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By Posted on 0 12

Howie Casey was born in Liverpool, and delved into rock and roll at the same time as our legendary lads.  If you’re asked on a quiz show which band had the first LP released who hails from the city, it isn’t the Beatles.  It would be Howie Casey and the Seniors. Besides Sir Paul, Howie would play sax for the likes of Ringo, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, The Who, and Marc Bolan.  His signature sax riffs would punctuate many a Macca tune, and his sax provided the air that Wings would soar across the globe on.

Producer Tony Visconti led Casey to Paul McCartney to play on the classic 1973 album, Band on the Run.  Howie would join Wings for the 66-show Wings Over the World Tour in 1975-1976.  Casey would remain with Wings until McCartney’s Japanese tour was canceled at the beginning of 1980. Casey stopped in to talk with Beatles Magazine about his storied career, and his times with the cute Beatle.

Beatles Magazine: What comes to your mind when we mention Howie Casey and the Seniors?

Howie Casey: The band first started out as Derry and the Seniors in 1958 and we changed the name to Howie Casey and the Seniors when Freddie Starr joined around 1961. I have very fond memories of my band The Seniors we had a lot of fun together playing all the venues around the Liverpool, Manchester and the North West of England before we got the recording contract with Fontana Records. The two front singers, Derry Wilkie, and Freddie Starr were great showmen,as you probably know Freddie went on to become one of the best comedians this country has produced. The rest of the band, Brian ‘Griff’ Griffiths on guitar at 17 was a great talent, he showed people like John Lennon, and George Harrison how to play certain licks they couldn’t figure out. Phil ‘Spread’ Whitehead on bass was solid as a rock, and on drums Frank Wibberly was for me the best drummer around at that time. Paul told me in later years, he and John used to come to our gigs they loved the band. We played The Cavern on a regular basis at lunchtime and evening sessions, sometimes if Frank our drummer wasn’t able to make a lunchtime gig, I’d call on either Johnny Hutchinson or Ringo Starr to step in for him. We also played The Iron Door, The Casbah, Tower Ballroom, The Holyoake, Blair Hall, Wilson Hall, The Rialto, basically all the gigs available at that time.

BM:  The Seniors were the first band from Liverpool to have an ‘LP’, can you tell us about that record?

Howie Casey:  We got the contract with Fontana through Freddie, he had been offered a solo recording deal but wanted the band as well. So Fontana said okay but we’d have to do an audition. So we all went down to London in our old van and did the audition, they liked what they heard and we got the contract on the proviso we wrote Twist songs, for, Twist at the Top. That was the in dance craze. Basically what we did was write rock songs and insert the word  ‘twist’ instead of ‘rock’. We went back to London and recorded the whole album plus extra material in an afternoon, totally live no drop-ins or overdubs. It does show on the album, but we were naive and were just chuffed to have recorded. Our record was played on Radio Luxembourg and other stations, and we got a London based agent who booked us round London and the South and of course we still gigged up North.


BMTony Visconti was producing Marc Bolan, and guided you to work with Paul McCartney. How did that come about, and which records did you play on?

Howie Casey:  By the time I worked with Tony Visconti, I had moved to London. He booked me to play on some tracks, he had a small studio in his house. I think I played on some of Mary Hopkin’s tracks, and later for Marc Bolan (T. Rex ), most notably 20th Century Boy. On that Tony said “Howie I’d like you to freak out on your sax at the end of the track” which I did lots of harmonics etc. I can’t remember all the tracks I worked on, but I played on the album, ‘Tanx‘ I also got to tour With Marc a few times. I was doing quite a lot of session work and playing with lots of different bands, when I got a call from MPL (Paul’s office), asking would I be available to do some tracks on ‘Wings’ new album, ‘Band on the Run‘. I sure was! That came through Tony’s recommendation, and I’ll always be grateful to him.




BM:  What was it like going on tour with Wings, and having an former Beatle as your front-man?

Howie Casey: After playing on ‘Band on the Run‘, where I played on ‘Jet’, ‘Bluebird’, and ‘Mrs Vanderbilt’, I just carried on doing my gigs and sessions. Paul and ‘Wings’ had done another album, ‘Venus and Mars‘ over in America, and I thought ” Oh well that’s the end of that”. Then I got a call from Alan Crowder at MPL saying Paul has asked if I would be interested in playing on their next world tour; “Yup I’ll have some of that” I said. Working with Paul, we both went back a long way and we hadn’t seen one another since the old days in Liverpool, and Hamburg. That was no problem we got along very well, indeed, lots of common ground.




The Tour was terrific to be on, we were looked after so well, the music and partying was great a brilliant outfit to be with. The other members of the band were so easy to get on with, real nice people. I also played on ‘Wings at the Speed of Sound‘, ‘Wings Over America‘ ‘Back to the Egg‘ the ‘Rockestra‘ sessions, and ‘Rock for Kampuchea‘.

BM: What artists inspired you early on, and what led you to the sax?

Howie Casey: Back in the 50’s I was listening to people like Little Richard, who for my money had the best voice in R&R and of course his great sax players like Lee Allan, Herb Hardesty. My favourite sax man was Plas Johnson, he played the original ‘Pink Panther’ theme; fabulous sound. Ray Charles was another favourite and his wonderful sax man David ‘Fathead’ Newman. Etta James was a knockout singer as well, there were so many great people around at that time, brilliant musicians and singers that influenced us all in those days.

BM: Did you know any of the Beatles growing up in Liverpool?

Howie Casey: I first met up with ‘The Beatles’ or ‘The Silver Beatles’ as they were known, at the Larry Parnes auditions at ‘The Wyvern Club’ organized by Alan Williams. Then after that in 1960, ‘The Seniors’ got the gig in Hamburg, Germany at ‘The Kaiserkeller Club’. We’d been there for a while doing great business when Alan wrote to me saying he was sending over ‘The Beatles’ to play in a small bar just up the road from were we were. I wasn’t too happy about this having seen them at the Parnes auditions and we weren’t impressed. We thought they would mess up the scene. As it turned out, when we heard them playing at ‘The Indra’ they’d come on an absolute storm. We all became great friends, we showed them the best cheap places to eat and drink. Many times when they finished their gig they would come to ‘The Kaiserkeller’ and get up and jam with us. Back in Liverpool we played lots gigs on the same bill as them. The manager of the club decided that instead of us playing 45 minutes and breaking for 15 minutes he would take Stuart Sutcliffe from ‘The Beatles’ and split ‘The Seniors’ into two bands so as there were no breaks in the live music. We weren’t best pleased and neither were ‘The Beatles’, but we were dealing with gangsters and you didn’t argue, or else. So the band was split into a 4 piece and a 3 piece. The quartet was Jeff Wallington on drums, Stan Foster on piano, Stuart Sutcliffe on bass, Derry Wilkie on vocals, and me on sax. The trio was Brian ‘Griff’ Griffiths on guitar/ bass, Billy Hughes on guitar/ vocals, and a good German drummer who’s name escapes me. I often wondered if losing Stuart at that time, and Paul having to play bass lines on his guitar, if had influenced him to take up bass as his main instrument.

BM: Do any memories stand out while recording Rockestra Theme, with Paul McCartney, and so many legendary musicians?

Howie Casey: The ‘ Rockestra‘ recording sessions were pretty amazing, all those big names from the Rock industry getting to play together, there weren’t any huge ego’s on show, no ‘prima donnas’ , or tantrums, I think a few were a little nervous if the truth be known, after all they’d come to play with ‘the Man’, Paul McCartney. Of course I felt okay about it I was playing with ‘Wings’ and had worked with a lot of those people. But it was an honour to be there.

BM: Tommy and Quadrophenia are two classic albums by the Who that you played on. Do any memories stand out from the studio when you played on those tracks?

Howie Casey: I played on both the albums ‘Tommy‘ and ‘Quadrophenia‘ I got the call because I’d played on a couple of John Entwistle albums, and also done some stuff for Pete Townsend. All I remember is two tracks I did ‘Eyesight for the Blind’ and ‘Acid Queen’, other tracks if I did any I can’t remember. Because I’d done those sessions when they decided to use a horn section on tour, I got the call and put a three piece section together. It went very well although Roger Daltrey took some convincing, on the first rehearsal when he walked in he looked us on our riser behind John’s amps and said ” What are they for?” -Charming!!

BM: When Paul McCartney was busted for pot, and the 1980 tour was canceled, what went through your mind?

Howie Casey: When we arrived in Japan for the tour, the Horn section of Tony Dorsey, Thaddeus Richard, Steve Howard, and myself all got together in my hotel room, to have a drink and I handed out cigars I’d bought at duty free. We’d just lit up and were having a laugh when Alan Crowder walked in I offered him a drink and a cigar, which he turned down, which was very unusual for Alan, I said,” What’s the matter Al”?  He said ” Paul’s in jail”, and we all thought he was taking the mickey as usual, but he wasn’t laughing. Then he told us what had happened.  We were shocked, but said, hey it’s okay the powers that be will sort this out. It didn’t happen like that, we were told to be ready to leave if they could get Paul out. There was a possible seven year sentence if not, so either way we were going home, no tour! To say the least we were pissed off, we’d just negotiated a better deal for ourselves, so this was a big blow for us. Plus the whole crew were stunned, Linda and the rest of the band were in pieces. Of course, Paul did get out and we were told get packed and off to the airport. Paul was brought to the plane  and put into the cheap seats with the rest of us, and off we flew. He was of course moved up to first class once the plane took off. The drag was, I think, was that it heralded the end of that line up of ‘Wings‘. A damn shame, as that was one tight band. Thing is we were told dope was easily available in Japan anyway. So there was no need to put in the luggage. Just forgetfulness? Maybe!!

BM: Can you tell us about the record, Twist at the Top, and where fans can get a copy?

Howie Casey: To be honest I don’t know were you can get a copy of ‘Twist at the Top‘ I think it’s a record collectors item, I don’t have an original copy myself.

BM: Where are you currently playing, and where can fans catch up with you? Any other news?

Howie Casey: These days I still play even at my age, which will be 81 in July this year, I have a 12 piece band called ‘Beatles with Wings‘ obviously you can see what type of music we play. Also, I’ve been playing with some old friends in a group called ‘Chas and Dave‘, and the odd session now and again, plus ‘Solo’ and ‘Duo’ gigs.



By Bob Wilson


By Posted on 0 , 17

Leslie Cavendish was born in East London and grew up in a large Jewish family in Burnt Oak, North London. He was apprenticed to Vidal Sassoon in 1962, becoming a stylist in his own right three years later. He became Paul McCartney’s private hair­dresser in 1966, and soon began to work on the image of all four Beatles, at the Apple offices and in their recording studios, and was even invited along as a friend and participant on the Magical Mystery Tour. In 1967, he opened his own salon, backed by Apple and the Beatles, at 161 King’s Road, Chelsea.

We talk with Leslie about his time with The Beatles, Jane Asher, his upcoming book release and more…


How did you get interested in hairdressing ?

I got interested in hairdressing because when I was 15yrs I thought that like everybody else that I would like to be a footballer but although i was pretty good as a defender i wasnt good enough.
One day I went to meet my mum at the local hairdressers and outside the shop was a flashy American car.When i walked into the salon the owner whose car was parked outside was surrounded by women.and i thought straight away what a good working environment to be in.
My best friend lawrence who also left school 6 months before me and also wanted to be a footballer told me that he was going to do an apprenticeship as a hairdresser .So i thought if its good enough for him to do it I will as well.We are still best friends to this day.

Where did you learn your job ?

I started my apprenticeship at Vidal Sassoon’s salon in London’s Bond the age of 15yrs.
I then went as a junior(apprentice) to Vidals new salon at the Grosvenor House hotel in London’s Park Lane.
My apprenticeship was for 3 years but i became a qualified junior stylist after two and half years.
Before you were accepted as a SASSOON stylist at his salon you had to become a junior to Mr Vidal himself and when i was asked i knew i would be staying.

Many celebrities attended your hair salon , including Jane Asher . Please , tell us about your meeting with Jane Asher and your impressions when you first saw Paul McCartney afterwards

I used to wash Janes hair when she went to her stylist Roger and because her hair was very long and thick I would spend 1 hour blow drying it so when i became a stylist i used to style her hair (not wash) whenever Roger couldn’t do it because i knew how she would like it.
Rogers biggest mistake was that had he not refused to do her hair on that saturday morning i wouldnt be telling you this story.
In a chapter in my book The title is “Almost the Pete Best of the Hairdressing World” and that will explain how I nearly lost out on cutting Paul McCartney and the other beatles.

When i went around to Paul’s london house for the first time and met him i was feeling quite nervous but I made sure he didnt know it and when he opened the door to the house which i didnt expect he said in a very relaxed way “Jane said you’re coming over to cut me barnet(cockney rhyme for hair (barnet fair)” .
That put me at ease straight away and the rest is history.

How did you become Beatles official hairdresser ?

After cutting Pauls hair in October 1966 I was asked to go to Apple offices which had just been formed and there I met Neil Aspinall who organised my payment and while i was there he asked me to cut his hair.
Then Derek Taylor became another client and it was he (thanks Derek) who introduced me to the other beatles and thats when i became the “Beatles official hairdresser”

Did the Beatles request an special haircut ? Or did you suggest some hairstyle ?

They never requested any special hairstyle while I cut their hair it was always what their mood was which dictated their hair (let it be ) album is a perfect example.
I did cut Pauls hair very short for a reason and in the press they said “The man who made Paul a skinhead”
but read the book to find out more!

Maureen was Ringo s hairdresser . Did you ever cut Ringo s hair ?

Yes I cut Ringos hair on a few occasions but most of the time Maureen did it.
I was asked to go to the film studio to style his hair when he was making the film (Magic Christian) and he did occasionally come to the salon in Chelsea.









Do you remember any other special customer at your hair salon ?

Keith moon (The Who) The Bee gees, Apple recording artists (Jackie lomax/James Taylor etc) Bob weir(Grateful Dead) Tony Curtis (film actor) Suzanna Leigh (co/star with Elvis in “Paradise Hawaiian style)
James Hunt (formula 1 World champion) Dave Clark 5 (DC5) Peter Asher ,Graham Nash (CSN) Linda McCartney, Ashton .Gardner and Dyke and many more bands.








How was your relationship with the Beatles after their break up ?

My own personal relationship with them was ok.
The difference was that I saw more of Paul because he was at his home and wasn’t going into the Apple office.
John was spending more time with Yoko and the other two where doing there own thing so I didnt see much more of them after that except if Derek or Neil would call me to do there hair.

Which one is your favorite Beatles song ? And which one is your favorite LP ?

I have two so I have a Double A side. “And I Love her” and “Things we said today”, and my album:
A Hard Day Night LP.

Paul McCartney, Leslie Cavendish and crew waiting for the Magical Mystery Tour bus, 1967.


What was your first  reaction when you received the news of Lennon s murder  and Harrison s death ?
John and George’s  death made me feel numb because I remembered the times i had spent with both of them.
George at the salon in the Kings rd where i cut his hair and the MMT coach trip that we were all on.
As a Beatle fan I couldnt believe that someone could murder John and also George was  attacked at his home and then died of cancer a few years later. Can you imagine if they were still with us

Please tell us about your soon to be published autobiographical book
My book is about my journey through the sixties and the magical journey I was on with the help of The Beatles
The stories of how I made Paul a skinhead/The hells angels episode/MMT journey/Beatles recording at abbey Rd and obla di obla da evening and much more to tell.



Photo: Apple Tailoring at 161 Kings Road. Leslie Cavendish’s hair salon was in the basement.






Leslie, tell us about your VIP Beatles tour in London

I  go to Places where other Beatle guides cant take you because they only show you the outside..
With me i will tell you what went on inside the Apple offices/Abbey Rd and MMT because I was there.
my website will tell you the tours that I do  Beatles Hairdresser Official Site Home page


Are you going to be at the next International Beatles week in Liverpool ?

Yes I have been asked to be a guest speaker at “International Beatles Week” at the Adelphi hotel on the sunday 27th August.
I will also be doing book signings at Waterstones/Beatles story museum and Penny Lane Project .
Please look at my website or facebook for times of the events.

Leslie, thank you very much for your time and the interview, Is there something you want to add to all the Beatles fans around the world?

I am so glad that the Beatles music is still giving everyone from all parts of the world the recognition that they deserve.We thought  at the time it was special but to think they are still popular after all these years make them SUPER SPECIAL. I know that if all The Beatles were on stage right  now they would say to their fans a big THANKYOU and I am saying that this interview is “From me to You “

Thank you BEATLES MAGAZINE, this magazine is for ALL BEATLE  FANS  please make sure you read it because if you don’t you will miss out on interviews like mine and many other people connected to the WORLD OF THE FAB 4.

Thank you very much again Leslie for this interview !


The Cutting Edge: The Story of the Beatles’ Hairdresser Who Defined an Era, will be published on 24 August 2017.




By Posted on 0 , 10

Don´t miss our Exclusive Interview with LESLIE CAVENDISH, the Beatles’ Hairdresser Who Defined an Era… this weekend on @BEATLESMAGAZINE


By Posted on 0 , 8

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Pete is a very simple and kind guy, a very friendly and personable fellow,even though he is part of a great story. He was a former member of the best group in the music history. He has no resentments and no hard feelings towards his former colleagues. He answered all of my questions. He has no trouble in meeting Paul and Ringo, even though he knows this is not easy and it doesn´t depend only on him. He also talked directly about his point of view of his departure from the fab four, in a very final version.
We talked about many things, and this gave me the opportunity to spend a great time with him and to get to know more about the beginning of the Beatles…

Lovely Rita: Pete, you were once a Beatle, you will always be a part of the Beatles, you spent a lot of time together with John, Paul, George and Stu, a lot of time. You are a big part of the story and you are the one that knew them best at that time. Can you tell me what it´s your perception of each one of them in those early years?

Pete Best: I will start with John first, because we were friends in The Beatles. Close to John, ok, close to my heart (Pete puts his hand on his chest) I was as close in the very early days to observe John very well. He was the leader in the very beginning in Hamburg. We were simply friends and we had the chance to travel together and ended up talking about girlfriends and drinking together back in Liverpool. You know, let me tell you something about the another side of John Lennon, he just seemed at the same time a very tender guy and someone who was always watching everything around. And we just got together and it felt complete for me… and you know, how was John, a great musician, a leader and a friend.

Ok, next Paul McCartney ….Macca or Sir Paul, (Pete rises his arms cheerfully). Great musician from the very early days, very much into public relationships. Great performance skills and always longing to be the center of attraction. Ok, even on stage.
We were fine, we used to drink and socialize, which meant getting to know girls in Hamburg and all the things we did in those early days. Paul was the guy which everyone knew back home in Liverpool. Hoping to do it in Hamburg,not too much… but, you know, we had got a contract, and you know…And he gets to be well known, and now he is one of the biggest entrepreneur of the music industry. I think he stood out from the very beginning in the early days and his music reached the top since the early years, through the seventies and until now.

About George, little George. There is a funny thing I remember from The Beatles, George was quite a guitar man. When he first entered the group in the very early years, he wanted to be the very best guitar man in the group and when all that stuff of songwriting credits of Lennon-McCartney started to develop, he wanted to be a songwriter too. He was a young man, at the perfect stage of his life to try to be perfect with the guitar, to be a good musician. Like I´ve said before, I think he wanted perfection. But he is no longer among us anymore. Anyway, we want to remember him as the best guitar musician.

Stu…everyone knew Stu was a brillant painter. But I defending Stu, he was really good playing bass guitar. Old rock and roll was simple in those days… bass and drums coordinated well in the band, and the band played great. And he also got a beautiful woman that we meet in Hamburg, Astrid Kircherr. This made us feel so jealous, because we all wanted something like it.

Lovely Rita: Could you give me some details of the recording sessions at Decca? Did you agree with the song list? Did you wanted to play other songs, instead? Brian (Epstein) selected the songs…

Pete Best: Decca was the biggest record company in London, and Brian Epstein our manager, told us in december 31st, we had got an appointment for the first day in January. And selected the material we would use to impress Decca. So we concentrated on country westerns, on Carl Perkins,and he also told us not to get drunk… but we did get drunk, because it was new year´s eve in Trafalgar Square. We stayed there until 2:00am, and of course we got late for the appointment at Decca. Brian was angry because this was a big occasion for us. And we didn´t know that Mike Smith, the operator was late too because he had been celebrating too. We spend the day at the studio. We recorded 14 or 15 songs, we only did one or two takes of each in the audition. And at the end of it we felt very happy and MIke Smith said: “You have got the contract!”. So we went out to celebrate… (Laughter…and Pete raises an imaginary bottle close to his mouth as if he is drinking from it wildly! … more laughter…)… When you listen carefully to the bootleg Decca session tapes, you realize that even though we knew we were playing ok, we made some mistakes, bad voices…


Lovely Rita: What memories do you have of the time in between 1960 to 1962?

Pete Best: Oh, I have a many memories… wonderful memories… it was a wonderful time back in the sixties. The shows at The Casbah, the trip to Hamburg, the recordings. Beautiful years, and so, and so, and so….ha ha ha (laughs). Too many favourite memories. It was a wonderful time.


Lovely Rita: How was the experience of recording with Tony Sheridan?

Pete Best: Tony Sheridan was a great musician, I remember “My Bonnie” was a great song, great recording. For us it was a great experience, recording at the studio in Hamburg. the first album. We provided backing music for a great musician. The great Tony Sheridan was something very special for us. We had really a good time.


Lovely Rita: All The Beatles change the hairstyle…and you?

Pete Best: I never refused, they never asked me.

Lovely Rita: Pete, when you left the group, did this change your life…

Pete Best: Yes, it changed my life. I can say I learned not to be so innocent. I put what I learned into practice… I have nothing to forgive The Beatles for what happened long ago. Now I travel around the world and no one can kick me out of my own band. I don´t have fear of playing with Paul or Ringo, though I doubt such a session would ever happen.

Lovely Rita: What is your final version of your departure?

Pete Best: I wish I knew!!… (kidding)… there maybe so many reasons. Initially it was said that I was not a good drummer, ok, that´s rubbish. Then the people in Liverpool who knew me for playing drums, realized this wasn´t true. Then other people started thinking about another reasons, and they thought maybe there was jealousy, I was too good looking, hairstyle, antisocial, you know, not so friend with the others. The people would make their own opinion of it. That was 50 years ago… there is only one person alive who knows this particular answer. And that person is Paul. Ok, so then I suggest you seek the chance to ask Paul directly this question. He might give us the definitive answer. As I´m concerned it´s something that happened many years ago. I don´t think about it anymore, you know. If Paul and I would get together again I don´t think we would talk about why I left the group back then. We are both grandparents now, that is something we could talk about now. I am not concerned about the people out there who is still trying to find out the real reasons why I left The Beatles, because I´m enjoying my life now, and that happened 50 years ago.


Lovely Rita: Which is your favorite Beatles album?

Pete Best: Umm… I would have liked to play at all (laughter)… the White Album, yes the White Album. Because I think it is the most diverse of all… the most various of all their records.


Lovely Rita: What was you reaction to John´s dead?

Pete Best: My reaction was exactly like it was for the rest of the world. We were in shock. I couldn´t believe Mark Chapman did it. When I first heard the news because of time differences, I didn´t believe it. Unfortunately this happened just at the same time when John was coming back to the music industry.


Lovely Rita:What kind of music do you listen besides rock and roll?

Pete Best: Yeah, lots of music, Latin American, Jazz, Blues, Rhythm and Blues, Country, Bluegrass, and of course rock and roll… cause you know, Rock is what I do and we play this kind of music with my band.

Lovely Rita: Yes Pete, of course!! (Laughter)


Lovely Rita: Thank you so much Pete, it´s been an honour to talk with you.

Pete Best: Thank you it´s a pleasure to be with you, I hope to see you again and great page.

Lovely Rita: Thank you again Pete.

Afterwards I talked with Roag, Pete´s brother and Neil Aspinal´s son – which gently wrote this words for Beatles Magazine:

Personal interview and Photos by Lovely Rita. Thank you so much Pete and Roag.