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The Bootleg Beatles


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Formed from the West End cast of the Broadway musical "Beatlemania", The Bootleg Beatles' career began at a now long forgotten student's bash in Tiverton, Devon, UK on March 26th 1980 - almost ten years to the day since Paul McCartney announced the original's had split. Giving themselves six months to make or break it, the group signed up to the late Brian Epstein's NEMS agency. The new band's calendar slowly filled with a mix of all-night college balls and tough tours of the Working Men's Clubs of the North of England and Scotland - The Bootleg's Hamburg.

Cutting to 1982, the now firmly established B.B.'s were offered a six-week tour of The U.S.S.R., becoming the first western rock group ever to tour the Soviet Union. Almost true Beatle-like scenes of hysteria greeted the Bootleg's sold out concerts in Moscow and Leningrad. The world beckoned the group as they toured India, The Middle East, The Far East (playing to 18,000 fans at the Areneta Coliseum, Philippines) and in 1984, to the USA (leaving London on Pan Am flight 01A on the 7th February - exactly twenty years to the day after The Fab Four).

As the eighties wound down the world's first 'tribute' band were ready for a fresh challenge - the story had only just begun. Read on...

Into The Nineties

Ten years after the last curtain had fallen on 'Beatlemania' and the Bootlegs Beatles' odyssey had begun, their international reputation had grown immensely, mainly due to the band's many successful concert tours abroad. In the UK though, the band needed a new direction. A master plan was conceived to recreate, city by city, the Fab Four's final British tour ('65).

However, theatre bosses and promoters didn't warm to the concept, so the band took destiny into their own hands booking the nine-date tour themselves and the annual event that has become The Bootleg Beatles Christmas Tour was established. Within three years the tour had become 40 dates strong, including regular sell out performances at the London Palladium, The Liverpool Empire and The Albert Hall - venues The Beatles themselves had graced 30 years before.

Having seen the Bootlegs' storming set at the '94 Glastonbury Festival, Brit Pop band Oasis caught the BB's show again that Christmas at Southampton's Guildhall. Noel and Liam Gallagher were so enamoured with the group that they asked them to be the support act for their record-breaking 1995 Earl's Court shows - culminating with both bands sharing the stage for 'I Am The Walrus' (Captured on the video 'There and Then') - and then the following summer joining Oasis again for their massive outdoor events in Loch Lomond, Cork and Knebworth. These gigs and an appearance on the cover of the NME, heralded the Bootleg Beatles' breakthrough to a new contemporary audience, something unheard of for a 'tribute' act. Since becoming regulars on the festival circuit, The Bootlegs have played Wembley with Rod Stewart and Elton John, shared the bill with The Corrs, David Bowie and Iggy Pop and filled Tokyo's Budokan Hall in their own right.

Over the years The Bootleg Beatles have performed in front of many, many thousands of people including such notable luminaries as Sir Paul McCartney, George Harrison, George Martin and Her Majesty, The Queen. Of all the venues they have played perhaps none (aside from Buckingham Palace!) was more auspicious than their appearance on the rooftop of the Apple Building at 3, Savile Row, London. On the freezing morning of 30th January 1999 the BBs performance commemorated the Fab Fours' farewell gig exactly 30 years ago to the day, the event transmitted on news channels across the globe.

Now into their 25th year The BB's have set the standard for all those hundreds of 'tribute bands' who have followed in their footsteps as they continue to keep the spirit and magic of the greatest pop group the world has ever seen well and truly alive.

The Bootleg Beatles

The Bootleg Beatles

  • 12 Dec, 2019

    Corbridge Festival 2020

    Corbridge Festival takes place on 3rd/4th July, and will feature Primary Talent International artists:

    ...The Bootleg Beatles
    ...Cattle & Cane


    corbridge festival
  • 19 Jul, 2019

    The Bootleg Beatles & Cattle & Cane: In Carlisle

    Both The Bootleg Beatles & Cattle & Cane will be the special guests of Madness at The Sands Centre, Carlisle on 21st July.


  • 28 Jun, 2019

    The Bootleg Beatles: Appfest 2019

    The Bootleg Beatles will play the Appfest in Tewkesbury on 14th September.


  • 27 Jun, 2019

    Glastonbury Festival: Sunday 30th June, 2019

    The Cure will headline the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival on Sunday, and the day features many artists from the Primary Talent International roster.

    11.50-12.30: Circa Waves (Other Stage)
    14.30-15.30: Self Esteem (Pussy Parlure)
    16.00-16.40: Nilüfer Yanya (William's Green)
    16.00-17.00: Joy Crookes (Pussy Parlure)
    16.00-17.00: Tiffany Calver (Gully Blues)
    17.00-18.00: Steel Banglez (Gully Blues)
    17.15-18.15: Ray BLK (Sonic)
    17.15-18.15: Loyle Carner (Other Stage)
    17.20-18.20: The Bootleg Beatles (Acoustic Stage)
    18.00-18.40: Ten Tonnes (William's Green)
    18.00-19.00: DJ Vadim ft Kiko Bun (The Bug at Arcadia)
    20.15-21.15: Dave (Other Stage)
    21.15-23.30: The Cure (Pyramid Stage)
    21.30-22.45: The Streets (John Peel Stage)
    23.15-00.30: Maverick Sabre (Sonic)
    00.00-01.00: Kasra (Arcadia's Pangea)
    01.00-02.00: High Contrast DJ (Samula)
    01.00-03.00: Mike Skinner DJ (The Rum Shack)


    Glastonbury Festival
  • 25 Apr, 2018

    The Bootleg Beatles: Standon Calling 2018

    The Bootleg Beatles will play the Standon Calling festival in Hertfordshire, between 26th-29th July.


    bootlegs standon
  • 25 Apr, 2018

    Standon Calling 2018

    The Standon Calling festival takes place in Hertfordshire from 26th-29th July, and features Primary Talent International artists:

    ...Django Django
    ...The Horrors
    ...Pale Waves
    ...The Bootleg Beatles
    ...Meggie Brown


    standon calling
  • 24 Apr, 2018

    The Bootleg Beatles: At Kenwood House, London

    A double bill of great music will take to the outdoor stage in the stunning grounds of Kenwood House in North London on Sunday 17th June as part of this year's Heritage Live Concert Series.

    The sensational Bootleg Beatles come to Kenwood fresh from a sell-out at London's Royal Albert Hall this week. Having formed in 1980, they are without doubt the world's premiere tribute band; an institution in their own right. Having sold out arenas across the world for almost four decades, their note-perfect recreation of hits from the world's most famous songbook have made The Bootleg Beatles an enthralling live show.

    Every tiny detail is meticulously covered, from costumes to authentic period instruments; from Liverpudlian banter to their inflection-perfect vocal mimicry. As the late Sir George Martin simply said, "A terrific show". The Kenwood show will see the band perform their full production accompanied by a string and brass ensemble.

    Tickets go on sale, Friday 27th April.


  • 07 Apr, 2018

    Bootleg Beatles: 53 Degrees North

    53 Degrees North proudly presents the world's premier Beatles experience in the captivating setting of Hull's Zebedee's Yard. On the summer afternoon of June 10th The Bootleg Beatles with a full orchestra will take residency in the unique space and play all the Beatles hits just for you.

    The Bootleg Beatles have performed sold-out shows worldwide for 36 years. The NME recently called the experience "Magically real" while The Mail on Sunday described their shows as "Mind-bogglingly accurate." Even George Harrison himself said to The Bootleg Beatles "You probably know the chords better than I do."

    53 Degrees North's Mez Green commented "Music is about escapism and what better way to escape but by listening to the songs of the biggest band in the world on a summer afternoon in Hull."


    bootlegs hull
  • 06 Mar, 2018

    Standon Calling 2018

    The Standon Calling festival, takes place in Hertfordshire from 26th to 29th July and features a whole host of Primary Talent International artists:

    ...Django Django
    ...The Horrors
    ...Pale Waves
    ...The Bootleg Beatles
    ...Meggie Brown


    standon calling
  • 07 Feb, 2018

    The Bootleg Beatles: In Glasgow

    The Bootleg Beatles will play at the Kelvingrove Bandstand in Glasgow on 26th May 2018.


    bootlegs glasgow