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Author Topic: The Beatles 60's Rivals  (Read 2147 times)

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Bill Harry

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Re: The Beatles 60's Rivals
« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2008, 12:38:13 PM »

Yes, particularly the Motown numbers. If you want I could let you know the entire story of the Mersey Motown sound
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BlueMeanie

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Re: The Beatles 60's Rivals
« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2008, 12:39:31 PM »

Quote from: 1062
Yes, particularly the Motown numbers. If you want I could let you know the entire story of the Mersey Motown sound

I think that would make a great read Bill. Thanks.
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Bill Harry

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Re: The Beatles 60's Rivals
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2008, 01:31:04 PM »

One of the major musical influences on the Liverpool groups at the beginning of the 1960s was the Tamla Motown label, created in Detroit by Berry Gordy Junior in 1959. Berry had originally derived the name Tamla from a Debbie Reynolds film 'Tammy' and Motown was an abbreviation of the nickname of Detroit: Motor City. Berry actually used the name Tamla as a label in America in 1959 and Motown in 1961. The name Tamla Motown was used on the European releases.

In Britain in 1962, Tamla Motown was distributed by a small record label, Oriole, and the largest market for the records by the Detroit groups was on Merseyside.

At that time I began to feature Motown regularly in Mersey Beat, profiling the artists and reviewing the latest releases. Oriole Records began to take half page advertisements due to the interest aroused by the label in Liverpool.

When I received the latest Motown singles I'd take them down to the Cavern and ask Bob Wooler to play them. When I took 'Fingertips' by Little Stevie Wonder, Ringo was there and asked me if he could have the record. I gave it to him. When, shortly after, he told me that it was his favourite record I told John Schroeder of Oriole who arranged for a complete Tamla Motown collection to be sent to Ringo.

The Tamla Motown numbers were included in the repertoire of the Liverpool bands. They adapted the songs to fit in with the developing Liverpool sound, the basic three guitars/drums/harmony line-up which produced a hybrid sound, known locally as 'the Mersey Motown sound.'

This particular sound found its way on record when a number of Mersey acts recorded their own versions of Motown numbers. Faron's Flamingos recorded 'Do You Love Me' and 'Shake Sherry', Ian & the Zodiacs with 'Beechwood 45786', 'Beryl Marsden with 'When The Love Light Shines', Steve Aldo with 'Can I Get A Witness', The Trends with 'You're A Wonderful One', the Dimensions with 'Tears On My Pillow' and so on. Numbers such as 'Money' were also part of the repertoire of numerous Mersey bands such as the Searchers, Undertakers, Dominoes and All Stars.

Differing from the Mersey-Motown sound was the straight Motown-sounding presentation of numbers by local black vocal group the Chants. I lent them my albums of the Miracles and the Marvellettes which they literally wore out by playing them so often!

In 1963 the Motown distribution in Britain went to EMI's Stateside label and Motown artists soon began to have their first British hits, particularly since the Beatles had begun to mention the Motown artists in interviews. 1963 is the year in which the Beatles made their own Mersey-Motown recordings, with no less than three Motown numbers on their 'With The Beatles' album: 'Please Mr. Postman', 'You Really Got A Hold On Me' and 'Money (That's What I Want).' When Smokey Robinson heard that they'd recorded his composition 'You Really Got A Hold On Me', he said, "When they recorded it, it was one of the most flattering things that ever happened to me' I listened to it over and over again, not to criticize, but to enjoy it." He was also to comment, "They were not only respectful of us, they were downright worshipful. Whenever reporters asked them about their influences, they'd go into euphoria about Motown. I dig them, not only for their songwriting talent, but for their honesty."

The Beatles also requested that Mary Wells be included on their autumn tour of Britain in 1964. When I interviewed Mary backstage she asked me if I could get her a Lennon & McCartney number to record. I went for a chat with John and told him and he said he'd write one for her, but he didn't in the end. Mary was later to pay her own tribute to the Beatles with an album of Lennon & McCartney songs, 'Love Songs To The Beatles.' Diana Ross & the Supremes, Gladys Knight & the Pips and Jimmy Ruffin were among several Motown artists who began to record Lennon & McCartney material, a sort of Motown-Mersey sound! Brian Epstein also became a fan of Motown artists and brought the Four Tops over to Britain to tour. Paul McCartney was later to forge a close association with Motown artists, recording 'Ebony and Ivory' with Stevie Wonder and 'This Girl Is Mine', 'Say Say Say' and 'The Man' with Michael Jackson.

When promoters Peter Bletchford and Jeff Hale invited Mike and Rowena McCartney and Virginia and I to attend a convention in Detroit, Martha Reeves took us around the Motown Museum where we discovered that, ironically, the only reference to the Mersey Motown Sound was an inaccurate one. There is a picture of the Dave Clark Five with the Supremes which is captioned 'Liverpool Meets Detroit.

Although the rock 'n' roll influences of rock artists such as Carl Perkins, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and other musicians have been acknowledged in the history of the Mersey Sound, little has been told of the effect Motown acts had on the Liverpool artists. A&R man John Schroeder provided me with some of his memories
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Kevin

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Re: The Beatles 60's Rivals
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2008, 03:16:42 PM »

Excellent stuff Bill. Is the old Cunard Yanks handing out unavailable 45's to scouse urchins story just a myth? I take it most american music was available if you knew where to look?
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Bill Harry

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Re: The Beatles 60's Rivals
« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2008, 03:24:37 PM »



Yes, the Cunard Yanks story is a myth. Obviously, some of the Stewarts on ships brought presents, including records to younger brothers, but this had no real influence on the scene as every number covered by a Mersey band was available from record shops. Every number performed by the Beatles, apart from their own compositions, was available on record in Liverpool. To try to get an edge Kingsize Taylor wrote to Chess Records in America for their catalogue, Earl Preston used to get records from his brother-in-law at the Burtonwood American base outside Liverpool and the Undertakers used to buy records at markets.

Incidentally, you might be interested in this:

In Helen Shapiro
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Kevin

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Re: The Beatles 60's Rivals
« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2008, 03:37:06 PM »

You're right - It was interesting.
It fascinates me how quickly and easily fiction becomes fact.
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Andy Smith

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Re: The Beatles 60's Rivals
« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2008, 10:34:08 PM »

Quote from: 971

8 / The Seekers - 4 albums - 1  # 1 - weeks on UK album chart - 261 weeks


 :-/

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Kevin

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Re: The Beatles 60's Rivals
« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2008, 09:16:14 AM »

^I really enjoyed The Seekers back then. Great songs and great vocals. Morningtown Ride still makes me go a bit weepy.
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BlueMeanie

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Re: The Beatles 60's Rivals
« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2008, 10:07:36 AM »

Quote from: 185
^I really enjoyed The Seekers back then. Great songs and great vocals. Morningtown Ride still makes me go a bit weepy.

The always sounded worryingly like one of those 'God Squad' groups to me. Like at any moment one of them was going to try and sell me religion!
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