Tony Bramwell is a good friend of mine, so don't take this the wrong way, but this is an e-mail I sent him this morning re his book Magical Mystery Tours:
I hope you are well.
I’ve been meaning to contact you for some time about the mention of Mersey Beat in your book, which you describe as “a tatty little roneo’d magazine.”
This is completely inaccurate. Roneo was a method of printing from a wax stencil. Every issue of Mersey Beat was a professionally printed newspaper, which is where all the money went. The first issue and the next couple of dozen issues were printed by James E. James, a professional printing company, just off London Road. The larger issues were printed by Swales of Widnes, owners of the Widnes Weekly News and the colour issued were printed by Marsh Lane Printers, a web offset company owned by the Liverpool Echo.
‘Tatty’ means ‘worn out, shabby, tawdry, or unkempt’. Why would you describe Mersey Beat in that way, which is quite demeaning and insulting and far from the truth?
The cover price was 3d in the old money. There were 5,000 sold of the very first issue. W.H.Smiths, Blackburns and Conlan’s distributed it throughout Merseyside and I delivered copies to Cramer & Lee, Crane’s, Rushworths, Nems and all the clubs and ballrooms.
“Stories about Rory Sullivan and Johnny Conscience” – who are they? Are you getting mixed up with Rory Storm and Johnny Guitar?
“musicians you never heard of again?” You mean Gerry & the Pacemakers, the Searchers, Cilla Black, Billy J. Kramer, the Swinging Bluejeans etc?
“Bill Harry claimed the title Mersey Beat as his own invention and registered it as a trademark.”
Don’t you think this is also insulting? I coined the phrase Mersey Beat, which is well documented. With limited companies at the time, a registered name was protected for the company. I allowed Billy Kinsley and Tony Crane to re-name their group the Mersey Beats. Brian Epstein personally asked my permission to use the name for his ‘Mersey Beat Showcase’ presentations and I allowed John Schroeder to call his albums ‘This Is Mersey Beat.’ When the media discovered the scene via the Beatles, the term they used was the Mersey Sound or the Liverpool Sound, not Mersey Beat.
The way your sentence is phrased implies that I took an existing name and copyrighted it as a trademark. This is untrue. I coined the phrase and I only trade-marked the name five years ago.
All these inaccuracies are probably due to the fact that you had a ghost writer and I am aware that things like this happen when you are relating your story to another person who was never around and had no knowledge of what you are talking about.
For instance, on your very first page, remembering December 27 1960, you have ‘Everybody in Liverpool knew that Gerry and the Pacemakers had just gone to Hamburg – as had the Silver Beatles…”
In August 1960, prior to going on their first trip to Hamburg, the lads confirmed the name The Beatles. They were billed as the Beatles in Hamburg and had dropped the name the Silver Beatles. Allan Williams had originally asked Rory Storm & the Hurricanes to go to Hamburg, but they were booked for a season at Butlins. He next asked Gerry Marsden, who turned him down because he wouldn’t give up his job. The Beatles were Allan’s third choice. Gerry agreed to turn professional and go to the Top Ten Club in Hamburg for the first time in 1961, so the information you have given is wrong.
Also: the billing. Brian Kelly booked the Beatles at the last minute via Bob Wooler. He had already paid for the Echo ads, so the Beatles weren’t billed at all. The only mention of the Beatles and Hamburg was on a poster which Neil Aspinall had done. There were no fliers advertising the Beatles from Hamburg.
I understand inaccuracies which crop up via ghost writers. If you want I could spend some time going through the book to let you know the other mistakes.