Screaming Beatles fan who had a cuppa with her idols
BEATLEMANIA has never died out in Cheltenham and is set for a comeback today.
It is 50 years since the fab four released their first single Love Me Do on October 5, 1962.
Today they remain the best-selling band of all time with estimated sales of their music standing at one billion units.
Record stores and fans say their music is still as loved as ever, with their music holding a special place in the hearts of many people in Cheltenham.
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It was here that the band opened its first national tour at the Gaumont cinema, later renamed the Odeon.
Fans Mike Stoate and Jo Rees (nee Davis) were both 17 when they went to the concert and still remember the excitement which throbbed through the town on November 1, 1963.
Jo, who now lives in Winchcombe, said: "We screamed through the first show and then went back in and screamed through the second as well."
She was even lucky enough to meet the mop-haired Liverpudlians after being tipped off they were staying at the Savoy Hotel in Montpellier.
She and two friends plucked up the nerve to go in and a casual "can we see The Beatles please?" resulted in their idols appearing for a chat and cuppa.
The 66-year-old said: "I still remember shaking like a leaf. We were so nervous.
"I missed my opportunity really. If I had played my cards right I could have been Lady McCartney!" She added that her favourite Beatle was George and her favourite songs were still the classic 1960's singles, including Twist and Shout and Hey Jude.
Sadly, she lost all her original vinyls in the 2007 floods but she still listens to their music.
She said: "We definitely don't have bands of their standard today. They were the best and will take some beating.
"They were all such great characters and we didn't realise how lucky we were to have them here really."
Mike still remembers buying that first single Love Me Do in Cheltenham.
He said: "I have been a fan since I was 16 and it's hard to believe it's been 50 years. I bought that first single and every one since. Their music definitely doesn't date."
Steven Jump, owner of independent record shop Badlands in St George's Place, agreed.
He said: "They are as popular as they have ever been.
"They are still huge and people come in all the time to buy their music."
Steve Wilson, assistant manager at Rise Music in Beechwood Shopping Centre, added: "People will always buy Beatles music. I don't think they will ever go out of fashion."
Both shops will be selling special 50th anniversary boxsets of the Beatles music from today.