On this day in 1964, on their first world tour The Beatles took a flight from Hong Kong to Australia, making an unscheduled fuel stop in Darwin, (where over 400 fans greeted their aircraft in hope of a catching a glimpse of one of the fab four). The Beatles then flew on to Sydney, where they arrived in the middle of a torrential downpour. Welcome to Beatlemania in Australia.
The group had dominated the pop charts the world over, and Australia was no exception: at one time The Beatles held down the top six places on the Australian Top 40. Not even Simon Cowell could do that.
The Beatles, without Ringo, (who missed the first leg of the tour suffering with tonsillitis) were accompanied by stand-in drummer Jimmy Nicol who was about to experience the madness that came with being a Beatle.
Nicol had been recommended by Beatles producer George Martin and was hastily recruited to fill the drummer’s seat, learning the songs in one day’s rehearsal.
Their first shows were in Adelaide, and the reception they got there remains the high-water mark of Beatlemania anywhere in the world. Over 300,000 fans turned out to see the band drive in a motorcade from the airport into the city, while tens of thousands more were at the Town Hall for a brief glimpse at a civic reception.
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