‘Brum’s Beatles’ just weren’t fab
IRECORD label Decca, who signed The Brumbeats in 1963, used The Beatles as a template for the lads’ rise to stardom.
To that end, Graham and Co recorded that album of Beatles covers, songs the Fab Four had jettisoned.
“Their tapes of those tracks were raw,” remembers Graham. “You could hear they rustle of chip paper and the chink of beer bottles being opened.
“I was told they didn’t want them. Roger was supposed to sing on some of those tracks, but they ended up with my vocals. You can imagine how that went down.”
The Brumbeats top the list of bands that should’ve made it, but didn’t. They came tantalisingly close.
Decca tasked and tailored them to be the Birmingham Beatles.
In fact, their first single, I Don’t Understand, and penned by the group, is very much a “Mersey sound” track.
Hopes of chart success were high and Mike Lender, who had crafted hit singles for fellow Birmingham group The Applejacks, was drafted in as producer. Don’t Understand certainly received substantial airplay and The Brumbeats sang the single on TV show Thank Your Lucky Stars, hosted by Brian Matthew. In Birmingham, the disc sold out. Nationally, the response was lukewarm. I Don’t Understand failed to o trouble trou the top echelons of the charts. cha The band broke up in 1965. “Was“W it sex, drugs and rock’n’roll or just j hard graft?” Graham mulls over ove the question before admitting: tin “A bit of both, really. We went from fro £20 a week to £40 a week. Every Ev Thursday, Friday and Saturday we had to play that week’s Top 10. 10 We rehearsed a lot.” There were college gigs, ne nees and residencies. The wa was frantic and draining. “The Plaza Ballroom was pretty go good, the dressing room not so go good,” says Graham. “Today, it matipace wouldn’t be in business. The would’ve shut it down.”
Graham, a man who does not don rose-tinted spectacles when considering the past, sees the 1960s music scene for what it was: more grind than glitter.
He is honest, engaging and armed with a wealth of stories. And he’s not the only Sixties survivor who can succumb to “Grumpy Old Musicians” syndrome.
“Ringo has been in touch,” he announces as a parting shot. “He says ‘Do you think Paul McCartney thinks he’s the only Beatle left?’” city
>The Beatles watching themselves on TV before a concert at the Birmingham Odeon, on December 9, 1965 >Below: The Brumbeats ‘Merseyboys’ covers album of Beatles hits