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Who backed The Beatles? (2) PDF Print E-mail

Horst Fascher: He was born in 1926 in Hamburg.

In 1962, when the Beatles were performing at the Star-Club, Fascher was the manager of this well-known club.

It was largely thanks to Horst Fascher that the "Liverpool" epoch began in Hamburg. The thing is, being a reasonably well-known former boxer (featherweight, competing for both Hamburg and West Germany) during his sporting career, at the beginning of 1960, Fascher, in London for the world boxing championships, went in his spare time to the London Two I's Club, where Tony Sheridan was then performing.

Horst liked the singer so much that when he returned to Hamburg he was quick to advise Bruno Koschmider, the well-known owner of a local club, the Kaiserkeller, at which he also worked as a bouncer, to invite Tony Sheridan to perform in Hamburg. As the organisers had anticipated, the success of this young Londoner's tour exceeded all expectations, and this brought with it the arrival of many British musicians to Hamburg. And as we know, in the summer of 1960 the Beatles arrived here for the first time. Everyone knows how crime-ridden these places were at that time, but the Beatles, thanks to the support of Horst Fascher and his countless friends and acquaintances from the local boxing academy, had nothing to worry about.

As for Fascher, he would later move from the Kaiserkeller to work at the Top Ten, and, subsequently, at the Star Club. And then, early in 1962, on the instructions of the manager of the Star Club, he travelled to Liverpool, where, on 22 January 1962, he concluded a contract with the Beatles for further performances by the Liverpudlians at Hamburg's Star Club.

It's worth noting that Fascher achieved this contract, also because he offered the Beatles better pay than the owner of another Hamburg club, the Top Ten, which was also very keen for the Beatles to play at its venue.

Subsequently, several years later, Horst Fascher wrote his memoires - Errinerungen an den Star Club [Memories of the Star Club], published by the Penthouse publishing house in 1985.

Concluding this section, we note that at a famous New Year's Eve show, Fascher sang a few songs with the Beatles. These included "Hallelujah, I Love Her So" and "I Saw Her Standing There". Sadly, only "Hallelujah, I Love Her So" made its way onto disc, and it guaranteed Horst Fascher a place forever in the story of the legendary quartet from Liverpool. His wife sent the manuscript of his book to Britain. Unfortunately, though, this parcel was lost in the post. Mel also had another finished book "Living The Beatles Legend", written in collaboration with John Cornell. At one time the publishers Grosset and Dunlap had planned to print it, but the book remained unpublished.

Friends Group - these are Pattie Harrison, Marianne Faithfull, ?[sic] Jagger, Keith Richards, Donovan, "The Fool", Mike Nesmith of The Monkees, and staff of the Beatles Boutique ?[sic]. All these friends and colleagues of the Beatles took part in the recording of the song "A Day In The Life", which took place between 19 January 1967 and 22 February 1967.

Billy Fury: It was simply impossible to omit him. His really name is Ronald Wycherley. He was born on 17 April 1941 and went on to become Liverpool's first rock singer. At some point he was a classmate of Ringo Starr at Dingle Vale Secondary School. Billy was a fairly well-known singer in the 1960s. His hits, including "Maybe Tomorrow", "A Thousand Stars", "Wondrous Place", "Halfway To Paradise" and "Letter Full of Tears", reached dizzy heights in the charts. At one time he and his manager Larry Parnes considered The Silver Beatles as a possible backing group for him.

Billy himself loved the Beatles and he really wanted to perform with them, but Larry Parnes wasn't keen on The Silver Beatles' ancient drummer, Tommy Moore, so it was another group, Cass And The Cassanovas [sic], who went on tour with Billy.

The Beatles were aware of all of this and cordially turned Fury down. On 21 October 1962 all the Beatles went to the Empire Theatre to watch the show in which Billy Fury was performing. Later, with Ringo Starr, Billy appeared in the film "That'll Be The Day".

Sadly, the life of this talented singer was short. He died of a heart attack on 28 January 1982. Beforehand, Billy had been working until the early hours on his new album, which was due to come out ahead of his next tour.

This is how he remains in our memory - Billy Fury, a good Liverpudlian bloke, who really loved the Beatles (who returned the sentiment) but who through force of circumstance was unable to perform with them, even though everything pointed to this being a successful partnership.

Mal Evans: He was a friend of the Beatles who referred to him as "Big Mal". The 26-year old Mal was working as a telecommunications engineer at a post office building adjacent to the Cavern Club. One day, Evans, decided to drop in for a drink at the Cavern Club during his lunch-break. He really liked the club and became a regular customer there. It was here that he became friends with George Harrison, who soon introduced Mal to the Cavern's manager, Ray McFall. The latter was immediately struck by Evans's "large proportions" - he was 6' 2" - and offered him a job as a bouncer at the club. Evans agreed. However, he would only work there for three months because Brian Epstein quickly offered Mal the job of road manager for the Beatles, an offer he readily took up.

At the time Evans was living with his wife, Mel, and their child in Mossley Hill. Mel was utterly against her husband's new job since she realised that she would see little of him now. Mal, by contrast, was impatient to take to the road, and therefore followed his heart. He wrote about his adventures while travelling the world with Beatles in the specialist publication Beatles Monthly. He took part in many Beatles projects. It was he who appeared as a swimmer asking for directions to the White Cliffs of Dover in the film "Help!", and he also features in the films for television "Magical Mystery Tour" and "Let It Be".

It is Evans who plays the organ ? [sic] in "You Won't See Me" (Rubber Soul, 1965), sings in the choir in the song "Yellow Submarine", ? [sic] 1966, "Yellow Submarine" (1969) [sic], plays the bass harmonium in "Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite", one of the pianos in "A Day In The Life" ("Sgt. Pepper"), the tambourine in "Dear Prudence", and the trumpet in "Helter Skelter" (The Beatles (White Album) 2 LPs (1968); he plays the anvil in "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" ("Abbey Road" (1969) and sings backing vocals in "You Know My Name" ("Look Up The Number") (1970).

Mal Evans found and helped to sign the group The Iveys [sic] for the Apple label. The group would later be known as Badfinger. Evans was also co-producer of Jay ? [sic] Lomans's record. When Allen Klein arrived at Apple Corps and began sacking company staff in droves, Evans abandoned his wife and two children and left for America. He decided to begin a new life but the years spent with the Beatles had made their mark. He was subject to occasional bouts of desperate depression. One day, when he was suffering the latest bout of savage depression, the woman he was living with in Los Angeles, who had a five-year old daughter, called the police. Evans, clutching an air pistol, locked himself in a room. When two police officers burst into the room and saw Evans with the air pistol, without further ado, they fired six bullets into him. He died instantly.

Len Garry: He was a schoolmate of a close friend of John, Ivan Vaughan. He started playing in The Quarry Men as a regular member of the group on the bass, made, incidentally, out of a tea-chest which produced reasonably good bass sounds, when Nigel Whalley decided to devote all his time to managing The Quarry Men.

Johnny Gentle: The real name of this Liverpudlian singer is John Askew. He owed his career to the impresario Larry Parnes - then the biggest name in British pop music. It was Parnes who "dragged" the former apprentice carpenter from obscurity and gave him the fine-sounding stage name Johnny Gentle. And Parnes offered the Beatles the opportunity to back Gentle on his two-week tour of Scotland. They happily agreed, calling themselves The Silver Beatles for the duration of the tour.

What's more, each of them decided to adopt a pseudonym: Paul, who loved fancy names, called himself Paul Ramon, and George, who took leave from his job to go on this tour, took the pseudonym Carl in honour of Carl Perkins, and called himself Carl Harrison. Stuart Sutcliffe remembered the name of a Russian artist - Nicholas de Stael - and decided to use the pseudonym Stu De Stael. Only John refused to adopt a pseudonym, although everyone urged him to do so. Shortly before the trip to Scotland with Johnny Gentle, Casey Jones, leader of the Liverpool group Cass and the Cassanovas, told the Beatles that the name The Beatles sounded too short and that long names were currently in vogue.

He suggested that they call themselves Long John and The Silver Beatles. John categorically refused to do so, only agreeing to do so in the end for expediency's sake. At the audition organised by Larry Parnes at Liverpool's Wyvern Club on 10 May 1960, the group was called simply The Silver Beatles. And again, John refused to use the pseudonym Long John. Maybe he didn't want this pseudonym knowing that a well-known brand of Scottish whisky had the same name? Probably not. Could he have found a substitute for this pseudonym?

No. John wanted to be simply John Lennon, and that's how he remained. So, the Silver Beatles and Johnny Gentle arrived in Scotland. During this tour they covered 300 miles by road, performing at fairly rundown dance halls and other insalubrious venues. Freezing beds in unheated hotels and hunger - the Beatles and Johnny more often than not lived on a bowl of soup a day - awaited them! And to cap it all, on 23 May 1960 Gentle, driving their van on the road between Inverness and Fraserburgh, managed to crash it.

As a result the Beatles' then drummer, Tommy Moore, lost two front teeth and, with various scratches and other minor injuries, ended up in hospital. Almost straightaway John and the local coordinator of the tour hauled him out of there and sent him to play the gig. On the whole, the Silver Beatles did not appeal to the Scottish impresario Duncan McKinnon, who had organised this tour. After only the first week of their performances he wanted to send the Beatles back to Liverpool, but Johnny Gentle talked him out of this, even though he, Gentle, wasn't too keen on the Silver Beatles either.

He recalled that "when I first set eyes on them (i.e. the Beatles) I wondered what on earth Parnes had sent me". Later, though, Johnny not only changed his opinion of the Beatles, but after the Scottish tours went to their concert at the Grosvenor Ballroom, Wallasey, on 2 July 1960, and joined the Beatles in several numbers. Gentle also recalled that having established good relations with the Beatles during this tour, he worked on the song "I've Just Fallen For Someone" and played it to John Lennon. There were some mistakes in the song and Lennon helped Gentle to correct them ? [sic]. Gentle, now with a new pseudonym, Darren Young, performed it on a Parlophone single.


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