Bridge Too Far

(cont.)
   

Billy FurySome time later Ronnie arrived at our front door and said that he had received an invitation to go to the Essoldo Theatre in Birkenhead to meet none other than Larry Parnes who was the top manager of the hour. I had to be up for work at five o' clock the next morning so I could not go with him but I loaned him my guitar case because he didn't have one and I thought that he needed to arrive with some sort of style. Off he went to meet his fate. He was nudged onto the waiting stage and into the spotlight as a nervous young man called Ronnie Wycherley and came off it as Billy Fury. The rest is history.

Time passed, then Brian O' Hara, Dave Lovelady, Mike Millward and I formed a band called the Four Jays and we specialized in harmony and rock tinged with the irrepressibly self-demeaning humour of the Liverpool street. Those early years saw the formation of Gerry & the Pacemakers, the Searchers, Billy J. Kramer, Cilla Black and, of course, the Beatles. I had known Ringo for quite some time when he was drumming for Rory Storm & the Hurricanes and used to give him the odd lift home in my car because he was virtually a neighbour. Then, on Saturday 18th August 1962, Ringo played his very first official gig as the Beatles drummer and not only were the Four Jays the support act that night, but the first group to witness the line up that would conquer the world.

Eventually our name was changed from the Four Jays to the Fourmost by the erudite Cavern Club DJ Bob Wooler. Brian Epstein had shown a keen interest in our band but, because our jobs stopped us turning professional, we could not sign with him until his third time of asking.

By that time NEMS Enterprises was six months down the road and I have always thought that we started our professional careers far too late in the day. Nevertheless, it was a career that took us to being the first group ever to do a season at the London Palladium in the company of Cilla Black, Frankie Vaughan and Tommy Cooper. We were the first group to be invited to appear at the up-market Savoy Hotel, much to the chagrin of some of the toffee-nosed staff who acted in a far superior manner than some of the paying customers.

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