N.S. radio DJ may have been the first to spin Beatles on North American airwaves
Published Sunday, February 9, 2014 9:30PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, February 9, 2014 11:17PM EST
A historic performance on the Ed Sullivan Show 50 years ago today kickstarted “Beatlemania” in North America, forever cementing the legendary band as a musical icons. But it was a Canadian radio DJ who claims he was the first to play The Beatles’ music over the airwaves on this side of the pond.
Few know the story of Loren Fevens, who for years worked as a DJ at a radio station based in Yarmouth, a seaside town located in southwestern Nova Scotia.
An 18-year-old Fevens was in studio one Saturday in 1963 when a package arrived from Capitol Records. He opened it to find a Beatles record.
“Beatles, I thought, what a weird, strange name,” Fevens said in an interview with CTV News. “And they’ve misspelled it on top of it all.”
Curious, he put on the “A” side of the record and played “Please Please Me” on the radio. He then flipped it over and spun “Love Me Do.”
That night, Fevens played the record at a dance. The British foursome’s songs received a less-than-stellar review from the audience.
“I didn’t get through either side before the kids that were there booed it and made me take it off,” Fevens said.
Still, that day, Fevens likely became the first person to play The Beatles on the radio -- in Canada or the United States.
It turns out, the label chose to promote the band in Canada months before the U.S.
“Capitol Records decided to distribute the recording to a station on the East Coast, a station on the West Coast, and then obviously CHUM in Toronto,” Fevens said.
The Yarmouth DJ said a Capitol representative told him his copy was the first delivered. Over the years, Fevens has asked other DJs when they first played a Beatles’ tune.
“And every answer that I got was later than mine, in March of that year,” said Fevens, who still produces a weekly radio show half a century later.
Fevens can only rely on anecdotal evidence to make his claim, which is why he hasn’t made a big deal of it in the past.
“It’s not the most significant thing in my life, I’ll put it that way,” he said. “But it’s kind of neat to be able to claim that.”
With a report by CTV Atlantic Bureau Chief Todd Battis