Friday, April 23, 2010

The Nerk Twins

April 23, 1960

During Easter break, John and Paul decided on a change of scene and hitchhiked to Reading, England.  Paul's cousin Betty and her husband, Mike, operated a neighborhood pub there called "The Fox and Hounds".  Mostly they were there to hang out and pull pints at the bar, but Mike, knowing of their interest in music, suggested that they might like to do a set for the patrons.  They agreed on the moniker "The Nerk Twins" and this weekend was the only time they used it.  One of the song requests they did, no doubt with tongue in cheek, was Les Paul and Mary Ford's "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise".  (I can just hear John doing that, even today, can't you?)

Paul McCartney recently said it was the smallest venue they ever played and they were pretty much ignored, but they did hand-draw some posters announcing the appearance.  Can you image what one of those would be worth if it turned up in somebody's attic today?

Recent "Fox and Hounds" photo from the Online Daily Mail

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Day the Music Died

April 17th, 1960

I'm always amazed when reading the Beatles story, about how it seems that every event seems to have happened when it did almost as if preordained.  One of those events, tragic and meaningful only in retrospect, happened just 50 years ago. One of the rock prototypes for the early Beatles, an American, died in a car crash while on tour in England, just a couple of hundred miles south of Liverpool.  It happened just one month after he was a key figure in bringing American rock and roll to the city of Liverpool.  Eddie Cochrane was his name.    His big song was "20 Flight Rock".  If you want to see what a massive influence he had on the early Beatles, just check out this youtube.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Couple of Friends

By some quirk of the English education system,  John Lennon, a rather unpromising student but brilliant iconoclast, had gotten a place a the Liverpool College of Art.  He brought his music, which by this time was mostly American early rock and roll, with him to school and would organize jam sessions in the common room of the college.  It was at the college that he met and befriended a very promising art student named Stuart Sutcliffe.

The Beatles story is full of lots of  "cameo" players who arrived, played their parts and then exited the stage, after having done their bit in advancing the story. There is no one, however, as important to the story as Stuart Sutcliffe.  John being the leader of all his friends activities, eventually prevailed on Stu to obtain a bass guitar so as to participate in the musical aspect of his life.

Another friend was called Pete Best.  Pete's mother, Mona, was a very friendly woman of East Indian heritage. In the basement of her large Victorian home, she decided to establish a "teen club" to bring in a few bob and to give her son, Pete, a place to hang out with his friends.  The club was called "The Casbah" and it became a place for the Beatles to hang out and play their music.  Pete, though not yet a member of the Beatles, did play the drums.