Radio Ceylon introduced The Beatles to South Asia

Radio Ceylon was the first Asian radio station to introduce The Beatles to the Indian Sub-Continent.

Radio Ceylon was the brand leader in South Asia in the 1960s. When The Beatles struck gold in England in 1963 the station was the first to introduce the music of the Beatles to a massive audience across the Indian sub-continent.

The distinguished Indian diplomat, the former Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Nirupama Rao said: ‘ I first heard The Beatles over Radio Ceylon. We grew up listening to the songs over Radio Ceylon. It was part of my growing up,’ noted Nirupama Rao.

Radio Ceylon popularised the songs of The Beatles across Asia.

Broadcasters like Vernon Corea, played the music of The Beatles over the airwaves of the Commercial Service of  Radio Ceylon. They played all the hits of the Beatles including ‘Love Me Do, ‘Lady Madonna,’ ‘Hey Jude,’ ‘Obla-di-Obla da,’ ‘Back in the USSR,’ ‘Eleanor Rigby,’  ‘ Yellow Submarine,’ ‘All You Need is Love,’ ‘Help,’ ‘A Hard Days Night,’ ‘Eight Days A Week,’ ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps,’ ‘My Sweet Lord,’ among them.

Capacity crowds queued outside the Savoy Theatre in Colombo to watch The Beatles film, 'A Hard Days Night.'

The films featuring the Beatles played to capacity crowds in 1960s Ceylon. People queued outside The Savoy Theatre in Colombo to see the film ‘A Hard Days Night,’ and ‘Help.’

Only one Sri Lankan musician has ever met The Beatles and that was Mignone Fernando of the Jetliners who met Paul McCartney in Bombay, India in the early 1970s – the Jetliners had a long stint at the Taj Hotel in Bombay.


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