Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Scandal in West Derby

Novenber 24, 1961

You'll remember that one of the most important behind the scenes people in the Beatles story is Pete Best's mother Mona, who always believed in the boys potential and even gave her basement over to establish a club for the kids to gather and listen to music.  She must have been very young at heart herself.

And then there is the Beatles longtime friend, Neil Aspinall, who rents a room at the Best residence and who has purchased a used Commer van and has become the Beatles roadie, transporting them and their equipment all over Liverpool for a few shillings per appearance.  (In addition to his regular job as an accountant in training.)
Neil stands in for George at a Sullivan rehearsal

Well, in the seething cauldron that was the Beatles inner circle, this unlikely pair have somehow become lovers.  In about nine months time the undeniable proof of this fact will come into this world as Pete Best's half brother Vincent, known as Roag.  The Beatles, including Pete, seem to have taken it all in stride and Neil, called affectionately Nell by the members of the band, will have a long history with them, heading up Apple almost until his death in 2008.

The Beatles are playing almost everyday at the Cavern with a night at the Merseyside Civil Service Club.  And a very big  appearance at the second of Sam Leach's Operation Big Beat concerts at the Tower Ballroom occurs today, Friday the 24th.  Surprise guests Emile Ford and Davy Jones (black blues singer, not the future Monkee) appear as surprise guests.  The Beatles back Mr Jones and Rory Storm and the Hurricanes do the honors for Emile Ford.  Real recording artists!

And if you happen to be in Liverpool today, get on down the the Albert Dock, by all means.

                                                           Operation Big Beat II 2011


  1. Great post! I do remember reading about Neil in The Beatles Anthology. But I didnt know he stood in for George once.

  2. Neil couldn't play a lick, but they needed someone to plan the camera angles and so on. It does look weird with him standing there in George's place and holding his guitar. Like some alternate universe. :-) Neil and George met when they were both in school at the Liverpool Institute. They were in different grades but met behind the equipment sheds where the boys would go to grab a smoke on the sly.