Good Times "Down Under"

The following article appeared in New Musical Express on June 26, 1964.

The Pan-An Boeing was to take Ringo and I on the first lap of our long journey halfway across the world.
The long and tiring flight had grown auduous and we were only half awake. As far as Los Angeles we had chatted and played cards with film star Horst Buchlolz and the very beautiful Vivien Leigh, whom I had admired for a so long and was pleased to meet.
Throughout the journey, my admiration for Ringo increased. Tired as we both were, and he only 24 hours out of hospital, never once did he hesitate to comply with the requests to meet fans and Press, wherever our plane refuelled.
In San Francisco, Honolulu and Fiji, this fine drummer from Liverpool delighted everyone he met with his well-known and unaffected charm.
When the plane came to a stand-still at Sydney Airport at the specially appointed position for our disembarkation, the door opened and our ears were full with the screams and wails of our first sample of a big Australian welcome. Ringo appeared at the door of the plane, and the noise increased and seemed to reach an ever higher peak as we made for the car at the foot of the steps.
As the car toured through the airport's spectators, Ringo bowed and smiled to the fans and notices stating, "We Love you, Ringo" and "Welcome Ringo" and others.
Then we boarded our Viscount for Melbourne and there too, we received a robust welcome.
As we motored, with a police escort, to our hotel in the city, the police lined our route, and on our arrival there Ringo was pushed to the ground as the police failed to make way for us through the crowd of a thousand to the entrance of the Southern Cross Hotel.
The hotel itself seemed to accommodate every Pressman, photographer and deejay in the country. As I settled in my room to unpack clothes, all at once they knocked at the doors, called on the telephone and generally persisted against the increasingly deafening noice from the growing crowd at the front of the hotel-the expectant public gathering for the arrival of John, Paul and George, with Jimmy Nicol.
At 3:30, I joined Ringo in The Beatles' suite to watch and hear the crowd who would greet the boys at 4 pm. Ringo couldn't watch from the window, because he would be spotted, so he listened to radio and saw TV, both of which had all channels covering the occasion. When the boys actually arrived, on one knew, as it was necessary (and how!) for them to be smuggled in at the rear of the building.
We were asked to make an appearance on the balcony of the hotel. All five boys walked aound the specially erected balustrade at the centre of the hotel's third floor flat roof-John, Paul, George, Ringo, Jimmy, followed by myself.
The sight and sound of that tumultuous welcome I shall never forget, and neither will The Beatles.
The police, who were voluntarily assisted by men of the Forces, attempted in vain to keep the public from the entrance of the hotel. There were police on horses and in cars and on foot. There were so many people and so much warmth out there. I cannot say how many people there were, although figures between fifteen and eighty thousand have been suggested.
Certainly I could compare it to only one other crowd scene I'd witnessed-the foreground of Buckingham Palace on the night of the Coronation in 1953.
On Monday morning I went to look over the Melbourne Festival Hall. This was the hall when Judy Garland's sad tragedy occurred, which remains a talking-point in Melbourne.
Just under eight thousand excited youngsters, though there was a fair showing of adults, crowded the Festival Hall six times in three days. The Beatles were superb, and the audience as good! The boys played all their big hits, "This Boy", "Til There Was You", "I Saw Her Standing There", and finished with their constant show-stopper, "Long Tall Sally".
The tour continued in the same terrific way. There were evern some brief moments to relax.
The best party of all was for Paul's 22nd birthday; given and arranged by Australia's "Daily Mirror". The paper had run a competition from which 15 girls had been selected from 30 finalists to attend the party. Without question, as they say, a "beaut" night.
Typical of the boys is that they arranged to meet the 15 "losers" the following day!

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