Just what is left to say about the Beatles? Countless millions of words have been written about the group, their music and their impact on modern day culture. The Beatles have led arguably the most documented lives of the twentieth century. Indeed, literally hundreds of books have been published about the greatest musical phenomenon of all time. These include biographies, discographies, memoirs and sensational, sleazy exposes, the latter written by the unscrupulous, with an eye for the big chance. More than three decades after the day the music died, new titles continue to pour off the presses, providing proof, if it were needed, of the continuing popularity of the group.
The story of the Beatles means different things to different people. Certainly, their music has come to be regarded as a soundtrack of a decade. Yet many would go further and declare that the group help to shape youth revolution and the cultural climate of the 1960s – in the words of South Wales Echo reporter, Chris Roberts: [They were the catalyst for young Britain's assorted talents, corked too tightly, too long.] It is perhaps difficult for people who were born and grew up in a post-Beatle era to appreciate the impact the group actually had. In purely commercial terms, the statistics speak for themselves. The Beatles have the greatest sales of any group in the history of popular music with E.M.I. estimating over one billion records, CD's and tapes sold. In the U.K. alone, they chalked up a remarkable seventeen number one singles and a similar number of top selling albums. But the Beatles were about more than mere record statistics.
Perhaps John Lennon summed things up best when he said: [We were all on this ship in the sixties, our generation, a ship going to discover the New World. And the Beatles were in the crow's nest of that ship…]
In 1965, Beatles manager Brian Epstein with a classic example of understatement said, [Ten years from now the Beatles will still be popular.] Thirty-five years later, the popularity of the group shows no sign of diminishing. Indeed, the past decade has seen a mini-revival in Beatlemania. fuelled by new CD's of previously unreleased material and a six-part TV. documentary on the history of the group. The year 2000 saw an almost unprecedented demand for the compilation album 1. Familiarity and the passage of three decades and more has, it seems, failed to dim the vitality and magic of the Beatles and their music.
Of the hundreds of published tomes about the Fab Four, few make even a passing reference to the part Wales played in the history of the group. The Beatles played nine dates in Wales covering a period from 1962 at Rhyl to Cardiff in 1965, which proved to be their last ever concert tour date in Britain. There were four dates at two venues in South Wales and five dates at five separate venues in North Wales. The Assembly Rooms, Mold, Town Hall . . .