I'm Partly Dave - meet the author

Contact the author at david@davidabedford.com

“There once upon a time was a man who was partly Dave - he had a mission in life. I’m partly Dave…”

- John Lennon, In His Own Write

Hello. I am partly Dave or wholly Dave Bedford, though probably not all there (pictured above - on the left - with Alistair Taylor.)

Why write another book on The Beatles to add to the many thousand that have been written over the years?

Well, not many Beatle books have been written by people from Liverpool. This is the city I grew up in; the city that influenced me. What do you know about the places you’ve read about? Where did The Beatles grow up? Where did they live? What were their musical influences?

To properly understand The Beatles, you have to understand Liverpool. To understand Liverpool, you have to live here.

So, what about “Partly Dave” then?

I grew up in the Dingle by the bottom of Madryn Street, where Ringo was born. At the age of four I started my education at St. Silas School in 1969, which Ringo had attended years before. My dad came to Liverpool as vicar of St. Philemon’s Church, which incorporated the parish of St. Silas Church. It’s the same church where Ringo sang in the choir and where his parents were married. My house was two doors away from the Men’s Club, regularly attended by John Lennon’s uncles.

I lived in the Dingle until I was twenty-four, having lived in Teilo Street after I was married. Our home was two streets away from Admiral Grove where Ringo lived from the age of five. Ringo once stated, “When you lived in the Dingle, you aspired to have a semi in the suburbs of Mossley Hill or Woolton.”

When my wife Alix and I decided to move out to Mossley Hill to start a family. We ended up within half a mile of Penny Lane – yes, that Penny Lane. Our children - Philippa, Lauren and Ashleigh have all attended Dovedale School where John Lennon, George Harrison and Ivan Vaughan received their early education.

The Beatles have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was ten, I picked up my first guitar. I bought a Beatles’ songbook to learn my favourite songs. Wherever I have been The Beatles have accompanied me on my own long and winding road. As many fans can testify, it is more than just liking their music; the quartet has a profound influence on your life.

In the summer of 2000 my doctor told me to take time off work because of an illness. Suddenly I had time on my hands, though my health-restricted activities. I was forced to give up playing football and golf, and walking became more difficult. I had never been much of a reader, but in a shop on holiday I came across the John Lennon Encyclopaedia by Bill Harry. It was a thick book, so I thought it would keep me going for a while. I read it with utter fascination because it hit home how much history I had in my own backyard.

As a form of therapy and to keep my brain active, I thought I’d find out more and use my other hobby – photography. One symptom of my illness is short-term memory loss, which is frustrating. By the time I had read twenty pages, I had forgotten what I had just read. The solution jot down little notes about the locations I wanted to visit. I then set off to find these locations and photograph them.

Next, I read more books, which meant more paper notes. But I had a major problem. One set of notes didn’t agree with another set, but they were supposedly about the same place. Which was right? Some of the addresses given were inaccurate and many conflicted with each other. I crosschecked with other sources and still had no definitive answers.

Why were there three different dates given for the day John met Paul? Why was The Cavern proclaimed the “Birthplace of The Beatles” when The Casbah Club and Percy Phillips’ studio made the same claim too? Which was correct? There were many myths that had sprung out of Beatlemania that just didn’t seem right. It has been said that Pete Best was dismissed because he wasn’t a good drummer. Another account had it that he was dismissed because his mum Mona didn’t get on with Brian Epstein. The dismissal of Pete Best has probably created more disagreements among fans and authors than any other topic in the early days of The Beatles. Then there is the claim that John Lennon was a “working class hero” and yet he grew up in middle-class Woolton.

I discussed my findings with friends I had made through the British Beatles Fan Club. Editor Pete Nash was a wealth of information and his support has been invaluable.

I then met Ray O’Brien, who went to school with Paul McCartney and George Harrison. He is also the author of an excellent book, There Are Places I’ll Remember, which details every venue the Quarrymen and Beatles had played in and around Merseyside. I now had more places to research. Ray’s knowledge and expertise as a Beatles historian has been greatly appreciated.

In the summer of 2000, my wife Alix organized a school reunion at Dovedale School, which drew nearly 600 ex-pupils. Through this event, I met school friends of John Lennon and George Harrison, particularly Stan Williams and Tim Holmes, who have become friends and shared some great untold stories in this book.

During my research, the biggest surprise came when I discovered a little club in the heart of suburban West Derby called The Casbah. I knew it was a venue but little did I know its importance in the history of The Beatles. The Casbah is a gem and a place every Beatles fan should visit. It is, in my humble opinion, more important to the history of The Beatles than The Cavern. I don’t write these words glibly and will later fully explain why.

I have since come to know the Best brothers - Pete, Rory and Roag - and they have kindly given me much support, stories and photos over the years. I also conducted a fascinating interview with Pete Best, who was the original Beatles drummer before he was replaced by Ringo Starr.

Reading, talking to and meeting friends and family members of The Beatles, I realised how much knowledge I had acquired through my newfound hobby. I also collected many stories from those who were there at the time, not having to just rely on other books and articles. I wanted, as much as possible, to go back to the source of the story and not rely on second-hand versions. I have spent years tracking down eyewitnesses and am grateful to so many people for their generosity, especially with their time.

Someone then suggested that I detail my journey, and I jumped at the chance of something to keep my sanity and stay focused through my ill health. Thus began a seven-year quest (which I naively thought would last three months) to find out about the true early history of The Beatles. Through the British Beatles Fan Club, I met Rod Davis and Colin Hanton from the Quarrymen, who answered many questions. This book contains their stories. Some are famous and some names you won’t recognise, but they all have a story to tell.

Pete Best kindly wrote the foreword, without any editorial control over the content of the book. Everyone who has given an interview has been open and honest and trusted me. All I wanted to know was the truth. I just didn’t realise how long it would take.

At the end of this introduction, I have tried to list everyone who has given me valuable help, including people who were there at the time. They include Beatles drummer Pete Best, Beatles manager Allan Williams, Quarrymen members Rod Davis, Eric Griffiths and Colin Hanton, John’s half-sister Julia Baird, Brian Epstein’s right hand man and Beatles’ “Mr. Fixit” Alistair Taylor, Beatles Press officer Tony Barrow, Ringo’s childhood friend Marie Maguire, Shea Stadium promoter Sid Bernstein, Quarrymen member Ken Brown, Beatles bass guitarist Chas Newby, George Harrison’s cousin Irene, Stuart Sutcliffe’s sister Pauline, Merseybeat legend Faron and John’s teacher Harry Holmes. Also to Ian Crabtree from Liverpool Beatles Tours – www.beatlestours.co.uk - for sharing his knowledge and contacts. I  hope I haven’t missed anyone off the following list, but if I have, my apologies for the omission and my thanks for your help.

A special thank you to Marshall Terrill for his fantastic work in editing this book. His guidance and advice have been invaluable, and it would not have been the same without him. He also believed in the book and my work and was a great source of encouragement. Thank you also to Glyn Morris for his support in publishing the book and for his advice, knowledge and expertise in making this dream come true for me.

Finally, a thank you to my understanding wife, Alix, who has continually supported me through this project. I have made full use of her typing skills, plus a little mention of some very patient speech-recognition software.

This has been my hobby and therapy for the last few years and I hope you enjoy Liddypool. More important, I hope you learn more about the real story of the early Beatles and their proud roots.

This is partly Dave.

David Bedford

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