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The Escorts were a Merseybeat band formed in October 1962 in Liverpool, England, by three classmates who had just left the Morrison School for Boys in Rose Lane, Allerton — Mike Gregory, Terry Sylvester and John Kinrade. In 1963, they were voted the ninth most popular group in Liverpool by readers of Mersey Beat magazine from a competitive field of several dozen popular Liverpool bands of the time.
They originally consisted of:
- Terry Sylvester — guitar/lead vocals (born Terence Sylvester, 8 January 1946, Allerton, Liverpool)
- John Kinrade — lead guitar/vocals (born John Knowles, 25 June 1946, Southport, Lancashire)
- Mike Gregory — bass guitar/vocals (born Michael Gregory, 7 November 1946, Liverpool Maternity Hospital, Kensington, Liverpool)
- Ray Walker — lead vocals
- Johnny Foster — drums; replaced by Pete Clark (born Peter Gaskell, 1946); replaced by Kenny Goodlass from The Kirkbys; replaced by Pete Clark; replaced by Tommy Kelly of Earl Preston’s Realms; replaced by Paul Comerford of The Cryin’ Shames.
Terry Sylvester was replaced by Frank Townsend from The Easybeats (1962–65) and the Beachwoods, who was later to become a member of Tony Rivers and the Castaways. Paddy Chambers (ex-Faron’s Flamingos and The Big Three) subsequently replaced Townsend. Sylvester left to join The Swinging Blue Jeans in 1966, before replacing Graham Nash in The Hollies. He now lives in Toronto and travels all over the United States and Canada playing concerts with such as Billy J. Kramer, Peter Noone, Joey Molland and other British Invasion acts. Sylvester also does a one-man show.
Paul McCartney played tambourine on their last record, “From Head to Toe” in 1966.
John Kinrade stopped playing after The Escorts split up in 1967, sold his Gretsch guitar and is now a hairdresser with two salons.
Mike Gregory would also leave The Escorts in 1967 to join The Swinging Blue Jeans, and stayed until 1971, whereupon after leaving and doing sessions for a couple of years, he formed a group with Johnny Goodison of the original Brotherhood of Man called Big John’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus in 1975. Gregory stayed in ‘The Circus’ until its demise in 2005, and is now a solo artist.
Drummer Pete Clarke managed to record a fine instrumental solo single in 1968. Starting that same year for a while he became the in-house session drummer for Apple Music and is notable on a couple of songs on Jackie Lomax’s album, “Is This What You Want”. Still wanting to be in a band, in 1969 he joined the strange poetry band, “The Liverpool Scene”, while for Apple he did sessions for Kiki Dee and Billy Preston, and then did a brief stint in Badfinger. He is now living in the US.
Although they never released a full album during their short time together, much later (1983) at the instigation of Elvis Costello, Edsel Records released an LP containing all twelve songs from the six singles. It was released on CD in 1995 as EDCD 422 and entitled From the Blue Angel, as a reference to the club [owned by Allan Williams, The Beatles’ first manager] where The Escorts began performing in 1962. Costello also released a single which was a copy of The Escorts last recording, “From Head to Toe“/”Night Time“.
In 1995, an album containing all songs by The Escorts was released. In the liner notes, there was this mention: “… For years it was reported that Paul McCartney had produced ‘From Head To Toe’, later reports claimed he only played tambourine on the song…“.
Indeed, Paul was never officially credited as producer on this record, but he helped with the recording process, as explained in this article by Bill Harry.
S.O.S. PAUL TO THE RESCUE
OFFICIALLY it is quite right to call PAUL McCARTNEY co-producer of THE ESCORTS’ next disc, which is being released on Columbia on December 2nd. Manager Roger Stinton tells me: “We went to Maximum Sound Studios in the Old Kent Road and started recording in the late afternoon. Things didn’t seem to be going too well recording-wise, although the boys spent about four hours routining.
“We then decided to take a break for a meal — and PADDY CHAMBERS made a call to Paul McCartney. The result was he wanted to come down to the session, so we picked him up. He listened to what we’d recorded, then made several suggestions and took over at the controls. We were amazed at the results. Paul virtually engineered the ‘A’ side — and he actually picked up a tambourine and joined in on the actual recording.”
Roger has been responsible for launching many top artistes for various organisations — and he’s delighted with the opportunity of really going to town on the promotion of his own group. Incidentally, he wants me to point out the fact that although Paddy Chambers is now a member of the group, few people are aware of the change because it hasn’t been widely publicised.From Record Mirror – November 19, 1966
[…] The name of THE ESCORTS should not be new to you. They are a Liverpool group who have been on the scene for quite a while, although now with a new line-up. Previously they made five records, the first of which, “Dizzy Miss Lizzie,” made the charts. Following this they toured Britain with Gene Pitney, Cilla Black and Billy J. Kramer and also appeared in a film. Now the boys come up with their first release for Columbia titled “From Head To Toe”. It was made with the assistance of somebody who certainly knows a thing or two about hit records.
Officially it is quite correct to call Beatle Paul McCartney co-producer of this disc. It didn’t start out that way, but let manager Roger Stinton explain:
“We went into a well-known studio in London’s old Kent Road and started recording in the late afternoon. The boys spent hours routining, but things just didn’t seem to be going very well. We decided to take a break for some food, and Paddy Chambers, ex of Paddy, Klaus and Gibson, made a phone call to Paul McCartney. The result was that Paul wanted to come down to the session, so we collected him. He listened to what we had done, then made several suggestions and took over at the controls. He virtually produced the A-side and even picked up a tambourine to join in on the recording.”
Roger has been responsible for launching many artistes for other people, but now he’s delighted with the chance to promote his own group. […]From The Runcorn Guardian – December 29, 1966
Last updated on February 26, 2023