hotel, shouting and screaming for a sight of their idols. Later I looked out to see the crowd had taken over and blocked the entire street.
“That day’s media coverage of the Beatles in Australia answered even the most sceptical journalists’ definition of ‘News’.
“Those of us at the press conference were given two tickets to the first Beatles concert at the old Rushcutters Bay Stadium. There was a backstage greeting, and a concert still remembered all these decades later.
“After all the stories and all the familiar names interviewed in so many countries since then, these are my only autographs.”
Postscript: Having taken ill just days before embarking the world tour, Ringo Starr did not join the group until their Melbourne shows. At the press conference that day was a young drummer called Jimmy Nicol, who was with the Beatles for the early leg of the tour in Europe, Hong Kong and Australia.
A Cherished Beatles Autograph
The autograph collected that day in 1964 features the signatures of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison.
It’s on offer in our current collectables auction alongside signed headshots and photographs from Hollywood & music greats.
Autographs | Movies & Music
Thursday 9 November | 6pm