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Merseybeat Nostalgia

Rory Storm and the Hurricanes

Rory Storm and the Hurricanes on stage at the New Brighton Ballroom

Rory Storm 3

Line up:

Alan Caldwell (Rory Storm) - Vocals

Charles (Ty) O’Brien - Lead Guitar

Johnny (Guitar) Byrne - Rhythm Guitar

Wally Eymond (Lou Walters) - Bass Guitar

Ritchie Starkey (Ringo Starr) - Drums

In 1958 Alan Caldwell formed a skiffle group and called themselves ‘Al Caldwell’s Texans’. Alan suffered from a stutter, very noticable when he spoke but never on stage when performing. In early 1959 he changed their name to ‘The Raving Texans’ and brought in Ritchie Starkey on drums

just in time for their first appearance at the Mardi Gras club in Liverpool City Centre on 29th March. Numerous name changes to the group were made and by the end of 1959 were known as Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. During the first few years, Rory introduced several changes to stage wear, at one time the group members wore red suits with Rory wearing a pink one. When they appeared for their first season at Butlins (well known British holiday camp), the Hurricanes wore fluorescent suits while Rory donned a turquoise suit and shimmering gold shirt.

In line with most Merseyside skiffle groups they changed to rock ‘n’ roll, this caused trouble at The Cavern Club which, at the time, was a jazz club and rock ‘n’ roll was banned. When appearing on the bill with The Swinging Bluejeans (still a trad jazz band), Rory opened their slot singing ‘Cumberland Gap’ a typical skiffle number, then switched to rock ‘n’ roll singing ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On’. The jazz fans started throwing copper coins at them and drowned out the remainder of their slot by booing, Ray McFall, the club owner, was furious with them for playing ‘that music’ and fined them part of their fee, he also made them pick up all the coins from the stage which more than covered the cost of the ‘fine’!! Rory and the Hurricanes where the first choice of Alan Williams, a Liverpool club owner and promoter, for a booking at the Kaiserkeller in Hamburg, Germany but due to the commitment of a seasons booking at Butlins, Alan sent Derry Wilkie and the Seniors instead. When the Butlins season was over, they replaced Derry and the Seniors and billed as the main group above The Beatles who had been sent out as support for Derry and the Seniors. During Rory and the Hurricanes second season at Butlins, Kingsize Taylor offered Ringo 20 a week to join the Dominoes as replacement for Dave Lovelady who was leaving to complete his studies, Ringo agreed but was then offered 25 a week by John Lennon and Paul McCartney to replace Pete Best in The Beatles . . . . . the rest is history!

In 1963, the London A&R men started taking an interest in Liverpool (because of The Beatles?), Rory and the Hurricanes recorded for both Oriole’s ‘This Is Mersey Beat’ albums, Oriole released ‘Dr Feel Good/I Can Tell’ as a single. The recording was made on a mobile unit at the Rialto Ballroom in Liverpool, not a perfect recording and it didn’t make the charts, resulting in them missing the opportunity of recording in a ‘proper studio’. Over the next few years, Ringo offered them chances to record, but, for reasons unknown, they never took him up on his offer. In 1967, during a performance, Ty (Charles) O’Brien collapsed on stage and was taken to hospital, a short time later he died due to complications after the operation, he was only 26. After Ty’s death the group broke up, some months later Rory and Johnny (Byrne) tried to revive the group with three new members but it didn’t last long. Rory became a disc jockey in Benidorm and then Amsterdam, an odd choice for a person who had a very pronounced stutter.

When Rory’s father died he returned to Liverpool to be with his mother, neither of them recovered from the shock, Rory developed a chest infection and couldn’t sleep properly so took sleeping tablets to help get some sleep. On the 28th September 1972 both Rory and his mother were found dead at their home, many fans thought he had killed himself but a post mortem revealed he haddn’t taken enough to kill himself. When ringo was asked why he hadn’t attended the funeral he is reported as saying “I wasn’t at his birth either”

Press ‘Play Button’ to listen to the original recordings.

I Can Tell

Dr. Feel Good

America

Rory_Storm 6
Rory Storm 1
Rory Storm 2
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