In this little hall on 7th September 1962, in between The Beatles two EMI sessions on 4th September and 11th September, John, Paul, George and Ringo played here at Irby Village Hall on the Wirral. Although the hall was packed, they hadn’t raised enough money to pay Brian Epstein, who had to return for the balance of the money.
George Harrison’s forgotten suitcase
George Harrison also left a suitcase behind, full of guitar strings and those bits and bobs of electrical gear. George never collected it. How quickly their world changed from here. Only 15 months later, they were appearing before over 70 million Americans on the Ed Sullivan Show. They earned their success.
From this photograph, you can see that it wouldn’t hold that many people. Irby Village Hall is one of over 100 local venues featured in Liddypool, my first book.
4th September 1962 was an interesting day for The Beatles, and shrouded in confusion too. Ringo had joined just a couple of weeks before, and they found themselves at Abbey Road. Was this a recording session? A catch-up? Why was there no session drummer? From alleged phone calls to the confusion over which version of “Love Me Do” was later released (Ringo was convinced he didn’t play on the single), we pick our way through the mists of time and clarify what really happened that day, in Finding the Fourth Beatle. It’s about more than just the 23 drummers! Find out more at www.thefourthbeatle.com
John, Paul, George and Mahapurush? Sound familiar? Well, it happened, and the full story is in “Finding the Fourth Beatle” – not long now to reserve your limited edition copy of the new book that is rewriting Beatles history. Mahapurush is only 1 of the 22 drummers featured in the book. Can you count 22 drummers? If not, you need this book! Finding the Fourth Beatle
When Ringo recorded “Elizabeth Reigns” on his Ringo Rama album (2003), he signed off by saying; “there goes the knighthood”. Some of his lyrics were not overly complimentary to her majesty, like: “We don’t really need a king. Six hundred servants Use her detergent Scrubbing the palace floor
And all of your sins are As big as the Windsors So let’s point our fingers No more.” Has that delayed his knighthood? Does he even deserve one? Many have questioned: “why has he got it?” or “just because he was a Beatle?”. “Is this just further degrading the honour system?” So what has Ringo done to deserve it? Many people, including Beatles fans, don’t give Ringo the credit for his part in The Beatles’ success. Was he just a lucky guy who jumped on the bandwagon, or something more? In our new book, “Finding the Fourth Beatle”, we examine how and why Ringo became the drummer in the Fab Four, the only drummer to have lasted the distance with John, Paul and George. From 1956-1970, we detail the 18 drummers who played a part in their success, and ultimately why Ringo became the right drummer at the right time. He wasn’t the first drummer asked to replace Pete Best, but he proved to be a wise choice. But we aren’t just saying it without backing it up with evidence. We have enlisted the help of several drummers who explain what it was that made Ringo such a unique drummer, by analysing his style and his experience of playing skiffle, country, jazz, and to the audiences in summer camps at Butlins. We have had a number of Beatles songs analysed, and show his contribution, what difference he did make to those songs, and the evolution of The Beatles’ sound. He wasn’t just a spare part sat at the back of the band, but integral to their development as a group, who has gone on to be recognised as one of the most influential drummers of all time. Not bad for a boy from the Dingle! But that, in itself, isn’t enough to warrant a knighthood. What else has he done? His well-known problems with alcohol led him, and his second wife Barbara Bach, to check in to rehab to battle alcoholism. Ringo emerged as a new man, and together with Barbara, the two established the Lotus Foundation: “The objectives of the Lotus Foundation are to fund, support, participate in and promote charitable projects aimed at advancing social welfare in diverse areas including, but not limited to:
Battered women and their children
Animals in need”
Over the years, he has raised millions of pounds for his charity through books, performances, and most recently by selling off property and memorabilia he no longer needs/ uses. Through his high-profile status as a former Beatle, and successful solo artist, he has made a difference to countless lives around the world, much of which goes on unnoticed. You don’t get a knighthood for being a Beatle: you do for making a difference and promoting Peace and Love. Arise, Sir Fourth Beatle Ringo (and don’t mention “Elizabeth Reigns”!) David Bedford Pre-order “Finding the Fourth Beatle” now
On Pete Best’s 76th birthday, Pete is probably the most controversial person in Beatles history, who divides opinions. Was he a good drummer? Why did the Beatles get rid of him? When we began work on “Finding the Fourth Beatle”, we realised we had to address these questions and reach an objective conclusion, and it has been one of the most interesting, and controversial investigations we have ever undertaken. There is so much invested in urban myth and opinion that reaching the truth is never easy. However, what we have been able to prove is that Pete Best was never sacked! We have evidence, and I interviewed Brian Epstein’s lawyer who explained what really happened in that meeting at NEMS, and why Pete was not sacked. We have also enlisted the help of 9 drummers to analyse Pete and Ringo’s drumming, especially the Decca audition, EMI audition and those first visits to Abbey Road in September 1962. That way, we will have independent, objective analysis. After all, you can’t take the word of an author who isn’t a drummer, can you? David Bedford Pre-Order your copy now
“Carl Jung” – Liverpool is the pool of life. “I FOUND myself in a dirty, sooty city. It was night, and winter, and dark, and raining. I was in Liverpool.” But Carl Gustav Jung, the man who famously concluded that “Liverpool is the pool of life” – never was. Carl Gustav Jung 26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist and the founder of analytical psychology, who worked with Sigmund Freud. “Fred Astaire” – Fred and Ginger, Alf and Julia. Alf “Fred” Lennon and Julia “Ginger” Stanley both loved dancing and were the Fred and Ginger of Liverpool! “Sir Robert Peel” – A two-time Prime Minister of Great Britain, Sir Robert Peel was a major force behind easing restrictions on Catholics in Britain and the reformation of the judicial system in the 1830s. He was later considered to be an enemy to his own Conservative party when he went against his own political interest to repeal the Corn Laws to help alleviate the effects of the Irish Famine in the 1840s. John Lennon’s great-grandparents came over from Ireland in the 1840s so this would have helped the Lennon family. “Tommy Handley” – Liverpool comedian. Thomas Reginald “Tommy” Handley (17 January 1892 – 9 January 1949) was a British comedian, mainly known for the BBC radio program ITMA (“It’s That Man Again”). He was born at Toxteth Park (where John’s parents Alf Lennon and Julia Stanley were from), Liverpool in Lancashire. The Beatles would have listened to Tommy Handley on the radio, one of many Liverpool comedians, like Ted Ray, Arthur Askey, and Rob Wilton. “Albert Stubbins” – from Newcastle. One of the best centre-forwards of his generation, in the 1940s, he moved from Newcastle to Liverpool FC for £13,000 in 1946. Liverpool’s rivals, Everton FC also tried to sign him, so he decided on the toss of a coin between Liverpool and Everton. Liverpool won! Why would he be there, as none of The Beatles were particularly sporty? When John was at Dovedale School, around the age of seven, he wrote a paper called “Sport and Speed, Illustrated”. This would have been the time when Stubbins was scoring regularly for Liverpool FC. Maybe that is why he appears on the cover. “Anonymous Legionnaire: RAOB” – Hiding behind actress Diana Dors is a member of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes. The fraternal organization, which started in 1822, raises money for charities and provides assistance to its members and their families in times of need. This isn’t a random selection. John’s uncles, Charlie and Herbert Lennon, were members of The Dingle Lodge 4303, which was situated at 36, Devonshire Road, just two doors away from my childhood home of 40, Devonshire Road. To find out more about The Beatles and Liverpool, you can order the brand new Third Edition of “Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles” from www.davidabedford.com David Bedford
The film was a huge disappointment to me. Some nice footage, and bits of commentary from Paul and Ringo, but this was not a film for serious die-hard Beatles fans.
When we were told a couple of years ago that The Beatles were going to be captured in a new, fresh, exciting film, directed by the legendary director Ron Howard, there was great excitement among Beatles fans. We were promised new footage, new photos, behind the scenes interviews and the first truly new Beatles film since the 1960s. I attended the world premiere in Liverpool – we were screening 30 minutes ahead of London – and I walked the “blue jay way” carpet with Allan Williams, The Quarrymen, Julia Baird and many more, which was an honour. In the cinema, when we watched interviews with Allan and Beryl Williams, Joe Flannery, Freda Kelly and other Liverpool people, I was so pleased that the film started with the Beatles in Liverpool. However, when that finished after 20 minutes, I realised something was not quite as it seemed. This film was only for us in Liverpool. Ron Howard, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr appeared on the screens with a special intro for us, where Ron Howard aditted he hadn’t been to Liverpool but he would like to. Seriously? But then as Liverpool wasn’t to feature in the main film, I suppose it didn’t matter. Where were The Beatles from? Ermmm. Where were The Quarrymen? Stuart Sutcliffe? Pete Best, who probably played more hours live with The Beatles than Ringo, but no mention. The film was a huge disappointment to me. Some nice footage, and bits of commentary from Paul and Ringo, but this was not a film for serious die-hard Beatles fans, but a nice trip through the Beatles touring years. The one thing it did show well was how fed up with touring the Beatles were by 1966. That was about it. There was nothing particularly new, and plenty I’d seen elsewhere and so much more they could have included, but didn’t. There was no new insight into touring with The Beatles, and, as a Liverpudlian, this film was definitely made for the American market. Even when a clip was shown of The Beatles on the balcony in Liverpool in July 1964, there was no caption to tell you where it was, even though virtually everywhere else was captioned. When they showed The Beatles in Amsterdam in June 1964, there was Jimmie Nicol standing in for Ringo, but he was not name-checked or identified and just passed over to when Ringo rejoined the tour. Oh, and I nearly forgot. The people they interviewed. Not ordinary fans, but they rolled out celebrities! Of course, the famous “Fifth Beatles” Richard Curtis, Eddie Izzard, Jon Savage, Whoopi Goldberg, Sigourney Weaver…………………Yes, right. I could go on, because there were so many disappointments there’s not enough space! This was a huge opportunity missed. Would I pay to see it again? No. Would I recommend it to others? No. Will I buy it on DVD? Probably not. Was I disappointed? Definitely. I ain’t got nothing but disappointment, babe, Eight Days A Week. David Bedford
I was interviewed recently by BayTV, Liverpool’s own cable TV channel, about “The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles”. Tim Quinn was the interviewer, and we actually chatted for nearly 40 minutes! Good fun. The video is on their Youtube channel and on my website at www.davidabedford.com
On 19th October 1961, one of the greatest line-ups in Merseybeat history occurred at Litherland Town Hall. The Beatles, together with Gerry and the Pacemakers and singer Karl Terry joined forces on stage.
The Beatmakers were — John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best, Gerry Marsden, Freddie Marsden, Les Chadwick, Les Maguire and Karl Terry.
Two Drummers, Three Guitarists, One Bass, A Piano, A Saxophone and A Singer
There was George on lead guitar and Paul playing rhythm, with the drumming duties split between Pete Best and Freddie Marsden. Les Chadwick played bass guitar and John Lennon played piano with Karl Terry joining in the vocals. Finally, Gerry Marsden played guitar and sang, while Les Maguire played the saxophone.
Gerry and the Pacemakers
Gerry Marsden formed the Pacemakers in 1959 with his brother Fred, Les Chadwick and Arthur McMahon. They rivalled The Beatles early in their career, playing in Liverpool and Hamburg. In 1961, McMahon was replaced on piano by Les Maguire. The band’s original name was Gerry Marsden and The Mars Bars, but they were forced to change this when the Mars Company, who produced the chocolate bar, complained.
Signed by Brian Epstein
The band was the second group to sign with Brian Epstein (who was born on 19th October 1934, 27 years to the day before this Beatmakers’ performance), who later signed them with Columbia Records (a sister label to The Beatles’ Parlophone under EMI). Their first single was 1963’s “How Do You “How Do You”, the song The Beatles turned down.
The other member of The Beatmakers was Karl Terry, who started singing when he first heard “Rock Around The Clock” and hasn’t stopped singing since. He joined a skiffle group, The Gamblers, which evolved into Terry and the Teenaces and eventually Karl Terry and the Cruisers. As well as sharing a stage with The Beatles, he appeared on the bill with some of the biggest names in pop history, like Tom Jones, The Shadows, Gene Vincent, The Crickets and many more.
In the first look at the Fab 104, we examined the impact and importance of George Smith, Julia Lennon and, of course, harmonica tutor Arthur Pendleton. This time we look at the founding members of The Quarrymen: John Lennon, Pete Shotton and Bill Smith. In a rare interview, Bill Smith told me where they formed the group and how they came up with the name, The Quarrymen – and who didn’t like the suggestion! They may look innocent, but in the photo we see, from left to right, Bill Smith, Pete Shotton, John Lennon, Don Beattie and Michael Hill (more on the latter two guys later). Bill also told me why his collar is up, and the story behind the hairstyles. Bill was the first tea-chest bass player with the group, but when he left the group, Lennon and Shotton broke into Bill’s house and stole it! But Bill took it back! Read Bill’s story in “The Fab One Hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles” at www.fab104.com David Bedford