Phil Collins, the ‘Beatlemaniac’ of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ whom no one believed

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Phil Collins had only 13 years old when they hired him to play extra in ‘A hard day’s night’, the debut of the Beatles at the cinema. She has never forgotten that moment that no one believed. People thought she was lying. It did not appear in the credits, nor in any of the scenes of the film.. Only he knew that had been thereat the Scala Theater in London, on March 31, 1964. He was another ‘Beatlemaniac’ among the passionate audience that witnessed the performance of their idols in ‘playback’. Only 30 years later was he able to prove that he had not deceived anyone.

In 1964, in London, Phil Collins and The Beatles met. The first was just a 13 year old boy with aspirations in music and in the world of theatrical performance. At age 5, he had started playing a toy drum set that he got for Christmas. He practiced accompanying what he heard on the radio or television. His main musical influence came from four boys from Liverpool that, although they had only been playing for four years, They were already international stars.

By then, 60 years ago, ‘Beatlemania’ fever had spread everywhere. It was the best time for the Fab Four to put themselves under the orders of Richard Lester and they will begin filming his film debut. The film intended to capture 36 hours in the frenetic lives of the four stars, show how they were prisoners of their own fame. In black and white and with a low budget (200,000 pounds), A Hard Day’s Night’ is today a classic, one of the most influential musical films.

Poster for ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ / LMPC

Filming began on March 2, 1964 at Marylebone station. Scenes were recorded on a train, in a pub… and On March 31, with the cameras installed in the Teatro Scala, images of a performance by the band were taken. It is true that they only moved their lips because the sound was in ‘playback’. They sang ‘Tell me why’, ‘If I fell’, ‘I should have known better’ and ‘She loves you’. They had summoned 350 spectators who screamed madly. Most were not paid, although They hired extras who did a pretty convincing job portraying ‘Beatlemaniacs’. Probably, they were. There was Phil Collins. He was 13 years old and had been paid to be an extra.

Genesis drummer Phil Collins takes the stage to sing "More Fool Me"  during a 1974 concert in New York

Genesis drummer Phil Collins takes the stage to sing “More Fool Me” during a 1974 concert in New York City / Linda D. Robbins

However, when Phillip David Charles Collins said that he was there that day, no one believed him. Not only because It didn’t appear in the credits.but because, No matter how much you watched the film – the final concert sequence in particular – it was nowhere to be found.. He himself rewinded and hit ‘pause’ again and again… but nothing. Was a huge disappointment for which there was an explanation.

In 1996, the producers made a documentary to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the film – ‘You can’t do that! The making of a hard day’s night’ – in which the teenage Collins finally came to light. During the production process, producer Walter Shenson discovered an outtake from the part of the concert in which the band played ‘You can’t do that’. And, sure enough, you could see Phil Collins himself. “They removed the song from the final cut of the film,” Phil recognized Conan O’Brien on his NBC late night show years later.

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“They gave me this and I was ‘freezing’ frames and all of a sudden I saw someone I recognized and behind that person, There was this boy with a round face and blonde hair with a red tie with a diamond in the middle… and that was me!” And he added, “I had never seen it and, thirty years later, he supposed a huge shockafter so much time saying that yes, I was there. “Now people know that I have not lied.”

Phil collins

Phil collins / picture alliance

As luck would have it, this discard still existed. Most deleted scenes both the Beatles’ debut on the big screen and ‘Help’!, supposedly They had been destroyed when the group disbanded. The only reason ‘You Can’t Do That’ still exists is because it aired on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Over time, Phil Collins became a global star. He has never forgotten that first meeting with his idols, even if it was as an extra, without credit, and in a deleted scene from the first – and legendary – Beatles film. He has always acknowledged that Paul, John, George and Ringo were his first great musical influence. AND, despite his reservations and differences with McCartney, when the BBC asked him about his eight favorite songs, he chose two by The Beatles: ‘All my lovin’ and ‘If I fell’. And she remarked, “No self-respecting collection can be complete.” without one or two Beatles albums. I mean, The Beatles were the reason I dedicated myself to music, they are why I am here.”


Written by

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson is a dedicated writer and key contributor to the WECB website, Emerson College's student-run radio station. Passionate about music, radio communication, and journalism, Christopher pursues his craft with a blend of meticulous research and creative flair. His writings on the site cover an array of subjects, from music reviews and artist interviews to event updates and industry news. As an active member of the Emerson College community, Christopher is not only a writer but also an advocate for student involvement, using his work to foster increased engagement and enthusiasm within the school's radio and broadcasting culture. Through his consistent and high-quality outputs, Christopher Johnson helps shape the voice and identity of WECB, truly embodying its motto of being an inclusive, diverse, and enthusiastic music community.