Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beatle People: The Fourmost

The Fourmost were an English Merseybeat band that recorded in the 1960s. Their biggest UK hit single was 1964's "A Little Loving."


Lead guitarist / singer Brian O'Hara and bass guitarist / singer Billy Hatton, friends since grammar school, formed The Blue Jays in 1958. The group changed their name to the Four Jays and made their debut at the Cavern Club on 1 March 1961, nearly three weeks before The Beatles. Rhythm guitarist / singer Mike Millward (ex-The Undertakers) joined the Four Jays in November 1961, followed by the drummer/singer Dave Lovelady in September 1962. In the summer of 1963, the group - now called The Fourmost - signed a management contract with Brian Epstein. This led to their being auditioned by George Martin and signed to EMI's Parlophone record label.

With Epstein as their manager, The Fourmost (like Cilla Black, Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas, Peter and Gordon, and Tommy Quickly) had access to early Lennon/McCartney compositions felt to be unsuitable for The Beatles to record. The Fourmost's first two singles were written by John Lennon. "Hello Little Girl", one of the earliest Lennon songs (dating from 1957) was released on 30 August 1963. Their follow-up single, "I'm in Love" (Lennon/McCartney), was released on 15 November 1963. It was notable as one of the earliest Beatles' penned songs to be released in the United States but, as with the Fourmost's other singles, it failed to chart there.

Their biggest hit followed. "A Little Loving", written by Russ Alquist, reached Number 6 in the UK Singles Chart in mid 1964. But from this point on, none of their singles would crack the Top 20 in the UK. "How Can I Tell Her" was followed by a cover version of The Four Tops' "Baby I Need Your Loving", "Everything In The Garden", and "Girls, Girls, Girls" (originally recorded by The Coasters and a hit for Elvis Presley).

The group's only album, First and Fourmost, from September 1965, contained a version of Jackie DeShannon's "Till You Say You'll Be Mine". Other tracks included "My Block", a re-make of "The In Crowd", and cover versions of Little Richard's "The Girl Can't Help It" and "Heebie-Jeebies". The band appeared in the 1965 film, Ferry Cross the Mersey and on the soundtrack album of the same name.

In August 1966, the group released a cover of another Beatles' song, "Here, There and Everywhere," followed by a cover of George Formby's "Auntie Maggie's Remedy" in November 1966. The latter song was representative of a comedic element to some of the group's recordings, songs which included "Baby Sittin' Boogie" and Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's "Yakety Yak". The country influenced "Turn The Lights Down Low" (the b-side of "Auntie Maggie's Remedy") was a short-lived effort to branch out to less pop oriented fare.

In 1968, now recording for the CBS record label, they recorded "Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie", a R&B hit by Jay & the Techniques, followed by "Rosetta" (suggested by Paul McCartney, who played piano on it), and "Easy Squeezy". The group soon stopped recording, and became popular on the cabaret circuit.

Mike Millward died from leukaemia in 1966. Brian O'Hara took his own life in 1999.

Original band members

* Brian O'Hara - born 12 March 1942, Liverpool - died 27 June 1999 - (suicide) - vocalist / lead guitarist
* Mike Millward - born Michael Millward, 9 May 1942, Bromborough, Cheshire - died 7 March 1966, at Bromborough Hospital, Bromborough, Cheshire - rhythm guitarist / singer
* Billy Hatton - born William Hatton, 9 June 1941, Dingle, Liverpool - bassist / singer
* Dave Lovelady - born David Lovelady, 16 October 1942, Litherland, Liverpool - drummer / singer
* Brian Redman born 21 June 1941, Huyton, Liverpool drummer

UK singles

* "Hello Little Girl" (Lennon/McCartney) / Just In Case - September 1963 - Number 9
* "I'm in Love" (Lennon/McCartney) / "Respectable" - December 1963 - Number 17
* "A Little Loving" / "Waitin' For You" - April 1964 - Number 6
* "How Can I Tell Her" / "You Got That Way" - July 1964 - Number 33
* "Baby I Need Your Loving" / That's Only What They Say - November 1964 - Number 24
* "Everything In The Garden" / "He Could Never" - July 1965
* "Girls, Girls, Girls" / "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" - November 1965 - Number 33
* "Here, There and Everywhere" (Lennon/McCartney) / "You've Changed" - August 1966
* "Auntie Maggie's Remedy" / "Turn The Lights Down" - November 1966
* "Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie" / "I Couldn't Spell !!" 1968
* "Rosetta" / "Just Like Before" - 1968
* "Easy Squeezy" / "Do I Love You?" - 1969


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