VAC President Tom Sharplin in the Press

tom-sharplin-vacTom Sharplin can still remember the exact moment he heard his first Beatles song.

The veteran rocker was pedalling down a Tauranga street in 1964 when he heard “this noise” coming out of a friend’s house.

“I said, gee what’s that sound? I just stayed there all day and listened to the same record over and over again,” he says.

It’s now almost 50 years since the Beatles released From Me to You, the single Mr Sharplin first heard on his bike and inspired him to take the first steps towards a long rock and roll career.

It’s also the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s 1964 world tour and their whistle-stop visit to New Zealand.

The Beatle-mad teenager was part of the screaming welcoming mob at the airport, who followed the entourage by bus to the Auckland Town Hall mayoral reception, and to top it off saw them in concert that night.

“The guys were screaming too, you couldn’t help it, it wasn’t just the girls,” he says.

He was so besotted with them, he watched the Beatles’ movie A Hard Day’s Night four times in one day, wore the black Beatles-style winkle-picker boots with his school uniform and even adopted their trade-mark mop haircut, with unintended consequences.

“I lost my after-school job because I had a Beatle haircut,” Mr Sharplin says.

“They said find a new haircut or you’re out of a job.”

Mr Sharplin, who lives in Mt Wellington, made his mark on the local music scene in the 1970s and still performs today.

He has always wanted to visit the Beatles’ home town Liverpool and that dream is about to come true.

He is hosting a 20-day Beatles Tour in August this year for up to 40 people.

The tour will include Beatle tours around Hamburg, London and Liverpool with extra sight-seeing stops in Paris and San Francisco.

“It’s a trip of a lifetime,” he says.

– Fairfax News, reproduced with permission.

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