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Billy J. Kramer loses touch with Lennon after Cynthia

by Katie Hickox
On-Scene at the Liverpool Beatles Convention

Billy J. Kramer explained before an audience at last Sunday's Liverpool Beatles Convention in the Adelphi Hotel why, after John Lennon broke up with Cynthia, he could no longer "chum up" with John. He said he saw John for the last time when he was still married to Cynthia. "I was a bit of a prude after he broke up with Cynthia and he took off with Yoko, so I didn't take sides but I couldn't "chum up" to John as I used to."

In contrast, he's still in touch with Paul, and goes to his concerts and he saw Ringo recently.

Interviewer Spencer Leigh who has been broadcasting on BBC Merseyside for 30 years asked Billy, "Was there a danger that his future wasn't going anywhere signing on with Brian Epstein since Brian's focus was the Beatles?"

Billy replied, "Brian devoted quite a lot of time with me, came to see me, came to critique me, how I sat on the stage, he would have it all written down when he came to see me. Though some of the criticisms were valid, some were not."

Spencer Leigh and Billy J. Kramer

Regarding how he had his first hit single, Billy says that Brian gave him a demo of "Do you Want to Know a Secret" that John Lennon had written, and the demo contained the sound of a toilet flushing which John had added to the tape for laughs. He said he wishes he still had those demo tapes but they're long gone and he never thought about saving them back in the early days.

Billy said he was nervous playing in Hamburg at the Star Club, and that for most bands, they either got really good or they packed it up and went home. He said the Hamburg audiences didn't respond to the new song, "Do you Want to Know a Secret", so he didn't expect the song to do much when it was released back home in England.

To his great surprise, when he came back home from Hamburg, "Do you Want to Know a Secret" was released and went straight to #1. Over the next few years, his band, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, had several hit singles and top selling albums.

He's been in the states since the sixties and still enjoys performing. Billy says he's thrilled and excited to be back in Liverpool to play after so many years. He hasn't written a book yet, but says "it's coming soon" and he joked he already has thought of the title for the new book, "I Was There".

Related articles:

• Neil Brannan announcing Beatles Tribute bands for 16 years (9/3/10)
• He knew Beatles would be bigger than Elvis before Brian (9/2/10)
• Author talks about new Paul McCartney book in Liverpool (9/1/10)
• Geoff Baker makes first appearance at Liverpool Beatles Convention (8/30/10)

Published September 2, 2010

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