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The Mersey Beat Explosion


When the Beatles released Love Me Do, it sat in the UK pop charts somewhere below Elvis Presley and, Cliff Richard and the Shadows. Personally, I didn’t like it, preferring instead recent singles by The Four Seasons and Del Shannon.

A year or two earlier, The Tornados had a hit with an instrumental called Telstar.  After the launch of the first communications satellite of the same name by the Soviet Union, the word was that The Tornados would replace The Shadows as the UK’s leading instrumental pop group.  It didn’t happen and The Tornados quickly disappeared over the horizon (lost somewhere in deep space, I think!).

Then, in 1963, the Mersey sound exploded on the chart scene, with The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Searchers and Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, etc., all scoring number one hits.  In fact, Gerry and the Pacemakers had the most immediate national success and popularity but soon The Beatles were way on top!

The song that clinched the title for The Beatles was Please Please Me. It was rhythmically, instrumentally and vocally different from everything else and stood out as a unique recording.  Now it’s easy to hear the influence of Chuck Berry and some of the other American Blues guys, but then it was like a breath of fresh air!  Whoosh….

Then the word was that The Beatles would replace The Shadows as the UK’s leading rock group.  It did happen, and on a rather grand scale!  The rest, as they say, is history.

Roy Gaynor