Tributes to the man who dressed Dylan... oh, and the Beach Boys... and Bryan Ferry too...
LEGENDARY MARCUS PRICE REMEMBERED
HE was a fashion pioneer who dressed the stars and brought Levi’s and Brut to Tyneside.
Now the man behind one of Newcastle’s most fondly-remembered clothing stores has died at the age of 84.
Marcus Price brought huge success to his eponymous menswear stores, which became the place to buy the latest fashions for Tyneside’s teenagers in the 1960s and 70s.
Marcus, 84, died in September, but his stores will be remembered by thousands as the only shop you could get soughtafter brands like Levi’s jeans, with designers like Paul Smith, Ralph Lauren and Armani stocked exclusively at Marcus Price.
Founded in Blyth in 1929 by Marcus Price Senior, the company moved in 1967 to 99 Grey Street, Newcastle, where Marcus Junior transformed it into one of the most respected outfitters in the North.
His brand was muchloved by locals, but it also attracted the attention of the stars.
Bands and singers playing gigs on Tyneside simply had to stop in for the latest threads from Marcus himself, and his customers included Bob Dylan, Bryan Ferry (pictured inset) and the Beach Boys. Remembering Dylan’s visit of May 6, 1965, Marcus told the Chronicle: “Good sellers were three-buttoned, straight-fitting jackets with narrow lapels and muted stripes, ‘flower power’ shirts and ties to match.”
Dylan, accompanied at the Groat Market shop by his manager and musician Alan Price, picked out a black jacket, pink shirt and multi-coloured tie – which keen observers noticed he then wore that night on stage at the City Hall. Speaking to our sister paper The Journal in 2006, former shop assistant David Spears, who had been hand-picked by Marcus to join the team at 16, and went on to become a manager, remembered the excitement that accompanied every delivery of new stock.
“At Marcus Price we were the first people in Newcastle to sell Brut. It’s not a fashionable thing now, but then it was the most desirable scent you could have. We had a tester in the shop and every Saturday without fail it would get stolen,” he recalled. “Everybody was Mods in those days. The Club A Go-Go on Percy Street was on and people would come into Marcus Price to get their suits. There was not the selection of clothes you have now and the best dressed people would own every pair of Levi’s Stay Press Jeans and every Ben Sherman Shirt we had in.
“Marcus Price used to get deliveries on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and there were queues of 60 to 70 people on those days wanting to buy the latest gear.”
With branches in Grey Street, Percy Street and the Groat Market, as well as others across the region, the store found huge success, before eventually closing in 1998.
In an obituary published by The Guardian, friend Sheilagh Matheson said: “As well as being a pioneering businessman, Marcus was a social animal... He could talk to anyone about anything and voiced strong opinions about almost everything, right up until his death, at the age of 84.”
Marcus, who lived in Corbridge, leaves behind wife Carolyn, children Hannah, Marcus, Amelia and Dorian and grandchildren
Oliver and Abigail.
Tailor Marcus Price