Brenda Lee Talks About The Beatles Before They Were Big
by Chris Cannon
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Legendary singer Brenda Lee talked Friday night about the days when The Beatles were her opening act during her European tour back in the early 1960's.
"This band was hired to open for me," Brenda Lee said. "We got to be very good friends. They were the Beatles."
John, Paul, Ringo and George opened for Lee during many of her shows in Europe, when she was a superstar in her early teens.
Even back then, Lee knew there was something special about the four young men who were on stage before her.
"I would listen to these fabulous things they were singing, and I thought, gosh," Lee explained.
The singer saw something in the group of guys, and Lee told them she would take a demonstration tape to head of her record label in New York City.
"The first thing that they said is, this sound will never happen. And the second thing they said was, neither will this look," Lee said.
To Lee's surprise her record label was not interested.
"And less than a year, "I Want To Hold Your Hand" came out, and of course the rest is history," Lee said.
During their time on the road Lee got to know the four men who made up this new group called The Beatles. She said they were truly a joy to work with, but sometimes The Beatles were a tough act to follow.
"John was so irreverent, and such a prankster. He may throw a stink bomb out in the crowd when they finished. Try following that," Lee said.
She always knew the group was destined for greatness.
"They were just so cute on stage. I mean, they were just so into it. Not trying to pose, not trying to please, as it were, just doing their music and loving it," according to Lee.
Even though she spent so much time traveling Europe with The Beatles, Lee does not have a single photo with the group to document her time with them.
"I've got pictures of myself and everyone, because I am a fan, first and foremost. Why I did not get a picture with the guys, I have not a clue," Lee explained.
Several years later she did ask John, Paul, Ringo and George to sign a photo for her. It now hangs in the music room of her Nashville home.
"Treasure it more than anything. That and my Elvis stuff," Lee said.
While she watch from afar as The Beatles became superstars, she knows she was there at the start of it all.
"So yeah, I'd like to think maybe I was a stepping stone to something," said Lee.
Lee has kept in contact with Ringo over the years, but for the most part she only has memories of the group from when they were her opening act in the 1960's.