The Talent is Here!
Note: There you have it, in early 1963, while they are still only just
establishing themselves in Britain, Brian equates them with Elvis Presley. In
fact, when he was to say locally that he thought the Beatles could be as big as
Elvis, people laughed at him. This gives an indication of his unwavering faith
in the group.
Paul McCartney certainly has his comments spot on and I notice that the Beatles
tout for their Nems stablemates Gerry & the Pacemakers, Billy Kramer &
the Dakotas (Before John Lennon suggested ‘J’ – for Julian – as a middle
initial for Billy) and the Big Three.
Interesting also is the fact that many seem to predict success for Johnny Sandon
and the Remo Four. Sadly, it never happened, although they recorded ‘Lies’
c/w ‘On The Horizon’ and ‘Yes’ c/w ‘Magic Potion’ together.
Unsuccessful, they split and Johnny went solo while the Remo recorded with Tommy
Quickly and Gregory Phillips and later were to record for George Harrison’s
‘Wonderwall’ soundtrack. They were always recognized as Liverpool’s
leading instrumental outfit. Johnny’s real name was Bill Beck and he later
became a comedian in local clubs although, in a state of depression, he hung
himself. Mersey Beat intends to present a tribute feature on this really
talented singer who did have a unique voice to offer, but never made the grade.
Brian Kelly, of course, gave the Beatles (when they were known as the Silver
Beats), one of their first ‘audition’ gigs at Lathom Hall on 14 May 1960. He
booked them back the following week as bill toppers – but they never turned up
as they began a tour of Scotland with Johnny Gentle. Their appearance for Kelly
at Litherland Town Hall on 27 December 1960 was their breakthrough in Liverpool
and he went on to book them over three dozen times for his venues until Epstein
then boycotted him because he felt insulted when Kelly paid for a Beatles gig in
coins. Kelly’s opinions are quite wide off the mark.
Ted Knibbs was Billy Kramer’s original manager and Pat Delaney was the Cavern
amazing quote, once again, is that by Bob Wooler. Remarkably prophetic at the
time, once again, although it was on February 1963, accurately describing what
they eventually became: “a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.”
There were to be some very slight name changes. At this point in their history
the Merseybeats were known as the Mersey Beats and the Fourmost as the Four
Gerry & the Pacemakers, of course, had major success and actually became the
first Liverpool group to top the official British Record Retailer charts with
their debut disc ‘How Do You Do It’, a Mitch Murray song which the Beatles
had rejected. The Big Three also had success, albeit a minor one, and soon
pulled away from Epstein’s management. Billy Kramer, under the name Billy J.
Kramer had success with some Beatles compositions, but his biggest hit was a
number he picked himself, against Brian Epstein’s advice, ‘Little
Children.’ The Merseybeats also had chart success and like Gerry and Billy,
are still performing today.