On the 'tube

The Liverbirds: Britain’s first female rock group

1

Long before The Runaways (or even The Shaggs, for that matter).

Recent short doc about 4 young girls in Liverpool who were so inspired by their local Beatles, they decided to form a pop group.

Some cool rare video and fab gear to be seen throughout.

2

great video !!! thanks for posting the video. it was very enjoyable.

3

Great & fun stuff! Thanks for sharing!

4

That was interesting, I hadn't heard of them. thanks

5

Thanks ,i enjoyed watching that,sad though for what became of the two deceased members .

6

Now that's a fabulous story, beautifully told. Thanks for the post.

8

Interesting. Never heard of them but wonder “what if” they had gone with Brian Epstein and/or toured the States.

9

I've never been a huge Merseybeat fan, but I am a Brit with 35 or so years in and out of the music biz and I'm a little ashamed to say I'd never heard of The Liverbirds (other that The Liver Birds, an English sitcom on tv).

Thanks for posting, Edison, that was very enjoyable and eye-opening.

10

Very cool! I had no idea.

11

They get a share of love on the Facebook Liverpool Group, and occasionally on the International Beatleweek Group. And, the Cavern Club nods to them occasionally.

12

It's a real treat that good quality videotape of The Liverbirds performing live on TV survives.

Evidently this originally aired on Beat Club; Sept 25th 1965.

These really are delightful little time capsules.

13

The Gretschs sound wonderfully crunchy and raw. With the simple chord progressions and driving beat, I hear slight echoes of The Monks, who were doing Germany around the same time. Foreshadows of punk? Nah, just healthy 60s garage rock. Sounds like they were loud as hell, and a blast to hear live.

Who wouldn't love the happy drummer?

It's cool that they don't make overt concessions to femininity. No pandering at all - just rockin', same as the boys. Also curious that they all sing in contralto registers. Wonder if that was a conscious decision, or just the vocal register all the members turned out to have? Just listening, you wouldn't know it was women.

Interesting from many perspectives.

14

They really had a great raw sound. Sylvia was so adorable and fun to watch, just so happy!
Pamela Birch's deeper timbre reminds me of Nico. Very similar in tone, to me, just way more upbeat delivery.
She also clearly had a statuesque (dare I say; Teutonic) presence, which must have been rather appealing to many young Brits, Germans, Swedes, Dutch, ..seeing her on an electric guitar, fronting a rock band, rather than a Cliff Richard or Billy Fury.
I would've been there.

15

She also clearly had a statuesque (dare I say; Teutonic) presence, which must have been rather appealing to many young Brits, Germans, Swedes, Dutch...

Yes! I hadn't connected yet with that observation, but there it is. There she is, dominating the stage, representing the Teutonic Ideal in a culture where appreciation thereof must have seemed slightly illicit, what with the deep shadows hanging over it - and at a time when Germany's youth had to come to terms with the all-too-recent past (inaccessible as always to those who didn't live through it). Maybe her presence - and her Britishness, no less - helped in some small way to recover that ideal from its harrowing hijacking by Nazi ideology.

There's an awful lot of interesting undercurrents in that era of German history, I should think - its youth taking to heart the music made by British children born literally within the sound and shaking of Nazi bombs. Within the infatuation with the British transformation of American rock & roll, did some of those German kids' unreconstructed elders bitterly sense the enemy had won? Did their more moderate parents appreciate that rapprochement was coming, that wounds were being healed - and that their children were leading the way?

Surely without ever intending it, the beat groups who invaded Germany (and whose skills were honed in the battleground of its decadent clubs) were ambassadors of a sort - for a wider world whose cultural barriers and ancient enmities were crumbling.

16

John Lennon went on record later in life, admitting his own attraction to that very stereotype. He confessed it's why his first wife Cynthia dyed her hair blonde, for him.

So when Mary McGlory recounted meeting The Beatles backstage, with Lennon being smug and dismissive of girls playing guitar, I thought; ".. Oh suuure, John."

I'm convinced if they had shared a billing with The Liverbirds, and had a little backstage hang time, John would've 'changed his tune' a bit. At least over Pamela.

17

These two survivors come across as nice, pleasant, down-to-earth people who anyone would enjoy knowing. Imagine being their grandchildren: “Yea but my grandmother met the Beatles, was an opening act for the Kinks and Rolling Stones, and rolled joints with Jimi Hendrix. Top that!”

18

Thank you for this enjoying lots of memories of that time this morning with my coffee. You made this 70 year olds day. There was a time even with limited talent me 9th grade 1964 you could play and actually sound close enough to the popular bands of the time. The British invasion was a beautiful thing for those of us that lived and played during that time. Thank you for posting I never heard of this group. However when I saw the first girl drummer ever Honey Lantree of the Honeycombs I was totally in love. Something about the way she hit those drums just turned this 14 year old on.

19

Also curious that they all sing in contralto registers. Wonder if that was a conscious decision, or just the vocal register all the members turned out to have? Just listening, you wouldn't know it was women.

That's what jumped out at me too.

20

And would they have had more commercial success if they had sounded girlier, and exploited their gender more blatantly?

Not that I would have wished that on them. They seem to have been happy being exactly who they were.

It's refreshing and somehow edifying that it was all about the music, and not about viva la difference.


Does make one wonder exactly how Brian Epstein would have managed them.

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I agree with those sentiments. I've had a vague awareness of their existence for years, but never actually heard them until this thread. I (perhaps shamefully) assumed that they were trying to cash in as a novelty. That doesn't seem to be the case at all.

Also, given the stated timeline from no experience with their instruments to performing competently on television, they were pretty quick studies.

22

This popped up on my YouTube recommendations;

I guess there have been a few recent live performances of 'Girls Don't Play Guitar' during which the surviving Liverbirds, Mary and Sylvia, get on stage for another turn. They jump in after their tribute counterparts do a set.

It's great to see Sylvia still swing it at the kit.

23

This was an education. I had not previously heard of them. This documentary and Youtube clips were fun to watch and listen to.


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