Manager Who Never
By this time Williams had returned to Liverpool, unsuccessful in his attempt to get Koschmider to give him sole booking rights for the club. He didn't have any further association with the Beatles, apart from a running argument in which he demanded an agency fee for a 1961 Top Ten season in Hamburg which they claimed to have arranged themselves.
The Williams episode is worth exploring because his claims of being their 'first manager' have passed into Beatle lore.
If Williams had been manager to the Beatles, he would have booked them on his Liverpool Stadium event. They would have been his first choice for Hamburg, not his third, when Koschmider requested another group. If he were their manager he would have looked after their interests in Hamburg when they requested better sleeping conditions. If he were their manager how would he have allowed Rory Storm & the Hurricanes, who he also booked into Hamburg, to have top billing, more money and better accommodation than the Beatles?
When the Hurricanes were at the Kaiserkeller Williams was impressed by the voice of Lu Walters of the Hurricanes and paid for a record of him singing at the Akustik Studio in Hamburg. Because of their vocal harmony, he wanted the Beatles to back Lu on a number, 'Summertime.' As the Hurricanes were so used to playing it, Ringo Starr provided the drumming, which is the first time all four of the future Beatles played together. The Hurricanes then backed Lu on two other numbers. The Beatles asked Allan if they could record some numbers, but Allan refused to pay the few pounds needed.
If Williams were their manager, why would he sooner pay to have a group other than his own make a record?
Over this period of time he did more for both Derry & the Seniors and Rory Storm & the Hurricanes than he did for the Beatles, but never claimed to have managed those bands.
Further evidence that Williams only acted in an agency and not a management capacity is found in the letter he sent to them in April 1961 in which he attempted to get a commission for their German Top Ten Club season, which they arranged themselves. He wrote: "If you decide not to pay I promise that I shall have you out of Germany inside two weeks through several legal ways and don't you think I'm bluffing.
"I will also submit a full report of your behavior to the Agency Members Association, of which I am a full member, and every Agent in England is a member, to protect Agents from artists who misbehave and welsh out of agreements."
There you have it, in his own words, he was acting as agent, not manager.
Editor's Note: I suppose the first time that I
realized that the history of which I was part was being distorted was when Brian Epstein's biography 'A Cellarful of Noise' was published in which he wrote that he'd never heard of the Beatles until a boy came into his shop to ask for their record.
This didn't bother me too much at the time, a shrug-of-the-shoulders reaction. I had moved to London and was as much a part of the scene there as I had been in Liverpool: down at the Scotch-of-St-James with the Beatles and the Stones, being a guest of Bobby Darin at the house he rented, going to the after-hours drinking clubs with Keith Moon, attending almost every 'Top of the Pops' and 'Ready, Steady, Go!' shows, attending gigs with groups every night be it the Marquee, Saville Theatre, Lyceum or the many other venues...and so on.
It was actually in the Eighties and Nineties, reading the numerous books about the Beatles, that I
realized how the myths were growing. What was particularly disturbing was how my own personal history was being distorted by people who weren't even present on the scene at the time, particularly when they attributed things I had done to other people.
As a result, in the late nineties I began a series of articles called 'The Beatles: Apocryphal Tales' in Beatlefan magazine, which explored the various myths. I have decided to revive them on the site under the title 'The Beatles Mythology.'
I begin with the story of Allan Williams because it's interesting to wonder that if a person hears a story enough times he begins to accept it, even if his own experiences contradicted this. Perhaps this was the case with Paul McCartney as the Beatles had always denied that Allan had managed them - and he suddenly changed his mind in the 'Anthology.' But the 'Anthology' also proved that the individual members of the Beatles themselves contradicted or had different views about incidents to which they were witnesses.
Due to hindsight, false memory and other factors, the bending of facts, no matter how trivial, which actually distort the events of recent history is an intriguing field to investigate.
As to Allan himself, he is a fascinating and amusing character. His contributions to the Liverpool scene were his clubs, particularly the Blue Angel.
We had great times together. Allan would drive Virginia and me to the Red Lion in Cardigan regularly, speeding through the Welsh hills at night, sometimes racing back to Liverpool with us to catch the Blue Angel before the towels went on.
When he opened his Maggie May club in Colquitt Street he asked me to present a regular night in which I introduced new groups. He even gave me the manuscript of his original biography as a present.
So the feature above is in no way meant to diminish Allan's part in the Mersey scene, but the series of events will leave it open you the reader to decide whether he was their first manager or not.
Incidentally, not enough credit has been given to Nigel Wally, who John Lennon appointed as manager of the Quarry Men. Wouldn't he have some claim to be the Beatles' first manager, considering that John, Paul and George were members at the time?