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Last updated:
October 24, 2009

Music To My Eras

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Track 4: The British Are Coming?

GERRY AND THE PACEMAKERS

What of the Beatles' British peers, many of whom also hailed from Liverpool?
I was only about 5 when the Beatles came to prominence so my memory of their status in the early sixties is a bit hazy but I suspect their dominance was not as clear cut at first as we now imagine 30 years later. For instance, it was Gerry and the Pacemakers who went to number 1 with each of their first 3 releases, a feat not equalled until another Liverpool band -
Frankie Goes to Hollywood - did it 20 years later.

 
  Film of the time shows Gerry and the boys had their share of screaming fans but what probably limited their appeal was the fact that it was "Gerry and some faceless nerks in suits".
There's something about the north-west accent that lends itself to singing r&b, and
Gerry Marsden had a good set of pipes on him. What he didn't have was a good haircut. And he was short. And although he wrote the haunting "Ferry Cross the Mersey" (Difford & Tilbrook eat your heart out) his songwriting talent never emerged as a threat to George Harrison, never mind Lennon and McCartney.

THE SEARCHERS

Nice Rickenbackers. Good choice of material. Shame about Tony Hatch as a producer. The lead ego left to become a superstar. I can't remember his name so I guess he failed. The band is still doing the scampi in a basket circuit, bashing out the Swinging Blue Jeans' hits, while the SBJs do the Searchers' songs. Well, it saves you getting tired of the material. next year they'll swap with the Hollies.

 
 

HERMAN'S HERMITS

See The Monkees. Peter No-one (what a waste of a great punk name) is as well remembered for appearing in Coronation Street as he is for singing with this band, at least in Britain, but in America he and the band were apparently enormous.
Started as an R&B band and were very frustrated by the saccharine shite they were expected to record. Peter Noone had some moderate solo success, whilst the Hermits changed their name to Toe Fat and became a none too successful "progressive rock band".
No, I don't know how I remember all this stuff either.


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John Harrington 1997
Web version Mike Woodhouse

This article originally appeared in issue 157 of Take That You Fiend