Sixty years ago this week John, Paul, George and Ringo made their first trip to Kent when they were merely an up and coming band.
The year was 1963 and it was the day after their second single Please Please Me had been released, and the new band were heading for the Invicta Ballroom in Chatham as part of a relentless UK touring schedule.
While those singles would go down in history, they had yet to make an impression on a 15-year-old Maggie Major, who decided to head down to the gig after a recommendation from someone at work.
"It would have been about the time I was working at Fine Fare," said Maggie, recalling the gig this week. "Someone came into work and he said there's a band called the Beatles – they're on at the Invicta, they're supposed to be really good.
"I thought that's a funny name because people didn't have names like that.
"It sounded strange, but I went along, and I remember the band being really good. They were very smart too – they certainly looked a lot different to all the others.
"I used to follow Screaming Lord Sutch and Billy Fury around, which was all rock and roll. Because they were from Liverpool I thought they might be like Billy Fur, but this was totally different music. I did enjoy it a lot though."
Please Please Me would be the Beatles first single to go to number one - Love Me Do having only reached 17 in the charts.
And two months later the band would release their first album, sending the county into a period of Beatlemania that would last for years.
But back at the Invicta Ballroom, there was little sign of the hysteria that would turn the Beatles from a decent band into a social phenomena.
By this time the Beatles had only played a handful of gigs outside northwest England and Hamburg, and it was their first ever gig in the South East.
"Half way into they show they came off and just wondered around," said Maggie, 75, who now lives in Gillingham. "There were girls having photos with them, but they weren't really well known then.
"There must be some photos that people had taken, which would be lovely to see.
A regular visitor to the Ballroom, Maggie remembers the venue was run by Ray Wade, who put on Kent bands and brought rock n roll outfits from around the country to Chatham.
"We had so much do to down here in those days," she added. "We used to go all over the place."
"I became a fan later on and saw them in London at Earls Court or somewhere like that. It was a lot bigger, and I don't remember them coming back down again."
"I didn't think they would be as big as they were. Their first record did pretty well and it wasn't too long before they were famous."
And they didn't forget our humble county when the hit the big time.
It was just four years later that the Fab Four returned to the county, this time to West Malling as part of their Magical Mystery Tour in September 1967.
Unscripted and half planned, the idea was to shoot a film at the decommissioned military airfield, RAF West Malling, now Kings Hill, with a loose plot based around a coach tour that takes a turn for the weird, under the influence of some magicians.
At the start, it wasn't much more than a jumbled collection of handwritten ideas, sketches and situations, but by the end, well it was much the same.
"Paul had a great piece of paper," drummer Ringo Starr later recalled. "Just a blank piece of white paper with a circle on it. The plan was: 'We start here, and we’ve got to do something here …' We filled it in as we went along."
So how would this rural Kent market town greet the arrival of four strange fellows with their blank piece of paper and heads filled with psychedelic nonsense? Would they be run out of town by straw-chewing yokels?
Of course not. It was 1967 and this was The Beatles, so everyone jumped at the chance to be involved, some piling up to the airfield to get a glimpse of their heroes and even get roles as extras.
Jennifer Sharman, mother-of-two and a lifelong Beatles fan, was working in West Malling when the Fab Four arrived, and recounted the events for one-off newspaper, The Malling Times, produced for the millennium by West Malling journalist David Kemp.
"I was working at the council offices in the High Street when someone rushed in and said that John Lennon's psychedelic Rolls Royce had just driven past," she said.
"As it was the '60s, everyone wondered what the messenger had taken. It was, however, true - we soon discovered that The Beatles had taken over the airfield to make a film.
"The Sgt Pepper LP had just been released, and everyone thought The Beatles were going a bit mad. It turned out be their most creative period.
"As an avid Beatles Fan Club Member, I joined the rush to the airfield. The Beatles had taken over two large disused hangars to use as studios and the air strip as a racing circuit. I could not believe how easy it was to get so near to my idols.
"Several locals were asked to be in the crowd scenes. Paul McCartney was directing from a cherry picker and using a loud hailer. We all had to laugh, wave, shout etc, according to his directions."
Jennifer watched various scenes being filmed, including one where the Peggy Spencer Dance Team from Penge walked down some stairs to the tune of Your Mother Should Know.
She added: "The hangar was decorated like a ballroom with glittery stars hanging down from the ceiling. I picked one from the floor at the end of the day. I still have it.
"I saw Cynthia Lennon with Julian, who was a young lad then and dressed all in black velvet. I thought he was so good just sitting quietly with his mum.
"On another occasion my father drove to the airfield to watch, only to find Ringo moving scenery. Ringo asked him for help which of course he was pleased to do.
"My grandfather did John a favour during filming in the High Street. As John walked into the newsagents he spotted his hat, and asked if he could borrow it for the scene. I still have that, too.
"Nat Jackley, known as the rubber man, stayed at The Bear. I went in and added his autograph to The Beatles' signatures on the sleeve of my Sgt Pepper LP. The racing scene from the film was made using the old runways at the airfield, and I Am The Walrus was filmed there using people who worked at the RAF base."
KentOnline's own Nicola Jordan, then aged nine, was also on set – her father Ben Jordan being a reporter who had covered the trials of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards following their arrest on drugs charges earlier that year. This job was an altogether sunnier scene, but probably no less drug-influenced.
"My dad was covering it for the Daily Mail," she recalled. "He said 'do you fancy coming along?' and we got a part as extras. I remember going up the airfield and going on a train, but I might be making it up."
Well whatever, The Beatles were making it up too. And whether a train was or wasn't part of it, it's likely not even Paul McCartney really recalls or cares.
Nicola remembers there were rumours at the time that The Beatles had taken a shine to the nearby Douces Manor, and were going to buy the place; but sadly it seems the Fab Four weren't yet ready to take up residence in the town.
Nevertheless they did take up a brief residency of sorts in what was then the Town Newsagency.
Owner Stan Brown recalled: "It was a warm Saturday afternoon in September. I was serving behind the counter when the producer of the film called round asking if he could 'borrow' the shop.
"He said he wanted to use it as a booking office for The Magical Mystery Tour. I said: 'No you can't because I still have half an hour's business time left' - it was only 5pm and Saturdays were busy for us. But I said they could use it after 5.30pm.
"I was aware that if the word got out the shop would have become crowded and there would have been chaos. So I didn't tell anyone, not even my shop ladies.
"But I phoned home to have my daughter, Penelope, then aged seven, brought over. Just before closing time at 5.30pm, I told the shop girls what was going to happen. Then the psychedelic Rolls Royce arrived, and the crowds started to accumulate.
"The Beatles came with a brightly-covered poster which they put over the cigarette dispenser to the left of the till. It said 'Magical Mystery Tour - Book Your Tickets Here.' Then the clapper board boys went to work with Act One, Scene 1. The camera was set up in the shop and filmed Ringo walking along the pavement and entering the shop.
"He was served by John Lennon who was wearing a false moustache and a hat. My daughter kept playing with the false moustache and she and John were saying: 'It's better this way up.' 'No it's better upside down.'
"Ringo asked for two tickets for the Magical Mystery Tour - and then realised he was not carrying any money. So there was a retake after he borrowed a fiver from the producer. They did about six retakes before they were satisfied.
"Afterwards, as Paul was leaving the shop I asked if The Beatles could sign a photograph of their Rolls Royce which they did, To Penny.
"They were extremely polite in spite of their fame. Everything was left tidy and Paul said: 'Do we owe you anything for the facilities?'
"I said it was a pleasure to participate and see how they produced a film, whereupon Paul said, 'thank you very much' and stuffed a fiver in my top pocket.
"My niece used to be the glamorous representative of Disc magazine – the following weekend it had as its headline 'Beatles visit Miss Disc's Uncle'.
Well, like The Beatles, the Town Newsagency is no more, and the magical mystery tour booking office has been replaced by another colourful West Malling institution - The Rain Grill kebab shop, where a plaque commemorating The Beatles' film can be seen to this day.
A strange and jumbled psychedelic feast, the Magical Mystery Tour film ended up a commercial flop, but – like the Rain Grill's kebabs – it will live long in the memory.
*Rock n roll fans can still catch Maggie dancing every month at Istead Rise Rock n Roll Club and the 50s Jam Session at Dartford Social Club.