If we look at the genera of music, we can see that within pop music there is also the music style Rock. Within Rock, we can also make a division into different music genres, namely: Rock 'n Roll, hard rock, alternative rock, art & experimental rock, metal, punk and indie. Today i want to talk about Merseybeat, a wellknown beat which became popular in the 60’s.
What is Merseybeat?
Merseybeat is a substyle of rockmusic in which the lead guitar plays a role that is supported by an electric guitar, bass guitar, vocals and drums. Sometimes they include wind instruments, such as the saxophone or tambourine. Merseybeat is a mix of different styles such as rock 'n roll, rhythm &blues, and skiffle. A characteristic of Mersey beat music is that the first beat is made on the upper strings of the leading guitar, giving you a typical beat sound.
We have known the rock music genre since the 1950s. In America we see rock 'n roll and rockabilly become popular and in the years after that it becomes more and more rock. In the 1960s there is talk of British Invasion, an invasion of British bands that in 1964 even become so famous that they surpass American bands. One of those well-known bands is The Beatles of Liverpool, who became hugely popular in 1964 and stormed the American charts. More bands followed, such as The Who and The Rolling Stones for example.
Their characteristic music style was Merseybeat, also called British beat or Liverpool sound, which was named after the Mersey River that flows past Liverpool. Originally this style of music came from the port of Liverpool where several local bands, about 500 of them, had been making this kind of music since 1958. Mersey beat was initially limited to local music. It was Bill Harry, one of John Lennon's classmates, who in the 1960s made a publication showing which bands were playing Merseybeat, which brought more attention to the bands. The Beatles were pictured on this entertainment paper and John Lennon had written small pieces of text, including the history of the band.
Whereas earlier Mersey beat was not really noticed by the big record companies or the public, The Beatles did stand out and a true Mersey beat flow started. After the Beatles, more bands became successful. With the Beatles, there was a real Beatlemania, after they were invited from England to The Ed Sullivian Show in America. They performed the songs Twist and Shout and I Want To Hold Your Hand, among others. 73 million people watched this programme. They looked attractive with their half-long hair and teenage girls in particular were screaming hysterically and going wild during the performances. This also caused annoyance, as the band members often could not hear themselves sing due to the hysterical screaming.
Below you can see a selection of Merseybeat artists.
Gerry & The Pacemakers
The Rolling Stones
The Black Knights
Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas
The Swinging Blue Jeans
Mike Sheridan & The Night Riders
The Rockin’ Berries
The Big Three
Freddie & The Dreamers
Rory Storm and the Hurricanes
Chad & Jeremy
Ian and the Zodiacs
The Remo Four
The Spencer Davis Group
Johnny Kidd and the Pirates
Lee Curtis and the All-Stars
The Dave Clark Five
Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich
The Pretty Things
Earl Preston and the Realms
Jeannie and the Big Guys
Peter & Gordon
Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders
Peter Barry & The Shake Set
The Nashville Teens
In this list of artists you will also see a band called The Merseybeats. This band was founded in 1961 and is also from Liverpool. Their first album It's Love That Really Counts from 1963 did not reach the British charts, but needed a longer run and eventually did sell more and more. In 1964 they had several hits like I Think of You, I Love You, Yes I Do, Don't Turn Around, Wishin'and Hopin', Sorrow. Besides the few hits, there was another striking feature about this band. They were always well dressed and were known as the best dressed band in the 60s.
They got to perform a lot with The Beatles, especially in the former jazz club Cavern Club, which was a popular club in the 1960s where a lot of rock'n'roll music was played and became e rock'n roll club.
This documentary below shows Mersybeat back in the days of the 60's. A nice view of different Merseybeat music bands from the port of Liverpool at that time. But also music during the time The Beatles and many more bands played Mersey Beat in the Cavern Club.
Here are some titles of Merseybeat films.
The Beatles - Made in Merseyside
Some Other Guys - The Story of the Big Three
Birth Of The Beatles