If you peruse enough collections of Merseybeat, chances are you’ll be familiar with the name of Beryl Marsden (no relation to Gerry, of Pacemakers fame). A product of the same Liverpool club scene that birthed the career of Beatle pal Cilla Black, Marsden played a number of recognizable Fab haunts, including the Cavern Club and the Star Club, and even supported the Beatles on their 1964 U.K. tour. But Marsden had never received a career-spanning anthology…until now!
Changes: The Story of Beryl Marsden has arrived courtesy of RPM Records, a label of the Cherry Red Group. Celebrating her fiftieth year in show business, the collection includes every one of Marsden’s singles for Decca and Columbia, her recordings with Rod Stewart’s early band Shotgun Express as well as rare later singles and live performances.
Born Beryl Hogg, the singer began her recording career in 1963 as an artist on the Decca Records label. Her manager was Tony Stratton-Smith, known for founding Charisma Records and launching the careers of The Nice and Van der Graaf Generator, and taking Genesis to new heights after the band’s shaky start with producer Jonathan King. At Decca, Marsden recorded two singles, starting with a cover of Barbara George’s “I Know (You Don’t Love Me No More)” backed with “I Only Think About You,” and then “When the Lovelight Starts Shinin’ Through His Eyes” b/w “Love is Going to Happen to Me.” (The B-side was written by Lesley Duncan, later a prominent background vocalist and accomplished singer/songwriter of such songs as “Love Song,” recorded by Elton John, Neil Diamond, Dionne Warwick and others.) Though these singles didn’t make much of a chart dent (with the Supremes’ version of “Lovelight” eclipsing Beryl’s), she maintained a high enough profile to be signed by Columbia in 1965. Three singles at Columbia followed, including a 1965 take on Jackie DeShannon’s “Break-A-Way” that’s much beloved today by British soul connoisseurs. (That track was produced and arranged by Ivor Raymonde, well-known for his work with Dusty Springfield.) One of Marsden’s Columba singles, “Who You Gonna Hurt” b/w “Gonna Make Him My Baby” was picked up for American release by Capitol.
Hit the jump to ride the Shotgun Express, and bring Beryl Marsden’s story up to the present day! We’ve also got the full track listing and discography for Changes!
In 1966, Marsden joined some other up-and-comers by the names of Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood and Rod Stewart (whatever happened to them?) to form Shotgun Express. The band recorded a couple of unsuccessful singles before its members parted ways; both A-sides “I Could Feel the Whole World Turn ‘Round” and “Funny ‘Cos Neither Could I” are included on Changes. Further bands followed, including Sinbad, Gambler, and all-girl outfit She Trinity. Despite a lack of visibility, Marsden continued to record as a session vocalist, and even toured with a latter-day incarnation of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. A 1979 return to the studio yielded “Sad Songs,” recorded under the pseudonym of Lynn Jackson for Gordon Mills’ MAM label. Still, especially in the CD era, her few singles remained alive thanks to compilations of British girl group music and Merseybeat. In 2007, Marsden recorded the Burt Bacharach/Mack David/Luther Dixon hit for the Shirelles, “Baby, It’s You” (of course, also covered by The Beatles). Changes includes “Baby, It’s You” and other recent tracks including Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” another song introduced by The Shirelles, as well as the 2008 single “Too Late,” co-written by Marsden.
RPM’s Changes: The Story of Beryl Marsden is available now, and the singer will be performing in both London and Liverpool in 2012 to mark its release. An order link and track listing follows!
Beryl Marsden, Changes: The Story of Beryl Marsden (RPM RETRO903, 2012)
- I Know (You Don’t Love Me No More)
- I Only Think About You
- When the Lovelight Starts Shinin’ Through His Eyes
- Love is Gonna Happen to Me
- Everybody Loves a Lover (Live)
- Who You Gonna Hurt?
- Gonna Make Him My Baby
- Music Talk
- What’s She Got (That I Ain’t Got)
- Let’s Go Somewhere
- I Could Feel the Whole World Turn Round – The Shotgun Express
- Funny ‘Cos Neither Could I – The Shotgun Express
- Sad Songs – Lynn Jackson
- Hungry For You
- I Video
- Hello, Stranger
- Baby, It’s You
- Will You Love Me Tomorrow
- Everything I Need
- Too Late
- I’ll Be There
Tracks 1-2 from Decca single F-11707, 1963
Tracks 3-4 from Decca single F-11819, 1964
Track 5 from Live at the Cavern, Decca LP LK-4595, 1965
Tracks 6-7 from Columbia single DB-7718, 1965
Tracks 8-9 from Columbia single DB-7797, 1965
Tracks 10-11 from Columbia single DB-7888, 1966
Track 12 from Columbia single DB-8025, 1966
Track 13 from Columbia single DB-8178, 1967
Track 14 from MAM single 188, 1979
Tracks 15-16 from PVK single PV-107, 1981
Track 18 from Loneboy single LBM008, 2007
Tracks 17, 19, 21, 23-24 previously unreleased
Tracks 20 & 22 from Loneboy single LBM018, 2008