“But it wasn’t easy,” said Neil. “At Lathom Hall…two troublemakers followed Stu Sutcliffe into the dressing-room muttering things like ‘Get your hair cut, girl!’ John and Pete saw this and went after them. A fight broke out and John broke his little finger…It set crooked and never straightened.”
Pete Best was also to recall the Lathom Hall incident. He said: “When we’d done our session and came off, we changed, which didn’t take an awful lot of time because we basically played in which we stood up in. Stu went out, followed by John and myself.
“These lads started a fight with Stu after picking on him. We got to know about it because some people ran back to the side of the stage where we had come from and said, ‘Stu’s getting the living daylights knocked out of him.’
“So John and I dashed out. We threw a couple of punches, sorted things out and pulled Stu back in again. Then we turned to the lads and said, ‘What the hell’s going on? What the hell are you picking on him for? He hasn’t done anything. We’re only here to do a job, we’re playing; so go away and behave yourselves.’ And it was left at that.
“The fact that John and I had pitched in and got involved made these lads feel a certain amount of respect for us….as a result of the fight John broke a little finger. He still managed to play for a couple of gigs after that. He hadn’t complained …the next time we saw him he had a splint on it.
“When people talk of Stu being beaten up, I think it stems from this incident. But I don’t remember Stu getting to the stage where he had his head kicked in, as some legends say, alleging that this caused his fatal brain haemorrhage.
“For as long as I was with the band I can only remember two incidents when fists were thrown and Stu was involved. The Lathom Hall incident aside, the other occasion was at the Top Ten Club, and that was between Paul and Stu. Paul took the mick out of Astrid and Stu lost his temper and took a swing at him.”
Stuart was never injured during the Lathom Hall gig, but this is where another apocryphal Beatles story had its origins. In the book ‘The Man Who Gave the Beatles Away’, by Allan Williams and Bill Marshall, journalist Marshall admitted that he just took the bones of Williams’ memories and elaborated on them, exaggerating the violence, swearing and sex.
In the book he writes, “It was on such a night that Stuart Sutcliffe received the injuries, which I believe hastened his death a couple of years later. Stuart was attacked outside Litherland Town Hall, where the Beatles played regularly, and was kicked in the head by a local thug. From then on he complained to me often of severe headaches.” This is hindsight presuming too much. According to Stuart’s mother, who Stuart revealed everything to, his headaches only began following a fall in Hamburg.