These books are available on Amazon, but if you want a signed copy, then if you order from my shop, then you will get a signed copy from David.
“Liddypool” is available as a paperback or hardback; “The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles” is only in hardback; “Finding the Fourth Beatle” is available in hardback, paperback and ebook too.
When you’ve been researching The Beatles for nearly 20 years like I have, there aren’t many things that can surprise me. Having gone to Ringo’s school in the Dingle, and lived near Penny Lane for 30 years; my three daughters were born in the same hospital as John Lennon, and attended the same primary/ elementary school as John and George. But there was one surprise waiting for me when I spoke to Charlie Roberts.
Meet Charlie Roberts
Charlie decided to ask his friend Colin Hanton’s group The Quarrymen to perform in his street in Toxteth; Rosebery Street. The occasion was the 750th anniversary of the founding of Liverpool in 1207. Charlie thought that a skiffle group would add some great fun to the celebrations. Not only did he invite The Quarrymen, but when he borrowed a little camera and took a few photos. These turned out to be the very first photos ever taken of John Lennon performing with The Quarrymen.
“At that time,” remarked Charlie, “The Quarrymen would play anywhere for free, because they were doing it for fun. They became more serious after Paul joined, and maybe John was taking it serious, but it was really just friends having some fun. They all turned up, and set themselves up on the back of a wagon that Fred Tyler had brought along. He also wired up a speaker system so that they had something for the microphones, so they made quite a loud noise, which was good.”
“I thought they were great, playing good music and entertaining. When you compare them to other bands, I suppose they weren’t that good, but I enjoyed listening to them, and so did the crowd “I can’t remember what songs they played, but it was good fun. The street was decorated with bunting, and we had sandwiches and drinks, and had a good time.”
John Lennon causing trouble!
“There was an incident involving John, who seemed to upset some of the lads in the crowd. I think he had been winking at some of the girls, and it became obvious that there could be trouble, so as soon as they finished, they grabbed their instruments, and ran into my mum’s house. Some reports have said that the police came and escorted them to the bus stop, but The Quarrymen just stayed in our house for about an hour, and then after everyone had gone, they went home.”
“The party was such a success,” said Charlie, “that the City Council awarded us a prize for the best decorated street, and so the following week we had a second party, with entertainment provided by The Merseysippi Jazz Band, all paid for by the City Council, which was great.”
Charlie followed The Quarrymen to many of the venues they played, like Wilson Hall in Garston, where one particular incident sticks in his memory. “I remember Wilson Hall, when we all had to suddenly run away after the performance. I don’t know who started it or what it was about, but everyone legged it! I was okay, because I hadn’t been performing, so nobody knew me, but the others had to run. The first thing to discard was the tea-chest bass, which was too big and heavy to run with.”
The Quarrymen often went to “Barneys”, the club at St. Barnabas Church Hall. But, like most venues, alcohol was not available. “We used to meet in the Rose of Mossley pub on Rose Lane,” recalled Charlie, “and then we would go on to “Barneys”. We all had to wear proper suits and ties to get in there. After “Barneys” closed, we would then go to the Dutch Café on Smithdown Road, which was open late, one of the few places still open into the early hours of the morning.”
Cement in the Lock!
One of Charlie’s funniest memories takes place in an area called Ford to the north of Liverpool: “The Quarrymen had been booked to play at a party, and so we all travelled up there on the bus as usual. However, the party was in a house, and so there was not much room for the boys to play. By the time they had realised what time it was, the last bus had gone, and so they all decided to stay the night in the house. At some point, John and Paul went out for cigarettes, and there were obviously road works nearby, because they returned with a warning lamp they’d picked up. Everything went quiet, but when we tried to go home, we went to open the door, but somebody had put cement into the door lock! Nobody admitted doing it, but we all had our suspicions, because only John and Paul had been out. So, we all just left through the back door and said nothing.”
Charlie also talked about driving around with his friend Arthur Wong.
“Arthur’s dad had a very good business,” Charlie recalled, “and so Arthur had a Vauxhall Cresta PA, a great car with fins, two-tone paint, very much like the American cars. We used to drive around, and I clearly remember John and Paul on the back seat of the car, with Paul trying to master ‘Raunchy’. We had a great time driving around in it with Arthur and we would often end up at Arthur’s home at 42, Heydale Road, in Mossley Hill.”
John Lennon Played in My Road?
And that is where the coincidence comes in! Because, since 1989, I have lived in Heydale Road! And when we moved into this road, Mrs Wong still lived in 42, Heydale Road. As you can see, wherever I go, I am surrounded by The Beatles! A few years ago, I was giving a talk at the Liverpool History Show, and a man came up to me and wanted to see my book, The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles. Why? Because he was Arthur Wong’s brother, and told me how he remembered Charlie and friends hanging out with them. Small world this Beatle world isn’t it?
In June 1960, with no drummer, and very few gigs, Allan Williams
arranged for The Beatles to back Janice the Stripper at a strip club in Upper
Parliament Street, Liverpool, that Williams ran with his business partner, Lord
Woodbine. Paul played drums, accompanied by John, George and Stuart on
a tiny stage.
How? Why? A Stripper?
After some initial resistance, the four Silver Beetles had haggled out an equitable financial deal. Supposedly, Stuart was a tough negotiator and got them a fairly decent fee. “Why so much?”, Williams had asked them during the negotiations. Paul had replied, “For the indiginity. The bloody indignity of it all!”
Lord Woodbine recalled the club, and The Silver Beetles’ appearance, very well. “Allan Williams and I used to run some clubs together, and The Beatles used to play there. There were actually two clubs. In the first one, they used to play at dinner time (noon) until 3:00pm. The second was a striptease club in a basement, called the Cabaret Artistes Club.
Their job was to play music for the strippers. The strippers used to get them to play very slow numbers, which The Beatles did not really like. There was only one who wanted an up-tempo song. She used a hula hoop in her act. The Beatles weren’t interested in the strippers or the music. They just did it for the money.”
Paul obviously remembered the occasion very well, in a private letter to Bill Harry, for inclusion in Mersey Beat. “John, George, Stu and I used to play at a Strip Club in Upper Parliament Street,” recalled Paul, “backing Janice the Stripper. At the time we wore little lilac jackets, or purple jackets, or something. Well, we played behind Janice and naturally we looked at her, the audience looked at her, everybody looked at her, just sort of normal. At the end of the act, she would turn round and, well, we were all young lads, we’d never seen anything like it before, and all blushed, four blushing red-faced lads.
Janice the Stripper
“Janice brought sheets of music for us to play all her arrangements. She gave us a bit of Beethoven and the ‘Spanish Fire Dance’. So, in the end, we said ‘We can’t read music, sorry, but instead of the ‘Spanish Fire Dance’ we can play ‘The Harry Lime Cha-Cha’, which we’ve arranged ourselves, and instead of Beethoven you can have ‘Moonglow’ or ‘September Song’. Take your pick. Instead of the ‘Sabre Dance’ we’ll give you ‘Ramrod’. So that’s what she got. She seemed quite satisfied anyway.”
And The Beatles refused to play a strip club ever again! And they didn’t; well, until they went to Hamburg two months later!
As Paul was the drummer that day, it wouldn’t be the last time he sat behind the drum kit. In our recent book, “Finding the Fourth Beatle“, we discuss the times he sat in with other groups, plus the tracks that Paul played drums on for The Beatles. While working in the studio on the “White Album”, Ringo walked out on the group. Needing to keep going, Paul sat behind the drumkit, playing on “Back In The USSR”, “Dear Prudence”, “Martha My Dear” and “The Ballad Of John and Yoko”.
So from backing a stripper, to back in the USSR, Macca was more than a capable drummer, though was he as good as Ringo? We discuss that in depth in “Finding the Fourth Beatle“.
David grew up in the Dingle, Liverpool, near the bottom of the street, Madryn Street, where Ringo Starr was born. He later attended St. Silas School, the same primary school that Ringo Starr, Billy Fury and Alf Lennon (John’s father).
He and his wife, Alix, moved to live near Penny Lane, where they have lived for the last 30 years. Their three daughters were born in Oxford Street Maternity Hospital, where John Lennon has been born. The three girls all attended Dovedale School, the same school that John Lennon and George Harrison attended. David has been the Chair of Governors there for nearly 15 years.
When illness forced him to retire at the age of 35, encouraged by his doctor, he began to read, research and write about The Beatles for the London Beatles Fan Club magazine, and helped to found the British Beatles Fan Club. Realising that so many stories about The Beatles and Liverpool were incorrect, he set out to dispel the myths by interviewing the people who knew The Beatles best.
The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles
His second book, the follow-up to “Liddypool”, “The Fab one hundred and four: The Evolution of The Beatles” was published in 2013 to further critical acclaim, with original interviews and rewriting Beatles history, by telling of the 104 people who contributed to the early history of The Beatles.
The Beatles Book
In 2016, he published a book with original Beatles biographer Hunter Davies, plus Spencer Leigh and Keith Badman, called “The Beatles Book”.
Inspector Rocke: That’ll Be The Day That I Die
As an aside from his Beatles books, David wrote a crime fiction novel in 2017 around a fictional Liverpool detective called Inspector Rocke. Each story is set around a key moment in Beatles history, and features The Beatles themselves, though not as suspects!
Looking for Lennon
In 2018, he was the Associate Producer and Historian for the documentary feature film “Looking for Lennon”, which was nominated for a National Film Award.
Finding the Fourth Beatle
In 2018, he also published his third book, with co-author Garry Popper, called “Finding the Fourth Beatle“, about the 23 drummers who put the beat in The Beatles.
He has several other book projects, and much more, on the go.
On 19th October 1961, one of the greatest lineups 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. 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 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. 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. Find out more in “The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles” www.fab104.com
For many years, we have known that George Harrison, at the invitation of his school friend Paul McCartney, auditioned before John Lennon a few times. The place where he was successful, according to all sources, was on the top deck of a bus outside Wilson Hall in Garston. The date? 6th February 1958. Or was it? While researching my latest book, “The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles”, I re-examined the available evidence, with help from Quarrymen banjo player/ historian Rod Davis, especially looking at the exit from The Quarrymen of Eric Griffiths. We know that Eric left The Quarrymen because he was replaced by George. Eric put away his guitar and joined the Merchant Navy. I therefore obtained a copy of Eric’s Merchant Navy records (reproduced in the book) which shows that Eric joined his first ship on 11th February 1958! We could then see that Eric qualified as an officer cadet in January 1958, which means he would have signed up for the Merchant Navy in mid December 1957. Therefore, George must have joined The Quarrymen before the middle of December 1957 for Eric to have left and signed up for the Merchant Navy. When we check the records, The Quarrymen played at Wilson Hall on 7th December 1957, which makes this the likely date for George’s successful audition to join The Quarrymen. This means that John, Paul and George were together in a band by the end of 1957! To read the full story, get your copy of my book, “The Fab one hundred and Four” now at www.fab104.com David Bedford #arts & entertainment #Beatles #Quarrymen
On 14th May 1960, The Silver Beats – as they called themselves for this one occasion – the boys headed up to the north of Liverpool to appear at Lathom Hall. They arrived there with their current lineup – John, Paul, George, Stuart and Tommy Moore. For some reason, Tommy didn’t bring his drums!! So, he asked a fellow drummer, Cliff Roberts from Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes, if he could use his drums. He declined! So, drummerless, the lads approached Cliff Roberts and asked him to sit in with them that night, which he duly did. That night, they were: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Cliff Roberts: The Silver Beats. Roberts recalled The Silver Beats’ appearance that first night: “They were a scruffy bunch whose drummer hadn’t brought his kit and asked if he could borrow mine. I had a brand new Olympic kit that I hadn’t even used on stage myself, so I naturally refused.” They performed six numbers together, as Roberts recalled, “four rock ‘n’ roll standards that all the groups played, and two originals that they had to teach me.” Cliff Roberts is therefore a member of the “Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles” Find out more at www.fab104.com David Bedford
Happy Nat from the Beatles Rarity.com interviewed David about “The Fab104 – The Evolution of The Beatles” Discover why Happy Nat says this is the best book for learning about the early history of The Beatles. http://bit.ly/1iushoe
David Bedford’s latest Beatles book, “The Fab One Hundred and Four,” is a delightful and essential read. Just when you thought everything’s been said about the Beatles, and there wasn’t much left to learn about the history of the group, David delivers the goods by exploring a whole new angle — looking at all the people, some known and some hardly known, that played a key role in the evolution of the group right up to the point where they were John, Paul, George, & Ringo, on the brink of super-stardom. Ken Michaels, “Every Little Thing” Beatles radio show Read more at http://www.fab104.com/blog.html http://bit.ly/1h1UTot
#Beatles #Quarrymen Review of The Fab 104. “While many other tomes on the subject will be sitting on dusty library shelves unread in the future, David’s books will be popular social histories of times well loved by Beatles fans forever and shared with children and generations of new fans the world over! For those fans who want to know the real stories, want the real insight of the early Beatles and their times in Liverpool, David’s book is the best there is.” Paul Clinton http://bit.ly/1hkxyUd