The Empire of Brian, part two

Lots has been made of Brian Epstein’s homosexuality. One former merseybeat musician went as far as saying that Epstein’s group can be categorised into “those with that talent” and “those that he fancied.” This, of course, is a bit simplistic (The Beatles probably fell into both categories!) but one artist who certainly had talent was Cilla Black. And I think it’s safe to assume Brian did not have a crush on her.

Born Priscilla White, the hat girl of the Cavern Club would join the groups on stage every time the opportunity arose. Renamed by John Lennon, she became the only female artist in Brian’s early stable. For her debut single she was given “Love Of The Loved”, an early Paul McCartney number familiar from The Beatles’ Decca audition tape. Cilla says she was expecting to make a “beat group record” and was dispappointed to see that George Martin had booked a horn section for the session. Perhaps it was this somewhat old fashioned arrangement or perhaps it was that the song itself wasn’ that good, but “Love Of The Loved” only made a very disappointing number 29 on the UK charts. Luckily better things were in store for Cilla.

“Love Of The Loved” can be found on practically every one of Cilla Black’s hit compilations (and there are lots of those!) I have it on a 3 CD set called “The Abbey Road Decade 1963-1973”

If Cilla had “the talent” then Billy J Kramer probably had “the looks”. Well he must have had something. For his third single he was given two more Lennon/McCartney numbers, one from each. Eventually it was Paul’s “I’ll Keep You Satisfied” that was chosen as the top side. It’s a typically melodic, bouncy and optimistic Macca ditty that The Beatles never recorded themselves – though “With The Beatles” would probably have been even better an LP if they had. Billy J’s version went all the way to a slightly disappointing number four.

John’s contribution was “I’m In Love” – another number never recorded by The Fabs (a somewhat rambling piano demo circulates amongst Lennon collectors). Surviving session tapes show that John was in the studio, watching Billy J record the song and giving his unique “support”:

John: “Adam Faith you fool!”

Billy: “I can’t get it John”

George Martin:”I give you full permission to come on The Beatles’ session on Thursday and shout at John whenever you like!”

Perhaps John wasn’t6 satisfied with Billy’s version, in any case it wasn’t released for another 28 years, the song been passed to the Fourmost instead. Comparing the two, the Fourmost perform the song in a different key, alter some of the lyrics, lose the guitar solo but add a guitar riff not unlike that of “Bad To Me”. Their version became their second hit, reaching number 15 in the UK charts.


Billy’s and Fourmost’s hits can be found on the compilations discussed earlier.


Billy’s version of “I’m In Love” was only released on an Imperial CD “The Best of Billy J Kramer with the Dakotas” which seems to be increasingly hard to track. Down (Don’t tell anyone but it’s also on a Beatles bootleg called “Roadrunner”)

Published in: on June 12, 2007 at 2:32 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. I have a lot of time for both of these songs. Still hard to believe the Beatles version of “Love Of The Loved” remains unreleased and “I’m In Love” is one of my faves amongst the songs “given away”- Lennon in super-sensitive mode

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