- Blue Angel Club
More from year 1960
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Paul McCartney: In May, Larry Parnes came to town, auditioning. He was the big London agent. His acts nearly always had a violent surname. There was Ronnie Wycherley who became Billy Fury; and a less furious guy you have yet to meet. A sweet Liverpool guy – the first local man who made it, in our eyes. Marty Wilde was also in Larry’s stable; he had another tempestuous surname. But Larry Parnes had some new singers and was looking for backing groups, and someone had told him there were a few groups around in Liverpool. So he came up to the Blue Angel. Billy Fury came with him.
Allan Williams ran the Blue Angel and the Jacaranda. He was the little local manager (little in height, that is – a little Welshman with a little high voice – a smashing bloke and a great motivator, thought we used to take the mickey out of him). He held the auditions in conjunction with Larry Parnes. All the groups in Liverpool were there and we were one of the bands.
George Harrison: They were going to use the Blue Angel, which in those days was called the Wyvern Social Club, to audition back-up bands for Larry Parnes’s acts. Beforehand we went out and bought some string shoes with little white bits on top. We were very poor and never had any matching clothes, but we tried to put together a uniform – black shirts and these shoes.
When we arrived at the club our drummer hadn’t shown up, so Johnny Hutchinson, the drummer with Cass and the Cassanovas, sat in with us. I don’t think we played particularly well or particularly badly.
John Lennon: We just had a stand-in drummer for the day. And Stu couldn’t play bass, so he had to turn his back.
Paul McCartney: We had to tell Stuart to turn the other way: ‘Do a moody – do a big Elvis pose.’ If anyone had been taking notice they would have seen that when we were all in A, Stu would be in another key. But he soon caught up and we passed that audition to go on tour – not with a furious name at all like the other acts, but with a guy called Johnny Gentle.
George Harrison: It was a bit of a shambles. Larry Parnes didn’t stand up saying that we were great or anything like that. It felt pretty dismal. But a few days later we got the call to go out with Johnny Gentle. They were probably thinking. ‘Oh well, they’re mugs. We’ll send a band that doesn’t need paying.’
And here we are : this audition triggered the first tour for the Beatles, in Scotland as the backing group of Johnny Gentle.
Last updated on October 4, 2015
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The definitive guide for every Beatles recording sessions from 1962 to 1970.
We owe a lot to Mark Lewisohn for the creation of those session pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - the number of takes for each song, who contributed what, a description of the context and how each session went, various photographies... And an introductory interview with Paul McCartney!