Johnny Pat was leader of Johnny Pat & The Aces, the resident band at The Majestic Ballroom in Hull on Wednesday evenings. Dean Johnson, author of “The Beatles and Me,” who interviewed Pat for a story for the ebook edition, said Sept. 18 that Pat said he knew the Beatles would be successful.
“In 1962, when The Beatles first came to Hull, they appeared at The Majestic Ballroom,” Pat said. “We wore the suits of the time. Lamé suits: Silver for the lads and green for me; plastic hair(!) and moves like Cliff Richard.”
The Beatles arrived from The Fred Olsen Ferry from Germany, according to Pat. “They were unshaven, smoking like chimneys and dressed in ‘whatever’ we had never heard of them. That evening, instead of the room being full, there were only about 38 people in. it was Hull Fair Week. I usually gauge a successful evening by the crowd’s reaction. It was a whimper that night,” he said.
“I watched their progress over the following months, and it was obvious they had something new and were going to be ‘big’.”
He said the Top Rank Organization started to convert their cinemas into ballrooms all named Majestic.
“As we were employed by them, we embarked on a tour of the North East of England. We appeared at Hull, Darlington, Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Newcastle.”
The Beatles appeared with them three times.
“We met up at the Newcastle gig. As they came on we went off. We were in the same dressing room. There was a wicker basket that was filled with half-written scraps of paper. When Lennon & McCartney were writing, one wrote a part then the other. This particular piece was the writing of 'Please Please Me.' Paul had written most of it and the scraps of paper were John’s attempts at the middle bit.”
According to Pat, his drummer took all of the pieces and kept them. He took them back home and stored them in the attic of the bed and breakfast he had in Scarborough. But some years later when he looked for them, they were gone.
“The second time they came to The Majestic Ballroom, Hull, I will never forget,” Pat said. “Every girl who came in put her coat and handbag in the cloakroom. There were so many that the bags were in a big pile. The Beatles came on the screaming started. Girls were still coming in, getting their ticket and throwing their bags and coats over the cloakroom counter to rush inside.
“The manager asked how many people were inside and the lady who gave out the tickets replied, 'Only room for two more and we are at capacity of 732.' He shut the main doors for a bit. The people already inside had pink tickets. He opened a new roll of green tickets and reopened the doors to let more people in.”
In total, Pat says, there were actually 1,600 people in the room. “They were like sardines – it was dangerous.”