Rory Storm and the Hurricanes were one of the top bands in Liverpool between 1959 and 1962, bigger even than The Beatles. They shared the bill with the Fab Four on many occasions in their home city and in Hamburg, and their first drummer was none other than Richard Starkey – better known as Ringo Starr – who left the Hurricanes to join the Beatles.
The Hurricanes were leading lights of the burgeoning ‘Mersey Sound’ and a pulsating live act, led by their charismatic front man, Rory Storm. Born Alan Caldwell, Rory was a natural performer who wooed crowds with his stage antics, once even diving from a swimming pool high board halfway through a song. But, despite the band’s huge local following, fame somehow passed them by. Frontman Rory suffered from a crippling stammer and, though unaffected while on stage, it seemed to deter record companies. As their fellow Liverpudlians enjoyed huge international success, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes drifted into obscurity, finally ending in tragedy.
Anthony Hogan has painstakingly researched the lives and careers of Rory Storm and The Hurricanes in this fascinating and moving account of one of the great untold rock ’n’ roll stories, featuring over 100 photographs, many unseen before in public.
The book took almost two years to write, though I have read everything that I could find about this band since I was twelve years old. They mean a lot to me, particularly Rory Storm who changed my life as you will read in the book. I was fed up reading what I knew was false information about the band in many Beatles books. I wanted to put the record straight and give the guys the credit that they deserved. It proved to be a huge project, but one that I felt honoured in doing. I had to try and track down friends and relatives of the band, plus any ex members that I could find. I also had to gain their trust and prove to them just what my intentions were for the book. The Hurricanes are well thought of by those who were close to them and their family and friends have placed a wall of protection around them due to the rubbish that has been written about them in the past.
I knew that a lot of what had been put into writing about the lads was untrue. I was also rather miffed that Lou Walters, Ty Brien, Johnny Guitar, and Jimmy Tushingham were hardly given any credit for what they did. There was also nothing about who they were as individuals. Then, there was the silliness of people writing that the Hurricanes were not a very good band? Really? well you did not mix it with the best merseybeat bands in Liverpool and have bookings galore if you were no good. So, I wanted to give the band their story as it was. Interviews were done with many people, including ex members Walter Eymond (Lou Walters) Jimmy Tushingham, Gibson Kemp and Dave May. Friends, family, and merseybeat musicians all helped, as did Rory’s sister Iris. I was very lucky to meet so many amazing people. Once the interviews were done I had to check as many facts as I could. I looked through old newspapers for stories on the band, and I also searched the family history of each band member. It took a long time, it was tough at times, but it was also an absolute pleasure.
Myself and Rory’s sister Iris outside their former home on Broad Green Road, Liverpool.
I flew to Hamburg to visit many of the places associated to The Hurricanes from their time there in 1960 and 1963. Merseybeat icon, Ted ‘Kingsize’ Taylor, arranged for me to be shown around by the best Beatles and music guide in Hamburg, Peter Paetzold, and his friend Matthias Fraider. The two guys were amazing and managed to get me into places that I would never have seen on my own. They also sorted it for me to meet a guy named Benny, who is one of the owners of the Kaiserkeller club. Benny was so welcoming to me and allowed me to go into the Kaiserkeller on my own to take photographs. There I was, all alone in such a famous location, yet the atmosphere was incredible. Visits to the Indra, Top Ten club, and the site of the Star-Club were included, along with a number of not so well known places related to the Hurricanes and other bands that are mentioned in the book. I also met up with ex Hurricanes drummer Gibson Kemp at ‘Kemps Bar’ the bar he runs with his wife Tina. If ever you are in Hamburg I recommend a visit to the bar for great food, drink, and company.
The Kaiserkeller club, Hamburg. Part of the original stage still survives today.
The book also features a number of stories that include members of the Beatles. You will read about them at Rory’s house, playing alongside the Hurricanes, and you will also find out what really went on in Hamburg. As I have said, a number of the stories in Beatles books are wrong. Ex members of the band and Rory’s sister Iris have set the record straight. They were there, they know what really went on. You may be surprised by a few of the real stories. Who did George Harrison ring after one of his first TV appearances to get feed back? Or Paul McCartney, when he sang ‘Yesterday’ on his own on ‘Blackpool Night Out’ who did he ring before the show? and what was his message? What Hurricane had three Beatles at his wedding, and for how long did members of the Beatles keep visiting Rory’s house in Broad Green Road, Liverpool?
For me it has all been an incredible experience. You have to remember that I am not just the author of the Hurricanes book, but that I am also a big fan of the band. So, to meet ex members of the group, their families, and friends, has all left me a bit starstruck. It has also been an absolute pleasure for me to speak with many merseybeat legends who have shared with me their own memories of the guys. All in all, the Hurricanes have come across as genuine nice guys. That is how people speak of them and that is how they have proved to be whenever I have had the opportunity of meeting ex Hurricanes. It took me a lot of time to gain the trust of ex members and of those closest to the band, but once they saw what I was doing with the book they were happy to help. I am grateful to them all for making the book what it is.
Ex Hurricane Karl Terry holding the book alongside Ted ‘Kingsize’ Taylor and John Frankland of the Dominoes.
Rory Storm’s sister, Iris Caldwell, is an amazing and wonderful lady, who is so full of life. I never had the pleasure of meeting Rory, but just spending five minutes in the company of Iris is enough to give you a feeling for what Rory was like. You realise that you are with someone exceptional, someone special, someone who oozes talent and spreads good vibes to all who are around her. This is how many people have described Rory, both he and his sister are clearly very special people. I am very proud to say that through all of this journey myself and Iris have become good friends. She even tells me off when I moan about my stutter, as she did with Rory.
Me and Iris Caldwell clearly starting the Hurricanes fan club with our T-shirts.
After the interviews and research I put it all together. Photographs were given by Iris and Walter Eymond and most of them have remained unseen in public before this book. Ted ‘Kingsize’ Taylor supplied photographs from Hamburg, while the actor Carl Wharton gave the use of a couple of photos of him playing Rory Storm. Bob Hardly allowed his interview with Johnny Guitar to be included in the book, while many others gave their own memories of the band.
When completed I put the book out as a kindle book. Within eight days Amberley Publishing had agreed to release the book in print. It came off kindle and I was able to include more detail. Just days before the final draft was due to be handed over to the publishers, I finally tracked down Anthony Ashdown and Pete Vernon. I interviewed them and was delighted to include their information before the cut-off date. Then it was all systems go. The book was printed and released on 15 June 2016. A book signing was arranged at the Lathom Hall in Seaforth, a place that the Hurricanes had played many times. The Hurricanes ex roadie and friend, Dave ‘Jamo, Jamieson, did an amazing job putting on a Hurricanes tribute day. Wonderful bands played to a large crowd, and many funny stories of the guys were told. Rory’s sister Iris attended, as did ex Hurricanes Walter Eymond, Jimmy Tushingham, Sid Edwards, and Vince Earl. The highlight of the day being when Wally, Jimmy, and Vince all jumped up on stage together for the first Hurricanes reunion in 49 years. Truly fantastic.
Myself, Jimmy Tushingham, Iris Caldwell, and Vince Earl, at the Lathom’s Hurricanes day.
Mark Ashworth produced a wonderful blog about the Hurricanes day at the Lathom. You can read it on this link. THERE ARE PLACES I REMEMBER
Iris and myself were interviewed together on the Helen Jones show on radio Merseyside. We were also interviewed by Vintage Rock Magazine, who produced a story about the Hurricanes and the book in their August edition.
Vintage Rock Magazine that includes the Hurricanes story. Available at WHSmith, good bookstores, and online.
Jamo Jamieson and myself recorded interviews with David Willis for WFDU radio station in New Jersey, USA. David produced a wonderful thirty minute documentary on the Hurricanes that can be listened to on youtube.
A number of projects are still in the early stages with regards to the Hurricanes. Some may, or may not come off. I know of one tribute that will happen, but I have to keep silent about it for now. There has been interest in the book from a number of places, yet we will just have to wait and see what comes of it all. I have now started taking tours around the Old Swan area of Liverpool to follow the footsteps of Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. I am no guide, but people seem to like them.
On the step of Rory Storm’s house with the Lo Giudice family from Italy.I have no idea why I am bending?
Pino Lo Guidice produced the following short film about our day touring the area of The Hurricanes.
So,we now get to my big moment. Where can you get the book. It is on sale in Waterstones, WHSmith, Foyles, Barnes and Noble, the Cavern club, Liverpool museum and good bookstores. It is also available on Amazon, just choose your country when buying. You can also buy direct from the publishers Amberley. Every so often I will have a book signing and will have copies of the book on sale that can be signed. I am also happy to sign any books that people bring along with them. You do not not to buy a book, if you see me at a signing come over and say hello.
Two reviews of the book appear on the links below.
Iris Caldwell plugging the book.
I have found a way of getting the book to Ringo Starr. Do not ask as I am not sharing who arranged it. I hope he will enjoy reading about himself as a Hurricanes and that it will bring him memories of his old friends.
Will he like it? who knows?
Sound Mate, everyone should buy it.
Enough of Ringo. I have been very fortunate to have met some amazing people during my research for the book. Some have become good buddies.
Ex Hurricane Vince Earl, with Iris Caldwell.
These two old friends love each other dearly. As they both say “Those were the days”Iris Caldwell and Wally Eymond.
Lee Curtis with Jimmy Tushingham
A book signing alongside Joe Flannery.
Ex Hurricane, and a very talented guy who stills entertains. Karl Terry.
My two adopted sisters. Mave Atherton and Iris Caldwell.
Me with ex Hurricane Gibson Kemp at ‘Kemps Bar’ in Hamburg.
Me with my very good friend Julie Sudbury.
Me with Adam Fenton. Record producer, DJ, musician, song-writer, actor. The talented nephew of Rory Storm.
Sometimes, I am just a jammy git. Like here, when I got to play Johnny Guitar’s Antoria guitar that he used with the Hurricanes.
26 June 2016, Lathom Hall. For the first time in 49 years a band of Hurricanes reforms. Wally Eymond, Jimmy Tushingham, and Vince Earl.