Parisian Rock

By Paul McCartney  

Mersey Beat: January 4 1962

Paul McCartney It was 10 o clock, o clock it was, when we were entering the OLYMPIA in Paris to see the 'Johnny Halliday Rock Show.' the cheapest seats in 'les theatre' (French) were seven and sixpence, so we followed the woman with the torch (English).

When Johnny Halliday came, everybody went wild - and loud was the cheering and many the dancing in the aisles, too. But, the man said 'sit down', so we had to.

The excitement rose, the audience rose to dance, like the many boys and girls dancing along the back rows. Also old men, which is stranger still, isn't it? Meanwhile, later the same week, we go to 'Les Rock Festival' held in a club in Montmartre, with Danny et les Pirates and many more groups for your evening's entertainment. Topping the bill was Vince (Ron, my boy, Ron) Taylor, star of English screen and 'Two I's'.

The atmosphere is like many a night club, but the teenagers stand round the dancing floor which you use as a stage. They jump on a woman with gold trousers and a hand microphone and then hit a man when he says "go away." A group follows, and so do others, playing 'Apache' worse than many other bands. When the singer joins the band, the leather jacket fiends who are the audience, join in dancing and banging tables with chairs.

The singers have to go one better than the audience, so they lie on the floor, or jump on a passing drummer, or kiss a guitar, and then hit the man playing it. The crowd enjoy this and many stand on chairs to see the fun, and soon the audience are all singing and shouting like one man, but he didn't mind.

Vince (Ron, Ron) Taylor finally appeared and joined the fun, and in the end he had so much fun that he had to rest. But in spite of this it had been a wonderful show, lovely show...lovely.
Photo © Mersey Beat Archives

Editor's note: This is an excerpt from another letter which Paul had sent to me. The pieces I included in Mersey Beat were only small items as I'd edited them down from the various letters Paul wrote to me while traveling during the early days of their career. I also included them in Mersey Beat some time after I had received the originals. 

I found that Paul had a similar sense of humour to John, which is not surprising as they were both fans of the Goons and Paul had read Stephen Leacock's 'Nonsense Novels.' I love the surrealist atmosphere in this particular letter. The trip to Paris took place during the first two weeks of October 1961. John had received a present of £100 from his Aunt Elizabeth as a 21st birthday present and he and Paul decided to travel to Spain, although they got no further than Paris. This was quite an important trip in some ways because while they were in Paris they met up with Jurgen Vollmer, a friend from Hamburg, who gave both of them what was to become the 'Beatle moptop.' On their return home they stopped off in London and spotted Cuban-styled boots in Anello and Davide in Charing Cross Road, which they bought - later the style became known as Beatle boots!

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