The Merseybeats are:
Tony Crane - Lead Guitar / Lead Vocalist (Original Founder member 1961 - present
Billy Kinsley - Rhythm Guitar / Lead Vocalist (Original Founder member 1961 - present
Bob Packham – Bass Guitar / Backing Vocals (Joined 1974 - present
Lou Rosenthal – Drums & Percussion (Joined 2000 - present
Key Board Guests:
Adrian Crane – Keyboards & Lead Guitar (Tony Crane’s son) (Joined 2000 - present (left in picture above)
Chris Finley – Keyboards & Backing Vocals (Association with The Merseybeats since 1966 – present
Teenagers, Tony Crane and Billy Kinsley formed a group called “The Mavericks and played most of the major venues around Liverpool. Bob Wooler, famous booking agent and disc jockey at the Cavern saw The Mavericks perform, he approached Tony Crane asking if they would like a residency at the Cavern. Bob Wooler thought their name sounded too country and western, suggesting a change of name, Tony and Billy were happy and agreed this idea. After consultation and agreement with Bill Harry, owner of a Liverpool music paper titled Mersey Beat, Bob Wooler Re-named the group The Mersey Beats.
The Mersey Beats then became resident at the Cavern alongside The Beatles and still hold the record of appearing with The Beatles more than any other artistes.
The Beatles manager Brian Epstein signed the Mersey Beats, and, it is well documented that The Mersey Beats had a dispute with Epstein over suits. When The Beatles changed their drummer, Brian Epstein suggested that Pete Best should join The Mersey Beats, the offer was declined, later they left the management of Brian Epstein. They carried on their own under the guidance of Bob Wooler. The Mersey Beats to this day still regret their decision to leave Brian Epstein.
The Mersey Beats entered a talent competition in Liverpool and won a recording contract with Decca Records. On advice from Bob Wooler turned it down, because Decca were signing too many bands and would not have had enough time to spend on The Mersey Beats. They ended up with a recording contract purely by accident, one of Philips Records A & R men came to The Cavern during a lunchtime session to audition bands for a new record label being formed. Whilst there he saw The Mersey Beats performing, very impressed, he immediately offered them a recording contract which they accepted.
In the summer of 1963 The Mersey Beats released their first single on the NEW label, Fontana Records, “It’s Love That Really Counts” / “The Fortune Teller” which immediately entered the record charts followed up in the autumn by their million-selling "I Think of You" / “Mr Moonlight”, many more hit records followed...
“Don’t Turn Around” / “Really Mystified”
“Wishin And Hopin” / “Milkman”
“Last Night”/ “See Me Back”
”Don’t Let It Happen To Us” / “It Would Take A Long Long Time”
“I Love You Yes I Do”/ “Good Good Lovin”
“I Stand Accused” / “All My Life”.
The Mersey Beats were also successful in many other countries and even had their own show on Italian Television. They were reputed to be the third biggest crowd puller after The Beatles and the Stones and maintained their pin-up poster status of good-looking young men wearing tight fitting Spanish styled suits and frilly shirts.
In early 1966, The Mersey Beats drummer and guitarist left the group, Tony Crane and Billy Kinsley took advice and in agreement with their new managers, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, also managers of The Who, shortened their name to The Merseys and performed as a duo. They were backed on stage by a newly formed unique two drumming band called the Fruit Eating Bears, the name chosen by Chris Stamp. To coincide with a nation-wide tour with The Who, The Merseys released "Sorrow", the recording featured mainly session musicians whom later became famous in their own right, as members of Led Zeppelin and Cream. “Sorrow” has become a classic; it was David Bowie and George Harrison’s favourite record from the sixties. David Bowie even recorded a version as a tribute. Over the next few years there were more hit recordings for The Merseys, then towards the end of the sixties The Merseys reverted their name back to The Merseybeats.
Throughout the decades, The Merseybeats have performed constantly to sell out concerts, appeared in a wealth of prestigious venues in many parts of the world, were personally invited to perform aboard the final cruise of the QE2. They released many more successful albums worldwide and have plans for a NEW album release for 2015