The Fourmost

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1 comments so far (post your own)

you would be surprised how Influential this Merseybeat group actually were....

They did in fact influence The Beatles (More than once - in return for song favors The Fab Four did them)

They also anticipated both Country Rock & Jazz Rock - several years BEFORE either The Byrds or Chicago/Blood Sweat & Tears....

The Fourmost were a Merseybeat band who originally were 'The Four Jays' - managed by brian Epstein they often opened shows for his other bands, or were his 'fill in' band that he used if he needed to put a band in if say the Beatles could not do a show etc....

They played a Comedy routine that was adopted by bands such as the Rockin' berries & The Barron Knights....but also were a straight band too - as Beatles producer George Martin largely recorded them for Parlophone

Brian O'Hara - Lead guitar, vocals
Mike Millwatrd - Rhythm guitar, Lead vocals
Billy Hatton - Bass guitar, Lead vocals
Dave Lovelady - Drums

was their famous line up who had six British chart hit singles between 1963 and 1965.

in their comedy act they used to mimic instruments - as can be heard on their 1967 single 'Aunt Maggie's Remedy' - which in turn influenced The Beatles to do likewise on 'Lady Madonna' in 1968

John Lennon gave them both 'Hello little Girl' & 'I'm in Love' as their first two hit singles - tho' their biggest UK hit was 'A Little Loving' (No.6 in 1963)

brian O'Hara was a talented songwriter who wrote most of their 'B' sides

They made a cameo appearance in Gerry & The Pacemakers film 'Ferry cross The Mersey' in 1965 singing 'I Love You Too' which was on the Columbia soundtrack album.

They cut one very accomplished 1965 album on Parlophone, produced by George Martin called: 'First And Fourmost' (Stereo & Mono versions had notable differences on a few tracks) - this is now selling for over 100 ...!

it had a 'jangling guitars/ harmonies' version of jackie deShannon's 'Till You Say You'll be Mine' a few notable tracks where they were accompanied by several Saxes & Trumpets - on their versions of both: 'The in Crowd', & 'Yakety Yak' - which in 1965 was unusual....and was a year BEFORE The Beatles did likewise on Paul's 'Got To Get You Into My Life' in 1966...quite possibly using the same session guys...from 'Sounds Incorperated'(?) who had opened for the Beatles at Shea Stadium in 1965

The Fourmost version of Carl Perkins 'Sure To Fall' used fiddles....with their guitars & harmonies...creating a country/Rock sound in 1965 that directly anticipates/ mirrors The Byrds sound on 'Sweetheart of The Rodeo' later in 1968...!

They also cut a version of 'So Fine' in 1965...covered later by The Byrds on'farther Along' in 1972.

The Fourmost were among the very first to cover Paul's 'Here, there & Everywhere' in 1966 Produced by George Martin....

they mixed guitars & four part harmonies in a manner that like The Beatles & Searchers etc influenced later bands such as the Bangles....

Indeed The Fourmost cover of 'My Block' is virtually 'answered' by The Bangles song 'Walking Down Your Street' years later...

Their two Parlophone EP's: 'The Fourmost' & 'The Sound of the Fourmost' are very expensive collectors items now

Brian O'Hara took lead vocal on their jokey version of 'Girls Girls Girls' - their final British chart hit in 1965 - where O'Hara did a Jerry Lewis/Bugs Bunny type vocal impersonation...and they even used a 'speeded up' vocal harmony sounding like the Chipmunks at the end....featuring both Producer George Martin & Music publisher Dick James joining in....such was their zany sense of humour - Possibly here anticipating later jokey fun tracks by bands such as the Monkees - remember 'Your Auntie Grizelda' ?- that clearly sounds similar to both Fourmost versions of 'Girls' & 'Yakety Yak' which had 'Goons' style zany voices like Peter Sellers & Spike Milligan featured on it.

Brian O'Hara also wrote some strong serious 'B' sides such as: 'Waitin' For You', 'You Got that way', 'That's only What They Say' & 'He Could Never'

The Fourmost could belt out Rockin' tracks like 'Heebie Jeebies', 'the Girl Can't Help it' etc....sung by Billy Hatton

While Mike Millward sang a fine version of 'Some Kind of Wonderful'

Mike Millward also sang a powering cover of the Four Tops song 'Baby I Need your Loving' in 1964 with full orchestral accompaniment & chorus which made the UK Top Thirty...

The Fourmost had enjoyed a long stint at the London Palladuim...alongside fellow merseybeat star & their good friend singer Cilla Black

However in early 1966 the band was then hit by a massive sudden tragedy when key group figurehead & vocalist Mike Millward suddenly died of Leukaemia

George Peckham duly took over...but a vital part of their vocal sound was missing therafter

Paul McCartney later Produced their version of 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' & played piano on their song 'Rosetta' 1969 but their chart days were over...

Joey Bower (an original 'Four Jay's member) later replaced George Peckham and they moved into cabaret cutting a decent such private album 'The Fourmost' on sale at shows in 1975.

In the early 1980's a 20 song 'Best of' album titled 'First & Fourmost' was issued on Charley records.

By 1980 only Brian O'Hara remained...with Bassist/Lead vocalist Bill Haisman....later O'Hara quit & Bill Haisman still leads a ongoing version of the Fourmost doing shows today....duly keeping their flag flying.

sadly Brian O'Hara ('Owie' as they affectionately nicknamed him) later took his own life in 1999 apparently suffering from depression.

EMI records have re-issued their MUCH Sought after by collectors 1965 parlophone album on CD & more recently a 'Very Best of The Fourmost' CD collection, which included some unissued songs.

The Fourmost's tight vocal harmonies and strong guitarwork, plus sense of humour and strong band unity makes their Recordings well worth seeking out - great friends of the Beatles (they opened the 1963 Beatles Christmas Show) they like Badfinger later - another fine underrated band blighted by tragedy - got somewhat 'overshadowed' by their sheer closeness to The Beatles....

...but nevertheless were one of the strongest Merseybeat bands...who DID in fact influence their famous Parlophone labelmates & good friends The Fab Four back (most Notably the vocal instruments 'impersonation' bit on 'Lady Madonna' & 'Got To Get You into My Life' re the use of Brass )

.......and in turn probably did also have some influence - via either themselves or The Beatles - on The Byrds, Chicago, B S & T and even later The Bangles....maybe without several of those artists even realising it...!

certainly The Fourmost are one of the most UNDERRATED Merseybeat bands of all....

Posted by Mike on Monday, 12.27.10 @ 13:21pm

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