Firstly, I thought The Beatles were the best Liverpool could offer. Later on, I discovered The Merseybeats, whose soft-spoken voices and delicate tunes bewitched me instantly. The more songs I discovered, the more I began to appreciate them. “Don’t Turn Around”, “I Think Of You” or “Wishin’ And Hopin’” could be easily listed among the masterpieces of the ‘60s period.

Therefore, to see The Merseybeats live was, by far, the top of my ‘dream’ concerts list. Their show in Woking, UK, coincided with my birthday and I decided to make myself the greatest present ever!

When I entered backstage for this interview, I was introduced to two of The Merseybeats, who turned out to be as kind and gentle as their lyrics. 🙂 Billy Kinsley was my guide in the world of the artists, helping me find Mike Pender and Tony Crane on long corridors and behind closed doors. 🙂

OldiesMusicBlog: Firstly, can you tell me more about the moment when you founded the band? Why did you decide to take the name of the local music newspaper?

Tony Crane: Oh, you know that already! [laughing] We were called The Mavericks, because there was a very popular show then called “Maverick”. We liked the way they dressed, we liked the way they looked. We were quite happy with the name.

Billy Kinsley: We were residents at the Cavern and sang along with The Beatles. They didn’t like our name and he had to choose a new name. We were called The Megatones and after that we came with the name The Merseybeats, for which we had to have the permission of the editor of the local magazine. Which we did.

OMB: How was like to sing with The Beatles?

We looked up to them. We played alongside them. They were like us as well. They took us under their wing, we were a little younger than them. We always asked their advice.

OMB: Back in the ‘60s, you were also successful abroad, in Germany, Italy or in the US. Can you tell me more about this experience?

Tony Crane: We were in a TV show in Italy and it was 20 minutes long. Every two months we did a spectacular show. That was a great experience!

OMB: In what year?

Tony Crane: ’64.

OMB: What was the greatest recognition that you ever received?

We played in the annual concert in front of 25.000 people. It was the top 10 of top acts in the whole UK. We got on the stage after The Beatles, when no one else would go after them. [laughing]

OMB: What is your dearest memory on stage?

Tony Crane: There are a lot! And we still have all these shows in Denmark, Sweden, Germany. It’s fantastic!

Here’s a good memory: playing in the Cavern all night! Now, each September, on the 20th, we have The Merseybeats anniversary in The Cavern.

OMB: How would you describe in just one word The Merseybeats experience, by looking back to all these years? For example, if I would look back to your music, I would say “brilliant”.

 

Billy Kinsley: Oh, thank you very much for that!

Tony Crane: We had a great experience and fun! We had a fantastic time! And we are still enjoying it!

Billy Kinsley: We played with all the big stars as well, especially with the British ones, like The Beatles, The Stones, The Who… you name it, we played with them! We played at the Royal Albert Hall and the next day we found out that The Beatles had been watching us. They said they didn’t like our shirts! [laughing]

OMB: What do you consider to be your greatest hit?

Billy Kinsley: “Sorrow”, for me.

Tony Crane: It’s got to be “Sorrow”.

OMB: But what about the songs that you love the most?

Tony Crane: At the end of the day, you got to look back. To me it sounds as good now as it did then. People come to the concerts and say: “This is one of the best records ever made!”

OMB: As far as I’m concerned, my favourite is “Don’t Turn Around”!

Oh, this is our favourite too!

OMB: How was the audience in the ‘60s, during the concerts?

They were screaming and you couldn’t hear what you were singing, what you were playing. Quite often, half way to the show, they stopped the show, because the crowd would get mad. So the police would come in, they push us back and take us back to the hotel.

OMB: What is your biggest dream right now?

To continue all these lovely shows!


One Response so far.

  1. Hilde Turner says:

    Can you please tell me the location of this picture thank very much

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