The Merseybeats

Tony Crane lead guitar
Aaron Williams rhythm guitar
Billy Kinsley bass guitar
John Banks drums

The Merseybeats specialised in slow, sultry numbers, often with a Latin feel, for their singles, although they could rock with the best of them. They never had a huge hit, but they had a strong individual identity and an effective stage presence: they sported frilly shirts, bolero jackets, and a mass of rings on their fingers, and provoked a hysterical reaction from their girl fans.

Their first record, 'It's love that really counts', an old Shirelles song, with a romantic message and style, didn't enter the charts, but it sold over 100,000 copies over a longish period. Their second, a Peter Lee Stirling composition in the same vein, was given a boost by the Beatles on 'Juke Box Jury', made the Top Ten, and established the Merseybeats as a best-selling act. But like so many groups who find sudden popular success, they had their internal problems: Billy Kinsley, who had played with Tony Crane in the Mavericks and had formed the Merseybeats with him, suddenly walked out at the height of their fame (February 1964). He was replaced on bass by Bob Garner for a few weeks, and then by 'Gus' Gustavson of the Big Three. They continued to make interesting and unusual singles, produced by Jack Baverstock, for two years; most of them sold well but not spectacularly, and the personnel again went through some changes. Billy Kinsley returned, and in January 1966 a more fundamental split took place: Aaron Williams left the music business, and Gustavson and Banks signed to Parlophone as Johnny and John, putting out a single 'Bumperto Bumper' (June 1966) which did nothing.

But something unexpected happened: Tony and Billy carried on as a duo, shortening their name to the Merseys and bringing in a backing group with the wonderful name of the Fruit-Eating Bears (one of the first to use two drummers). Now managed by Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, they achieved their greatest success ever: the hysterical receptions began again, and the new group's first single 'Sorrow' became their biggest hit. Memory of this song was kept alive by the Beatles, who for some reason quoted a line from it during the fade-out of George Harrison's 'It's all too much' (from the'Yellow Submarine' film), and it has been revived by David Bowie.
Johnny Gustavson has been playing bass guitar in Roxy Music.


  • Aug  1963   It's love that really counts/ Fortune Teller
  • Jan  1964   I think of you/ Mr. Moonlight    5
  • Apr  1964   Don't turn around/ Really mystified     13
  • July  1964   Wishin' and hopin'/Milkman       13
  • 0ct  1964   Last night (I made a little girl cry)/See me back
  • May  1965  Don't let it happen to us/It would take a long long time
  • Sept 1965   I love you yes I do/ Good good lovin'    26
  • Dec  1965   I stand accused/ All my life

The Merseys

  • Apr  1966   Sorrow/Some other day/4
  • July  1966   So sad about us/ Love will continue
  • Dec  1966   Rhythm of love/ Is it safe?
  • June  1967   Cat/Change of heart
  •         1968   Penny In My Pocket/ I Hope You're Happy
  •         1968   Lovely/ Loretta Dreaming

Tony Crane

  • 1965   Even The Bravest/I Still Remember
  • 1965   Ideal Love/Little You

Johnny Gustavson

  • Jan  1966 Take me for a little while/ Make me your number one


  • Mar  1964   I think of you/
    Mr. Moonlight/  It's love that really counts/ Fortune Teller
  • Mar  1964   Merseybeats on Stage
    Long Tall Sally/ I'm_gonna sit right down and cry/Shame/ You can't judge a book by the cover
  • Nov  1964 Wishin' and hopin'/
    Last night/ Hello young lovers/Milkman/ Jumping Jonah


  • The Merseybeats
    Milkman/Hello young lovers/He will break your heart/
    Funny face/ Really mystified/The girl that I marry/
    Fools like me/My heart and I/Bring it on home to me/
    Lavender Blue/Jumping Jonah/Don'tturn around