Pete Best had been in charge of booking the group and Trantor first wrote to him on Saturday, 19 August 1961:
“Dear Mr. Best,
“Will you let me have your terms for the services of the Beetles to play at Hoylake YMCA from 8.00pm until 11.00pm, and if you are available on Friday, the 8th Sept. next.
“As I am going away from home in two days time, I would appreciate it if you could let me have this information by return. You can get me on the phone at the above no. on Monday or Tuesday mornings.
“We have other dates, but this is the present urgent one as I wish to fix it before going away.”
Trantor was so keen to book the group that he traveled to Pete Best’s house in West Derby to offer him £30 for the single appearance.
No arrangements were made for the Beatles to appear there on the 8 September date as they had already been booked to play at St. John’s Hall in Tuebrook. However, the group made a single appearance at the venue on 24 February 1962, although they were not very well received by the audience and were booed off stage. By that time Brian Epstein was managing the group.)
We all remember the Aintree Institute, and for those of who carried on playing, as Blessed Sacrament, and my own current band Bojangles regularly played there until it recently closed. In between spots I’d walk up the stairs where the upper balcony was open to see (a false ceiling below) and how the memories came back!
Last year we were booked there, (Via Joe Butler who worked for Ricky McCabe Entertainments). However the booking was cancelled/re-instated several times, due to the imminent closure of the club. We did play that gig on the night, and yes I did my regular look at the old upper balcony and that night was the last time entertainment was put on at the old Aintree Institute, how fitting that an old Mersey muso, with his group should be the last musical goodbye to the Institute. Amazingly it was never a listed building as so many of us thought!
This is young Malcolm Cook, playboy and late of the Hal Carter Organization.
The site brought back very happy memories as during the time I worked as tour manager for Arthur Howes, I had the good fortune to tour with many of the Liverpool groups and artistes, amongst whom were Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Tommy Quickly, the Remo 4, the Chants, the Escorts, Searchers, Blue Jeans, Beryl Marsden, the Mojos, Cilla, the Fourmost, Merseybeats, and my favourites the Dennisons.
In 1964, Brian Epstein invited me to have supper with him at the Station Hotel in York. After dining he invited me to join NEMS as his right hand man, to oversee the tour commitments of all his artistes and himself. He gave me his card on the back of which he wrote four phone numbers, NEMS, his desk, his private home number, and a REGent exchange number as NEMS were due to move to London. I spoke to Arthur about the offer and he advised me to stay with him, hence I made what was questionably the biggest mistake of my life.
I was also interested in the article which mentioned Tamla Motown artistes. On behalf of Arthur, I was the tour manager for the first Tamla Motown Touring Revue to visit the UK in 1965. The show featured the Supremes, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Martha & the Vandellas, with Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames added as 'special guest artistes'. I later toured with the Supremes again but by this time the line featured Mary Wilson, Cindy Birdsong and Jean Tyrell. In 1971 I had a call from Don Foster at Tamla asking if I would do three weeks at the Talk of the Town with The Temptations.
I remember being with Eden Kane in the car when Gerry & the Pacemakers record came on the radio. Eden looked at me then sighed and said "Well, I guess that's the end of the road for us", and he was of course right.
(Malcolm has been working on a book about Beatles legendary British tour promoter, the late Arthur Howes. A worthwhile venture which we look forward to reading.)
I am trying to locate a glossy picture of the Beatles taken on their first trip to Germany. It is in front of a war memorial, everyone is in it except Lennon. Do you have any leads on where I can find a copy?
(The photo was taken at Arnhem Cemetery in August 1960. In the photo are Allan and Beryl Williams, Lord Woodbine, Stuart Sutcliffe, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best. John Lennon had wandered off into Arnhem itself at the time. The picture was taken by Barry Chang, Beryl’s brother.
Pete Best told me all about it: “At Arnhem there was time to get out and walk around and stretch our legs. We also went to see the Arnhem war memorial. There are photographs of us sitting in front of it. Seeing the war graves and all the rest of it was quite moving, to me anyway.
“It quietened us down a bit. I think it was the aura of the place, the peace and tranquility that came through to us.
“We didn’t stay together as a party so while Allan went off to do what he wanted to do, we broke up and did our own thing and had a walkabout.