Bev Bevan, later a founding member of the Move and the Electric Light Orchestra, says a chance meeting with the Beatles years earlier provided a huge ego boost when Paul McCartney praised his drumming.
Appearing as part of Denny Laine and the Diplomats — a largely forgotten EMI Records act that ended up seeding more famous bands like the Move, the Moody Blues and the Electric Light Orchestra — Bevan had an opportunity to open for the Fabs in 1963 at the UK’s Plaza Ballroom in Old Hill.
Though they were still months away from debuting in America, already the Beatles were huge stars in their native country: “It was the height of Beatlemania,” Bevan says in the attached video. “They’re hanging from the rafters, most of them of screaming ‘get off!’ to us, because they wanted the Beatles on.”
Laine and Co. began working through their song list and, as it concluded, Bevan says something remarkable happened.
“Towards the end of our set, I noticed that the Beatles had arrived at the backdoor — and they were watching us,” Bevan says. “We finished our set, and the curtains closed. Paul McCartney came over to me, and I’m just this kid from Birmingham. He says: ‘That drum solo, in five-four time? That’s great. Our drummer could never do that.’”
The Beatles had only recently added Ringo Starr to replace original member Pete Best, but Starr came highly touted, having been part of the wildly popular local group Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. “I lived on that for about two years!,” Bevan adds. “I went around saying: ‘I’m better than Ringo, you know. Paul McCartney told me!’”
Laine left the Diplomats to found the Moody Blues, only to end up working with McCartney for a decade as a member of Wings. Bevan was part of the Move and ELO with Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne. Wood would later cover both “Lovely Rita” and “Polythene Pam” for the 1976 documentary “All This And World War II.” Lynne, meanwhile, would go on to work as a producer with McCartney, George Harrison and Starr.