herald

Monday 23 April 2018

... and how The Herald came to the rescue of the Fab Four

Evening Herald van driver Jack Flanagan
Evening Herald van driver Jack Flanagan

SERGEANT Pepper might never have been recorded

Penny Lane or Strawberry Fields, or their timeless message to mankind of Love Love Love.

For all this we can thank an Evening Herald delivery van which saved the Beatles on November 7, 1963.

Fifty years ago this week, Beatlemania arrived in Ireland when the fab four arrived in Dublin to play two concerts in the Adelphi Cinema.

However there were ugly scenes after the shows as fans clashed with Gardai and attempted to overturn cars as they waited for The Beatles to leave the cinema.

"If the Beatles had walked out into that crowd, they would have the clothes ripped off their backs," said author Michael Lynch.

It was Herald journalist Billy Radcliffe who helped come up with a solution.

 

Frightened

With the backdoor of Independent Newspapers adjacent to the backdoor of the Adelphi, a Herald van was dispatched to pick up John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Jack Flanagan was the man who drove the Herald van with the Beatles joined in the van by Liam Kelly from the Herald, John Healy of the Irish Independent, and photographer Jack Murphy.

"There are pictures of The Beatles sitting in that van that night and they look pale – very frightened. They knew the mob would have torn them apart and just wanted to get away," added Michael Lynch.

Herald reporter Liam Kelly recalls the secret getaway in an interview he gave in 1994 :

"Shortly before the concert ended, myself and Jack Murphy, the photographer, climbed into the back of the van. We didn't know exactly what was going to happen. It was just an ordinary van with newspapers in the back and we were sitting on these.

"Suddenly the concert ended, there was a tap on the van and in came the Beatles, the four of them just ran into the van.

"On the short trip to the Gresham they just said 'we knew we'd get a good reception, but we didn't think we'd get this reception, unbelievable reaction'. We got out of the van and I said to the Beatles 'Come on lads, we're going up', so we went through the kitchens, much to the amazement of all the staff who couldn't believe it was The Beatles."

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