Bridge Too Far


Billy, Twinkle and Mike MillwardWe had a fantastic three weeks at the Beatles' Christmas Show at the Finsbury Park Astoria where we first met that timeless gentleman Rolf Harris who was hosting the show. As well as all of this action we had managed, with the staunch help of our record producer George Martin, to make it into the upper reaches of the British charts on quite a few occasions. I am delighted to say that each hit was celebrated by a punishing schedule of drinking for England, St. George and anybody else you would care to mention.

Of course, it was not always as we would have liked. I remember when we had just completed a TV documentary entirely about our band that had been filmed by the top American TV company ABC. This item had gone out coast to coast in the States and had been given a second showing by public demand. We were also at No. 16 in the U.S. charts and at No. 4 in the jukebox charts but Brian Epstein never sent us to the U.S.A. I think that trip could have made a significant difference to our long-term future. But, hey, it's only spilled milk, isn't it? Oh no it isn't!

Being in show business gave you the opportunity to visit countries and have experiences that you only dreamed about when you were a kid. This stuff happened and you got paid for it! The Fourmost did France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Canada, South Africa and the Persian Gulf. We had some silly weekends when we performed in Shepton Mallet on the Friday, Monte Carlo on the Saturday and Sunday and Watford on the Monday. It was all chaotically glorious and we met some memorable people along the way and I'm pleased to say that a large majority of them were female, very much so. Travel is a great educator and I feel sorry for the people who cannot fulfill their ambitions in that direction but I cannot understand the ones that choose to imprison themselves in their self imposed cocoons and refuse to go anywhere. Then again, maybe it's for the better because, if they did venture from home they would most probably moan for the whole trip.

Mersey Beat Fourmost coverThe very best thing about being an entertainer is meeting your former heroes. These people were the untouchables of your childhood and youth. Just one example of this is when I arrived at the TV studios to do a special edition of 'Ready, Steady, Go!' The organizer of the event was a lady called Vicky Wickham and as I arrived at the reception desk she took me to one side and asked me if it would be alright if somebody shared our dressing room with us because it was a very packed show. I said that it would be fine and asked her who the person was. She flipped over the pages on her ever-present clip board and, squinting through her glasses, told me that it seemed to be a special guest, an American gentleman called...Carl Perkins.

I was excited as hell. The first LP that I had ever bought (with all my hard-earned pub money) was the Carl Perkins Dance Album and I had learned all the songs and tried to play some of the guitar licks that he did. He was my early inspiration and I was going to meet him in the flesh. I did just that and we talked about his life as a kid in the States and my life in Liverpool and the only real difference between us was our accents. It seemed that working class folks were the same no matter where they lived. I prayed to the God of hit records to keep them coming so I could enjoy more occasions like that one and the God smiled on me: but not for too long.

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