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The Big Three
|Also known as||Cass & The Cassanovas (1959–1961)|
|Genres||Beat, Pop, Rock and roll|
|Years active||1959–1966, 1973, 1999|
|Associated acts||The Seniors|
|Past members|| Adrian Barber |
Brian J. Hudson
J. Peter Robinson
The Big Three were a Merseybeat group from Liverpool. They are best known for their 1963 recording of "Some Other Guy".
Beat music, British beat, or Merseybeat is a popular music genre that developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1960s.
A musical ensemble, also known as a music group or musical group, is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music, with the ensemble typically known by a distinct name. Some music ensembles consist solely of instruments, such as the jazz quartet or the orchestra. Some music ensembles consist solely of singers, such as choirs and doo wop groups. In both popular music and classical music, there are ensembles in which both instrumentalists and singers perform, such as the rock band or the Baroque chamber group for basso continuo and one or more singers. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles. Some ensembles blend the sounds of a variety of instrument families, such as the orchestra, which uses a string section, brass instruments, woodwinds and percussion instruments, or the concert band, which uses brass, woodwinds and percussion.
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough in North West England, with an estimated population of 491,500. Its metropolitan area is the fifth-largest in the UK, with a population of 2.24 million in 2011. The local authority is Liverpool City Council, the most populous local government district in the metropolitan county of Merseyside and the largest in the Liverpool City Region.
The Big Three evolved from a group called Cass & The Cassanovas, formed in May 1959 by Brian Casser as a trio comprising Casser (rhythm guitar, lead vocals), Adrian Barber (lead guitar, vocals), and Brian J. Hudson (drums). The original line-up played at St George's Hall, Liverpool, on Friday, 15 May 1959. Johnny Hutchinson replaced Hudson in July 1959. In need of a bass guitarist, Hutchinson brought in Johnny Gustafson in December. At that time, Gustafson did not have a proper bass guitar, so Barber converted an acoustic for him. Gustafson's first gig was at The Tower Ballroom, New Brighton, on Thursday, 31 December 1959.
Brian Casser is a British singer and guitarist. He led the first notable beat group in Liverpool, Cass & the Cassanovas, who were early rivals of The Beatles in the city. He later led another group, Casey Jones & the Engineers, which was one of Eric Clapton's first bands, and then, as leader of Casey Jones & the Governors, became successful in Germany in the mid-1960s.
Adrian Barber is a musician / producer who is most noted for recording the Beatles Live! at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962 and producing the Allman Brothers Band's self-titled debut album along with the Velvet Underground's album Loaded.
A bassist or bass player, is a musician who plays a bass instrument such as a double bass, bass guitar, keyboard bass or a low brass instrument such as a tuba or sousaphone. Different musical genres tend to be associated with one or more of these instruments. Since the 1960s, the electric bass has been the standard bass instrument for funk, R&B, soul music, rock and roll, reggae, jazz fusion, heavy metal, country and pop music. The double bass is the standard bass instrument for classical music, bluegrass, rockabilly, and most genres of jazz. Low brass instruments such as the tuba or sousaphone are the standard bass instrument in Dixieland and New Orleans-style jazz bands.
In May 1960, the band auditioned for Larry Parnes at the Wyvern Social Club, Seel Street, Liverpool, with a number of other bands including The Silver Beetles. Hutchinson sat in with the band when their drummer Tommy Moore (born Thomas Henry Moore, in 1931, Liverpool died in 1981) failed to turn up. In December 1960, Casser left the group and moved to London, reducing them to a trio again, and the band re-emerged in January 1961 as The Big Three. Despite being a three-piece they were known as "one of the loudest, most aggressive and visually appealing acts".
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.
Thomas Henry Moore was an English drummer who played with The Silver Beetles – who later became The Beatles – from May to June 1960.
Brian Epstein signed them to his agencyand sent them over to Hamburg. It was during that trip in August 1962 that Brian Griffiths (born 27 August 1943, Liverpool) joined the group when Barber left, and the best-known line-up of the Big Three was established. Barber would subsequently emigrate to the United States, where he would later become known as an in-house recording engineer and producer at Atlantic Records, where he produced the Allman Brothers Band's debut album in 1969.
Brian Samuel Epstein was an English music entrepreneur who managed the Beatles.
Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany with a population of over 1.8 million.
Atlantic Recording Corporation is an American record label founded in October 1947 by Ahmet Ertegün and Herb Abramson. Over its first 20 years of operation, Atlantic earned a reputation as one of the most important American labels, specializing in jazz, R&B, and soul by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Ruth Brown and Otis Redding. Its position was greatly improved by its distribution deal with Stax. In 1967, Atlantic became a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, now the Warner Music Group, and expanded into rock and pop music with releases by Led Zeppelin and Yes.
Epstein arranged for them to audition for Decca Records, for which audition they recorded "Some Other Guy". The song was a minor chart hit, and later it became a standard in the Merseybeat scene.
Decca Records is a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934 by Lewis, along with American Decca's first president Jack Kapp and later American Decca president Milton Rackmil. In 1937, anticipating Nazi aggression leading to World War II, Lewis sold American Decca and the link between the UK and U.S. Decca labels was broken for several decades. The British label was renowned for its development of recording methods, while the American company developed the concept of cast albums in the musical genre. Both wings are now part of the Universal Music Group, which is owned by Vivendi, a media conglomerate headquartered in Paris, France. The US Decca label was the foundation company that evolved into UMG.
"Some Other Guy" is a rhythm and blues song, written by Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller and Richie Barrett. First released as a single in 1962 by Barrett himself, it featured an electric piano, then an unusual sound in pop music. Covered shortly afterwards by Liverpool's the Big Three, the song was a standard in the Merseybeat scene.
The Big Three and Epstein terminated their partnership in July 1963.Gustafson and Griffiths quit in November 1963, and with drummer Ian Broad from Rory Storm and the Hurricanes formed the Seniors and left for Germany. Hutchinson replaced them with Faron Ruffley (born William Faron Ruffley, 8 January 1942, Walton, Liverpool) and Paddy Chambers (born Patrick John Chambers, 3 April 1944, Liverpool, died 18 September 2000) from Faron's Flamingos.
Chambers left in March 1964 and was replaced by Paul Pilnick from the All Stars. Pilnick only stayed a short time before moving on to Tony Jackson & The Vibrations in October 1964, with Ruffley leaving around the same time.
The next agency to manage the band was Kennedy Street Enterprises.
Various musicians passed through the band after Pilnick left, including bass players John Bradley, Adrian Lord (ex Mojos), and Mike Bankes., and Ray Marshall and Howie Casey played Sax on a trip to Germany. Barry Womersley was guitarist for a while, but was replaced by Brian Griffiths during the time that they were managed by Chris Wharton. Chris had hopes of reenlisting Johnny Gustafson but these came to nothing,(Conversations with Chris Wharton 1965-6). Hutch had played with the Spidermen,(mention in Mersey Beat) but reformed the group with Barry Womersley and Ray Marshall
Between 1964 and 1966 the line-up consisted of John Hutchinson, Ray Marshall (vocals, bass) and Barry Womersley (lead guitar).During 1966 the band folded. Hutchinson received an offer to join Kingsize Taylor & the Dominoes but he declined, instead deciding to retire from music.
Arty Davies of Liverpool Beat says that following the demise of the Womersley/Marshall/ Hutchinson lineup a couple of bookings featured the following:
Dave Blackstone lead guitar The Tabs Johnny Hutchinson drums Pete Mumford Bass guitar
There is an apocryphal story in Alan Clayson's book "Beat Merchants" that Johnny Hutch packed up his drums after a first set at the Blue Angel, collected his pay and went home, with another drummer taking his place. Presumably this was the band's last gig.
In 1973, Gustafson and Griffiths teamed up with Elton John drummer Nigel Olsson, and Quatermass keyboardist J. Peter Robinson for a reunion album, Resurrection, released on Polydor Records.In 1999 Griffiths got together with another former Big Three member, Faron Ruffley, to do a small spot of Big Three numbers at the Merseycats charity night; the drummer for the get-together was Arty Davies (Faron's Flamingos).
In 2009, RPM Records issued a CD compilation entitled Cavern Stomp.[ citation needed ]
The Merseybeats are a band that emerged from the Liverpool Merseybeat scene in the early 1960s, performing at The Cavern Club along with the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers and other similar artists.
The Tornados were an English instrumental group of the 1960s that acted as backing group for many of record producer Joe Meek's productions and also for singer Billy Fury. They enjoyed several chart hits in their own right, including the UK and U.S. No. 1 "Telstar", the first U.S. No. 1 single by a British group.
The Searchers were an English Merseybeat group who emerged in the 1960s along with The Beatles, The Hollies, The Fourmost, The Merseybeats, The Swinging Blue Jeans, and Gerry and the Pacemakers.
The Rolling Stones is the debut EP released by The Rolling Stones in January 1964.
Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages were a British rock group from the early 1960s, sporting an ever-changing line-up of musicians and a taste for horror themes and zany humour. The group was founded by drummer Carlo Little, who was a friend of David Sutch, better known as Screaming Lord Sutch.
Johnny Kidd & the Pirates were an English rock and roll group led by singer/songwriter Johnny Kidd. They scored numerous hit songs from the late 1950s to the early 1960s, including "Shakin' All Over" and "Please Don't Touch", but their musical influence far outshines their chart performance.
The Swinging Blue Jeans are a four-piece 1960s British Merseybeat band, best known for their hit singles with the HMV label; "Hippy Hippy Shake", "Good Golly Miss Molly", and "You're No Good", issued in 1964. Subsequent singles released that year and the next made no impression. In 1966, their version of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Don't Make Me Over" peaked at no. 31 in the UK Singles Chart, but the group never charted again.
The Remo Four were a 1950s-1960s rock band from Liverpool, England. They were contemporaries of The Beatles, and later had the same manager, Brian Epstein. Its members were Colin Manley, Phil Rogers, Don Andrew, and Roy Dyke (drums). Andrew and Manley were in the same class at school as Paul McCartney.
"Cotton Fields" is a song written by American blues musician Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly, who made the first recording of the song in 1940.
The Undertakers are a British beat group, contemporaries of the Beatles and a leading group in the Merseybeat music scene of the early 1960s. They stopped performing in 2018, losing many of the original line-up members.
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The Rockin' Berries are a Beat group from Birmingham, England, who had several hit records in the UK in the 1960s. A version of the group, emphasising comedy routines as well as music, continues to perform to the present day.
"Memphis, Tennessee", sometimes shortened to "Memphis", is a song by Chuck Berry, first released in 1959. In the UK, the song charted at #6 in 1963; at the same time Decca Records issued a cover version in the UK by Dave Berry and the Cruisers, which also became a UK Top 20 hit single. Johnny Rivers's version of the song was a number two US hit in 1964.
John Frederick Gustafson was an English bass guitar player and singer, who had a lengthy recording and live performance career. During his career, he was a member of the bands The Big Three, Ian Gillan Band, Roxy Music and his own group, Quatermass, among others.
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At the Cavern was a live extended play 45 rpm record released in 1963 by The Big Three. It was released on Decca Records as DFE 8552 in mono and reached #6 in the UK EP charts in December 1963.