Nothing compares to a live performance. With a little help from my friend, YouTube, I often find stunning videos with powerful performances from the ’50s and ’60s. Voices are loud and clear, artists are shining and smiling and the audience goes crazy. All these cannot be comprised on a 2-minute disc recording, so all we have left are the blurry but intense footages.

This is the case of Billy J. Kramer, who seems to unleash all his talent, pride and joy is his ’60s live performances. I love his style, his gentle smile and elegant moves. On the other hand, his recordings are flat and flavourless.

Live vs recording

I Call Your Name (live)


I Call Your Name (recording)


From A Window (live)


From A Window (recording)


Billy J. Kramer (William Howard Ashton) grew up as the youngest of seven siblings and attended the St George of England Secondary School, Bootle. He then took up an engineering apprenticeship with British Railways and in his spare time played rhythm guitar in a group he had formed himself, before switching to become a vocalist. The performing name Kramer was chosen at random from a telephone directory. It was John Lennon‘s suggestion that the “J” be added to the name to further distinguish him by adding a “tougher edge”. Kramer soon came to the attention of Brian Epstein and once the Beatles broke through,  Kramer was offered the chance to cover “Do You Want to Know a Secret?”, first released by the Beatles on their own debut album, “Please Please Me”.

With record producer George Martin, the song “Do You Want to Know a Secret?” was a number two UK Singles Chart hit in 1963, and was backed by another tune otherwise unreleased by the Beatles, “I’ll Be on My Way”. After this impressive breakthrough another Lennon–McCartney pairing, “Bad to Me” c/w “I Call Your Name”, reached number one. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.

Source: Wikipedia

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