The Silver Beetles’ final tour date with Johnny Gentle. The following day they arrived back in Liverpool, poorer than when they’d left, but with some valuable experience of playing live on tour.
For a while, when we returned, we became a backing group. We were still going around as The Silver Beetles – I think there’s a few posters of us with a double ‘e’ – but soon we started to drop the ‘silver’; because we didn’t really want it. John didn’t wish to be known as ‘Long John Silver’ any longer and I didn’t wish to be known as Paul Ramon – it was just an exotic moment in my life.
We backed all sorts of people. It was a good little period and we felt professional learning other people’s songs. Sometimes it was quite hard because we weren’t that good at chords. They’d throw us sheets of music and we’d ask: ‘Have you got the words, have you got the chords? We were very naive – one time we thought that the girl with one of the artists was his wife. We kept calling her Mrs Whatever, and it took us ages to realise she was a girlfriend.
Johnny Gentle also spoke approvingly of the group to promoter Larry Parnes. Although Gentle wanted them to play on his second Scottish tour, they were in Hamburg and he took Cass and the Cassanovas, who later became The Big Three, instead.
Johnny used to phone me virtually every night and say, ‘Come up to Scotland and see these boys. I’ve given them a spot in my act and they’re doing better than I am.’ He was very honest; I always said that if I’d found the time to go up to Scotland he might have been the fifth Beatle. Who knows?
Johnny Gentle performed with The Beatles on one other occasion. On 2 July 1960 he dropped by at the Jacaranda, and the group’s manager Allan Williams told him they were playing the Grosvenor Ballroom in Liscard. Gentle went there and joined them onstage for a few songs.
Also on this day...
- 2015: Paul McCartney live at Echo Arena, Liverpool
- 2010: Paul McCartney live at Foro Sol, Mexico City, Mexico
- 1969: Mixing, master compilation: Let It Be, Get Back album
- 1967: The Beatles attend a party at Brian Epstein’s country house
- 1963: Live: Gaumont Cinema, Worcester
- 1962: Live: Star-Club, Hamburg
- 1961: Live: Top Ten Club, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.