The Beatles (with fill-in drummer Jimmie Nichol) in Adelaide, 1964 | Credit: Jeff Hochberg/Getty Images)

A New Book About The Beatles’ 1964 Australian Tour Is Coming

Australian publishing house Woodslane Press have announced a new book entitled When We Was Fab: Inside The Beatles‘ Australasian Tour 1964. As its title suggests, the book documents the first and only time that The Beatles ever came to Australia and New Zealand in June of 1964. Its release on Saturday, June 1st will fall on the eve of the tour’s 60th anniversary.

When We Was Fab was written by music historian Andy Neill and radio presenter Greg Armstrong. The former is a published author of biographies of The Who and Rod Stewart, having also published two Beatles photo anthologies. The latter, meanwhile, is the host of the Melbourne-based Let It Be Beatles, which is described as “the world’s longest-running weekly live radio show dedicated to The Beatles”.

The book is a comprehensive look at the tour, which saw 30,000 people line the streets of Adelaide to welcome the band to the city and Beatlemaniacs flooding the airport in Sydney and Melbourne upon their arrival. It compiles never-before-seen photographs, press clippings, interviews and eye witness recollections from over 100 people that either saw or participated in the band’s visit.

The Beatles – 1964 Australian Tour Highlight Reel

The tour was also notable for the partial absence of drummer Ringo Starr. Struck with tonsilitis before the start of the tour, he was replaced by unknown session drummer Jimmie Nicol for eight shows of the band’s world tour – including two performances in Adelaide. Starr officially rejoined his bandmates when they arrived in Melbourne, to perform at the city’s Festival Hall for six shows.

Although John Lennon never returned to Australia again prior to his death in 1980, the three remaining Beatles all returned. Paul McCartney toured Australia with Wings in 1975 and returned for a solo tour in 1993. He would not come back until 2017, however, which was later followed by the Got Back stadium tour in October of last year.

Starr, meanwhile, would not return to Australia for 49 years after the 1964 shows. He eventually came back to Australia in 2013, performing shows with his All-Starr Band across the country. As for George Harrison, the dark-horse Beatle never toured Australia again but did have a holiday home on Hamilton Island known as Letsbeavenue. The home was built in the 80s, with Harrison visiting Australia for the final time in 2000 before his death the following year.

Pre-orders for When We Was Fab: Inside The Beatles’ Australasian Tour 1964 are on sale now via Woodslane Press.

Further Reading

Paul McCartney Review – Beatles, Wings and a Lifetime of Memories in Sydney

Paul McCartney 2023 Australian ‘Got Back’ Tour Setlists

The Beatles Release Their Final Song ‘Now And Then’

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