Preston dad Naaman Member had been living in his house for almost 30 years, unaware that one night in 1963 The Beatles played in his front room. For years, the tale about how the Fab Four stopped off at a property in Skeffington Road had circulated, but the exact location had remained a mystery – until now. Following new information from Preston roadie David Parkes, the Post was able to track down the current owner to deliver the news.
Shocked 50-year-old delivery driver Naaman, who lives at the terraced house with wife Salma and three children, couldn’t believe his ears. “This is the first I have heard of it,” he said. “We moved here in the 1990s. We were not aware of anything like that happening here. “I am not sure if the man who had the house before us knew either as he never said anything. “We are all a bit surprised. “It is amazing that something like that had happened here. The Beatles were so big. “I used to watch The Beatles cartoon and I sang along to the songs.” The revelation came to light after roadie David Parkes contacted the Post about his experiences on the road. The 74-year-old worked for Preston Entertainers and Groups (PEG), which provided support acts for bands, including The Beatles. It is believed that one night in January 1963 due to a vehicle breakdown on the way back from their gig at Morecambe Floral Hall, two members of The Beatles ended up stopping off at the house in Skeffington Road before jamming in the front room. David, of Ingol, said: “I can’t remember which van broke down. I think it was The Beatles’s van. It had stopped somewhere in Preston and one of the lads we were with – David John ‘Miffy’ Smith lived with his grandma nearby in Skeffington Road. “I can’t remember why Miffy was there but he was well in with John Lennon. He was in a band – David John and The Mood. “I remember sitting on the floor with Ringo who was banging rhythms on the arm chair and Paul McCartney was playing the piano. “We were drinking cups of cocoa.”
Whilst there McCartney played a number of rock ’n roll songs, including I Saw Her Standing There, which was a new song he has been working on. Another account of the night, provided by a 14-year-old Pete Morris who met the band backstage and travelled back with the roadies, said it was PEG’s support act Thunderbeats’s van which broke down. He said the lights were not working, so McCartney suggested they follow the vehicle. David added: “Sadly Miffy died in March 2013, aged 66, so he is no longer here to tell the tale.”
He also revealed how he helped John Lennon give Twist and Shout an extra kick with the help of his guitar that night. He gave The Beatles legend his semi acoustic guitar during that night in January.
The 74-year-old recalled: “We took one of our support bands, Thunderbeats, to Morecambe Floral Hall, where The Beatles were top of the bill. “We were all on one small dressing room and I had my semi acoustic guitar which was a bit useless. “But John Lennon used it to do Twist and Shout. By the end of the song, there was only two strings on it. “After the gig, I asked John for a photo. Also on the photo is DJ Dusty Miller plus two women we were with that night. “The original got torn and battered, so I made a copy, but the newer version is slightly different to the original. “People keep asking what is different, but I am not telling.” In September that year, The Beatles played at Preston’s Public Hall and David was once again mixing with The Fab Four. “John was a bit of a character,” David said. “He would always ask for a cigarette and then take the whole packet. “He would put one cigarette in his mouth, offer them round and then put the rest of the packet in his pocket. “I liked his sense of humour.”
But David’s bond with one of the members pre-dates The Beatles, as he was good pals with Ringo Starr during his days with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. He added: “I used to share many a pint with Ringo before he was in The Beatles. “I remember one time he had played a 20-minute slot at Butlins in Wales. His part was called Ringo Starr Time because he wore a lot of rings. “One night there was a bit of a playful battle on the beach between the Liverpool lads and Welsh lads. “Liverpool won and the Welsh got their revenge by throwing Ringo in the water with his drum kit. “I don’t think he ended up playing that night.” Fact about The Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met on July 6, 1957 at a Saturday evening fete in St Peter’s Church, Woolton, Liverpool, where 16-year-old Lennon’s group, The Quarrymen, were playing. The band was created three years later in Liverpool. Their first name was The Silver Beatles, under which they did a seven-date tour of Scotland, backing singer Johnny Gentle. The Beatles built their reputation playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg over a three-year period from 1960, with Stuart Sutcliffe initially serving as bass player. Their first hit song was Love Me Do in late 1962.
Countries in which the Beatles have had the most number ones include Australia, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Canada and Norway. The band first played at Preston Public Hall in October 26 1962, when Love Me Do was released, before Beatlemania hit. They returned on Friday September 13 1963 after playing at Blackburn’s King George’s Hall on June 9 1963. They also played at Blackpool’s ABC Theatre on July 7 and 14, August 11, September 8 1963, and August 1 1965; as well as Queen’s Theatre, in Blackpool, on July 21 and August 4 1963.
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