Rory Storm Was Briefly Bigger Than The Beatles

Rory Storm Was Briefly Bigger Than The Beatles

When Rock And Roll hit America in the ’50's, England also got impacted. British teenagers formed their own bands, based on what they saw Elvis and others doing. Of course, The Beatles were one of those groups trying to gel in Liverpool, but around 1959, there was a more polished and popular group in Liverpool: Rory Storm and The Hurricanes. Their lead singer was a guy named Alan Ernest Caldwell, who fashioned the name Rory Storm.

Rory was blond, handsome, athletic, and a charismatic stage singer who could excite an audience. For all this, he stuttered when he talked. Rory’s band also later had the notoriety for having Ringo Starr as their drummer. Rory’s flash and popularity made The Hurricanes the top British group to go to the nightclub circuit in Hamburg, Germany. The Beatles also managed to get to Hamburg, along with some other groups, but their billing wasn’t nearly as good. The posters had Rory and The Hurricanes at the top, and The Beatles were usually at the bottom, with the words: ‘and The Beatles’.

Although all these groups shared stage and were sort of rivals, the members were still friends, and would hang out together. This was how Ringo got to know John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison. Of course, they all knew Rory. McCartney even dated Rory’s sister.

It was during this time in Hamburg, that the balance began to change. Although Rory was a great stage presence, and could sing the Elvis and Little Richard numbers, he didn’t write any of his own material. The Beatles did the old numbers too, but they also began introducing their own material that they had been writing, bringing their band into an entirely new dimension. Eventually, the posters highlighted The Beatles at the top, while The Hurricanes became: ‘and The Hurricanes’.

This video was probably filmed in 1963. Rory and The Hurricanes are still playing at The Cavern, but the by then Ringo Starr had already left for The Beatles, and The Beatles had moved on to bigger and better events.

Rory Storm Was Briefly Bigger Than The Beatles

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison are hanging out with Rory and a few friends.

When the bands returned to Liverpool, they played at the local nightclubs, like The Cavern, but The Beatles also began studio recording, and their songs were being put on records. Rory had little luck with recording, because the studios weren’t all that interested in him doing covers of songs that had already been done. What made it even worse, Rory wasn’t interested in learning any of the new songs to cover them. The Beatles poached Ringo out of The Hurricanes, and went on to fame and fortune, while Rory and The Hurricanes were still doing nightclubs, with their style still stuck in the ’50’s.

After a couple more years of nightclubs, The Hurricanes disbanded in 1967. Rory ended up getting a job as a radio DJ, and in 1972, he was found dead at his mother’s house, from a combination of sleeping pills and alcohol. His mother also died the same day.

Some of the lyrics John Lennon wrote for In My Life are:

All these places have their moments

With lovers and friends I still can recall

Some are dead and some are living

In my life I’ve loved them all

I’m sure Rory Storm was one of those friends Lennon could recall.


Most Helpful Girl

  • Great mytake.
    You might have mentioned Ringo Starr actually pays tribute to Rory on his latest album
    Postcards from Paradise.
    With the song called “Rory and the Hurricanes”
    Here a bit of his lyrics..

    “We were sleeping in the floor living on bread and jam
    Because we thought we hit the big time we didn’t give a damn
    We were Rory and the Hurricanes. ..”

    • I didn't know Ringo had a new album. I remember some songs he did right after The Beatles broke up, but it seemed like after that, all he did was put on a tux and show up at parties. I'm more of a McCartney fan. We went to a concert of his this summer, and he's still rockin' good. I heard McCartney has his fingernails manicured every day because of his guitar playing.

Most Helpful Guy

  • Fascinating discussion of music history. Thanks!


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