On this day in 1960, The Beatles auditioned for Larry Parnes.
London-based music promoter Larry Parnes travelled to Liverpool to audition groups to back Billy Fury on a tour of northern England and Scotland.
Laurence Maurice Parnes was an English pop manager and impresario. He was the first major British rock manager, and his stable of singers included many of the most successful British rock singers of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Parnes’ reputation was later damaged by testimony from many of the artists he managed in the late fifties and early sixties who alleged they were exploited.
The audition took place at the Blue Angel, a club run by The Silver Beetles’ new manager Allan Williams. The venue was previously known as the Wyvern Social Club, and was located at 106-108 Seel Street, Liverpool.
The Silver Beetles ( John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe – who was still learning to play the bass guitar- and Tommy Moore) were hopeful on the day, despite their drummer Tommy Moore not showing up.
George Harrison said: “They were going to use the Blue Angel, which in those days was called the Wyvern Social Club, to audition back-up bands for Larry Parnes’s acts. Beforehand we went out and bought some string shoes with little white bits on top. We were very poor and never had any matching clothes, but we tried to put together a uniform – black shirts and these shoes.
When we arrived at the club our drummer hadn’t shown up, so Johnny Hutchinson, the drummer with Cass and the Cassanovas, sat in with us. I don’t think we played particularly well or particularly badly.”
At the start of the performance, Johnny Hutchinson of the Casanovas sat in until Moore did actually arrive.
Also present at the auditions was Billy Fury. John Lennon was photographed receiving an autograph from the singer. Also pictured are Fury, Cliff Roberts and Larry Parnes.
The call from Parnes came on 18 May, and the group began their seven-date tour of Scotland with Johnny Gentle.
Parnes remained an influential impresario even after the rise of the Beatles and other groups had eclipsed those in his stable.