WITH YOUR LONG BLONDE HAIR…
They emerged from the Liverpool beat boom, but when that scene faltered, The Merseys suddenly became way hipper. The swinging 60s twosome were given songs by Pete Townshend and prompted pandemonium when they played... but the fun did not last. Spencer Leigh tells their wry, sorrowful tale
If you see The Merseybeats at a club or on a touring package show, they perform their hits from the 60s (I Think Of You, Don’t Turn Around, Wishin’ And Hopin’) and also a Top 10 hit from 1966, Sorrow, which, strictly speaking, wasn’t by The Merseybeats at all. It was a hit for The Merseys: the duo, Tony Crane and Billy Kinsley who came from The Merseybeats. Why did they change their name and why didn’t it last?
One of the younger Liverpool groups, The Merseybeats had hits during 1963/4, the vintage years of Mersey beat. Unfortunately, they had poor management and were blacklisted by the National Promoters’ Association, but Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, who handled The Who, resolved the issues. They returned to the Top 40 with covers of James Brown’s I Love You Yes I Do and then Jerry Butler’s I Stand Accused.
The new managers found turmoil within the group – Tony Crane and Billy Kinsley were reliable and wanted a long career, but guitarist Aaron Williams and drummer John Banks were partygoers. Aaron had a friend called Judd the Pill (!) and John proved unpredictable, once refusing to leave a pub in Morecambe to go on stage. The group disbanded and Kit and Chris thought that Tony and Billy should drop their instruments and perform big-voiced, echo-drenched productions like the Walker …
by Spencer Leigh
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