‘Brum’s Bea­tles’ just weren’t fab

Birmingham Post - - FEATURE -

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

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