2 Shades of Grey

Songs from the soundtrack of your life

Beat music -did we really call it that?


SCAN01611964 and my favourite music magazine, alongside the New Musical Express, was BEAT monthly. Beat was the name used at the time for popular music (not a reference to the beat generation).

This is my oldest surviving copy, No. 14, the August 1964 issue, priced at 1s 6d (or 7.5p in “new” money). It’s obviously been well-read judging by the sellotape repairs.

On the front cover is George Harrison and on the back the Bachelors. Strange bedfellows you might think but there was a lot of variety at the time.SCAN0162

Brian Poole and the Tremeloes were pictured inside the front cover, famous for their cover of the Contours “Do You Love Me”.

Underneath the editorial column on p3 – which congratulated the Animals for having a hit with “House of the Rising Sun“. A 4.5 mins long record almost unheard of the time- was a feature on Merseybeat bassist Johnny Gustafson formerly of the Big Three (famous for “Some Other Guy” which everybody copied including the Beatles).

Another member of a Liverpudlian group, Chris Curtis of the Searchers was next up for a full page feature (the only non-scouser in the group he came from Oldham).

Then its a piece called “Backstage with the Stones” describing what happens before and after at a concert. In those days they wore their street clothes on stage.

Then 2 pages on Lulu and the Luvvers, this month’s “Group of the Month“. A full page photo and then a write-up on 15-year old Lulu and her 5-piece backing band.

Next up is a piece on the Downliners Sect, described as one of the finest R n B bands in the country, sharing a page with Mike Sheridan and the Nightriders, a Birmingham outfit who had a single out calledOh what a sweet thing that was”

SCAN0163This was followed by a full page advert for Rickenbacker guitars, Very tasty but no prices mentioned. They refer to the Beatles Rickenbacker sound in the advert although ironically George Harrison is shown with a Gretsch on the front cover. FYI John Lennon’s Rickenbacker was valued at $800,000 in an auction held by Ringo Starr last year.

Then we have a couple of pages of information about groups touring schedules and the results of the Individual Pop Poll. George Harrison topped it ahead of Paul, Brian Jones of the Stones, John Lennon and Hank B Marvin.

The rest of the list comprised members of the Searchers, Wayne Fontana, Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Merseybeats, the Moody Blues, the Animals, the Hollies, Manfred Mann, and Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, with solo artists like Joe Brown and the only American in there, Chuck Berry. 

Also on this page a discussion about long hair and whether it was a good thing basically contrasting the Stones with the Dave Clarke Five. Do you remember the flak you got if you grew your hair long?

Centre spread was a posed picture of the Searchers holding their drummer across some railway tracks! Make of that what you will.

SCAN0164A page of gossip about most the the groups already mentioned opposite a full page advert for Vox amps. Yes I did have a Vox AC30 treble boost and foolishly sold it along with my pink stratocaster! If only …

What else, well a page shared by the Swinging Blue Jeans and the Hollies then a page on “Player of the Month” who was Denny Payton, sax player with the DC5 and who, allegedly, was told  by Cassius Clay that he was the next prettiest man in the world.

Moving to the back pages now with a page on John, George and Rickenbacker which happens to mention the price of John’s 1996 model as 159 guineas (or£238.50 in today’s money) at a time when people earned on average £18 a week or £960 a year. A house cost £3,360 and it would take 3 month’s pay to buy a Ricky – or any other top brand guitar for that matter.

Next a page devoted to the Animals and their hit with “House of the Rising Sun” in which they admit changing the lyrics to avoid problems with the BBC (as experienced by the Sundowners‘ earlier version which was true to Josh White‘s original story of a brothel).

No magazine would be without its record reviews. New discs mentioned this month included: The Merseybeats “Wishing & Hoping, the Searchers “Some Day we’re gonna love again, the BeatlesA Hard Day’s Night“, Manfred Mann’sDo Wah Diddy”, Freddie & the DreamersJust for you“, the HoneycombsHave I the Right“, and LPs by the Beatles and Cliff & the Shadows.

And let’s not forget the letters page where you could win £2 for the best letter, in this instance one complaining about the now “rusty mersey sound” and how the best groups have changed their style.

If you’re still with me the next page is devoted to the Honeycombs with the focus on drummer Honey Langtree “a very pretty 20-year old” whose brother plays bass guitar.

Tucked away at the bottom of the page is the Popularity Poll of Groups which give you a flavour of what was happening in 1964.

  1. The Rolling Stones – joint top with
  2. The Beatles
  3. The Shadows
  4. The Hollies
  5. The Dave Clark Five
  6. Brian Poole & the Tremeloes
  7. The Pretty Things
  8. The Searchers
  9. Peter & Gordon
  10. The Merseybeats
  11. Manfred Mann
  12. The Swinging Blue Jeans
  13. Gerry & the Pacemakers
  14. The Mojos
  15. Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders
  16. The Four Pennies
  17. The Yardbirds
  18. The Bachelors
  19. The Kinks
  20. The Animals

How many of those do you remember and how many are still around today?

And finally a piece on the Barron Knights who made a living out of parodying other groups in the style of a show band.

As I said earlier a wide range of artists at a time when British pop music ruled the world.


Author: mikethepsych

He says he's a psychologist but aren't we all?

3 thoughts on “Beat music -did we really call it that?

  1. Reading the list just makes me feel old………………………

  2. How do you think I fee?! But at least we can remember it!

  3. Pingback: Beat music pt 2 | 2 Shades of Grey

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