IT TAKES a brave man to say that The Beatles were “lucky”, but that is the opinion of German author Manfred Kuhlmann, who has written an extraordinary new book chronicling Liverpool’s 1960s beat boom.
While there are hundreds, if not thousands of books detailing the career of the Fab Four, Manfred’s book, Mersey Beat Waves, attempts to highlight the lesser-known lights of Merseybeat.
Manfred tells the stories of 164 Merseyside groups, as well as listing an additional 100 line-ups and a list of 344 other bands which were active in Liverpool and the surrounding area throughout the Fifties and Sixties.
“Of course, The Beatles were wonderfully talented but they were also lucky in that they met the right people at the right time,” said Manfred, who is visiting Merseyside this week to launch his book.
“There is a universal misconception that they invented Merseybeat but nothing could be further from the truth as Merseybeat was around long before The Beatles exploded on to the scene.
“Learning about The Beatles was no problem or the Pacemakers and The Searchers but I wanted to find out about all the other groups – what their line-ups were and what recordings they made.”
Visiting Liverpool three times a year from his hometown of Bielefeld, Manfred began his labour of love more than 20 years ago but never intended it to be a book.
“I am a lazy writer, to be honest,” laughed Manfred.
“I do not even bother writing postcards when I am away, but I think that is important history and needs to be written.
“I would sit in Liverpool’s library looking at old Liverpool Echoes and Crosby Heralds and would come in the morning and not leave until the staff told me to go!”
Manfred’s love of Liverpool’s music started when he sneaked into a German show by Earl Royce and the Olympics, aged 13 years old.
He went on to become a DJ and music promoter before becoming a regular visitor to Liverpool and even befriending many of the musicians he loved.
“There is such a connection between Liverpool and Germany now and I am proud that in Germany we understood the music from Liverpool straight away.”
So which band does Manfred count as his favourite?
“Ian and the Zodiacs were a great group and very popular in Germany. They should have been massive!”
Manfred will be launching his book today, from 8pm at Lathom Hall, in Seaforth, and at 10am at Broadhurst’s Bookshop, Market Street, Southport.