Rock The ARK

We want to capture Knowsley's music memories - and you can help!

Rock The ARK is one of Knowsley Archive's community projects funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. We want to find out what music is important to people living and working in Knowsley, Merseyside, UK (or who lived and worked here in the past). We want to share people's experiences of great music they've heard, seen, or produced themselves. If you have a connection to Knowsley and want to share something about your experiences of music, we'd love to hear from you! Classical, pop, rock, jazz, soul, folk, disco, blues, gospel, techno, house, hip-hop - whatever music has been a part of your life, we want to know about it! You can share stories, photographs, tickets, flyers, etc on our Facebook or Twitter pages and then look out here to see if they get added to our growing timeline!;xNLx;;xNLx;Facebook: search 'Knowsley Archives';xNLx;Twitter: @knowsleyarchive

1899-10-01 00:00:00

Thomas Beecham first conducts in public

Sir Thomas Beecham (1879-1961), conductor and concert organiser, was the son of Joseph Beecham (1848-1916), who had inherited his father's medicinal pill business. Although Sir Thomas was born in St. Helens, his father moved the family to Ewanville, a mansion in Huyton, in 1885. Sir Thomas would go on to become a hugely influential figure in British music and an internationally respected figure in classical music.

1908-03-05 01:08:12

Rex Harrison born in Huyton

A hugely successful English actor, Sir Reginald Carey "Rex" Harrison (1908-1990) was born in Derry House, Tarbock Road, Huyton. Harrison famously 'spoke-sang' his musical numbers in 'My Fair Lady' on both stage and screen (winning the Oscar for Best Actor in the 1964 film adaptation co-starring Audrey Hepburn), an approach to singing that has been surprisingly influential ever since!

1939-04-21 01:08:12

Composer John McCabe born in Huyton

A virtuoso pianist and composer, John McCabe (1939-2015) was born in Huyton. Regarded as one of Britain's finest composers, he was a figure of international renown in the world of classical music and also composed music for a number of films and television programmes.

1946-02-01 00:00:00

Stuart Sutcliffe goes to school in Huyton and Prescot

Painter and musician, Stuart Sutcliffe (1940-1962), would become best known as the original bass guitarist for The Beatles. He attended Park View Primary School, Huyton, between 1946-1951, and Prescot Grammar School, 1951-1956. He is buried at Huyton Parish Church - St. Michael's.

1947-08-23 01:08:12

Willy Russell is born in Whiston

Playwright, musician and novelist, Willy Russell was born in Whiston. His hugely successful stage productions include a number of musicals, such as 'John, Paul, George, Ringo...and Bert' and 'Blood Brothers.' Songwriting and music have always been a central part of Willy Russell's creative work and he would gain early experience in this area as a member of the Kirkby Town Three, performing his own compositions.

1955-05-27 00:51:17

Organist Ian Tracey born

Organist and conductor Ian Tracey was once the Prescot parish organist and has continued that connection through regular appearances at the Prescot Festival and other events. He is best known in the Merseyside area as the Liverpool Cathedral organist and Chorusmaster for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir. Dr. Tracey has a distinguished musical career that regularly involves him playing concerts across the world and broadcasting for the BBC.

1959-01-01 03:45:05

Howie Casey forms the Seniors

Huyton-born Howie Casey (1937 - ) is a celebrated saxophonist. He formed his own band, the Seniors, in 1959, later adding singer Derry Wilkie and becoming Derry and the Seniors. The band were regulars in the Hamburg music clubs that would also feature the Beatles. The group later featured fellow Huytonian Freddie Fowell (better known as Freddie Starr) on vocals. As Howie Casey and the Seniors, they became the first beat group from Liverpool to release an LP: 'Twist at the Top' in February 1962. Later in his career, Casey would become a highly successful session musician, including for Paul McCartney on a number of Wings' biggest successes.

1962-10-01 11:42:53

The Beatles release their first single

Although, like all of the Beatles, Paul McCartney (1942 - ) is remembered for growing up in Liverpool, it is not so well-known that he spent part of his childhood living on Roach Avenue, part of the Maypole Estate on the outskirts of Knowsley Village.

1963-05-24 05:41:48

Freddie Starr releases first single with the Midnighters

Later to become better known as a comedian, Huyton-born Freddie Starr was the frontman for the Midnighters when they released their first single, 'Who Told You,' in May 1963. Starr's 1960s music failed to find much of an audience, but he released some more successful records after achieving celebrity as a comedian, including 'It's You,' which reached no. 9 in the UK charts in 1974.

1963-06-01 01:08:12

The Swinging Blue Jeans release their first single

Brought up in Huyton, Ray Ennis (1942 - ) would become the singer and guitarist for The Swinging Blue Jeans from 1957-2010. The band are best known for their hit singles, 'Hippy Hippy Shake', 'Good Golly Miss Molly', and 'You're No Good.'

1964-07-11 02:50:56

Craig Charles born

Actor, comedian, poet, author, television presenter and DJ, Craig Charles grew up on the Cantril Farm estate (Stockbridge Village). After finding initial critical and popular success as a comedian and poet, he would become best known for playing Dave Lister in the long-running science fiction television comedy Red Dwarf. Along the way he has also dabbled in music as a performer and has become a celebrated DJ. Since March 2002, he has presented the ever-popular Craig Charles Funk and Soul radio show on BBC 6 Music.

1968-01-01 05:41:48

Swindlefolk play their first gigs and release their debut LP

Formed in Ruffwood Comprehensive School, Kirkby, Swindlefolk were an acclaimed folk group made up of pupils and music teacher, Dy Swindlehurst. The group would go on to play shows around the country, including the prestigious Sidmouth Folk Festival in 1970, and in Germany. They released three albums between 1968 and 1970.

1970-11-01 00:00:00

Lally Stott releases 'Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep'

Songwriter Lally Stott (1945-1977) was born in Prescot in January 1945 and also lived in Whiston. He performed in a number of bands before one of his tunes, 'Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep,' became a huge hit across the world, although not the original performed by Stott himself - in the UK, it reached no. 1 with a version performed by Middle of the Road in 1971. Sadly, Stott was killed in a traffic accident in Whiston in 1977.

1972-05-20 02:50:56

Paul Lewis born in Huyton

Pianist Paul Lewis was brought up in Huyton. He is now internationally regarded as one of the greatest musicians of his generation and has performed as a soloist alongside the world's finest orchestras. He has won many awards throughout his career and holds honorary degrees from Liverpool, Edge Hill and Southampton Universities. He was appointed a CBE in the 2016 Queen's Birthday Honours.

1978-01-01 00:50:59

Paul Simpson's musical career begins

Born in Huyton, Paul Simpson is a musician and writer whose musical career began during the late 1970s, one of the Liverpool region's most musically creative and fertile periods. He worked alongside many of Liverpool's other celebrated artists of the period, such as Ian McCulloch, Will Sergeant, Julian Cope and Ian Broudie. Simpson left an early version of the Teardrop Explodes in 1979 to form The Wild Swans. While not a huge commercial success at the time, the band have gone on to achieve a kind of cult legend status, with many people suggesting they were one of the finest bands to emerge from Liverpool in the 1980s. As well as the Wild Swans, Simpson has released music under other guises, including Care, with Ian Broudie (1983-1985). Simpson continues to make music across a range of genres and is crowdfunding his memoir, 'Incandescent.'

1981-01-01 00:51:17

Colin Vearncombe (a.k.a. Black) releases his first single

Songwriter and singer Colin Vearncombe (1962-2016) was brought up in Knowsley Village and was later a pupil at Prescot Grammar School. Emerging from the punk rock music scene, he would have a huge international hit with 'Wonderful Life' when it was re-released in 1987 (having originally come out in 1986). He died in 2016 following a road traffic accident in Ireland.

1981-01-01 06:55:26

China Crisis release their first single

Emerging amongst a new wave of Liverpool acts in the late 1970s and early 1980s, China Crisis formed in Kirkby in 1979 and would go on to have a number of hit singles during the 1980s, including 'Christian' (1982), 'Wishful Thinking' (1983), 'Black Man Ray' (1984) and 'King in a Catholic Style (Wake Up)' (1984). Core members Gary Daly and Eddie Lundon had met at St. Kevin's Comprehensive School, Kirkby.

1983-01-01 00:00:00

Tim Lever joins Dead or Alive

Keyboardist and sax player Tim Lever (1961 - ), who had lived in Huyton, joined Dead or Alive in 1983 and remained with them until 1989. The band had been formed by Pete Burns in Liverpool in 1979 as Nightmares in Wax, before becoming Dead or Alive the following year. Lever was a member during their most commercially successful period, when their biggest hits were produced by the powerhouse production trio Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman (better known as Stock Aitken Waterman or SAW).

1983-10-24 00:51:17

Frankie Goes to Hollywood release their first single

Backing vocalist, dancer and occasional keyboardist with 1980s Liverpool band Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Paul Rutherford (1959 - ) was born in Liverpool but later moved to the Cantril Farm Estate (now Stockbridge Village, Knowsley) in the 1960s. Frankie Goes to Hollywood had a number of huge hits, including 'Relax' (1983), 'Two Tribes' (1984) and 'The Power of Love' (1984). Rutherford has also released music under his own name.

1984-01-01 10:19:42

The Farm release their first single

Although no members of the band are from the Cantril Farm estate (now Stockbridge Village) and it is a myth that they are named after the estate, lead singer Peter Hooton was a youth worker there during the 1980s. The band have had a number of hit singles, including 'Groovy Train' and 'Altogether Now' (both 1990) and a version of 'Altogether Now' in 1995 to support Everton F.C. in the 1995 FA Cup Final (despite most of the members of the band being Liverpool F.C. fans).

1987-05-01 00:51:17

T'Pau release their first single

Singer and songwriter Carol Decker (1957 - ), born in Huyton, is best known as the front woman of 1980s pop group T'Pau. They had a series of hits during the decade, including 'China in Your Hand' (1987) and 'Heart and Soul' (1987).

1987-11-02 15:58:59

The La's release their first single

Hailing from Huyton, Lee Mavers (1962 - ) was the songwriter and frontman for Liverpool band, The La's. The band never released more than one LP (1990), but it is an album that is now widely regarded as a classic.

1988-01-01 04:11:43

Martyn Campbell's music career begins

Musician Martyn Campbell, who grew up in Huyton, is probably best known as the bass player for Liverpool group the Lightning Seeds. Alongside this, he has had great success working with other musicians, including Richard Ashcroft, Terry Hall and fellow Liverpool luminaries Shack and Pete Wylie. His career began as a member of Huyton-formed Rain, who also feature on this timeline.

1991-04-06 20:38:27

Rain release their first single

Formed at the Merseyside Trade Union Community and Unemployed Resource Centre in Huyton in 1988, Rain were signed by Columbia Records in 1989, but would not release their first single, 'Lemonstone Desired', until 1991.

1993-01-01 02:50:56

Space release their first single

Formed in 1993, Space are a band with Knowsley roots. Singer, songwriter and guitarist Tommy Scott grew up on the Cantril Farm estate (now Stockbridge Village), whilst lead guitarist, songwriter and vocalist Jamie Murphy grew up in Huyton. Their 1996 hit single 'Neighbourhood' was inspired by Scott's time on the estate. The band had a series of hits in the 1990s, including 'Female of the Species' (1996), 'Avenging Angels' (1997) and 'The Ballad of Tom Jones' (1998, with Cerys Matthews).

1998-01-01 17:23:48

Ooberman release their first records

Ooberman were formed in Liverpool in 1996 and featured Alan Kelly from Kirkby on drums. In 1998, their first single, 'Sugar Bum' was released on Blur guitarist Graham Coxon's Transcopic label, followed by a critically acclaimed EP, 'Shorley Wall.' Their debut album, 'The Magic Treehouse' was released in 1999. Kelly left the band in 2001, with Ooberman continuing to release two more albums since.

2002-05-06 00:00:00

The Crescent release their first single

Huyton band The Crescent have perhaps become most famous for being protegees of fellow Huytonian and former La, Lee Mavers. They formed in 2000 and were signed to Hut Records, releasing their debut album in 2002. They began work on a follow-up, but were dropped by Hut and subsequently split up in 2003.

2002-08-01 00:00:00

Jay Lewis releases first record

Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jay Lewis, from Huyton, has played in a number of bands from the Liverpool region. His band Cracatilla released their debut single, 'What Do I Know' in August 2002, with Lewis on guitar and lead vocals. In 2005, he joined the reformed La's on lead guitar for a series of live dates. Following this, he became a frequent collaborator with La's member, John Power, playing on his solo records and becoming the bassist for Cast. Lewis has also released his own solo work, including the album 'Back to the Fountain' in 2012.

2002-09-01 10:19:42

The Zutons release their first single

From Knowsley Village, singer, songwriter and guitarist Dave McCabe (1981 - ) was the frontman of Liverpool band The Zutons. The band had a string of hits, including 'Pressure Point' (2004) and 'Valerie' (2006), which was also a global hit when covered by Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse the following year. McCabe continued to produce music following the Zutons split in 2009, including his band Silent-K, and has worked alongside Mark Ronson and Thea Gilmore amongst others.

2011-01-01 00:00:00

Natalie McCool (aka Memory Girl) releases her first single

Acclaimed singer, songwriter and guitarist Natalie McCool (1988 - ), from Whiston, released her debut album in 2013 and her second, The Great Unknown, in 2016.

2015-01-01 00:00:00

Louis Berry releases first single

Brought up in Kirkby, singer, songwriter and guitarist Louis Berry (1992 - ) has quickly attracted a loyal fanbase and critical acclaim. His early single '45' and the 2015 'Rebels' EP both saw regular plays and radio support from influential DJs, including Zane Lowe, Annie Mac and John Kennedy. He released his debut album in 2018.

Rock The ARK

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