The Merseybeats

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The Merseybeats
Also known asThe Mavericks (1960-1961)
The Pacifics (1961–1962)
The Merseys (1966–1969)
OriginLiverpool, England
GenresPop, beat
Years active1960–1966
1966–1969 (as The Merseys)
LabelsFontana, various
MembersTony Crane
Adrian Crane
Past membersFormer members

The Merseybeats are an English band that emerged from the Liverpool Merseybeat scene in the early 1960s,[1] performing at the Cavern Club along with the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, and other similar artists.[2]

The group's original members were Tony Crane (vocals, lead guitar), John Banks (drums), Aaron Williams (rhythm guitar) and Billy Kinsley (vocals, bass). Kinsley left the group at the beginning of 1964 and was replaced by John Gustafson, though Kinsley returned at the end of that year. The group split in 1966, with Crane and Kinsley continuing as a duo dubbed The Merseys. The Merseys ended in 1969. During the 1970s and 1980s, the Merseybeats would stage several occasional reunions before reforming permanently in 1993.

The current line-up is Tony Crane MBE and his son Adrian Crane on keyboards and lead guitar.


The Merseybeats[edit]

Originally called the Mavericks, the band was formed by singer/guitarist Tony Crane and singer/bassist Billy Kinsley in late 1960.[3] They became the Pacifics in September 1961.[1] They were renamed the Mersey Beats in February 1962 by Bob Wooler, MC at the Cavern Club. In April 1962, they became the Merseybeats. By now Crane and Kinsley had joined up with guitarist Aaron Williams and drummer John Banks.[1]

They signed a recording contract with Fontana Records and had their first hit single in 1963 with "It's Love That Really Counts",[3] followed in 1964 by their million-selling record "I Think of You", which gained them their first gold disc.[1] They suffered a setback in February 1964 when Kinsley left to form his own band, the Kinsleys.[1] He was temporarily replaced by Bob Garner (later of the Creation) and permanently by Johnny Gustafson, formerly of The Big Three.[1]

With Gustafson they had two more major hits during 1964, "Don't Turn Around" and "Wishin' and Hopin' ",[3] and released their only album in the latter part of that year. Kinsley returned to the group at the end of 1964.[1]

The Merseybeats appeared regularly at Liverpool's Cavern Club, and they claim to have appeared there with the Beatles on more occasions than any other band from that era. They were also successful abroad, touring in Germany and the US in 1964, and having their own Merseybeats Show on Italian television.

The Merseys[edit]

During 1965 their initial success waned, and after a few more singles the band folded in early 1966. Crane and Kinsley continued as a vocal duo called the Merseys.[1] They had a major hit with their first single, a cover of the McCoys' "Sorrow", which reached Number 4 in the UK Singles Chart.[1] The introduction on the record featured a bowed bass played by Jack Bruce. A line from this song, "with your long blonde hair and eyes of blue," is included in the Beatles' "It's All Too Much", released in 1969 as part of the Yellow Submarine soundtrack album. David Bowie recorded a single version in 1973 which reached Number 3 in the UK Singles Chart.[1] The duo split in 1969, with Crane and Kinsley both going on to front a number of other bands.

Tony Crane and The Merseybeats[edit]

During the 1970s Crane continued to tour and perform live as Tony Crane and the Merseybeats, with various line-ups.[1]

Liverpool Express[edit]

See Liverpool Express

The Merseybeats re-formed[edit]

The Merseybeats' original drummer John Banks died on 20 April 1988, at the age of 44.

Kinsley and Crane re-formed the Merseybeats in 1993, and after celebrating 45 years in the music industry in 2006, they continued to tour and perform on the 'sixties circuit', and at venues in the UK, and across Europe. Kinsley departed in 2020, leaving the band in the hands of Crane and his son Adrian.

Former bassist and vocalist John Gustafson died on 12 September 2014, at the age of 72.

Members of The Merseybeats (1961–1966, 1969–present)[edit]


  • Tony Crane – lead guitar, lead vocals (1961–1966, 1969–present)
  • Adrian Crane - keyboards, lead guitar (2000–present)


  • Billy Kinsley – bass, lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1961–1964, 1964–1965, 1969–2020)
  • David Elias – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1961–1962)
  • Frank Sloane – drums (1961–1962)
  • Aaron Williams – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1962–1966)
  • John Banks – drums (1962–1966)
  • Bob Garner – bass guitar, lead vocals (1964)
  • Johnny Gustafson – bass, lead vocals (1964)
  • Ken Mundye – drums[4] (1969–1974, filled in for Banks for a few gigs during 1965)
  • Allan Cosgrove – drums (1974–2000)
  • Bob Packham – bass, backing vocals (1974–2021)
  • Rocking Johnny John Houghton – lead guitar, backing vocals (1979-1981)
  • Colin Drummond – keyboards, violin (1986–1993)
  • Dave Goldberg – keyboards (1993–2000, 2009–2011)
  • Lou Rosenthal – drums (2000–2021)
  • Chris Finley – keyboards (2011)
  • Toni Baker – keyboards (2011)
  • Alan Lovell – rhythm guitar, lead vocals (2011)

Members of The Merseys (1966–1969)[edit]

  • Tony Crane – lead vocals (1966–1969)
  • Billy Kinsley – lead vocals (1966–1969)

with backing group The Fruit Eating Bears:

  • Joey Molland – guitars
  • Chris Finley – keyboards
  • George Cassidy – bass
  • Kenny Goodlass – drums
  • Ken Mundye – drums

The Merseybeats discography[edit]


  1. Milkman
  2. Hello Young Lovers
  3. He Will Break Your Heart
  4. Funny Face
  5. Really Mystified
  6. The Girl That I Marry
  7. Fools Like Me
  8. My Heart and I
  9. Bring It on Home to Me
  10. Lavender Blue
  11. Jumping Jonah
  12. Don't Turn Around
  • 1990: Fontana Records – The Merseybeats – first CD release of the album with several of the group's non-album A- and B-sides added
  • 2002: Bear Family Records – I Think of You: The Complete Recordings – compiles the group's entire discography on one CD
  • 2003: Merseybeat Records – Anniversary Tour 2003 – live album
  • 2021: Cherry Red Records - The Merseybeats/The Merseys - I Stand Accused: The Complete Sixties Recordings – Double CD comprising the complete discography of the Merseybeats and the Merseys


  • 1963: Fontana Records – I Think of You:
  1. I Think Of You
  2. Mister Moonlight
  3. It's Love That Really Counts
  4. The Fortune Teller
  • 1964: Fontana Records – The Merseybeats on Stage:
  1. Long Tall Sally
  2. I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry
  3. Shame
  4. You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover
  • 1964: Fontana Records – Wishin' and Hopin':
  1. Wishin' and Hopin'
  2. Hello, Young Lovers
  3. Milkman
  4. Jumping Jonah


Year Title Peak chart
Record Label B-side Album
1963 "It's Love That Really Counts" 24 Fontana Records "The Fortune Teller"
"I Think of You" 5 "Mister Moonlight"
1964 "Don't Turn Around" 13 "Really Mystified" The Merseybeats
"Wishin' and Hopin'" 13 "Milkman"
"Last Night (I Made a Little Girl Cry)" 40 "See Me Back"
1965 "Don't Let It Happen to Us" "It Would Take a Long, Long Time"
"I Love You, Yes I Do" 22 "Good, Good Lovin'"
"I Stand Accused" 38 "All My Life"


  • 1999: The Merseybeats in Concert

The Merseys discography[edit]


  • 2021: Cherry Red Records - The Merseybeats/The Merseys - I Stand Accused: The Complete Sixties Recordings – Double CD comprising the complete discography of the Merseybeats and the Merseys


Year Title Peak chart
Record Label B-side
1966 "Sorrow" 4 Fontana Records "Some Other Day"
"So Sad About Us" "Love Will Continue"
"Rhythm of Love" "Is It Love"
1967 "The Cat" "Change of Heart"
"Penny in My Pocket" "I Hope You're Happy"
1968 "Lovely Loretta" "Dreaming"
"Honey Do" (as Crackers) "It Happens All the Time" (as Crackers)



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Biography by Bruce Eder and Richie Unterberger". Retrieved 25 October 2009.
  2. ^ Pingitore, Silvia (28 September 2021). "Interview with The Merseybeats' Tony Crane - The Shortlisted Magazine". Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 837. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  4. ^ "The Wild Men of Rock". BBC World Service. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 361. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]