The Beatles and the Stripper!

Paul McCartney on drums
Paul McCartney on drums with The Beatles

In June 1960, with no drummer, and very few gigs, Allan Williams arranged for The Beatles to back Janice the Stripper at a strip club in Upper Parliament Street, Liverpool, that Williams ran with his business partner, Lord Woodbine. Paul played drums, accompanied by John, George and Stuart on a tiny stage.

How? Why? A Stripper?

After some initial resistance, the four Silver Beetles had haggled out an equitable financial deal. Supposedly, Stuart was a tough negotiator and got them a fairly decent fee. “Why so much?”, Williams had  asked them during the negotiations. Paul had replied, “For the indiginity. The bloody indignity of it all!”

Lord Woodbine recalled the club, and The Silver Beetles’ appearance, very well. “Allan Williams and I used to run some clubs together, and The Beatles used to play there. There were actually two clubs. In the first one, they used to play at dinner time (noon) until 3:00pm. The second was a striptease club in a basement, called the Cabaret Artistes Club.

Their job was to play music for the strippers. The strippers used to get them to play very slow numbers, which The Beatles did not really like. There was only one who wanted an up-tempo song. She used a hula hoop in her act. The Beatles weren’t interested in the strippers or the music. They just did it for the money.”

Paul obviously remembered the occasion very well, in a private letter to Bill Harry, for inclusion in Mersey Beat. “John, George, Stu and I used to play at a Strip Club in Upper Parliament Street,” recalled Paul, “backing Janice the Stripper. At the time we wore little lilac jackets, or purple jackets, or something. Well, we played behind Janice and naturally we looked at her, the audience looked at her, everybody looked at her, just sort of normal. At the end of the act, she would turn round and, well, we were all young lads, we’d never seen anything like it before, and all blushed, four blushing red-faced lads.

Janice the Stripper

“Janice brought sheets of music for us to play all her arrangements. She gave us a bit of Beethoven and the ‘Spanish Fire Dance’. So, in the end, we said ‘We can’t read music, sorry, but instead of the ‘Spanish Fire Dance’ we can play ‘The Harry Lime Cha-Cha’, which we’ve arranged ourselves, and instead of Beethoven you can have ‘Moonglow’ or ‘September Song’. Take your pick. Instead of the ‘Sabre Dance’ we’ll give you ‘Ramrod’. So that’s what she got. She seemed quite satisfied anyway.”

And The Beatles refused to play a strip club ever again! And they didn’t; well, until they went to Hamburg two months later!

Fab one hundred and Four
The Fab one hundred and Four

Read the full story in “The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles“.

Paul McCartney – Beatles drummer

Finding the Fourth Beatle
Finding the Fourth Beatle

As Paul was the drummer that day, it wouldn’t be the last time he sat behind the drum kit. In our recent book, “Finding the Fourth Beatle“, we discuss the times he sat in with other groups, plus the tracks that Paul played drums on for The Beatles. While working in the studio on the “White Album”, Ringo walked out on the group. Needing to keep going, Paul sat behind the drumkit, playing on “Back In The USSR”, “Dear Prudence”, “Martha My Dear” and “The Ballad Of John and Yoko”.

So from backing a stripper, to back in the USSR, Macca was more than a capable drummer, though was he as good as Ringo? We discuss that in depth in “Finding the Fourth Beatle“.

David Bedford

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Author: David Bedford

David Bedford grew up in The Dingle, attended the primary school that Ringo Starr did, before moving to Penny Lane, where his three daughters attended Dovedale Primary School, where John Lennon and George Harrison had previously attended.His first book, "Liddypool" was published in 2009, now in its third edition. His second book, "The Fab one hundred and Four" was published in 2013, and his third book, "Finding the Fourth Beatle" was published in 2018. He was also the Associate Producer and Beatles historian for the documentary feature film, "Looking for Lennon".He is working on several other projects at the moment,

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