The Beatles in Kirkcaldy: it was 60 years ago today, the Fab Four came to town
and live on Freeview channel 276
The Fab Four were already breaking through, and Beatlemania was becoming a phenomenon when they played the Carlton Theatre in 1963 as part of a Scottish tour. They had topped the charts with the single ‘She Loves You’ and their debut album ‘Please Please Me’ was a number one hit.
The venue is screening The Beatles 1964 hit film ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ on Friday, followed by six local musicians performing their own choices of songs written by any one of the Fab Four - John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. Taking part are Dov & Marrakesh, John Anaya, Charlie Chung, James Low, B.B. Storm and Garry Stanton for what promises to be a very special day of music.
The fact all tickets were snapped up so quickly underlined the enduring appeal of the gig six decades ago. The Beatles played two sets at the Carlton Theatre which sat on the corner of St Clair Street and Park Road.
They were originally slated to appear at the Raith Ballroom, but their manager, Brian Epstein, insisted they only performed in theatres, and so the shows were moved to the bigger Gallatown venue where an estimated 1500 fans packed every seat for each show. Their Kirkcaldy gig was the 167th date of an astonishing 220 shows they would play that year. On the bill that day were Andy Ross and His Orchestra, The Fortunes and Houston Wells and The Marksmen.
The show, which featured songs from their second album ‘With The Beatles’ was named as the greatest gig ever staged in Fife in a poll of the top 100 concerts by the Fife Free Press.
The Beatles’ legacy and links to Kirkcaldy endure. John Lennon referenced the Duchess of Kirkcaldy in his song ‘Cry Baby Cry’ on the White album and that became the name of the pub on Nicol Street. The Carlton Theatre didn’t fare so well. Opened in 1937, it became a bingo hall before fire destroyed it, and the building was demolished in 1972.Sadly there is no plaque to mark the fact the greatest band in the world once played the venue, and put Kirkcaldy on the music map.