You loved them yeah yeah yeah - remembering when The Beatles came to Sunderland

The Fab Four when they came to Sunderland for an appearance at the Empire in 1963.
The Fab Four when they came to Sunderland for an appearance at the Empire in 1963.
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All you need is love – and you had lots of it for The Beatles.

The Fab Four appeared at the Sunderland Empire 55 years ago this year. We asked you for your memories of it, and which other top bands you had seen on Wearside.

The Beatles in 1963.

The Beatles in 1963.

Judging by the response, it might have been easier to ask which ones you hadn’t seen!

But first, let’s hear from Jessica Boyce, who said: “My nana met them when she worked at the Empire. She made them sandwiches.”

Anne Wooll was another who loved The Beatles, and so did Carol Holliday, who said: “I was at that concert – fab. Have also seen Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Free, Who, Slade, Coldplay, UB40, Status Quo, Jethro Tull, Rod Stewart, David Bowie.”

She described them as “good times” and added: “Was looking at something just other day and had paid 50p to see Who and 95p for Bowie.”

My nana met them when she worked at the Empire. She made them sandwiches.

Jessica Boyce

Joe O’Shaughnessy said he was there “in the Gods when Beatles where there”.

And Beryl Harris had a list of top acts she had seen including: “The Beatles at the Empire, Helen Shapiro at the Empire, The Who at the Rink, The Kinks at the Empire. Oh happy days.”

Eveline Barker saw: “The Hollies and the Rolling Stones at the Odeon. The Beatles at the Empire.”

The names just kept on coming and they also included Kate Bush, Madness, Van Morrison, Boomtown Rats, Toy Dolls and Roy Orbison, who Kathleen Huggins Clark described as “fantastic”.

The Empire Theatre in the 1960s.

The Empire Theatre in the 1960s.

Patricia Ann Hall saw some top names at the Empire including Gene Pitney, Cilla Black and Billy J Kramer.

She also saw Joe Brown, and Johnny Kidd and the Pirates at the Odeon.

The Wearside list of who’s who just kept growing and it included;

l Free, Deep Purple Status Quo, David Bowie ... seen by Michael Gourley, who said: “Not bad this lot !!”

l The Hollies and the Rolling Stones at the Odeon, said Eveline Barker.

l Beats International at the Blue Monkey in 1990, said Richard Hiles.

l Showaddywaddy, Alexander O’Neil, Buzzcocks, Odyssey, Status Quo, China Crisis, and others were all seen by Charlie Kelly.

l Ian Michael Findlay said: “Brass alley Steels club, best local band.”

l Mel Garraghan-Moore saw “The Kinks at Sunderland Empire. Take That & Pet Shop Boys at the SoL.”

l Thanks also to Norman Armour who saw The Stranglers at Mecca in 1980, David Bowie in 1987, and ‘the Boss’ Bruce Springsteen in 2012.

l Ian Vickers saw the Boomtown Rats and Wishbone Ash at the Empire, and Bowie at Roker Park.

l Steve Richards got to see Wishbone Ash, UFO, Ozzy, Ian Gillan, Geordie.

Anja Jade Urwin said: “Wish this was in our time.”

Nina Katebi reminded us of the bands she saw – Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Coldplay.

Robert Colborn saw Free and Led Zeppelin and also said: “Remember when the Radio 1 summer roadshow was on at the Rink think it was late 60s.”

He also told us: “John Miles set were always around town.”

Stephen Harrison listed the “Best bands I’ve seen in Sunderland” and it consisted of The Angelic Upstarts, The Twilight Sad, Slade, The Stray Cats, The Lurkers, PiL.

Jason Murray saw Brother Beyond at Bentleys and Kevin Makepeace watched New Order in August 1984.

Dee Leng went to see Showaddywaddy at the Empire and Lesley Cuthbertson the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

More than 13,000 of you took a look at the photograph and the post which we shared on social media.

Those who liked it included Jean Dawson, Mireille Ferre, Diane Richardson, Pat King, Maureen Relph, Linda Thompson, Sheila McLaughlin, Christine Murphy, Helen Richardson-Moon, Theresa Dolan, Shane Stannard and Norma Mitchinson.

So did Joe Carpenter, Lucas Riverty, John Barrett, Gordon Fraser, Pat Patterson, Joyce Spencer, Gwendoline Sellers and James Brewerton.

And we got likes as well from Stuart Ross, Thomas Ian Drever, Mark Newton, Michael Colling, Wendy Josephine Eilerd and June Chaytors.

Thanks to them all and we would love to hear from more people with their own musical memories of Sunderland.

Do that and get in touch by emailing