The host of Bob Harris Country on Radio 2 praised the community's efforts during his Beatles-themed live presentation at St Peter's Church, Belper.
Bob said: "You get such a strong sense of community that's based around this church and the work they are doing to keep the church alive. You don't realise the huge amount of expense there is in just maintaining a building like this and tonight is part of that process, generating an audience, generating income, bringing people into the building to recognise that this is a place worth respecting."
St Peter's Church was apt for the conversational presentation by archivist Colin Hall, who was the curator of Beatles songwriter John Lennon's childhood home for 20 years, and Bob Harris, presenter of BBC Two's The Old Grey Whistle Test during the Seventies.
It was at a church of the same name 90 miles away in Woolton, Liverpool that budding teenage songwriters Paul McCartney and John Lennon met for the first time. John’s band The Quarrymen were booked to play at the church fete 66 years ago. Colin Hall said: "The Quarrymen were essentially a covers band....most of the bands in Liverpool were covers bands.
"For these two lads to start writing was unique; they were not wanting to recreate what they could hear on the records, they were wanting to create their own songs and that put them apart from their contemporaries."
During their long and winding road with The Beatles, Lennon and McCartney not only wrote top ten hits for the Fab Four but also songs for some of the biggest names in the Sixties. Artists whose careers benefited from the songwriting genius of the dynamic duo included Billy J. Kramer, Adam Faith, PJ Proby and Chris Barber. Colin said: "John and Paul were being encouraged to write songs for other people for the very reason that nobody knew how long The Beatles would last. Brian Epstein (who managed The Beatles) was getting most of his artists to record a Lennon and McCartney song so the Lennon and McCartney name was being seen in the charts."
A demo of Cilla Black singing Step Inside Love, which was written by McCartney for Cilla’s first television show, was played to the multi-generational Belper audience. Bob Harris said: "I just love that so much. It shows so much of Cilla's soul. She holds and bends notes in the most incredible way."
The presentation also offered a rare opportunity to hear an original recording of Sour Milk Sea which George Harrison wrote for Jackie Lomax's album released on The Beatles' record label Apple. Singer Jackie was accompanied by George Harrison on rhythm guitar, Eric Clapton on lead guitar, Paul McCartney on bass and Ringo Starr on drums.
Numerous snippets of interviews with McCartney were played as was a contribution from John Lennon, the latter describing how Paul and he had written It's For You especially for Cilla Black.
An excerpt of an interview with George Harrison revealed how the song Badge, which featured on Cream's final album, got its name. Harrison, who co-wrote the song with Eric Clapton, had scribbled the word bridge which Clapton had misread as badge after looking at it upside down.
This magical, mystery tour through the days of the Fab Four and their contemporaries certainly pleased, pleased the capacity audience who turned out on Tuesday night to listen to The Songs The Beatles Gave Away.
The presentation by Bob and Colin, which is touring the country until the end of May 2024, is a spin-off from the pair's collaboration on two radio documentaries about The Beatles.
* Live entertainment at St Peter's Church, Belper continues with a concert by Beverley Craven and Judie Tzuke on November 4; St Agnes Fountain on December 5, Karen England on December 10, The Sounds of Rod Stewart on December 1 and John Tams on December 19. 2023. Tickets are available from www.livetickets.org, www.belperfringe.org and the office at St Peter's Church.