The Beatles first tour to Sweden - 1963

This is an attempt to inform interested readers of the glory Beatles days in Sweden during 1963.

The Beatles made their first visit in Sweden the 23rd of October 1963.

The newspapers in Sweden wrote about the coming tour.
"Expressen" wrote that a new cult was about to hit Sweden - the new English pop music created by The Beatles and that Beatles was another word for "brutal" in Liverpool. They play humorous pop music with three guitars and a drum and they earn about $ 7000 / week.
For worried adults we can tell that the first sign of that there's a Beatle in the house is that the son is letting the hair grow and spends hours in front of the mirror to get it right.
"Aftonbladet" wrote: "It must be said that what they call a show with these kind of electrified pop groups usually just contains a few steps back and forward"
"Eskilstuna-Kuriren" wrote "What more can pop crazy teenagers wish?"

The single "She Loves You", released in Sweden the 21st of August 1963 went up to no. 10 on the Swedish charts October 24, one day after the arrival to Sweden. Beaten by Trini Lopez (no. 1) and Brian Poole & the Tremeloes.
The album "Please Please Me" was released in July the 19th 1963 and had sold 1800 copies by the day of The Beatles arrival to Sweden the 23rd of October 1963. Peanuts of what was about to come.

The Beatles got about $ 400 a day + free location, food and travels during these five October days. They made nine concerts.
$ 100 to the English booking manager and the rest to Brian Epstein. How much did The Beatles get? I don't know.
On their second tour in Sweden, 1964, they did get $ 8 000 for each performance. That's about $ 70 000 in today's value.
One of the biggest problems was the huge equipment. They had several loudspeakers!!! Normally a band could hire a big American car, but The Beatles had to hire a wagon too. The two American Fords with The Beatles in one and the equipment in the other took the band out on the Swedish roads.
Maybe I can dig up some more facts about the cars.

Day by day

Wednesday October the 23rd 1963

The arrival to Sweden
The Beatles is making the last recordings for their new album "With the Beatles" at Abbey Road Studios no. 2 in London.
The British fans had painted "Good Luck in Sweden" on their tour buss.
After lunch The Beatles with company entered a jet plane from BEA with destination Stockholm for their very first tour outside England. A great honour for Sweden.
John, Paul, George and Ringo with Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans landed on Arlanda International Airport about 40 kilometres north from Stockholm a sunny October afternoon.
What about Brian Epstein - was he or was he not on the same flight as The Beatles, Neil and Mal.
According to Ray Coleman's very documented biography of Brian Epstein, on October 23rd 1963, the day the Beatles flew to Sweden, Brian was interviewed for a TV program, 'For Art's Sake'.
There Coleman says, 'Brian flew to Sweden to join the Beatles tour'. This suggests that they took separate flights to Sweden.

About 10 Swedish school girls had made it to the airport to welcome their idols with flowers. After a while the doors were opened and the passengers got off, but no sign of The Beatles. Suddenly John stood there in the door. He had a scarf around his neck and went for the stairs. After John came Ringo. He looked very surprised. He yelled: "Boys, there's no snow!!!"
During their visit in Stockholm they stayed in a hotel called Hotel Continental at Vasagatan, in the centre of the city right in front of the Central station. The room numbers were 205, 206 (for Neil Aspinall), 208, 209 (for Paul McCartney) and room no. 210.
Their first ever press conference on a foreign tour was held in a room at the Hotel Continental a couple of hours after their arrival to Sweden.
The first evening they visit Stockholm's "Cavern", a place called Nalen, which by that day celebrated 75 years as music- and dance hall. Unfortunately no pictures seems to have been taken that evening. Rumours has been told that The Beatles played at Nalen that same evening. Sorry to say, but they never did.
In 1967 Nalen had it's final evening. The building had to (same as with the Cavern) give room for new and modern buildings.

Thursday October the 24th 1963

The Beatles makes the Karlaplan studios recordings (for Swedish Radio)
Many music programs were made at the Karlaplan studios during the 50's and the 60's. The name of the program that The Beatles made their appearance for was going to be called "The Beatles - pop group from Liverpool on a visit in Stockholm" (but in Swedish of cause).
This was a great moment for Swedish Radio cos' it was the first time that they have recorded a so called pop group.
(If you are interested in more details according to this accession, click here)

Today we can establish the fact that this is one of the best live recording ever made by The Beatles. At this session The Beatles was supposed to play for an audience so 100 tickets was given away. At least 250 Beatles fans showed up!
The panic was close when The Beatles instruments, amplifiers and loudspeakers didn't show up in time. Another musician, Hasse Rosén, offered his equipment to The Beatles. The Beatles, who had a contract with Wox, had to make it on Fender equipment.
Brian Epstein, present during the whole session, was very nervous (no need for that Brian, where ever you are). Maybe the reason for Brian's nervousity didn't have anything to do with the performance The Beatles made.
Anyway, he took the opportunity to push for other group in his stable. One of the groups he made PR for and told the people about was "Billy J. Kramer and his band The Dakotas", as he expressed it.
The whole session was made in front of an audience, without rehearsal at 17.00. It took 25 minutes to complete an was broadcasted for the first time in Swedish radio Monday the 11th of November 1963 between 22.05 to 22.30.
After the concert The Beatles had to leave the studio through the main entrance through the exited audience. There were no stage exit!
Without any major problems The Beatles entered a blue Fiat 1500 that was parked outside the studio. Now the problems started. Some fans tried to lift the car in an attempt to get their hands on The Beatles.

Friday October the 25th 1963

The Beatles as tourists in Stockholm
The first place the visit was the Stockholm's Stadshus. A couple of photo sessions was held. Photographers like Bo Trenter and Robert Freeman was there. The cover to the EP "Long Tall Sally" was taken at this occasion. The boys themselves filmed each other with a 8 mm camera.
The next stop was "Hötorget" right in the centre of Stockholm. More photos was taken. A great shot is a picture taken by The Beatles jumping in front of "Sergel Teatern".
After sightseeing around in Stockholm the time had come for a major meeting with the Swedish fans. Time for The Beatles to leave for Karlstad.
Their first concert outside the UK in Karlstad
Six American wagons and one trailer headed the 300 kilometres for Karlstad. It was snowing (Ringo asked for it). All the four Beatles sat in the same car.
Late that same evening The Beatles entered the old Statshotellet in Karlstad. The hotel manager welcomed the boys and gave George and Ringo a double room. John and Paul got the same. The manager was impressed over how well behaved the boys were. He was so impressed that he a couple years later bought stocks in Northern Songs.
Brian Epstein was in a bad mode. He didn't like the fact that the English booking agency received 100 pound a day during the tour. Much to much, he said.

The first concert at Nya Aulan in Sundsta school took place at 19.00 and the second one started off at 21.00.
The place was built for 750 people was only filled to 3/4 during booth of the concerts.
The cheapest tickets could be bough for 12 SKr (about $ 1.50) and the exclusive ones for 20 SKr (just under $ 3.00) and that was held for being very expensive.
The Beatles at Sundsta Läroverk, Karlstad, October 25.
The concert lasted for about 20 minutes

Two bands made their act before The Beatles got on the stage: "Svend Millers Popstars" and "The Phantoms". A couple of Swedish girls who had worked as aupair in England knew how to behave on a pop concert. They yelled "We want The Beatles", "We want The Beatles".
Now the time has come for the historical moment. The Beatles first entry on a foreign stage. John, Paul and George entered running the stage. Ringo came in last with a drum under his arm.
- My god, I knew they were longhaired, but not that longhaired! was a comment that could be read in the papers the day after the show.
The first accord came as a big shock, nearly the same shock as the for hair. None had ever played as loud as The Beatles in that place. What a noise.
When John was singing "Twist and Shout" the microphone broke. As there were no time the repair it this had to be the end of The Beatles extra number, then it was over.
After the concert the boys went back to the hotel for a late dinner and a rest.

Saturday October the 26th 1963

The Beatles plays in Stockholm (again)

The Royal Tennis hall was the place for The Beatles concerts in Stockholm. The main attraction was Joey Dee (the American King of Twist!?!?!?) and the Starliters. Not The Beatles!?!? Three of the members of Starliters formed later the group The Young Rascals that under the years 1965-66 held a guitarist called Jimi Hendrix.
The first concert was at 17.00 and the second one started off at 20.00. The prices for the tickets was between just over $ 1.00 to a bit over $ 2.00

A film made during The Beatles performance under the concert was unfortunately stolen and has never been traced.
After the concert Joey Dee held a party at Foresta Hotel. Paul and George stayed at their hotel, Continental. Ringo and John went for the party.

Sunday October the 27th 1963

The Beatles plays in Gothenburg
The tour continued in Gothenburg. The boys travelled in one car and the equipment in another. The 500 kilometres long journey was made without any problems.
The boys took in on a hotel called Park Avenue Hotel in the central parts of Gothenburg. Even today famous rock stars stays at the same hotel when they visit Gothenburg.
The concerts were played at Cirkus in Lorensbergsparken. Along with the Beatles on the stage was a/o. Jerry Williams and Ken Levy & the Phantoms.
The first concert went off at 15.00, the second one at 17.00 and the third!!! started at 19.00. Gothenburg was the only place were three concerts were played at the same day.
"Never ever had so many shoes stamped the floor at Cirkus in Lorensbergsparken as this particular day", was to be read in the papers the next day.

Monday October the 28th 1963

The Beatles plays in Borås
After the success in Gothenburg The Beatles headed for Borås. A short journey for about 60 kilometres. The boys spent a couple of hours signing records in a store called Waidele Musik this afternoon. According to the newspapers thousands of fans had found their way to the store.
The Borås concert was the biggest during their tour in Sweden. 2500 people saw that concert.
The concert was held at Borås Hallen at Bockasjogatan at 19.30. And the audience screamed and shouted so loud that it was nearly impossible to hear anything. A well known and common phenomena during The Beatles later concerts around the world.

Thursday October the 29th 1963

The Beatles plays in Eskilstuna
The last concert during this tour was held in a town called Eskilstuna.
Place: The Sporthall (Hamngatan)
Time: 19.00
By this time the media in Sweden (Radio, TV & the papers) had really made clear that The Beatles was really something. When they started the tour (6 days ago) another artist always stood as the main attraction. The Beatles were just one of the groups to fill out the show. By the time of this concert there were no question about who were the main attraction: THE BEATLES!!!
2000 people saw The Beatles at this concert. The hall wasn't crowded. The Beatles had humour and charmed the most of the audience. Four young lads in tight trousers, short tight jackets, shoes with high heels and a hair that probably haven't seen a pair of scissors for a couple of years!
The guy at the drums, Ringo Starr, 23, who are supposed to like small, well-shaped blondes, was very funny under the concert. He did hit the drums with his small drumsticks so hard that the ceiling was ready to lift off. Upon that he conducted himself whit the tongue.
In the paper the day after the concert you could read things like:
"The Beatles made a K.O (knock out) on the audience", "Young and wild ecstasy" and " It was a so called pop concert in the Sporthall Thursday evening. Pop concert means a systematically built up 'black mass' in the erotic temple of pop"
"A hand full of girls heating each other up and to help them there is this noise from the guitars of the twist idols."
The songs The Beatles played during this last concert was:
Please Please Me, I Saw Her Standing There, From Me To You, Chains, Boys, She Loves You, A Taste of Honey and Twist And Shout.
This was the songs they played during the most of their concerts in Sweden.

Wednesday October the 30th 1963

The Beatles tapes for Swedish Television and goes shopping
This day is one of the absolute most interesting of the days in Sweden. The Beatles was about to tape their first show for the Swedish Television.
After a sleepy morning the boys took off for the TV-studio. The recording of the TV program "Drop In" was supposed to take place in front of a live audience at the Arena Theater at Gröna Lund. They rehearsed during the day and the show was taped at 19.00.
By the time The Beatles rehearsed for the show Mal Evans sat up their equipment. The equipment was worth about £ 1500.

After a couple of hours of rehearsal they left for lunch. John, Paul, George, Ringo, Mal, Neil Aspinall, Klas Burling (the producer), Kersti Adams-Ray (the confrecier) and some photographers left the studio. They went over the road (Djurgårdsvägen) and over to Skansen and further to a restaurant at Solliden, where they eat a well earned lunch.
The people at the restaurant looked curious at The Beatles. Not because the were The Beatles but for the long hair.!
The rumour says that John and Paul played on an old piano that stood in the restaurant by this time.
More things happened!

A Swedish photographer called Bo Trenter got the opportunity to take some really great shoots of The Beatles. A couple of them pictures made their way to some of The Beatles Ep's.
A picture of The Beatles holding up an enormous cake is on a Swedish release from December 1963.
Another picture is taken at one of the cannons outside the restaurant. This made it's way to the Swedish version of the EP "All My Loving" from January 1964.
Back to the Arena Theater for the last preparations for tonight's big event.
During the afternoon they got a massage by phone from England that their hit "She Loves You" that had began to drop on the charts was climbing again to reach no. 1 again (very unusual).
In a pause the producer, Klas Burling (an old friend of The Beatles who actually introduced them for Michael Cox in Bournemouth in August 1963 were he invited them for a tour in Sweden) was asked by The Beatles to listen to a acoustic version of one of the new songs John and Paul had written. It was "I Want To Hold Your Hand".
Klas Has told that he immediately knew that it's was going to be a new no. 1.
Mal and Neil went out to buy some food. Sausage and pommes frites were bought. One of them dropped a part of the meal on the way back, but that didn't seemed to disturb The Beatles, on the contrary, they got a good laugh.

In good time before the main event, Paul said that he wanted go in to the city to do some shopping. Klas Burling took his Fiat and drew Paul and Ringo to NK, the biggest and "finest" store in Stockholm. Paul bought some perfume to Jane Asher. Again people looked curiously on the two strange guys.
Outside the Arena Theater, three hours before the show to take off, people began to line up.
Inside the Arena the rehearsals continued. It wasn't that The Beatles and the other artists had to rehears that much. The rehearsals was so called clothes rehearsals and how camera angles was going to be mixed. How the artists were going to be introduced and so on.
Now the time had come. The show started. One artist after another went up on the stage and made their act. When the time had come for the main event to enter the scene Klas Burling, sitting on the stage edge, introduced The Beatles.
"And to round up tonight's show there will be a group that we've already mentioned earlier this evening."
Behind Klas one or some of boys showed up behind the curtains and made the girls in the audience scream. Others in the audience tried to make them shout up. The camera, was still focused on Klas.
"The group, four boys from England - Liverpool actually, have been playing together just for fun for about three years. Just to get money to food for the day. They are still playing..."
The boy's starts to enter the scene and a shock goes through the audience.
"You can hear them right behind me. But they still likes to play even though' they can play and earn money at the same time."
He continues to tell the audience the short story about The Beatles hits and how the group is set up.
The camera takes a tour around the audience who is trying to get a better sight over the scene.
At last!!! The TV audience finally was able to see The Beatles.
Klas again: " And the song they now are going to play is 'She Loves You' ".

The Beatles started off immediately. 'She Loves You' was one of the two songs that they were supposed to play. 'Twist and Shout' was the other.
The audience was so close to The Beatles that legs on the ones in front of The Beatles touched the microphones. When the last of the two songs were finished the sound engineers had began to switch down the sound to complete the show with the signature track.
Paul, George, Lill-Babs (our Swedish pride - Still going strong and looking better than ever) and John. BTW, what's the matter with John's eyes?
But the audience, which was nearly in a trance wanted more so Klas rushed to the scene and said :
" Paul, George, John, Ringo, one more number, please"
The Beatles wasn't hard to persuade. Paul said:
"One, Two, Three, Foooour" and 'I Saw Her Standing There' came out from the loudspeakers. The Audience was thrilled and screamed and clapped their hands.
After this extra number the confrecier Kersti Adams-Ray was convicted the show was over and tried to get the signature track to start. But behind her back Klas tried to persuade The Beatles to play yet another song.
And again there were no problem to get an extra song. The Beatles kicked off immediately with 'Long Tall Sally'. That was the song that was about to round up this fantastic show.
Now the confrecier Kersti Adams-Ray could do her job. She said:
"Thank you all. Now you're going to help us out with our signature and The Beatles will also help us with our "Drop-In" -signature"
Ringo gave his heart playing the "Drop-In" -signature along with John, Paul, George, the audience and the Swedish group "The Telstars".(DOWNLOAD: 668 kB mp3-file)
After the show the TV-producer, Lasse Sarri, said to John:
"I hope that you didn't mind doing the extra numbers"
John responded:
"No, not at all. I always talk like this"

After the show The Beatles left the Arena Theater in a green police car with screaming Swedish girls behind.
The program was broadcasted for the first time in Swedish television November the 3rd 1963. It have been showed several times on TV after that. The last time it was showed was late 1996. Now the Apple company got the rights for the show.
When the boys arrived to their hotel they were very tired, but not to tired to continue playing. The rumour says that they continued to play at the Continental Hotel for yet another hour. Amongst the songs they were supposed to play you could have heard 'If I Had A Hammer' if you'd been there.
Then they went to the Swedish Fan Club to sign autographs and to get lots of presents and letters. After that it was time for bed.

Thursday October the 31st 1963

The Beatles leaves Sweden and says "We'll be back"
Time to leave Sweden after their first tour outside the UK. Klas Burling did an interview with Paul and Ringo before the group left Sweden.
The Beatles took good bye and lifted off in a Caravelle. Imagine: they flew as second class passengers. During the trip one and other passenger from first class came and asked for their autographs.
When The Beatles landed in London as much as 20 000 people had gathered there. The Beatles got very exited 'cos they thought that all the people were waiting for the Queen. It took a while before they realised that all these people were hysteric Beatles fans.
"Beatle mania" was born.

Interesting things that happened during The Beatles 1963 tour in Sweden
A young teenage guy named Bengt Eriksson (later a journalist at the Swedish pop magazine Schlager) who were a big Beatle fan, used to hang around the Continental Hotel just to see a glimpse of The Beatles one day got the opportunity to guide John and Neil Aspinall on a shopping round in Stockholm.
John was out for buying a coat. John actually bought a dark grey, long one at "the still going strong" STROMS in the corner of Sveavagen/Kungsgatan.
During conversations The Beatles often talked with each other in a very heavy Liverpudlian. Often John acted as an interpreter.
On October the 30th the company was in a hotel restaurant. Paul says that he has a terrible head ace so he have to leave early for an early bed.
In some way he had managed to get his hands of a couple cameras, false moustache and a couple of glasses. He hangs the cameras on him an put on the mustachio and the glasses. After a while he returns to the company and starts to talk with the company in a strange dialect, which he is really good at, and starts to take pictures in a hurry.
"Pictures for the paper, you know"
When he's ready he says "Thank you" and leaves the room.
After a couple of minutes Paul is coming back and says that he has no head ace any longer. John, George and the others tells Paul that he missed the happening of today. A crazy Swedish photographer had came to the company when Paul was away. Paul had really missed something. The others really thought it was quite funny. What they didn't know was that "the crazy Swedish photographer" actually was non other than Paul.
When Paul told them the truth the rest of them the laughs got stock in their throats. The one who enjoyed it the most was Paul.

A Swedish girl, Ewa Säfwenberg, tells an other interesting story:
My friend, Lena, who knew Paul from her days in England. The Beatles contacted her when they came to Sweden and I was the lucky one who came with her.
First we saw the concert at the Royal Tennis Hall. After the concert we left in a limousine. John was in the front seat. It was amazing to see all the fans outside the car.
Later Paul and I followed Lena to Nacka where more of her friends (all girls) were waiting to meet Paul. They had a pleasant evening together that ended outside the Central Station, near Paul's hotel.
John, George and Ringo stayed in Stockholm.
(Ewa Säfwenberg joined Paul and George during their quick visit to Sweden 1967. Read more about that on the page "Other journeys to Sweden made during the 60's").

When the "Drop In" -program was sent the Beatles fever broke loose in Sweden. The record sales increased and the album 'Please Please Me' sold more than 7 000 mono copies and about 400 copies in stereo.

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