December 1965 will forever be remembered as the month The Beatles did their final tour as a group. The tour took place between December 3 and December 12 and was made up of 18 shows at nine venues across the United Kingdom. Unlike the band’s tour of the United States earlier in the year where concerts were held in large auditoriums and arenas, The Beatles’ final tour of England, Scotland and Wales was done in theatres and cinemas.
The first concert was held at the Odeon Cinema in Glasgow on December 3. Also on the bill were The Moody Blues. There was a heavy police presence at the event and though there were still the ear-tingling screams from fans’, it was largely reported that they did not seem as wild as they had been in previous years. John Lennon was singing lead and kicked things off with ‘I Feel Fine’.
The band returned to their hometown and played their last show their at the Liverpool Empire Theatre on December 5. Although there were only 5,100 tickets available for the two shows at Liverpool, more than 40,000 ticket applications were received. Among the crowd of fans were close friends and family members of Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. McCartney was disappointed at the number of police present at the concerts and was quoted by New Musical Express (NME) journalist Alan Smith as saying, “There are so many of them about, it ruins the whole atmosphere of enjoyment.”
The tour ended with two performances at the Capitol Cinema in Cardiff on December 12. Again, only about 5,000 tickets were available for the performances but around 25,000 applications were received.
The Beatles’ tour coincided with the release of the band’s studio album Rubber Soul. When it was released in the UK on December 3, it raced to the top of the charts giving The Beatles six number ones from six LPs. It spent a total of 42 weeks on the UK charts before topping the Australian and United States. Rubber Soul which was accompanied by the non-album double A-side ‘We Can Work It Out / Daytripper’, featured such hits as ‘Drive My Car’, ‘Nowhere Man’ and ‘In My Life’. ‘We Can Work It Out / Daytripper’ had passed one million sales by December 19, making it the fastest selling single in the UK since ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’.
Dusty Springfield was also a chart topper in 1965, with three hits: ‘Your Hurtin’ Kind of Love’, ‘Some of Your Loving’ and ‘In The Middle of Nowhere’. By December, Springfield was the world’s top female vocalist, according to an NME poll.
In second place on that poll was Sandie Shaw, who racked up four chart hits ‘How Can You Tell’, ‘I’ll Stop At Nothing’, ‘Message Understood’ and ‘Long Live Love’. She also released the best-selling EP Always Something There to Remind Me. Shaw’s career had a similar feel to it as that of her other rival, Petula Clark. Their most successful periods were between 1964 and 1969, both recorded for the Pye Label, and both worked exclusively with one songwriter.
While Clark worked with Tony Hatch and later with his wife, Jackie Trent, Shaw had Chris Andrews (who had written previously for Adam Faith). Andrews wrote 10 of Shaw’s hit singles during that period, as well as the songs ‘Yesterday Man’ and ‘To Whom It Concerns’. When management decided to change Sandie Shaw’s style, it saw her work with Phil Coulter — winner of the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest — and she found renewed success with ‘Puppet On A String’.
The Byrds had their second US number 1 single with ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ in December 1965. The song had been adapted by folk singer Pete Seeger from the Old Testament, chapter three of the Book of Ecclesiastes, making it the oldest song lyrics ever to appear in a pop hit.
Finally, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass had their second UK hit with ‘Spanish Flea’, which entered the charts in December 1965. It came three years after their first single ‘The Lonely Bull’.
1. ‘Shakin’ All Over/Que Sera Sera’, Normie Rowe & The Playboys
2. ‘Sing C’est La Vie’, Sonny & Cher
3. ‘Yesterday/Act Naturally’, The Beatles
4. ‘Il Silenzio’, Nino Russo
5. ‘In The Midnight Hour’, Ray Brown & The Whispers
6. ‘Little Boy Sad’, MPD Limited
7. ‘If You Gotta Go, Go Now’, Manfred Mann
8. ‘Get Off Of My Cloud’, The Rolling Stones
9. ‘What’s New Pussycat?’, Tom Jones
10. ‘Hang On Sloopy’, The McCoys
4th, 11th: ‘The Carnival Is Over’, The Seekers
18th, 25th: ‘Daytripper/We Can Work It Out’, The Beatles
4th, 11th, 18th: ‘Turn!Turn!Turn!’, The Byrds
25th: ‘Over And Over’, The Dave Clark Five
4th, 11th, 18th: ‘Shakin’ All Over/Que Sera Sera’, Normie Rowe & The Playboys
25th: ‘The Carnival Is Over’, The Seekers