Bluejeans in Scandinavia

By Ray Ennis  

Mersey Beat: October 22 1964

The Bluejeans make a dash as police stop their concert at Umea, Sweden Anyone got any spare sleep they can let me have? We've just completed the most hectic three weeks of our lives touring Scandinavia. During the twenty-one day concert tour of Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway we averaged about four hours sleep a night.

In all, we covered 7,000 miles - getting up regularly at 6a.m. to catch the plane to the next venue.

Pleased to say that there were capacity crowds everywhere and the tour was a huge success. We enjoyed the wild scenes, but the enthusiasm of the audience was a problem for the promoters - the total damage bill to the concert hall owners was £2,000.

We were honoured to be the first beat group ever to play in Stockholm's famous Concert Hall. We felt strange tuning our guitars surrounded by busts of the great composers. Drummer Norman Kuhlke swears he saw the stone figure of Beethoven roll over a 50 fans clambered on stage during our show.

There was a great welcome waiting for us in Finland. At Helsinki Airport we were given a musical greeting by Finland's top beat group the Scaffolds. So many fans had gathered round our hotel we had to leave and return in a police 'Black Maria'. In Finland, where we have five discs in the Top Twenty, we had our own hour-long TV show.

The wildest night of the tour was at Umea, Sweden. Baton-waving police had to stop the show as hundreds of fans surged on stage knocking guitars and amplifiers flying. At the next night's concert the authorities took no chances, a stern-faced Army unit occupied the first two rows. This didn't stop a few fans breaking through the cordon.

Finland's leading group the Scaffolds greet the Bluejeans at Helsinki Airport Ralph, Les and myself decided to buy some cheap Japanese guitars to practice on whilst we did one long coach trip across Sweden. Norman Kuhlke and our manager, Jim Ireland, both play guitar and they too bought instruments for the return journey. Inhabitants of a few small Swedish villages must have muttered 'Mad Englishmen' as the sound of our five piece guitar group drifted out from the traveling coach.

In Norway, we tried our luck at skiing at the famous Winter Olympic ski-run at Holmkollen. I don't think there's any chance of us ever making the British team. We found it easier going down the slope head first than on the skis. Still, the mountain scenery was fabulous.

Right now the only scenery I'm interested in is the interior of my bedroom. Got to catch up on my shut-eye for our ballroom tour of Britain, which will take us up to Christmas.
See you soon, best wishes.

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