Part 4 – 1961
After an exhausting but successful three month stint in Hamburg, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes have returned to Liverpool.
Thursday 5 January 1961
Got into Liverpool at 4pm and went to see the Beatles and Faron’s Flamingos at LitherlandTown Hall.
When the Beatles returned from Hamburg, they played here on December 27, and the reception was so positive that they were given a string of other bookings. The Beatles hadn’t been much of a band before they went to Hamburg – they hadn’t even had a drummer – and they had been transformed. Rory Storm and the Hurricanes were well established before they went to Hamburg and so it just added to their experience.
Saturday 7 January 1961
Alexandra Hall, Crosby. Ty was ill and John Gustafson played for us. Big crowd to see us but we were awful. The second half was better. Our first night too.
Tuesday 10 January 1961
Civil Service. Ty still sick and Johnny Gus played but he doesn’t fit in.
Friday 13 January 1961
Mossway Hall, Croxteth. Brought Ty’s echo-box, ours never worked. Played good.
Sunday 15 January 1961
10 groups on, we played great. Lord Mayor was there. Went back to Johnny Tempest’s house, had good party.
Bit perplexing. Can’t find anything about this gig and yet it has some significance as the Lord Mayor was there.
Monday 16 January 1961
Cherokee. Doorman ran off with the money.
Wednesday 18 January 1961
Shadows at the Cavern. Shadows were okay.
This is generous. Others will tell you that Jet Harris was drunk and fell off the stage and that the local band, the Remo Four outclassed them. “But only on that night,” Hank Marvin told me.
Thursday 26 January 1961
LitherlandTown Hall, played okay. With some girl from Aintree. Got soaked, got bus to town, then taxi home.
Saturday 28 January 1961
Bought jeans at Eric’s for 18 shillings. Ed ran us to Lathom Hall in Seaforth, played good, and then to Aintree Institute, played great. Big fight. A fellow jumped on stage and everyone was throwing chairs. They had to close the curtains. Went with Eileen to the bus stop. I love her.
Sunday 29 January 1961
Went to see Adam Faith in ‘Beat Girl’. Lousy.
Sunday 5 February 1961
Lowlands, had row with Charlie over Fender.
Monday 6 February 1961
Rory and I went to Orrell Park Ballroom to see Bobby Bell Rockers. Finished with Eileen.
Tuesday 7 February 1961
Rory, Bob Wooler and I went to Floral Hall, Southport to see Gene Vincent. Great but Echoes not up to much. Met Gene and the boys backstage. Got photos taken.
Wednesday 8 February 1961
Hambleton Hall, Huyton, played great. Girls went mad, one gave me her compact.
Bob Wooler recalled, “None of the equipment was properly checked and I was nearly electrocuted by Ty from Rory Storm and the Hurricanes at Hambleton Hall. I gestured by moving my arm and it went over the neck of his guitar and I was like Johnny Kidd, shaking all over. Ty realised that electricity was going through me, and he wrenched his guitar away to break the chain. I was in a terrible state, and I stumbled off the stage, and Rory went, ‘Big hand for Bob.’ I staggered into the kitchen and had excruciating pains across my back for days.
Thursday 9 February 1961
La Mystery, Maghull, no good. Then to Sampson and Barlow’s, London Road. Only did four numbers but Sam Leach paid us £6.
This was the grand opening of the Cassanova Rock’n’Swing club at Sampson and Barlow’s featuring the Cassanovas, the Hurricanes, the Remo Four, Tommy and the Metronomes and Benny and the Blackcats.
Friday 10 February 1961
Mossway. We were 45 minutes early and played good. Big fight there.
Saturday 11 February 1961
Played Lathom Hall and then Aintree Institute. Someone threw a chair at me. Frank Knight’s party, went with Jeanette, nice.
Sunday 12 February 1961
Saw Cliff and the Shadows at the Empire, first and second houses, very good. Then to Cavern and saw Beatles.
Monday 13 February 1961
Toni wants to get engaged. I like her an awful lot.
Tuesday 14 February 1961
Sampson and Barlow’s and then the Jacaranda. Got five Valentine cards.
Wednesday 15 February 1961
Jive Hive, played good, we wore sweaters.
Friday 17 February 1961
Big fight at Rocket, played good.
Saturday 18 February 1961
Jive Hive and Sampson and Barlow’s, played good at both places. Was walking back and Rory caught up with me in the van with two girls. Went to Black Rose. Went with other girl and stayed all night.
Monday 20 February 1961
Bought Everlys record, £1.7.6d
‘A Date With The Everly Brothers’.
Tuesday 21 February 1961
Litherland to see Beatles, played okay but not many there. Was with Joan all night.
The Beatle books imply that they had packed houses everywhere they went once they got back from Hamburg. Not so.
Monday 27 February 1961
Orrell Park Ballroom, played great, packed.
Pat Byrne: “They used to open with ‘Brand New Cadillac’ and Rory liked to make an entrance. It was great when they did it on the Orrell Park Ballroom as I have seen him leap off the piano to start the show.”
Tuesday 28 February 1961
Bowater’s, Little Sutton. Van had two punctures. We arrived late and played good, not a bad place. Went to party in Wallasey, no good, left at 2am.
Friday 3 March 1961
Casbah, didn’t play too good, lousy place.
Saturday 4 March 1961
Jive Hive, Orrell Park Ballroom, Sampson and Barlow’s. Played okay at all three. Black-haired girl from Butlin’s wanted to go with me but I didn’t as Eileen was there. We went to Zodiac all-nighter. Big Three on, good. Finished at 8am.
Monday 6 March 1961
Tuesday 7 March 1961
Went to dole.
Thursday 9 March 1961
LitherlandTown Hall, Gene Vincent, good but empty. Had to borrow off old man to get in.
It must be down to bad publicity. Why wouldn’t Gene Vincent fill the place?
Friday 10 March 1961
Liverpool Jazz Society at lunchtime, then Neston in evening. Ringo and I played with the other band. There was a fight.
Saturday 11 March 1961
Orrell Park Ballroom and then Iron Door all nighter, 800 there. Then to Zodiac to play with Big Three.
Friday 17 March 1961
Skelmersdale, good but my amp broke. Trouble in Bold Street and Ty got punched.
Thursday 23 March 1961
Sampson and Barlow’s, played good. Some of Dominoes in fight.
Friday 24 March 1961
Music Hall, Shrewsbury. Paddy Delaney took us. Five groups on, we played good. Went with girl who took my ring. She gave me her necklace. She’s coming to Liverpool.
Paddy Delaney was the doorman at the Cavern and a part-time promoter and agent.
Saturday 25 March 1961
OrrellPark Ballroom, Jive Hive and then Zodiac. Rory, Gerry Marsden and I all played with the Big Three, good session, stayed till 7am.
Wednesday 29 March 1961
Butlin’s dance, Garston. We landed Butlin’s job.
Thursday 4 May 1961
Neston Institute, poured with rain, 75 turned up.
Saturday 6 May 1961
Went to Zodiac to see Wump and his Werbles, useless.
A group that is only remembered for its name. They were the first band booked to play rock’n’roll on the Cavern.
Saturday 13 May 1961
Didn’t play Liverpool Jazz Society, police there.
Thursday 18 May 1961
Widnes. Wally missed the first set, played okay. Ringo made a mistake about the time and we had to do 15 minutes together as the others were in the pub.
Friday 19 May 1961
Got ring back.
Saturday 20 May 1961
All nighter at Liverpool Jazz Society and Sammy Leach never paid us. Went to Ray’s party but didn’t see much as I was in the dark room all night.
Monday 22 May 1961
Tired of playing Orrell Park Ballroom. Everything went wrong. Our last appearance there.
Thursday 25 May 1961
Rory and I went to Tower Ballroom, New Brighton to see Ricky Valance. Not much good but got signed picture for Eileen.
Saturday 27 May 1961
Crewe, played okay, dead place. Went straight to Cilla’s party in Scotland Road when we got back. I was rotten after a few pints. Left at 5am in the Dynamites’ car. Sick at home, went to bed, conked out.
Cilla sometimes sang with the Hurricanes and she told me, “They could only play in one key – and it certainly wasn’t mine.”
Monday 29 May 1961
Got red suit from Duncan’s. 12 colour, 12 black and white photos taken, good.
Rory’s sister, Iris: “One night Rory wore an orange suit for a gig and when he came back home, he was hysterical. It had been St. Patrick’s Night and he had been performing in a Catholic club. They’d thrown chairs at him and Ringo was on his knees, still trying to play the drums.”
There are no individual entries for their season at Butlin’s, Pwllheli from June 3 to the end of August. Only this short summary:
Good season but not as good as the last. Went with Pauline all season. She worked in the French coffee bar. Came home and finished with Eileen, she likes Ringo. Ringo had his 21st party and Johnny Barnes went to prison. Last week was fab, sunbathed in the nude, got great tan.
Liverpool musician, Mike Byrne: “Rory Storm inspired the name of my first band. They did the summer season at Pwllheli and I went there as a holidaymaker. They did a talent show every week and I got up and did ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’’. When I got my first band, I kept in touch with them and I worked at the Grosvenor Ball Room for the first time, Rory gave me the name, Mike and the Thunderbirds.””
Saturday 9 September 1961
Orrell Park Ballroom, played okay, big crowd.
Thursday 21 September 1961
LitherlandTown Hall, Gerry, Beatles and us. Played good, great crowd.
Saturday 7 October 1961
Northwich. Went in Ty’s car. We went down good but nearly crashed on the way back.
Saturday 21 October 1961
Fitted new tremolo arm.
Friday 27 October 1961
King’s Social, Ellesmere Port, a dump of a place.
Music fan Chris Beazer recalls that when Rory Storm and the Hurricanes played his school on the Wirral, the group decided to have a communal wank before the concert. The headmaster caught them and said, “You will never play here again.” Now, supposing Ringo Starr had mentioned this incident to John Lennon, you have, et violà, John’s sketch for ‘Oh Calcutta!’.
Saturday 4 November 1961
CreweTown Hall, went in van, cold. I set off some fireworks and Ty went mad. Had row in Crewe as I told some bird what I thought of her.
Friday 10 November 1961
Tower Ballroom, New Brighton. 5,000 there. Sam Leach made over £400. Met Niki, like her a lot. Had race with Beatles and nearly turned over.
Saturday 18 November 1961
Plaza, St Helens. Played okay, didn’t like it much. Went home in Ringo’s car.
Friday 24 November 1961
Tower Ballroom, New Brighton. Emile Ford sang ‘Fever’ and ‘Hound Dog’ with us.
Tuesday 28 November 1961
Had row with Brian Kelly. He gave me £2 in coppers. I threw it all over his car.
A known Scrooge, Brian Kelly put on gigs at the Litherland Town Hall and other places.
Wednesday 20 December 1961
Queen’s Hotel, Southport. Rory came in tracksuit.
Probably a Ron Appleby promotion, and he told me, “Rory was years before his time. He’d be immaculately dressed in pink suit and pink tie, and in the middle of his act he’d go to the piano, get out a very big comb, and comb his huge blond quiff. He was very fit and often he would run home from his gigs. One day a porter at Bootle station caught a chap writing ‘I love Rory Storm’ on the walls. It was Rory himself.”
Iris Caldwell, Rory’s sister: “Rory was always combing his hair. At home he had a mirror so that you could see the front and the back together. I’d be getting ready to go out and he’d be using the mirror, combing it a million times. His hair was always perfect.”
Promoter Ron Ellis: “Rory would do the Palace Hotel in Southport for £5. He would do two gigs earlier in the evening in Liverpool and come to the Palace for the 1am spot. It was an extra bit for him which is how I got him for £5 instead of £10. If he planned it right, he could do the Cavern first, then St. Luke’s Hall in Crosby and then the Palace.”
Wednesday 27 December 1961
Went to see ‘The Young Ones’, okay.
Saturday 30 December 1961
Ringo going to Hamburg to play with Tony Sheridan. Went to Lime Street to see Ringo, Tony and Peter Eckhorn off.
Peter Eckhorn owned the new Top Ten beat club in Hamburg.