Obscure “Sgt. Pepper” People, with Liverpool Connections

 

“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

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8 Days A Week (I Ain’t Got Nothing But..)

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

You Can’t Beat The Beatles as The Beatmakers!

Gerry and the Pacemakers at Hulme Hall

Gerry and the Pacemakers at Hulme Hall

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

How John Lennon and Pete Shotton robbed a house for a tea-chest bass!

Bill Smith, Pete Shotton, John Lennon, Don Beattie and Michael Hill

Bill Smith, Pete Shotton, John Lennon, Don Beattie and Michael Hill

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

The Beatles: You Tell Me That It’s Evolution, well, you know…………or do you?

Could you tell someone how they went from the Quarrymen to the Beatles? I started researching it and therefore started writing “The FAB one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles”. And I was amazed – there were 104 people! I went looking for the musicians who played with every incarnation of the group, plus those who taught The Beatles to play, and those who played a significant part in the evolution of the Beatles, from the first Fab Four: John Lennon, Pete Shotton, Bill Smith and Eric Griffiths, to the famous Fab Four: John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Follow me on a journey from the very start of The Beatles to the end of 1962 when Ringo Starr had become the final piece of the jigsaw in the Fab Four.

It all started with John Lennon, and in particular, the influence of his mum Julia. Having been separated from his mother at the age of 5, he reconnected with her in his early teens, and she became a major instigator in Lennon’s musical journey. As Julia played banjo, ukulele and piano there was always music in the house, and she encouraged her son with his musical ambitions.

However, once he had a guitar, because he couldn’t play it or tune it properly, John tuned his guitar to his mother’s banjo, and so learned to play only banjo chords on his guitar. When he met Paul on 6th July 1957, he was playing banjo chords, which confused the young McCartney.

Julia also wanted to encourage him to learn to play the harmonica that his uncle George had given him. Julia’s neighbour, Arthur Pendleton, was a keen harmonica player, and so Julia sent young John to take lessons from Arthur. Those lessons, and not lessons from Delbert McLinton, helped to form the distinctive sound that caught the ear of George Martin, and underpinned the Beatles’ first hit singles.

Next time: how John acquired his first guitar.

For more information go to http://www.fab104.com

David Bedford

Arthur Pendleton who taught John to play harmonica

Arthur Pendleton who taught John to play harmonica

Do you know when George Harrison joined The Quarrymen? Beatles historian says think again

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