I went to school with John and Paul

By John Snelson

From: tomeric@freenet.carleton.ca (Eric Skean)
Hello Tony.....I have subscribed to a Liverpool Mailing list, mostly to keep informed about the old town, also to read posts from fellow Scousers. One member of the list, John Snelson, went to the Liverpool Institute the same time as Paul McCartney and Lennon. I saved his post as I thought you may find it of interest.

I thought "everyone" went to skooool with the Beatles ... ! Joke!
In my case ... it just happens to be true - in part. Paul and his brother Mike went to the Joseph Williams Primary School and then the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys ... Paul was 2 years in front of me (older) and Mike one year. So, we were at the same schools as far as Paul was concerned for say 9-10 years ... so, yes, of course I know him .. but we were two years apart, so we were not pals. He did pinch my ollies though ... but that's another story.

George also went to the Institute, but I didn/t know him to say "hello" .. but Paul ... yes, dead right.

I was a Member of the Cavern Club from early 1961 to 1963 ... so, we bumped into each other often at the lunchtime sessions ... they were 1/- to get in... mainly the Beatles and Gerry alternating ... long before Ringo joined...I remember that day ... I was there ... George turned up with a black eye ... having been wopped by Pete Best's mates for dumping him.

Pete Best's mum ran the club at Lowlands .. where yer capped teeth went black and the dandruff shone in the ultral violet light ... but the Beatles didn't play there.

I worked it out once ... I think I saw the Beatles live at the Cavern something like 75 times ... this was even before they appeared in the MerseyBeat newspaper.

I still have the original EP of the Beatles with Tony Sheridan, recorded at the Star Club in Hamburg on the Polydor label ... this was the record that the fans kept asking for at the NEMS music store ... owned and run by the Epsteins ... Brian had never heard of the Beatles until the local fans started asking him for the German record ... I remember like it was yesterday seeing Brian Epstein standing at the back of the Cavern, with his overcoat over his shoulders, no arms in the sleeves, on his first visit to the Cavern ... I stood next to him, wondering what this turkey was doing ...knowing who he was, and listening to him talking ... gee ... the Beatles were an exciting group to watch ... to hear John Lennon singing "Memphis Tennessee" used to send the girls into tears .. then he would "blow up" with "the intro to "Mr. Moonlight" ... followed by the most amazing rendition of Larry Williams' "Slow Down" and "Dizzy Miss Lizzy". Paul always moved between the melodic and the explosive ... he normally started each show with "Red Sails in the Sunset" and often ended with Kansas City or a fantastic rendition of "Blue Moon of Kentucky".

We all did this amazing dance, that strated at the Cavern, and eventually became popular all over the city ... but nowhere else ... called "the Stomp"... I have never seen anything like it either before or since ... jeez, it was fun though.

I also remember in 1961, having just watched John singing "Money" ... trying to find the original. I went into a music store at the top of Bold Street, can't remember the name now ... and the girl at the counter told me that she had a copy of the original by Barry Gordy ... I still have it ... she gave it to me ... for nothing ... this is really a collectors item ... I also have the original Arthur Alexander singles that John used to sing .. like "Soldiers of Love", "Anna", "Shot of Rhythm and Blues", "Where Have You Been" and the classic "You Better Move On" ... absolutely crucified 18 months later by the Rolling Stones who copied most of what the Beatles did. This is not widely recognised ... but it is true ... the Rolling Stones had never heard of Chuck Berry or Arthur Alexander, or Carl Perkins or Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup ... nor had they introduced the gob iron ... I remember John using the gob iron on "Hey Baby" and even a send up of Frank Ifield ...long before Alexis Korner had settled into the Marquee Club in London.

Paul of course took material from Chuck Berry too, and of course Carl Perkins ... at one time, I think the Beatles in 1961 were singing the full repertoire of Carl Perkins numbers ... "Blue Suede Shoes" (copied by Elvis of course), "Matchbox" .. John sang this always - until Ringo joined ...they had to give him some things to sing ... "Sure to Fall" was sung by Paul; "Honey Don't" by John, again he gave it later to Ringo to destroy. Can't remember the others.
Ahhh ... enough ... enough ...

In my office, I have a framed copy of the upper school ... 1960 ... there we all are on the same photo ... There is a lot of crap written about the Beatles ... mostly by people who were not there at the time. You wanna know anything ... ask me.

- John


Thank you John for permission to publish this - Tony.