Beatles for Sale


No school, on a Friday. No school on a Friday when a Beatles single was being released. No school on a Friday with a Christmas Party; my heart was telling me how excited I was as it pumped up the excitement.

Finally I was going to be able to prove that I was a real Beatles fan by buying their new single on the day it was released. I was going to have to buy it anyway because Tony had moved and there was no alternative if I was actually going to hear it. I hoped the B-side would be good too. Then I would get two records for the price of one; come on ye fabs, please, please me (again!) oh immortal ones.

Tony had been buying Beatles records from the beginning and he couldn’t believe that I still only owned the Twist and Shout EP, a second hand copy of From Me to You and a picture that I had bought from Woolworth’s eighteen months ago. I thought I had done well to have bought so much stuff by The Beatles. I couldn’t believe how Tony got all the money to buy everything the Beatles released. Did he really earn all that money from a paper round? What was his secret?

As I walked up to the record shop I could see others doing the same, but I felt blessed by this unique confluence of dates, money and music; opportunity knocks and I was in the queue. And it was a pretty long queue for first thing on a Friday, I was about tenth, but it allowed me to commune directly with the ritual. A box of singles was stacked on the counter, the one bit of magic needed for coping with Beatlemania. The rest of the singles for sale were neatly filed away on the shelves behind the two sales assistants who were obviously braced for the fans rush. The counter was on the right side of the shop as you walked in and the queue snaked down the left side of the aisle and turned back on itself at the moment of purchase.

As soon as they had opened I Feel Fine had begun selling like hot wax. We fans, we true fans, as I now knew I was, were eager, but we shuffled forward politely, this was the centre of Harrogate after all, ready to swallow our desired vinyl wafer. I was almost breathless as I approached my first real rite of passage as a Beatles fan, but I was just as awkwardly quiet as my fellow communards; the mania was in the silent speed with which the sales staff shifted singles and bestowed our desired future upon us.

I Feel Fine by the Beatles please

Six and eight, pay there please, thank you

I Feel Fine by The Beatles please

Six and eight please…

My turn; wonderful!

I Feel Fine by The Beatles please, I let blurt

And I had my six and eight ready. Six and eight in twenty one coins collected over eighteen weeks; what was Tony’s secret?

Nothing else was moving in the shop except Beatles singles; in forty-eight hours it would be the Number One single in the UK. Actually I reckoned it would be Number One within an hour because this sales pattern was bound to be repeated in every record shop across the country. Beatles for Sale and I felt fine; I was an annointed Beatles fan and I ran back to the Bus Station holding my sanctioned little rebellion tightly in my hands.

Baby’s good to me

You know she’s as happy as can be

I’m as happy as can be! This is a brilliant Christmas Party thanks to you.

You know she said so

I’m in love with her and I feel fine

I could love her for saying that. It is a brilliant party; you know she said so… Caroline, the Colonel’s daughter, was dancing with me at the Christmas Party and I couldn’t agree with her more. A brilliant party is dancing to the Beatles new single on the day it is released. Dancing with a girl; a very beautiful girl called Caroline. Oh!

Baby says she’s mine

You know she tells me all the time

I’m so glad that you bought The Beatles new record today, these parties are quite dreadful once you’ve got bored with the kids games. They always provide a record player but nobody brings anything interesting along. How brilliant that you love the Beatles too!

You know she said so

I’m in love with her and I feel fine

I mouthed the words “I Feel Fine” to her. I wanted to mouth “I’m in love with her” but I was too scared. We were both in safe territory with “I Feel Fine” and I was rewarded for my finely judged sensibilities with a big smile from the most beautiful girl in the room.

She was in a floaty party dress, pale, wispy and almost a mini-dress, she was almost a dolly bird! I felt just like George Harrison. Her dress suggested that she had hoped for more than just sitting down and eating Christmas cake at the party. She had an ecstatic smile on her face, which was much more than polite; her cheeks were burning from the pleasure of dancing.

I’m so glad that she’s my little girl

She so glad she’s telling all the world

Let her

Are you having a good time Caroline?

Uh oh, Colonel Dad! Checking up on Caroline. We stopped dancing, a diluted angular version of the Twist, and suddenly we were standing side-by-side like best friends. The Colonel gave me a seemingly neutral stare.

I’m having a brilliant time Dad, this is the best Christmas Party ever.

He raised an eyebrow.

Really Caroline?

Yes Dad, thanks to John here. John, this is my Dad.

Hello John, you’re Captain Garnett’s son aren’t you?

Hello Colonel, yes I am.

You know John bought the new Beatles single this morning; this morning! Can you believe it? He’s the first real Beatles fan that I’ve ever met. Thanks to him we’re having so much fun.

Well that’s good to know. Don’t forget your mother, Caroline, she’s sitting in the armchair by the fire.

Don’t worry Dad I’ll go and talked to her after we’ve danced.

Baby buys her things

He buys her diamond rings

You know I bet daddy buys her things. But she would look good with a diamond ring though, wouldn’t she? What was it that Marilyn Monroe said? Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Hmm, I hope she’s a woman who understands her man. I hope she’s a woman who understands football.

You know she said so

She’s in love with me and I feel fine.

Well she likes me tonight and I feel fine and she told her Dad that she’s happy just to dance with me, so why wouldn’t I feel fine?

Baby says she’s mine

You know she tells me all the time

You know she said so

I’m in love with her and I feel fine

There were just the five of us in one corner of the official Christmas Party listening to the beige Dansette someone had rustled up in case any teenagers arrived thinking that Musical Chairs was more about dancing around the armchairs than joining the many merry souls who were now sitting down on them. Well that was us, and we few teenagers had five singles between us and only I Feel Fine, MY I Feel Fine, and the B-side were worth playing. And we were playing them non-stop. And I was dancing with Caroline.

I’m so glad that she’s my little girl

She so glad she’s telling all the world

Let her

Blimey I’ve never ever been this popular with the girls at school. Actually I’ve never talked to girls at school, let alone been popular with them. The only time I looked at girls was last summer when Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies were in the news and everyone was on heat after the long cold winter. Now girls were choosing to dance with me. Three of them and Caroline was obviously the one to go for as she was clearly a Beatles fan. You don’t dance with that much enthusiasm if you don’t love the music.

Baby buys her things

He buys her diamond rings

Mind you her Dad is the Colonel, my Dad’s boss. How do you get a date with the daughter of your Dad’s boss? And I bet she lives in Harlow Carr on the posh side of town; two buses away! That’s tricky unless I see her after school. Oh wait, what if she goes to boarding school? Oh no; boarding school would be misery. I bet her Dad doesn’t even let her buy Beatles singles; mean Colonel Mustard in the front room without a record player.

You know she said so

She’s in love with me and I feel fine.

She’s just happy dancing with me that’s why she’s feeling fine. The great thing when we are dancing is that we’re together because we both love The Beatles, so we don’t have to say anything; easy peasy!

She’s in love with me and I feel fine.

All we have to do is smile at each other! Well smile at each other and avoid her Dad. Smile at each other and mouth “I feel fine” together.


Let’s turn it over and do it again!

She’s not going back to her Mum then! Brilliant! I’m in love with her! I smiled and mouthed “I feel fine”. She smiled back and mouthed back “she’s a woman”. She’s a woman who understands after all; you’re never alone with The Beatles

63/68 A Visceral History my novel about learning from the Beatles (and many others) in the Sixties is freely available to download here


  1. August 2, 2009 at 11:00 am

    […] singles were outselling albums by 4 to 1 and I had finally been able to save up the money to buy I Feel Fine on the day it came out. And I was broke after that and I could only afford Beatles albums as […]

  2. August 7, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    […] Beatles in Black BEATLES FOR SALE […]

  3. August 9, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Oh, yeh, I’ll tell you something
    I think you’ll understand
    When I say that something
    This new site’s grand

  4. drtombibey said,

    November 19, 2009 at 11:31 am


    It still recall the first boy girl party I went to. They played ‘Meet the Beatles’ LP the whole evening. The girls were on one wall, and we were there on the other side of the room. We just stood there and looked at ’em (‘I Saw Her Standing There’ I guess) ’cause we didn’t know what to do if we weren’t gonna play baseball with them.

    Dr. B

  5. fred6368 said,

    November 19, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Hey Tom, just found this newspaper archive report about the night The Beatles were playing Stockton when Kennedy was shot, and how the audence came out of the concert to get the news. Good report I think

  6. drtombibey said,

    November 25, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    It is. Man, what a day we’ll never forget. I think the whole world woulda better of to have loved more music and had a whole lot less hate. That day is like many things this old doc can not understand.

    Dr. B

  7. May 30, 2010 at 7:56 am

    […] and this is simple joie de vivre. Personally I have a great attachment to this song as it was the first Beatles single I bought on the very day it came out. Record shops would have a pile of Beatles singles on the counter then as that was all anyone was […]

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