Merseybeat

Beatles, The

Beatles, The

So it goes like this . . . 15-year-old Paul McCartney hears a Skiffle group called The Quarrymen play on Saturday 6 July 1957. Along with a police dog display and the crowning of a Rose Queen, The Quarrymen are one of the attractions at a garden fete of St Peter's, the parish church of Woolton in Liverpool. The(...)

Big Three, The

In 1962 the most popular group on Merseyside with other musicians was possibly not The Beatles but The Big Three, and yet they couldn't transform their local success into national fame. Johnny Hutchinson could have been a millionaire but ended up as a small-time builder. The Big Three developed from the 1950's group Cass And The Casanovas. The(...)

Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas

Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas

Billy Kramer (real name, William Howard Ashton) was an apprentice fitter for British Rail - He was also the lead singer for a Liverpool group called The Coasters when Brian Epstein spotted them playing at The Cavern. The Coasters did not want to turn professional so Epstein bought Kramer's contract from his ageing manager Ted Knibbs for the(...)

Cass And The Casanovas

Cavern, The

A foul-smelling, dirty, damp and cramped cellar beneath a fruit warehouse at 10 Mathew Street in Liverpool city centre had served as a World War II air-raid shelter, its steep flight of 18 slippery stone steps leading down to a set of fetid brick catacombs. In January 1957 a young trainee Liverpool stockbroker called Alan(...)

Clayton Squares, The

Of all the Liverpool bands desperate to escape the long shadow of The Beatles in the 60s, The Clayton Squares (named after a city centre landmark) were, ironically, the most worthy heirs to the Fab Four's throne. A headlining Cavern draw, the Scouse sextet possessed an infectious mod swagger with which they infused the two(...)

Dennisons, The

The Dennisons were named after a Liverpool street and managed by the parents of drummer (and ex-accountancy student) Clive Hornby - Their lead singer Eddie Parry was only sixteen when the group first appeared at The Cavern in May 1962. Eddie and guitarist Steve McLaren wrote (Come On) Be My Girl while waiting to perform during an(...)

Escorts, The

A group of schoolboys formed The Escorts in 1961. John Foster (aka 'Johnny Sticks') was Ringo Starr's cousin and the famous relative with the big hooter got the band a resident booking at Allan Williams' Blue Angel Club in 1962. Their first single was a revival of the Larry Williams rock & roll classic Dizzy Miss Lizzy. Bizarrely,(...)

Faron’s Flamingos

Faron's Flamingos emerged from a band formed at the Liverpool Mercury Cycling Club (apparently in the winter months they preferred skiffle to cycling!). The group (The Hi-Hats) became Robin and The Ravens, with Robin wearing a yellow silk suit and the rest of the band resplendent in pink jackets . . . The Ravens were(...)

Fourmost, The

The group formed in late 1959 and were originally called The Blue Jays, then The Four Jays and then The Four Mosts. One of the leading groups on Liverpool's club circuit, their name was shortened by Brian Epstein when he took over their management in 1963. They immediately reaped the benefits of being a part of Epstein's(...)

Gerry & The Pacemakers

Born Gerard Marsden in Liverpool on 24 September 1942, Gerry formed his first group with his brother Freddie. A skiffle outfit, the band were originally called The Red Mountain Boys but changed their name to Mars Bars in the hope of securing sponsorship from the chocolate company. The ploy backfired and the company demanded the group change(...)

Ian & The Zodiacs

Relatively few Britons had heard of a place called Crosby, eight miles from the centre of Liverpool, before the 1981 by-election that swept Shirley Williams to victory, but twenty years earlier it was a base for many Merseyside groups - Ian and the Zodiacs amongst them. Often compared to Gerry & The Pacemakers, the group recorded(...)

John Lennon

John Lennon

"We're more popular than Jesus right now", John Lennon said in 1966 at the height of The Beatles success. His irreverent remark caused a storm of controversy in the USA, where the Fab Four reigned supreme in the pop charts. Lennon's verbal wit and Paul McCartney's gift for melody added up to one of the most successful songwriting(...)

Koobas, The

Possibly the least-known of Brian Epstein's post-Beatles charges from the Merseybeat era, The Koobas formed in 1962 and broke up in 1968. Their story read like virtually every other Liverpool beat group: four young guys growing up in post-war Merseyside left school to play in various local groups before hitting on the right combination and forming their own band.(...)

Lee Curtis & The All Stars

Peter Flannery became Lee Curtis by reversing the name of the American singer Curtis Lee. He was managed by his brother Joe, and there was a clever but cruel Liverpool saying "Flannery will get you nowhere", because his acts were not as successful as Brian Epstein Lee Curtis & The All Stars were best known for Let's Stomp which(...)

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