George Harrison got a second hand Ford Anglia under Brian Epstein, the first car he had ever had, and he brought it down Mathew Street one night. These two girls couldn’t go in because they didn’t have the money, and I had already let three people in for nothing. The girls were upset and George said to me, ‘Here’s a £1, but don’t tell them,’ and I let them in. They guessed that it was George’s doing.
SPENCER LEIGH: Because you were up the stairs, did you ever get to see a Beatles’ set all the way through?
PADDY DELANEY: Often. I would dread having to go to the band room with a message for Bob though as I would be drained by the time I got there. When I got back to the top, my shirt was wringing wet. I’ve seen people being passed over the heads at the Cavern. Some people never bothered with the toilet: they used to do in the corner.
SPENCER LEIGH: What was your role at ‘Mersey Beat’?
PADDY DELANEY: That was when Ray McFall took it over. We were using the Cavern’s Jazzmobile to deliver the papers. It was 250 to start off with and then they got this mini-van and that is when I joined ‘Mersey Beat’. I was given the job of Circulation Manager so I got a big map of Merseyside and pinned it on the wall and put up red markers for the shops and clubs that took ‘Mersey Beat’. It increased to 500 an issue and then got up to 1,000, all on a sale or return basis. They got 13 copies – one free and 12 on sale or return. I did okay with it. We sold it in Birkenhead, New Brighton and Seacombe. I would take the papers home that they didn’t sell and I would put them in my cellar in Beaconsfield Street and I must have had about 3,000 copies there. When we moved from Beaconsfield Street to Netherley, I never bothered to take them. They were just waste paper to me. When I first went to a Beatles Convention it was with my brother-in-law and I only had two copies then. I took them down with me. One of them had that photo of the Beatles on a high backed chair on the front. Someone bought them from me straightaway for £20. I have nightmares about all the ones I had thrown away. Talk about missing out.
SPENCER LEIGH: Do you remember John Lennon beating up Bob Wooler at Paul McCartney’s 21st party?
PADDY DELANEY: Oh yes, Bob came to the Cavern the next day with his black eye and I said, ‘Your make-up’s a bit heavy there, son.’ ‘Pat,’ he said, ‘It’s unfortunate, but let’s not talk about it.’ ‘But Bob, what happened? Why didn’t you do the other one?’ ‘Pat, please, don’t mention it.’
SPENCER LEIGH: You also managed some bands yourself.
PADDY DELANEY: I managed the Nomads. We went to the Philharmonic Hall where they took part in a competition for a recording contract. They were fourth and they should have been first or second. I argued with the judges about it, and they did get a guitar and a recording contract. They changed their name to the Mojos and they made ‘Seven Golden Daffodils’. In fairness, I had to let them go as I was burning myself out with the Cavern and ‘Mersey Beat’.
SPENCER LEIGH: Then in 1965, the Cavern had financial problems which led to its closure.
PADDY DELANEY: I had come up with all sorts of ideas about collecting money and nothing was done. On this particular Sunday night, I was on the door. It was a dismal evening with not many people in. Ray said that the bailiffs were coming the next morning. It was so sudden. I told the kids from the stage that the place was closing. I said that they could resist the bailiffs but once the police came, they had to walk out. I said, ‘Get all the chairs on the staircase, interlock the legs and make it hard for them.’ It was an all night session. The police came down and I said, ‘You will have to go out the back way, which had just been created for the groups.’ The superintendent said, ‘Pat, you should be the last to leave.’ He walked up with me at the end. We walked along the entry and I could see kids sitting at the end of the street. They were demonstrating. I shut the gate after me. Ray said, ‘Thanks for that.’ We went off to the White Star. Ray put a whiskey with my pint. Ray said, ‘To the Cavern, it is the best of cellars.’ Bob Wooler said, “Was, Ray, was.”
SPENCER LEIGH: Have you enjoyed being at the Beatle Conventions?
PADDY DELANEY: Very much. If I’m talking, I end by saying, ‘This is the gospel according to St Mathew Street.’
In the early 80s, I did some sketches of the band room and the toilets and the snack bar for David Backhouse, who was building the new Cavern. He gave me an invitation to the new Cavern when it opened, and he said that if it wasn’t for me, this wouldn’t have happened. I got a cheque for £200, which was very nice.
I was also called down to that Cavern replica in King’s Dock, and that was for a convention of railway people and they asked me to stand in the imitation doorway there. They gave me £4. That’s the story of my life. I’ve spent my whole life standing in a doorway, like Lili Marlene.
SPENCER LEIGH: Paddy Delaney, thank you very much.