How This KVMR DJ Got To See The Beatles In 1964, Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
Written by Sean Dooley on November 5, 2019
Okay, imagine this, you’re a 14-year-old babysitter, who confides in your employer how disappointed you were not to get tickets to The Beatles’ Hollywood Bowl performance and how much you love them.
You’ve got all their records, your room is full of pictures of “the group”, and your favorite is Ringo Starr.
Well, just think how longtime KVMR 89.5 FM broadcaster Debbie Hollier felt way back in 1964 when she later was told she got media credentials from her hometown newspaper, The Laguna Beach South Coast News, for a subsequent Beatles’ concert in Las Vegas.
Yesssss. And with a press conference scheduled after the show.
“It was too good to be true,” Hollier says. “It never, ever occurred to me this would happen.”
It seems the woman who had Debbie as a sitter had connections at the local paper, which had connections with a sister paper in Las Vegas.
And thus was born Debbie’s dream to see The Beatles live and, maybe, ask them a question.
COULDN’T HEAR CONCERT
She does remember one thing about the live concert.
“You simply could not hear them play above the screaming,” Hollier recalls.
“The teenagers put on a more remarkable and memorable performance than the Beatles ever dreamed of presenting,” smirkily wrote Hollier’s sidekick Candice Smith
“Whatever this Beatle magic is, it can only be shared by the uninhabited and young at heart,” according to Smith in the South Coast News.
And that was Debbie Hollier.
Post-concert, it wasn’t easy to attend the press conference.
“The people I was with got in fine,” Hollier says. “But security looked at me and said you can only get in as long as there’s no screaming.” Dire consequences would follow if she did.
She was the only teenager at the entire press conference. Nope, she didn’t scream once.
PUT ARM AROUND RINGO
But, as The Beatles filed in, Debbie says she did “put my arm around him” briefly as Ringo walked by her.
“I fulfilled my lifetime dream….” she remembers with laugh.
Not only that, The Beatles pointed to her to let her ask a question.
“So I asked ‘When was the song Slow Down recorded?'” John Lennon looked at Debbie and replied, “Two or three months ago.”
Then Debbie continued, “Was that the same time you recorded ‘Any Time At All’?” And John replied, “Yeah…”
“I wanted to ask them a question that showed I was actually listening to their music,” Hollier recalls about their third U.S. album release, “Something New”.
Other reporters there were asking the Fab Four about their romances, Paul’s dislike for jelly beans, things like that.
Oh, and, yes, Debbie just saw Ringo perform a week or so ago at Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln.
HUNG OUT WITH L.A. DJS
And, yes, Hollier was very much into radio in The Beatles era. She’d even got to hang out in studio with Top 40 disc jockeys B. Mitchell Reed at KFWB and Dave Hull at KRLA.
Not bad for a woman who has been on KVMR since 1982, which would be 37 years. When she hasn’t been on air, she’s served on the Program Committee twice.
“That’s been my life, absolutely,” says the retired Nevada County social worker. “Serious about radio? Yeah, I love it.”
It started with “The Soul Show” for maybe four years, headed into the “Olden Goldies”, a “Morning Show”, “Folk Plus” and the bluesy “Come On In My Kitchen.”
Currently, Hollier (her on-air name is Klara Voyant) hosts “Soul Poppy Jazz,” a genre-blending vintage music show every four weeks with upcoming shows Wednesdays at 2 p.m. on Oct. 2 & 30.
“I love it (KVMR). It’s so important, so unique, so expansive, so welcoming,” she beamc. “I go see my old friends and bring up artists I hear on KVMR and they have no idea who performers like Greg Brown, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Eliza Gilkyson even are.”
On The Air is a weekly irreverent look at Nevada City’s volunteer-driven, eclectic community radio station at 89.5 FM and streaming at kvmr.org. Complete KVMR schedule available at the station’s website, http://www.kvmr.org. The station now features a second stream with indie pop and millenial tastes at kvmrx.org and a second local signal at The Bridge 105.7 FM with National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and Pacifica’s Democracy Now weekday mornings 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.