The Merseybeats go on... 50 years after first single
THEY started life in Liverpool as The Mavericks but found fame during the sixties as The Merseybeats, notching up a string of hits such as Wishin' and Hopin', Don't Turn Around and I Think of You.
And 50 years on since their first single was released the band are still on the road, dropping in to the Royal Concert Hall tonight on the Solid Silver 60s Tour.
"I intend to carry on until I drop," says vocalist Tony Crane, a founder member of The Merseybeats alongside Billy Kinsley. "We're constantly touring. In fact, we even have a couple of gigs scheduled on our days off."
It's a two-month tour that also features Mike Pender (who was the original voice of The Searchers), Dave Berry and Wayne Fontana.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
"It's 42 dates and that is a big tour, but it's usually about this number," says Crane, 67.
"It'll be hard work but we're always happy to do them and we usually do them every other year."
It was as The Mavericks that the band played alongside The Beatles at The Cavern in their home city.
"Back then, there was a local newspaper called The Mersey Beat," he says of the inspiration for the name change, which was forced upon them by management.
"At first we argued about it but to no avail."
After three years of hits from 1966, The Merseybeats joined the cabaret circuit.
"Billy got tired of it and formed Liverpool Express who had some success in the seventies but he came back to us in 1992," says Crane.
He adds: "I love playing the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham and the old opera houses like Buxton. They're really lovely places to play in."
As well as the 50th anniversary of The Merseybeats' first single, it's the same for the debut singles by Dave Berry, The Searchers and Wayne Fontana.
Between them they've had 16 top ten hits, including four No. 1s.
There's a definite Northern feel to the tour, now in its 28th year. Dave Berry is from Yorkshire, Mike Pender and The Merseybeats are from Liverpool and Wayne Fontana is from Manchester.
Berry, who has been a part of the Solid Silver 60s tour in three of the last four tours, had big hits with Mama, Little Things and The Crying Game, which coincidentally all peaked at number five.
He also had a hit with This Strange Effect, a song written for him by Ray Davies of The Kinks, although it only made it to No. 37 in the UK and yet became the year's biggest selling single in Belgium and Holland.
Pender was the original vocalist with The Searchers, leaving to play with his own band in 1985. He was the voice on all their major hits, including Sugar and Spice, Needles and Pins, Don't Throw Your Love Away and Sweets For My Sweet, all of which made the top two in the charts, three of them going all the way to the top.
Fontana's hits, both with and without The Mindbenders, included the likes of Um Um Um Um Um Um, Pamela and The Game of Love.
While The Merseybeats will play as a self-contained band, the others will be backed by The New Amen Corner, who have no original members in their line-up but will deliver a few of the original Welsh band's hits including (If Paradise Is) Half as Nice, Bend Me Shape Me and Hello Suzie.
The Solid Silver 60s Tour comes to the Royal Concert Hall tonight from 7.30pm. Tickets are £22-£26, call 0115 989 5555.