Do you remember, or can you imagine, the heady days when The Beatles toured Australia in 1964? Unfortunately, the Mersey Mop-heads never returned to our sunburnt shores, but, fortunately, their spirit was kept alive Down Under by massive vinyl-record sales and due homage paid by countless tribute bands.
By 1967, moreover, the Fab Four had become even famous across the globe, with a notoriety even more enhanced with the banning by the BBC on this day (20 May) of their song, ‘A Day in the Life’, from their iconic album, ‘Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’. The BBC alleged the lyrics promoted drug use, but The Beatles said they were a combination of references to the recent death of a friend in a car accident, and some prosaic childhood memories.
Anyway, on 20 May 1967, one of the better Beatles tribute bands in Sydney had just finished rehearsing in the shed of one of the band’s members. They walked out to the street, carrying their instruments, ready to load them into their Combie van, which would transport them to their gig that night. Upon approaching the van, which hadn’t been washed in about five years, they noticed a kid (probably about ten years of age, sitting on his bike, with his baseball cap round the wrong way) writing a message with his finger in the grime-covered rear windscreen. This particular kid had been pestering them for ages to join their band, but they just told him to come back in ten year’s time.
They hollered at him to rack off, but he continued, defiantly emboldened by the egging-on of his mates gathered around him. The ‘Ringo wannabe’ is the first of ‘The Beatles’ tribute band to reach the van. The message on the back windscreen read: STOP THE DIRT!!!
Ringo: Hey...we’ve told you before!!! Bugger off and stop scrawling on our van, you little mongrel!!
Kid: But...but...but...mister – let me join your band...please...please...please...
‘George’: Look, mate...you’re too young...so come back when at least you’ve started shaving...
Kid: But...but...but...mister – I have started shaving...just look at my chest...
[The ten-year-old kid pulled up his tee-shirt to show such a hairy chest, it would have made the Abominable snowman look like Boy George.]
Kid: And I’m good at cover versions, mister – just try me – go on!
‘John’ (sighing): Oh, alright then...what songs can you do covers of?
Kid: Well...I’m really good at Little Eva’s, “The Loco Motion”...and I can do the actions as well...
[The kid proceeds to stare menacingly at John, simultaneously nodding his head in a most bizarre fashion.]
‘Paul’: Riiiiiigggghhhhttttt!!! Let’s go guys...
Kid: But...but...but...wait, mister...I would be really good in your band...I can also do a cover of Chubby Checker’s, “Let’s Twist (the truth) Again”...
Kid: and I can also do Bryan Hyland’s, “The Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini”...
Kid: And I’ve even got mine on – look!!
[The kid pulls down his shorts to show off his yellow polkadot budgie smugglers. The Beatles’ impersonators continue to load the van, hoping the little pest will soon disappear.]
Kid: And, mister, I’m also good at Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell’s, “Ain’t no mountain high enough (that I can’t cycle over)”...
Kid: And I do a mean version of Bessie Smith’s, “Nobody knows you when you’re down and out (of Budget ideas)”...
[By this stage, the Beatles tribute band members are totally ignoring the kid. He tries his last throw of the dice – his own version of The Beatles’, “A Day in the Life (of the worst Opposition Leader in history)”...]
:- ) I read the news today oh boy
‘bout me, a lucky man who’s gonna make the grade
And though the news was rather short Well I just had to laugh
I saw the photograph
I rode around upon my bike
Couldn’t care less if I had no ideas
Or nodded at people with a stare
They'd seen my face before
Nobody was really sure
If I was from the House of Loons
I saw a film today oh boy
The Revolting Army had just won the war
The leftie people were turned away
And I just had to look
It was my mate Bolt
I love to turn him on
Woke up, fell out of bed,
Put my crash helmet on my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
And looking up I noticed I was late
Found the boatphone, chucked on the weathervane hat
Cranked up the bike in seconds flat
Found my way upstate and had a chat
And the Indos spoke and I went into a dream
I read the news today oh boy
Changing of the old guard in Canberra
And though the Indos are rather small
I need to count them all
Now I know how many votes it takes to bring about Gillard’s fall
I'd love to turf her out...
[While the kid was singing, he was so preoccupied with the hubris of his unsolicited audition, he didn’t notice that the tribute band members had shot through. And so, even to this day, forty-four years later, the same kid continues to ride around on his bike, with his baseball cap on back-to-front, and is still a dickhead.