Welcome to the Merseybeat section of Beatles Now.
A question asked many times is, would there have been the Beatles without Merseybeat? Well, the answer has got to be a resounding yes!
The Beatles were certainly part of the Merseybeat scene, they played the same clubs, they drank in the same pubs and they dreamed of making a piece of plastic that spins at 45rpm.. What the Beatles had above the others was the drive to get there, the talent to write songs from an early age, knowing that this was the way forward and also one Brian Epstein. Eppy worked tirelessly initially to get them gigs outside of Liverpool, then in London, to get them their record deal with EMI and once they met George Martin well that was it. Meeting George was a marriage made in heaven and the old cliche, the rest is history could never had been put to a better use.
But what of the other bands on the Merseybeat scene?
The Epstein stable including Cilla Black, The Fourmost & Billy J Kramer was almost assured of success with Lennon & McCartney supplying material that enabled them to achieve their initial chart breakthroughs.
Gerry Marsden was writing his own material for the Pacemakers after initial chart success with a couple of Mitch Murray songs 'How Do You Do It? & I Like It.
The Searchers mostly relied on the genius of Tony Hatch to supply them with hits while they wrote some brilliant B-sides. The Swinging Blue Jeans, The Merseybeats, The Mojo's & The Undertakers all achieved notable success in varying degrees before the Merseybeat boom subsided.
Some bands were happier on the stage rather than the confines of a studio. The Big Three were a prime example, their live at the Cavern EP is an out & out classic but their studio output could never match their live performances. The same could be said for two Liverpool showman Rory Storm (and the Hurricanes) & Faron (Faron's Flamingos) who could never match their stage performances but were stars of the Liverpool live scene.
The recorded output from the Merseybeat era is increased substantially from the time the bands spent in Hamburg. Some, Lee Curtis & Kingsize Taylor had greater success in Germany or West Germany as it was in the 60's and probably missed out on bigger success in the UK because they remained in Hamburg under contract when Merseybeat was at it's peak in the UK. Kingsize Taylor & the Dominoes would often end up in the studio in the early hours, record an album, see it released under a different name and never receive any royalties.
Other bands who made it big in Germany were Ian & the Zodiacs, the Undertakers & the first all girl group The Liverbirds. It was a big decision to give up your day job in the 60's and many bands including the original Remo Four/Group One remained in Liverpool where they could hold down a full time job, play nightly with the band and keep their wives happy! The Merseybeat scene is still has a presence in Liverpool with the Merseybeats, the New Undertakers, Lee Curtis, Faron, Karl Terry and the Cruisers, the Hideaways, the Kirby's, & Beryl Marsden amongst others still playing live and occasionally releasing CD's in today's Merseybeat scene....