broke with the custom of having a recognised lead man
who inevitably sang the lead vocals, dressed differently
and got the vast majority of the fans' (girls)
adulation. The Beatles were a 'democratic' line-up in
which each member had equal standing. Their sound and
line-up moved away from the twang and the 'echoey'
sounds of the Shadows and the conventional 'backing'
group bolstering the 'frontman'. It was now rock 'n'
roll but with harmony. The Beatles could not really be
described as handsome, although they did dress uniformly
and smartly and appealed to both sexes. However, their
appeal (especially that of John Lennon) was far more a
product of their anti-hero image. This image was
reinforced by their fresh and honest love for rock 'n'
roll and black music. They also moved right away from
Tin Pan Alley and its professional songwriters by
penning most of their own material. All of these factors
had effects on all of their popular musical
contemporaries, including many of those in our local
O'Hara remembers about the emergence of the Beatles
and the Mersey Sound and its effect on many of the local
groups (in his case, the Tremors):
"We had been
copying most of the chart stuff, especially the latest
from Cliff and the Shadows and so on. When the Beatles
came on the scene, along with the other Liverpool and
Manchester groups, it was a case of getting hold of
their latest records as soon as they came out and
quickly learning the words and arrangements. We prided
ourselves on hearing the record on the Friday and
performing it on the Saturday, and performing it well,
just as had happened with Cliff numbers."
necessary to brush up on your harmonies because so much
of the popular stuff was very harmonious. It was not
just the lead singer taking the lead vocal and the rest
of the group throwing in an few oohs and aahs, now each
voice had its role and place within the group’s sound"
One of the other
important results was that established groups who had
survived were once again able to play some of the Rock
'n' Roll and R&B numbers which they had played a few
years earlier, and some of the newer groups now
'discovered' the music. This was largely because the
Beatles and the other groups which emerged on to the
national scene at the time re-popularised that music.
The songs of Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee
Lewis, Larry Williams and some of the less well-known
black American R&B artists were 'back in the public
eye'. The Beatles included numbers like Anna, Baby It
s You, Boys, Chains and Twist And Shout on
their first album and would regularly include numbers
like Roll Over Beethoven, Long Tall Sally, Kansas
City, Sweet Little Sixteen, Matchbox, Lucille etc.
in concert appearances and on radio. If such music was
good enough for the Beatles, it was good enough for
describes his taste in music and how firstly the
emergence of the Beatles and then more importantly the
Rolling Stones proved most influential to his group, the
became the Soul Seekers in 1963, the changes which were
occurring in music fitted in perfectly with my personal
tastes and those of most of the group. The Beatles, and
more especially the Stones, were bringing back the music
of Chuck Berry and other less well-known R&B
"Many of the
new groups had a raw and raunchy sound while the Bobbies
and the more insipid performers who had been in vogue
for the previous few years were really tame. They were
little more than glorified ballad singers with a beat.”
"It now meant
that we, and most of the other local groups, could start
to play music which best suited each of us as a group.
In our case the music of the Stones etc. really suited
the voice of Graham (Gomery) who had been Dane Tempest
in the original group, because he had the sort of raw
sound which fitted the R&B or blues style perfectly. I
particularly liked that sound and we, as a group, wanted
to play that music.”
who sang with the Vendors and the original 'N
Betweens, describes the changes which occurred with
the group and their material when the Mersey groups and
R&B appeared on the scene:
Hill joined us we were able to play Chuck Berry numbers
better than ever because he was such a good guitarist.
We stopped playing the old out and out rock and started
to play R&B and some of the Mersey group numbers,
especially by groups like the Merseybeats.”
the Rolling Stones at one of the St. Giles gigs in
Willenhall and they were great. It wasn't long before we
started to play that style of R&B. I think it best
suited my voice and the sound of the group as a whole."