THE ONE AFTER 9:09 —although a work of fiction—would have been impossible to write, but for the extraordinary wealth of memoirs, chronicles, and original research concerning The Beatles and their times published over the last fifty years. Those same sources helped supply the information now made available on this website. A number of books proved absolutely essential and should be singled out for special acknowledgement.
My debt of gratitude to all of the many individuals concerned—authors, editors, publishers, archivists, curators, fans—is total.
Bill Harry. Mersey Beat: The Beginnings of The Beatles.
The early Liverpool days in all their black and white splendour—still a work of wonder. Bill Harry's many encyclopaedic works on The Beatles—beyond scholarly.
Astrid Kirchherr & Klaus Voormann. Astrid's photographs and Klaus's drawings of The Beatles' early days in Hamburg—especially as exhibited in the extraordinary book published by Genesis—Hamburg Days—are a joy—incomparable.
Jürgen Vollmer. The photographs of the early days of the band in The Beatles In Hamburg reveal the real nitty-gritty of Hamburg clubland et le blouson noir. Timeless.
Mark Lewisohn. An astonishing body of work. From The Beatles Live! through to The Beatles Recording Sessions and The Complete Beatles Chronicle—to the first of his three-volume magnum opus: The Beatles: All These Years: Tune In. Definitive, indispensable—always a complete joy.
Ian MacDonald. Revolution In The Head: The Beatles Records and the Sixties. A masterpiece—sans pareil.
Michael Braun. “Love Me Do!” The Beatles’ Progress. There’s no better fly-on-the-wall account of the band’s early days.
Philip Norman. Shout and John Lennon. First and last words.
Jonathan Gould. Can’t Buy Me Love. Essential reading. Hugely insightful views into The Beatles’ music, as well as a very nuanced appreciation of the group’s extraordinary influence and affect on post-war society in both the UK and US.
Hunter Davies. The Beatles. The first and best ‘inside story’.
Bob Spitz. The Beatles: A Biography. A treasure trove.
Andy Babiuk. Beatles Gear. A true revelation—and such fun.
Peter Frame. The Beatles and Some Other Guys. Frame’s ‘Rock Family Trees’ are a never-ending magical mystery tour.
Spencer Leigh. The Beatles in Liverpool and The Beatles in Hamburg—although both late to the party—were most welcome guests. A real ‘Fab’ time. And by a real Liverpudlian, to Bootle.
David Bedford. Liddypool - Birthplace of The Beatles
The work of another real Liverpudlian and true Beatles' fan. A Magnum Opus with 300-plus pages of photos—old and new—detailed notes, maps, and commentaries. As the author says: "To understand The Beatles, you have to understand Liverpool." Love for The Beatles and the City that gave them birth shines through on every page.
Martin Lewis moved mountains to get Brian Epstein’s autobiography A Cellarful of Noise (1964) republished in 1998. His introductory essay ‘With A Little Help From Their Friend…’ is simply terrific. Lewis was a tireless advocate for Brian Epstein to receive greater recognition. It’s largely due to his efforts that The Beatles’ late manager was finally inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. Knockout work.
Ray Coleman. Of the many chroniclers of The Beatles, I developed a special affection for Coleman’s work, especially in regard to his twin-biographies on John Lennon: Vols. I & II and his biography on Brian Epstein: The Man Who Made the Beatles. The latter book, particularly, because it was what first keyed me in to ‘the Sam Leach Affair’.
Sam Leach. Originally, The One After 9:09 concerned the intertwined stories of The Beatles, Brian Epstein, and the ‘mythical’ Raymond Jones. Sam Leach was but a minor figure, at best. However, on reading his book, The Birth of The Beatles (Published in the UK as The Rocking City.) Sam walked into the story, glass of whisky and cigarette in hand, with tickets to the New Brighton Tower in his pockets, and demanded that it be re-written to include him. His book is a marvellous record of the times: warm, generous, untidy, and very, very funny⎯much as, I suspect, is Sam Leach himself. He comes across as being utterly irrepressible—some would say an incorrigible dreamer—but what towering dreams.
I hope I’ve managed to capture the unique magic of the man, whom I believe to have played⎯along with such Liverpool luminaries as Bill Harry and Bob Wooler⎯a hugely significant role in the early life of The Beatles and a signal part in the rise of the whole Merseybeat scene. He deserves to be lauded for that.
Most of the incidents involving Sam Leach in The One After 9:09 are based upon events recounted by him in his autobiography-memoir. I urge you to read it. It merits a much wider audience and an honoured place on every ‘Beatles bookshelf’.
One minor point: Sam Leach’s memory of The Beatles singing ‘Twist and Shout’ at the first all-nighter at the Iron Door Club on Saturday 11 March, 1961 is a little flawed; The Isley Brothers’ record wasn’t released until the following year, when Mark Lewisohn lists it as being included in The Beatles’ ‘Live’ repertoire. However, in The One After 9:09 I chose to stay with Sam’s sometimes-imperfect memory, as opposed to Mark Lewisohn’s always-immaculate research.
The ‘fab’ photographs at Sam Leach’s ‘Battle of The Bands’ in Aldershot, 9 December, 1961, were actually taken by his friend, Liverpool photographer Dick Matthews, not Raymond Jones as depicted in The One After 9:09.
Rex Makin—still a highly regarded and much-respected figure in Liverpool civic and legal circles—certainly never knew Raymond Jones or Harry Lightfoot. It’s highly likely, though, that having been for all his professional life the champion of the underdog, he met or had dealings with their counterparts.
George Harrison, Brian Epstein, and George Martin all remarked on the phenomenon of The Beatles resembling a ‘single entity’ or ‘complete person’ when they performed together. However, in all my Beatle-ing, the idea was never better articulated than in a scene in Richard Marquand’s ‘fab’ film Birth of The Beatles (1981). Since the film was first screened on British television I’ve often quoted the observation attributed to Brian Epstein and I drew upon the spirit of it for my novel.
Especial thanks, then, to screenwriters John Kurland and Jacob Eskendar for their inspiration.
A special salute to A Hard Day’s Night—a uniquely ‘fab’ experience. Thanks to director, Dick Lester; screenwriter, the late Alun Owen; producer, the late Walter Shenson; and actor, and very much a personal favourite, the late Victor Spinetti.
Particular thanks to ‘Aunty Beeb’. The BBC documentary
departments are without peer. Even so, the BBC TV 'Arena' programme ‘The Brian Epstein Story’⎯produced by the late Debbie Geller and directed by Anthony Wall—and on which Geller’s excellent book of the same title was also based⎯is truly exceptional. Also of special note—the BBC Radio documentaries: Merseybeat, All Night Long, The Inner Light (of George Harrison.)
A special tip of the hat to UK music magazines: Mojo, Uncut, and ‘Q’ for their many excellent articles and special editions about The Beatles and their times. Ditto Rolling Stone in the US. Many thanks, too, to the dedicated fanzines: Daytrippin’ and Beatlefan. Thanks a bunch, there, fellas. Love yer work.
The birth of The Beatles began with a sequence of ‘lighting bolts from the Gods’ that defies all probability. | John meets Paul | Paul leads to George | George leads to Ringo | The Beatles lead to Brian Epstein | Brian Epstein leads to George Martin | Five signal events, without the occurrence of any one of which, The Beatles, as we knew and loved them, would never have existed.
Thanks to the late, great George Martin—the fifth ‘bolt’ if not the fifth Beatle. Unique, in terms of both the times and place, he had the smarts, the skills, and ‘the ears’ to help produce, as well as introduce The Beatles and their music to the world. His book, All You Need Is Ears, warm, witty, wonderful. Produced by George Martin: 50 Years In Recording (6 CDs) a revelation. Rock on, George.
Thanks to the late Brian Epstein, who by all the evidence was a man of great charm and style and singular vision—as well as of extraordinary perseverance and dedication—and about whom Paul McCartney said, not quite twenty years ago today: “If anyone was the fifth Beatle, it was Brian.” ‘Nuff said.
Thanks to George Harrison. What a lovely man he was. His musicianship, song writing, driest-of-dry wit, and ‘unique soul’ are forever inspiring. ‘Namaste…George’.
Thanks to the one and only Ringo Starr for not only being uniquely and irrepressibly ‘Ringo’, but also for always being—and providing—the full fulfilment of the missing part. Thanks a million, Ritchie. Keep on bashing those skins.
And lastly: Thanks to John Lennon and Paul McCartney for their sublime body of work. If John’s song ‘One After 909’ was the genesis of the book⎯then Paul’s ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ was what gave it its tone and form.
My heartfelt thanks to both men: to the memory of the one taken from us all, all too soon; and to the other musical genius who—to everyone’s delight—is still rockin’ as hard as ever he did. Twin legends in their own time—in my life⎯and for evermore.
PHOTOGRAPHS & GRAPHICS - ON THE 909
is ‘An Unabashed Beatles Fan Site’ and is a non-profit—on-going educational project—designed to increase enjoyment and encourage further study—of the music, people, places, times, and tides of Liverpool, London, and Hamburg of the 1960s—with specific emphasis on the world-wide cultural phenomenon that was The Beatles.
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Liverpool | Bill Harry: Mersey Beat newspaper; Bill Harry & Virginia Sowry | Sam Leach: Operation Big Beat -The Tower; Engagement Party; OBB Posters | Gilly | Savage Young Beatles (SYB) /Beatlesource |
Hamburg | Gilly | SYB/Beatlesource | Astrid Kirchherr | Jürgen Vollmer | Klaus Voorman
London | Gilly | SYB/Beatlesource |
Liverpool | Astrid Kirchherr: Cavern Club; Hessy's/Jim Gretty? | Les Ward Collection: New Brighton Tower | Gilly | Beatlesource | Ballroom Posters: Tony Booth
Hamburg | Astrid Kirchherr: Beatles Dom Fairground & Wagon |
Jürgen Vollmer: John Lennon | Gilly/SYB/Beatlesource: Indra; Kaiserkeller club & poster; Beatles on stage; Rory&Hurricanes on stage; TopTen Club, Beatles on stage; Star-Club, Exterior, Poster, Beatles on stage |
London | SYB/Beatlesource: Aldershot Palais - Dick Matthews | Gilly |
Rock 'n' Roll | Gilly | SYB/Beatlesource |
Mersey Beat | Bill Harry & Virginia Sowry | Dick Matthews | SYB/Beatlesource |
Gilly | SYB/Beatlesource | Tony Broadbent