The Beatles and Operation Big Beat

New Brighton is an old victorian town built on the banks of the River Mersey, opposite Liverpool. It has gone through many transformations over the years but in the 1960s it hit a particular highspot. The Tower Ballroom, the remaining brick structure from the country’s tallest tower, became the second most played venue by The Beatles, other than their residency in the Cavern. They played here more than 27 times during their chart topping days of the early sixties.

New Brighton Tower. Built between 1898 and 1900 it stood 567ft high. After running into neglect during WW1 the tower was dismantled in 1919, the steel being sold for scrap. The building at its base remained in use until its loss in a fire in 1969.
A birds eye view of New Brighton, the Tower and its grounds prior to the fire in 1969.

The ballroom interior was gutted in an earlier fire in 1956, however it was salvageable and was restored and reopened two years later.

On November 10th 1961, The Beatles played to 4000 people here. This was just a month after a boy called Raymond Jones had enquired about their single “my bonnie” at Brian Epstein’s NEMS store in Liverpool setting the wheels in motion. 

That night they were the healdine act of a 5 hour concert named “Operation Big Beat”. They were supported by Gerry Marsden & the Pacemakers (who sadly died a few weeks ago), Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, Remo Four and Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes. It must have been some night.

Throughout 1962 there appears to have been a number of these concerts at The Tower, all entitled “Operation Big Beat”, with The Beatles headlining them all and compared by Cavern DJ Bob Wooler and financed by Beatles Manager Brian Epstein.

Operation BIG BEAT is commemorated on the side of a house that looks out onto the site of the old Tower Ballroom. Part of New Brighton’s Street Art
Facing the old Tower grounds and within 100 yards of the venue, the residents of this house would have been able to hear every note of Operation Big Beat on that November Friday 60 years ago. I wonder if the “noise” was appreciated ?

pictures of the Tower courtesy of Google.

The Beatles 'Operation Big Beat' Concert Poster 1961

4 thoughts on “The Beatles and Operation Big Beat

    1. Absolutely. Instead they allowed the whole town to run down. Luckily there is a local businessman stepped in to rejuvenate the area and hes doing a great job. We have lots of clubs and venues round here that the Beatles played at and sadly they’re being demolished one by one. Maybe i need to get out and photograph the ones that are left. Thanks George. Watch this space.


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