By Beryl Marsden
I was born in Toxteth in June 1947. My Mum (Doreen Hogg) said I could sing before I could walk. We were very poor and shared one room in Carter Street, just at the back of Parliament Street. We moved to Picton Road when I was 7ish, still sharing a bed with one older sister and a younger one. Mum had ten children altogether.
I loved to sing and dance and also to write and I put on concerts in the back yard. We had no TV then.
At the age of eleven I won a prize for one of my short stories and at the same time passed my scholarship and went to College St Hilda’s. It was too religious and I did not believe in God as the Christian faith taught, so I left and went to a Secondary Modern school in Earle Road.
Times were tough; my clothes were hand-me-downs, except for Christmas and Easter. I used to go to a money-lender every week for Mum, that’s where we got our clothes, too.
I would sing away in the school yard. My mates thought I had a really good voice. At 14 I was shoved on stage at Picton Road Town Hall and sang ‘Boys’ with Karl Terry.
I won a singing competition and a twist competition. We loved music and dancing.
At this time I became interested in Buddhism and read the book ‘Siddhartha’, but I did not tell anyone.
We went to the OPB just before my 15th birthday and I didn’t need to be shoved this time. The band was the Undertakers. They asked me to join them.
My mum wasn’t too happy; she wanted me to get a proper job. I was a rebel and knew singing was what I was meant to do. Liverpool was electric, the whole scene was great. It was a revolution – anti-Victorian, anti-war.
My influences at that time were Elvis, the Shirelles, and imported American R&B records.