The Beatles Venues – From First to Last!

The Beatles Rooftop Concert
The Beatles Rooftop Concert

Beatles Virtual Tour – Tonight, 24th January 2021

Join David Bedford and Richard Porter as they take you on a magical mystery virtual tour through some of the famous, and not-so-famous, venues that the Beatles played.

Starting at Quarry Bank School for their first performance and ending with The Beatles on the rooftop at Savile Row, you will see rare and previously unpublished photographs and stories, as well as a couple of rare video interviews too.

We are visiting:

Barnston Women’s Institute
  • Quarry Bank Hall;
  • New Clubmoor Hall;
  • Wilson Hall;
  • Philharmonic Hall;
  • Granada East Ham;
  • Granada Walthamstow;
  • Granada Woolwich;
  • The Morgue, Liverpool;
  • Lowlands;
  • The 2is Coffee Bar, London;
  • The Casbah;
  • Neston Institute;
  • Grosvenor Ballroom, Wallasey;
  • Grosvenor House, London;
  • Embassy Club, Wallasey;
  • Tower Ballroom, New Brighton,
  • Empire Pool, Wembley;
  • Pigalle Club, London;
  • Blue Gardenia;
  • Barnston Women’s Institute;
  • Hulme Hall;
  • Irby Village Hall;
  • YMCA Birkenhead;
  • Leyton Swimming Pool;
  • Gaumont Cinema, Kilburn;
  • Royal Albert Hall;
  • Majestic Finsbury;
  • Fairfield Hall Croydon;
  • Wimbledon Palais;
  • Astoria Finsbury Park;
  • Hammersmith Odeon ’63;
  • NME Poll Winners Party 1966;
  • Empire Theatre, Liverpool;
  • Hammersmith Odeon 1965
  • and Rooftop Concert, Savile Row.
The Beatles in concert

Join the Virtual Tour

Join us tonight for this exclusive Beatles Virtual Tour

Liverpool Virtual Tours
Liverpool Virtual Tours

Exploring The Country of Liverpool

The Country of Liverpool is an exhaustive work linking Country and Western and Rock’n’Roll, between America and Liverpool.

Ringo with the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group
Ringo with the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group

John Lennon biographer Jude Kessler has reviewed “The Country of Liverpool” for Culture Sonar:

“For 50 years, the well-worn tale of 1950s American music imported into the port city of Liverpool, England, via the Cunard Yanks has been the standard explanation for the “rise of the Beatles.” But in his new book, The Country of Liverpool, author David Bedford (LiddypoolThe Fab One Hundred and Four) views this simplistic theory as a bit like putting the cart in front of the horse.”

The Country of Liverpool
The Country of Liverpool

Jude concludes that:

The Country of Liverpool is an exhaustive work linking Country and Western and Rock’n’Roll, between America and Liverpool. Bedford’s book proves that long before The Beatles set foot on the Ed Sullivan Stage on 9 February 1964, the United States and Liverpool were already joined by a common love affair with Irish-inspired Bluegrass, Folk, Skiffle, and Country and Western, all of which led directly to the birth of Rock’n’Roll and the Mersey Beat.

This is that complete story.

-Jude Southerland Kessler (author of The John Lennon Series)”

Read the full review here:

Get your copy of the “The Country of Liverpool” now

Find out about the New Documentary Film too

Rare Beatles Interview: Terry McCann and The Beatles in Aldershot

The Beatles on stage
The Beatles on stage

Terry McCann

One of Sam’s closest friends and allies was Terry McCann, who acted as bouncer, driver and, on 9th December 1961, drummer with The Beatles in Aldershot. According to McCann: “I started working for Sam after going to Samson and Barlow’s one night. I went up the stairs and there was Sam being threatened by these two men, and one of them had Sam by the throat. Well, crash, bang, wallop and one of them tumbled down the stairs, so Sam offered me the job as a bodyguard.” (DB interview 2015) It was through his contacts that Terry arranged the gig at Aldershot’s Palais Ballroom for Sam and The Beatles. Sam needed it to work out well but, as history has recorded, it was anything but a success.

The Palais Ballroom, Aldershot

The Beatles poster for Aldershot
The Beatles poster for Aldershot

The Beatles’ Aldershot disaster is the stuff of legend. The Palais Ballroom was situated on the corner of Queens Road and Perowne Street. The original venue had burned down and a new building was erected on the site. Sam Leach had billed the event as a “Battle of the Bands”:

Although two other bands were also billed to appear, this was a bit of advertising bluff as no groups other than the two headliners had been booked. Featuring a bar and a buffet, entrance was only five shillings. It all sounded so good.

The Beatles on stage
The Beatles on stage

Unfortunately, as history records, only around 18 people turned up to see The Beatles.  Not even The Jaywalkers showed. According to Sam, “If you believe everyone who said they were there for The Beatles, we would have had 500 people!” The failure has been blamed on Sam’s “bad cheque” not clearing with the newspaper which led to the lack of advertising, but Sam denies that. There was no problem with the cheque, other than Sam being a new customer, so the newspaper didn’t run the advert.

Sam Leach, George Harrison, John Lennon and Dick Matthews
Sam Leach, George Harrison, John Lennon and Dick Matthews

A new twist in the story occurred in 2013. Sam explained: “Alan Hope from Screaming Lord Sutch’s band told me that they had a gig the same night near ours in Aldershot, and they played regularly in the same venue we were playing in. So he went round tearing my posters down, and rang the local paper and said the gig had been cancelled. That’s why the other band didn’t turn up. He was boasting to my mate Terry McCann, and I saw him here recently, and he admitted it to me in front of my cousin; then of course he tried to backtrack.”

Terry concurred that there was a deliberate attempt to sabotage the performance. “Sam went out and found that the posters I had put up a few days before had been torn down. They unloaded the equipment, and set up the gear, waiting for the crowds to flock through the doors. And they waited, and waited. Sam Leach’s answer was to head over the road to the pub and invited people to come over. He brought them bottles of beer that can be seen in Dick Matthews’ historic photographs. Leach also stopped people in the streets to come in and see what was happening, to try and make the numbers up. It didn’t work.”

Beatles drummer, Terry McCann
Beatles drummer, Terry McCann

To add to the merriment, Terry McCann had a brief stint as the Fourth Beatle. “Terry got up and played drums,” recalled Sam. “It might have been in the interval, because The Beatles played for three hours with only a quarter-of-an-hour break, and they were all messing around.” (DB interview 2015)

McCann laughed when he started retelling the stories surrounding that famous event. “That was a debacle,” he exclaimed. “We left Liverpool at 6am, and of course there were no motorways back then. We went through a small village on way down, and saw a traditional tea room with the ‘old dears’ (old people) in there. We went in, the lads in their leather jackets and jeans, and we got chased out! But John had a pin on him, so he scratched ‘The Beatles were here. John.’ That could be worth a few bob if that was still there!”

Shall We Dance?

Pete Best, like the other Beatles, remembered the night with some fondness due to the fun they had: “Halfway through one number, George and Paul put on their overcoats and took to the floor to dance a foxtrot together, while the rest of us struggled along, making enough music for them and the handful of spectators. We clowned our way through the whole of the second half. John and Paul deliberately played wrong chords and notes and added words to the songs that were never in the original lyrics.” (Beatle!)

Pete Best Sings

But then Pete decided it was time to sing, which meant they needed a drummer. Usually this was Paul, but not on this occasion. Terry McCann had very clear memories of the night: “Everything had gone stupidly wrong, but the lads did their usual stuff. Anyway, Pete Best had got up to sing a couple of songs, so I got on the drums and played for a couple of numbers and we just messed about a bit. That was a night to remember. I can’t remember what songs we did, just the usual chart songs from the set.”

Pete Best sings with The Beatles
Pete Best sings with The Beatles

This wasn’t the first time that Terry had sat in as a drummer, though he never considered himself a drummer or played in a group. “I lived in the Isle Of Man with my auntie when I was evacuated,” Terry said. “I got stuck in the Scout Cubs, and they had a full kit there, so I played drums. When I was in the army, I used to box for the Battalion. Upstairs, over the gym, was where the band practiced, so I was shown how to play drums; four to the bar with the right hand, one with the left, and so I used to go up and play there.

“I knew how to keep a simple beat, but I wouldn’t class myself as a drummer. When the drums were set up and the place was empty, I would get behind the kit and have a good old bash. I could do a great solo and could give it some stick when I was on my own! I played at a couple of weddings, but never regularly in a group. I got the nod to sit in for the odd 20 minutes or something, like with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. I played at the Tower Ballroom when Ringo was the drummer. His girlfriend was there and he fancied a break, so I jumped up and drummed for around 20 minutes or so to give him a break.”  

After the gig and Terry’s brief appearance as The Beatles’ drummer, there was a football match with ping-pong balls. “Lennon kept kicking me,” said Sam, “and I was on his side! One girl said to me ‘I’ve never seen a band like this before’. I think word got out for the next week.”

The Crowd

The Small Crowd!
The Small Crowd!

There were a few locals who turned up and were less than impressed. Irene Stoker was a regular at The Palais in those days, but didn’t stay for long that night. “It was probably quite early and there weren’t many people there,” she recalled. “The Beatles were sort of strumming on their guitars. They were on the edge of the stage and one of them even got off at one point. One of them called The Palais a village hall and we said it’s not a village hall and that we had some good groups up here. We stayed for two or three dances, but got fed up with them and left. We didn’t think they were very good. I just thought they were showing off. So we went to the nearby Havelock pub for a drink and then on to the Central Club and ended up having a good night.”

That was the last she expected to ever hear of The Beatles, but of course they would soon appear in the national and international media. “The next time I heard about The Beatles was when I saw a magazine or newspaper article about them,” she said. “I suppose it must have been 1963. At first I thought it can’t be that group that played up The Palais, but I recognised them from the picture.” She did notice that there had been some changes from the group that had played at the Palais. “Paul McCartney had hardly changed,” she observed. “I remember thinking, well they won’t last very long!” Obviously not a good judge, because she walked out of the concert in Aldershot, and then wrote them off in 1963. However, at least, along with only a few people, she could claim to have been there. “It’s a funny thing, whenever I’ve told people that I saw The Beatles play in Aldershot before they were famous, they have always looked at me as if to say The Beatles wouldn’t have played here.” They did, but maybe they shouldn’t have played there. (GetHampshire 9th December 2016)

The Last Throw

But Lennon wasn’t finished and wanted to leave his mark on Aldershot. Sam recalled: “John was going to throw a brick through the window and I stopped him, and I said, ‘I’ll do it’, and took the brick off him, but then Paul stopped me from throwing it!” By anyone’s standards, it was a disaster and they were rightly frustrated. However, as a testament to their professional attitude, the Beatles played their whole set and entertained the few people who had turned up.

The Blue Gardenia?

Terry McCann had made friends in London, one being Liverpool star Brian “Cass” Casser (also known as Casey Jones), who now lived in the capital city. “We went on to see Cass,” said Terry, “and I got us all some fish and chips from a van, then we went to Casser’s club.” Casser, who had left Liverpool under a cloud of “woman troubles”, had started running rock ‘n’ roll nights at the Blue Gardenia club, which became the All-Nighter after midnight. Although it has been claimed that all of The Beatles got up on stage that night, Terry remembers it clearly: “George was the only one who got up and jammed that night, because he was a talented guitarist who could play with anyone.”  

The Beatles Return to Liverpool

After a long night, it was time to head back to Liverpool. “Sam had hired this car with a driver, and I had the rented van,” recalled Terry. “John and Paul sat up front with me, with George in the back and poor Pete on the floor of the van! Then we ran out of petrol; it sort of ‘filled up again on its own’ at 3 o’clock in the morning!” It wasn’t quite a miracle, though, as Terry explained. “In the old petrol pumps, there was a little round piece of tin with one screw in it at the front of the pump. If the electrics went wrong, you could loosen the screw, and then, using the winding handle from car, you could manually get the petrol. So John Lennon got the handle and we filled the van again. I said that I had a fiver left and put it through the door; at least that is how I tell it!” It was an eventful day. (DB Interview 2015)

Read the full interview and more about The Beatles in Aldershot in Finding the Fourth Beatle

Finding the Fourth Beatle the story of the 23 drummers who put the beat into The Beatles
Finding the Fourth Beatle the story of the 23 drummers who put the beat into The Beatles

Looking for Lennon in Liverpool and London

The John Lennon Virtual Tour

Beatles Experts present an interactive “Real John Lennon” Virtual Tour

Renowned Beatles experts and tour guides David Bedford and Richard Porter are joining forces for a special, one-off, joint virtual tour, where they take you on a trip through John Lennon’s Liverpool and London, sharing little-known stories and facts through a live presentation, videos, photos and audio.

This interactive Virtual Tour is on Sunday 29th November at 7pm (UK TIME)/ 2pm (EST) and lasts for approximately 2 hours. There will be a chance to answer some quiz questions and have a chat about what John Lennon means to us all.

We will be covering:

  • Lennon’s homes in Liverpool and London
  • His family
  • How he met Paul, George and Ringo
  • The songs about Liverpool and London life
  • Moving to London
  • Abbey Road, Please Please Me and beyond
  • Meeting Yoko
  • How his death changed Liverpool and London forever
  • The impact and legacy of his life and work

Come and Join Us

Come and join our special presentation and celebrate the life of John Lennon.


John, Paul, George & Ringo Make a Record – October 1960

When John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr first appeared on a record – in October 1960

"Summertime" - Record made by Lou Walters, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison in Hamburg
“Summertime” – Record made by Lou Walters, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison in Hamburg

Wally Eymond, whose stage name was Lu Walters, was the bass player and second vocalist from Rory Storm and The Hurricanes. Walters was an accomplished ballad singer with the group and the opportunity to commit his voice to record was too tempting to resist.

The Klockmann House Building
The Klockmann House Building

During his band’s eight-week residency at the Kaiserkeller in Hamburg, Allan Williams arranged a recording session for Saturday 15 October 1960 at the Akustik Studio, which was a small booth on the fifth floor of 57, Kirchenalle (The Klockmann-House). Williams asked John, Paul and George from The Beatles to play and sing harmonies for Walters on the recording.

Pete Best was in town supposedly buying drumsticks, so Ringo played drums, which was the first time John, Paul, George and Ringo played and recorded together. There are conflicting reports as to which songs were recorded and these may never be resolved as the documentation and the original discs have long since vanished. Beatles historian and author Hans Olof Gottfridson has studied the evidence for that day.

Entrance to the Klockmann House where the Akustik Studio was based
Entrance to the Klockmann House where the Akustik Studio was based

In a 1963 edition of Mersey Beat, it is claimed that three separate acetates with the individual songs “Fever”, “September Song” and “Summertime” were recorded. Gottfridson concluded that “Fever” was probably recorded at the session, but there is no evidence that it made it onto disc. However, there is a photograph in Allan Williams’ book, The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away, which shows a 78 rpm record with the words “Beatles and Wally Demo” and “Summertime” across the label. In Mersey Beat, both Lu Walters and Johnny “Guitar” Byrne from the Hurricanes supported the claim that “September Song” was also recorded.

Bill Harry, writing in Mersey Beat, recalled that, to his knowledge, John, Paul and George only backed Lu on “Summertime”, whereas Johnny “Guitar” Byrne and fellow Hurricane members Ty O’Brien and Ringo Starr backed Lu on “September Song” and “Fever”.

“The B-side of the acetate contained no music,” observed Gottfridson. “Instead, it comprised commercials for goods sold by the Klockmann Company who had a leather bag store in the bottom floor of the building.”

Investigating these early recordings often means relying on the memories of men who were swept up in the craziest times of their young lives. They had neither the time nor the desire to maintain extensive diary notes for the benefit of inquisitive fans over fifty years later. Johnny “Guitar”, who kept a brief day-to-day diary, simply recorded on 14 October 1960: ‘Wally and Beatles going to make a test recording tomorrow.’ At least this confirms the date of the recording. Sadly, Byrne’s diary entries cease on that day until the end of December 1960.

Rory Storm and the Hurricanes
Rory Storm and the Hurricanes – Ringo on drums and Lu Walters (second from right)

In March 1962, Lu left Rory Storm to join Derry and The Seniors, but by September of that year, he had rejoined the group when the Seniors split up. His time with the Hurricanes lasted until February 1965 when he finally quit the group for good to concentrate on his career as a psychiatric nurse.

Wally (Lu) still lives in the Merseyside area and is a frequent visitor at local rock ‘n’ roll nights.

So, for the first time, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr appeared on record for the first time. If only we still had the record!

Find this story and more in “The Fab One Hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles”

Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles
Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles

Mike McCartney at Strawberry Field

Strawberry Field Liverpool is excited to announce the opening of Mike McCartney’s photographic journey of the Strawberry Field redevelopment, ahead of his book launch later this year.

Mike McCartney's Photos on Display at Strawberry Field, Liverpool
Mike McCartney’s Photos on Display at Strawberry Field, Liverpool

Unique Mike McCartney photographs go on display at Strawberry Field, Liverpool 

Strawberry Field Liverpool is excited to announce the opening of Mike McCartney’s photographic journey of the Strawberry Field redevelopment, ahead of his book launch later this year.  

Known professionally as Mike McGear, Mike is an outstanding performing artist and rock photographer who was a member of the groups The Scaffold and Grimms.   

Mike was persuaded by Lady Judy Martin to chronicle the redevelopment of Strawberry Field. This is his story: 

“I was asked by the Salvation Army…well mainly by Lady Judy Martin OBE actually (or Jude as I affectionately call her) to record the demolition of the old Strawberry Field homes and the rebuild of a brand new facility on the same site. At first I was reticent, as it was my brother’s group that made the Strawberry Field song famous…not my Scaffold comedy group, but when I discovered the amazing work that the Sally Army (as I affectionately call them) quietly get on with, I agreed to undertake the 2 to 3 year task! The trouble was how do you make the bashing down of old houses and the building of a new bricks & mortar one interesting to the public?! Well…here’s a start ! with this mini-exhibition of images to whet your appetite…hope you(s) enjoy! and hope u enjoy the Cafe, and the  Shop…AND the gorge gardens with the original Red Gates! ps if you see a lone Scouser roaming round the grounds in a mask…it’s not the Lone Ranger, or Donald Trump…it’s ME! Don’t 4get to say hello!” said Mike *McGear McCartney BEM  

Kathleen Versfeld, Mission Director at Strawberry Field said:  

“We are blessed to have the support of such wonderful people as Lady Martin and Mike McCartney. I know our visitors will be delighted to see Mike’s photographs. We can’t wait for the full collection to be made available in his planned book.” 

The new Strawberry Field Visitor Centre
The new Strawberry Field Visitor Centre

A special exhibition featuring some of Mike’s photographs will go on display in the Strawberry Field centre, alongside the visitor exhibition. The exhibition covers the interwoven stories of the Salvation Army, the children’s home, John Lennon’s childhood and the writing of Strawberry Fields Forever. The addition of the Mike McCartney photographs will offer a unique opportunity to visitors, with a never before seen insight into the redevelopment of the current site. Mike’s book, filled with an inspiring collection of images, will go on sale later this year. 

As a special offer to celebrate the re-opening, Strawberry Field’s visitor experience is priced at £7.00 per person until the end of September and under 16’s accompanied by an adult go free. NHS workers and a guest can also visit free of charge. Visitors will be guided around the stunning interactive exhibition where “Nothing is Real” using interactive media guides. The tour continues into the magical gardens where John played as a child, allowing visitors the opportunity to explore, unwind and dream in the place, which inspired one of the 20th century’s greatest songwriters.  

All funds generated by the visitor experience go towards funding a Steps to Work programme for young people with learning difficulties and other barriers to employment. 

To ensure safety during this time of Covid-19, visits to Strawberry Field must be booked in advance on 

Location – Beaconsfield Rd, Woolton, Liverpool L25 6EJ 

About Mike’s photos 

  • Mike has been documenting the new vision for Strawberry Field since the demolition of the 1970s building and the development of the new current centre. His photographs offer an insight into the new development, the vision and the journey, which have never been seen before. 
  • The exhibition on display showcases a selection of Mike’s images, with the rest being curated into a book, to be released by Mike later this year. 

Visiting Strawberry Field 

  • The centre is a welcome addition to Beatles tourism in the city, with responsible tourism at its heart. It is home to a brand new visitor experience, complete with visitor exhibition, café, shop and gardens, as well as a Steps to Work programme, which aims to help young adults with learning difficulties and other barriers to employment into work. 
  • Tickets to the visitor exhibition must be booked in advance and are currently on sale at a reduced price. More details available at 
  • The site is a short walk away from John Lennon’s childhood home in Menlove Avenue where he lived with this Aunt Mimi. 
  • Strawberry Field is open and accessible to everyone, thanks to its Changing Places toilet facilities please see our recent release: 

    Visiting during Covid-19 
  • Strawberry Field is running a special offer through August and September, all tickets must be booked in advance online
  • Visitor experience adult entry is just £7.00 at this time 
  • Under 16’s go FREE with paying adult 
  • Free admission with ID for NHS worker and guest – Strawberry Field is participating in Britain Unites – A nationwide initiative to thank our NHS, from the UK travel & tourism industry 
  • Imagine More Café is part of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme on Tuesdays/Wednesdays through August 
  • The popular Imagine More Café at Strawberry Field is open but with a difference. Tables must be booked in advance by calling 07407088968.  

Health and Safety 

  • We’re GOOD TO GO – Strawberry Field has been awarded Visit England & Visit Britain’s industry wide health & safety standard for visitors known as “GoodToGo”  
  • Visitors must book ahead to enable the team to control capacity across the exhibition, garden and shop. 
  • Social distancing of 2m must be adhered to on site. The site is currently operating limited visitor numbers. 
  • Temperature checks are being conducted upon entry. 
  • In line with the current UK government guidelines regarding wearing of masks, all visitors to the exhibition and retail store are kindly asked to wear a face covering in these areas. 
  • Media guides are disinfected before each use and touchscreen bags and disposable ear covers are available. 
  • Sanitising towers are available throughout the building.  
  • All facilities including toilets undergo strict cleaning throughout the day. 
  • Full details of health & safety standards can be found on the website

The Salvation Army and Strawberry Field 

  • The Salvation Army is an international Christian church and registered charity, which has been transforming lives for more than 150 years. Working in 131 countries worldwide, The Salvation Army offers friendship, practical help and support for people at all levels of need. In the UK and Republic of Ireland this work includes more than 750 community churches and social centres. Registered Charity Nos. 214779, 215174 and in Scotland SC009359, SC037691. For more information visit the website 
  • Strawberry Field was purchased by The Salvation Army in 1934. The organisation opened the site as a children’s home in 1936 and for nearly 70 years the site supported some of Liverpool’s most vulnerable children until it closed in 2005. 
  • A young John Lennon lived nearby and played in the grounds. It eventually inspired him to write the song Strawberry Fields Forever. 

    The grounds and interactive exhibition 
  • Visitors through the exhibition learn about the site’s history and connection with The Salvation Army, including exclusive insights into the former Salvation Army children’s home, John Lennon’s childhood and the writing and recording of the famous song, as told by John’s close friends and family. 
  • The Imagine More Café offers a tempting menu including breakfast, lunch and snacks, sourced from local producers. 
  • The shop stocks a wide range of exclusive Strawberry Field memorabilia. An online shop is also available 
  • The gardens, where John Lennon used to play as a child, offer a calm space for reflection and a place to explore spirituality. 

    Responsible Tourism 
  • Profits from the visitor centre help to fund the Steps to Work programme, which supports local young people, aged 18-25 with learning disabilities and other barriers to employment. The programme aims to remove barriers and support trainees into employment. The 12- 18 month employability programme includes an 8 week ‘work readiness course’ followed by 3, three month work placements with a local employer, which could include the Strawberry Field shop, visitor exhibition, café or garden. These work placements include two days a week at work and two days a week at The City of Liverpool College. 

Virtual Tours? This is the future………now!

“A fantastic experience everyone should take the virtual tour ……it’s the future now.”

Liverpool Virtual Tours
Liverpool Virtual Tours

After my first two Virtual tours, the reviews are in. See what you think:

“If you ever wanted an exclusive Liverpool/ Beatles tour and were unable to get over to Liverpool, this is the place to go.  Renowned Beatles, biographer, David Bedford, takes you and a virtual tour from Penny Land to the Cavern Club in 2 hours of photos, videos and maps.  

But it’s not just a tour! David gives you insight into the homes of the Beatles, their early life and how they met.   Even if you have visited Liverpool in the past, like I have, you will not get the facts that David provides.  Brush up on your Beatles history, as David has some questions during this interactive tour! All and all this is a 5 star guided tour!!”

Join us on one of our Virtual tours around Liverpool, whether you want to discover the Beatles Liverpool or find out more about the history of Liverpool, with Liddypool author and guide, David Bedford.

“A fantastic experience everyone should take the virtual tour ……it’s the future now.” Plastic EP, Australia

“An excellent experience and a wonderful diversion from the pandemic. David is engaging, funny and endearing – highly recommended.” William Sibley

How does It Work?

When you join a tour you will be sent a unique link to join using Zoom. David will then conduct the tour live with you with the chance to interact, ask questions and be tested yourself!! Places are limited per tour, unless you want your own, VIP, tour, which is just for you.

“Fantastic job!!  I learned lots of new details!  Did not know the 27 Cedar Grove location!  Some other details that were really fun to know.  I will sign up again.  Great job.” Paul Clinton

Convinced? Come and Join Me

Come to Liverpool Virtual Tours and book your online Beatles tour now.

David Bedford

Join Me For a Virtual Beatles Tour of Liverpool

John Lennon on the Isle of Man
John Lennon on the Isle of Man

During the lockdown and pandemic, Beatles fans are not able to visit Liverpool for a Beatles tour.

So, instead of welcoming fans to Liverpool, I am hosting Virtual Beatles Tours of Liverpool online. The first ones are coming up this week, on 15th and 18th July, as well as 1st August.

Lots more tours to follow too.


Who is the “Man on the Flaming Pie?” How did Beetles become Beatles?

Paul McCartney's Flaming Pie
Paul McCartney’s Flaming Pie

Flaming Pie by Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney’s 10th studio album, Flaming Pie, was released in 1997 and one of his best albums, in my opinion. In 2020, it is about to be reissued with a deluxe boxset.

Changing Names – from beetles to beatles

When John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison decided they had had enough of the name “Quarrymen”, it was their latest recruit, Stuart Sutcliffe, who suggested a new name. In tribute to their hero Buddy Holly, whose group was called The Crickets, Stuart suggested “Beetles”. But how would it be spelled? In 1960, the group used many spellings, and variations, of the name Beetles. Interestingly, before calling themselves The Crickets, Holly’s group considered the name “Beetles” too. (Fab one hundred and Four)

the Beetles “Myth”

One often quoted myth can be debunked, which was quoted by George Harrison. The name was not inspired by the 1953 Marlon Brando film The Wild One, which refers to the rival gang led by Lee Marvin as “The Beetles”. The film was banned in England by the British Board of Film Censors until 1968.

The Man on the Flaming Pie?

So what about the “Man on the Flaming Pie”? Although Paul McCartney had an album and a song; “I’m the Man on the Flaming Pie”, he wasn’t. On Page 2 of the first issue of Bill Harry’s Mersey Beat, John Lennon wrote his biography of the origins of the group, which Bill Harry titled “Being a Short Diversion on the Origins of Beatles (Translated from The John Lennon).”

In it, Lennon wrote:

Many people ask what are Beatles? Why Beatles? Ugh, Beatles, how did the name arrive? So we will tell you. It came in a vision – a man appeared on a flaming pie and said unto them ‘From this day on you are Beatles with an ‘A’. Thank you, mister man, they said, thanking him.

Meet the real “Man on the Flaming Pie”

For years, many have scoffed at this as a bit of fun. However, there is a true story behind the “man on the flaming pie”, as detailed in The Fab one hundred and Four. His name is Royston Ellis, and he was a Beat Poet who visited Liverpool, and was backed by a group, known as The Beetles, at Liverpool University. I interviewed him for the book, and he told me the story of what happened in Gambier Terrace, looking every bit like a Beatnik paradise. He sat there with John, Paul, George and Stu, and discussed the possibility of them coming back down to London to back him as a beat group.

While there, they had an experience with a drug, of sorts, remembered by John later:

Beat Poet Royston Ellis, whom The Beetles, not Beatles, supported in Liverpool. Ellis was the man on the flaming pie
Royston Ellis

‘By the way, the first dope, from a Benzedrine inhaler, was given to The Beatles (John, George, Paul and Stuart) by an (in retrospect) obviously ‘English cover version of Allen – one Royston Ellis, known as beat-poet (he read poetry whilst we played 12-bar blues at the local in-place!).
So give the saint his due.
John Lennon

Record Mirror where Royston Ellis refers to the Beatles, but showing the spelling of The Beetles, and how they could come down to London
Record Mirror mentioning The Beetles

Whether it was under the influence of “Vicks” or not, Royston Ellis and John Lennon had a discussion about their group’s name. In a newspaper report, Ellise refers to the group The Beetles, and how he is hoping to bring them down to London as his backing group. “John and George liked the idea, though Paul and Stu were less keen.”

Beetles with an “A”

“I suggested that since they liked the beat scene and they were coming to London to back me, a beat poet, why not spell it with an ‘A’? I had bought a chicken pie and mushrooms for dinner. I might have had the money but I did not know much about cooking, and the result was that I overcooked the mushrooms and burnt the chicken pie. I have always assumed that gave rise to John’s reference to ‘a man on a flaming pie’ suggesting they call themselves Beatles with an A.” (Fab one hundred and Four)

And very soon afterwards, they settled on Beatles with an “A”, never to be changed.

For the full story of the Beatles names in 1960, and the interviews, see The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles.

David Bedford

Liddypod 11 – The Country of Liverpool

The Country of Liverpool
The Country of Liverpool

Liddypod 11

Liddypod is back after a short absence during the coronavirus pandemic and we have started with this new episode. My partner in podcast, Paul Beesley, interviews me as we discuss my upcoming new book, “The Country of Liverpool”. We have a good old chinwag about the country music scene in Liverpool, skiffle, The Quarrymen and The Beatles and how their roots are firmly in country music.