Arts + CultureJune 03, 2024 / 5 minute read

The Beatles Aussie tour tapes to play after 60 years

Fans of The Beatles may remember them touring Australia in 1964 like it was Yesterday, especially now Logan is reigniting ‘the fab four’ hype with the unearthing of never-before-released audio tapes recorded 60 years ago.

To mark the 60th anniversary of The Beatles Australasian tour, one of the country’s foremost experts on the famous Liverpool group is holding free public events in City of Logan during June, where he will play the unearthed tapes for the first time in public.

Jeff Black, of Toowoomba, is bringing his wealth of Beatles knowledge and part of his rare memorabilia collection to Logan Libraries to celebrate the tour anniversary.

‘New material is still being discovered, even after 60 years,’ Jeff says.

‘There are 3 tapes never heard before and they came from people who worked in radio stations and had access to material that the general public didn’t have.

‘One came from Brisbane from a person who had the foresight to not only record an event in Brisbane on their tape recorder, but has kept it for 60 years.’

Jeff will be playing segments of the tapes during his presentations at Logan Central Library on 8 June, and at Logan West Library on 29 June.

‘These will be things that haven’t been heard in 60 years!’

Jeff has spent 2 decades assisting the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra with their collection of Beatles spoken-word recordings from the Australasian tour of June, 1964. In Logan he will speak about how The Beatles revolutionised music and culture, to coincide with a display of his memorabilia from June 3 to 29.

‘They became the biggest band in the world but at the time of the Australasian tour, the promoters in Australia got The Beatles for 1500 pounds a week. After Australia, the band could command their own prices and within 2 months of leaving Australia, they could command 50,000 US dollars a show!’

The Beatles on stage in Brisbane, 1964.

People visiting the Logan Libraries displays can view all-things Beatles, from ticket stubs, trinkets and plastic wigs to a rare gold record from EMI New Zealand acknowledging $1 million of sales for the album A Hard Day’s Night.

Jeff explains how closely timed the Australian tour was to the 4 musicians reaching the heights of global fame, with the band attending the England premiere of their film A Hard Day’s Night just one week after departing Australia.

In Jeff’s library talks, he will discuss how The Beatles are still greatly admired today – Sir Paul McCartney turns 82 this month, Ringo Starr (Sir Richard Starkey) turns 84 in July, while George Harrison died from cancer in 2001 at age 58, and John Lennon was murdered in 1980, when aged 40.

‘Their music is timeless and the music they created was so different and so innovative that all the other bands were trying to catch up to what The Beatles were doing,’ Jeff says.

‘A song like Yesterday, where Paul just sings with a string quartet – up until that moment no other band would even dare play against a string quartet. Then they discovered Indian music, then they discovered psychedelia and you get the weirdness of Strawberry Fields and I Am The Walrus, then they explored rock with a song like Back In The USSR.

‘Their talent as songwriters, their willingness to go off in other directions, they explored things that had not been done before … having 2 of the best songwriters in history in the band certainly helped with Lennon and McCartney, while George Harrison was also a brilliant songwriter – you only have to look at songs he wrote like Here Comes The Sun.’

Over his years of research, Jeff has spoken at length to members of the Australian media who interviewed the band, along with fans, hotel staff and those in the radio industry in that era.

He is looking forward to connecting with other Beatles fans at his library talks who experienced the tour and perhaps even played a part through their work at the time.

‘I’d love to hear from them,’ Jeff says. ‘I remember the first Beatles single I bought – Paperback Writer in late 1966 from Palings in Queen Street, Brisbane. It’s still my favourite Beatles song.’

Jeff also hopes younger music fans will gain some insight into what ‘all the fuss’ is about.

‘In 500 years’ time people will be looking at the history of music, at Mozart, at Beethoven, and at Lennon and McCartney.’

His exhibition is called Welcome To Australia: Which One Am I Talking To?, which was the first question asked of the band by a journalist when they landed in Australia. The talks will be multi-media presentations with opportunities for questions and story-telling from the room.

The Logan Central Library Talk is Ringo, rain and rowdy crowds on Saturday, 8 June, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.

The Logan West Library Talk is Hotels, halls, waterfalls and a mystery tape on Saturday, 29 June, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, and 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

For bookings to the events at Logan Central Library and Logan West Library, go to The Beatles 1964 Australasian tour: “Welcome to Australia, which one am I talking to?” – Logan City Council Libraries (

By Rachel Syers

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