Ken Brown (musician)

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For the American guitarist, see Kenny Brown (guitarist).
Ken Brown
Born 1940
Enfield, Middlesex, England
Origin Middlesex
Died c.9 June 2010
Essex, England
Genres Skiffle, Rock and roll
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1959–1960
Associated acts The Les Stewart Quartet, The Quarrymen, The Blackjacks

Kenneth "Ken" Brown (1940, Enfield, Middlesex – c. 9 June 2010, Essex) was a British guitarist with The Quarrymen, a precursor to The Beatles.[1]

Early life[edit]

Brown was born in Enfield, Middlesex in 1940, but moved with his family to Liverpool the following year.[2]

Career[edit]

Ken Brown was a member of the Les Stewart Quartet with Les Stewart, George Harrison, and Geoff Skinner.[3] Mona Best opened The Casbah Coffee Club on 29 August 1959, and Brown arranged for the quartet to be its resident band. When Brown missed rehearsals to help decorate The Casbah, Stewart refused to play.[4] Brown and Harrison recruited John Lennon and Paul McCartney at short notice to help them fulfill the residency, and used the name of The Quarrymen.[4] They played a series of seven Saturday night engagements in The Casbah for 15 shillings each per night, starting on 29 August to October 1959, featuring Brown, Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, but without a drummer, and only one microphone connected to the club's small PA system.[5][6] The opening night performance was attended by about 300 local teenagers, but as the cellar had no air-conditioning and people were dancing, the temperature rose to a level where it became hard to breathe.[7]

Brown injured his leg on 10 October and it was agreed that he could not play, so he rested upstairs while the three future Beatles, Lennon, Harrison, and McCartney played the gig.[1] Mona Best still divided the group's £3 fee equally between the four of them. An argument ensued that meant Brown lost his place in the group.

Ken Brown formed the Blackjacks with Pete Best (the son of Mona Best) on drums and 'Chas' Newby.[1] The group played at the Casbah until Pete Best was invited to join the Beatles just before their first 1960 trip to Hamburg in Germany. The Blackjacks disbanded and Brown moved to London. Brown never established himself as a professional musician subsequently, although, in his later years, he recorded a number of tracks that he made available through his personal website.[8]

Autobiography[edit]

Brown wrote an autobiography of his experiences initially called My Life and subsequently retitled Some Other Guy![1][9] The approximately 38,000-word manuscript never found a market and remains unpublished.[10]

Death[edit]

Brown suffered from emphysema and died at his home in Essex aged 70. His body was discovered on 14 June 2010; police determined that he had died about five days earlier.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Register Obituaries: Ken Brown. The Times, page 96, 26 June 2010.
  2. ^ Luke Tranyor, Former Quarrymen guitarist and Lennon/McCartney bandmate Ken Brown dies aged 70, Liverpool Echo, 15 June 2010.
  3. ^ Spitz (2005), p.152.
  4. ^ a b Spitz (2005), p.161.
  5. ^ Miles (1997), p.51.
  6. ^ Hughs, David. "Casbah photos". The Source. Retrieved 20 December 2007. 
  7. ^ Lennon (2006), John, p.44.
  8. ^ Ken Brown (Former member of The Quarrymen), Reverbnation.
  9. ^ Ken Brown, Some Other Guy! at the Wayback Machine (archived 25 July 2008)[dead link]
  10. ^ Kopp, Bill. Some Other Guy is Gone: Memoir of collected interviews with Ken Brown 1997–2008
  11. ^ Luke Traynor, Former Quarryman and guitarist who set Beatles on their way, Ken Brown, dies, Liverpool Daily Post, 16 June 2010.

Bibliography[edit]