The Liverbirds

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The Liverbirds
The Liverbirds on stage at the Star Club in Hamburg circa 1964
The Liverbirds on stage at the Star Club in Hamburg circa 1964
Background information
Origin Liverpool, England
Genres Beat, R&B
Years active 1963 (1963)–1968
Labels Star-Club Records
Members Valerie Gell
Pamela Birch
Mary McGlory
Sylvia Saunders

The Liverbirds were a British all-female beat group, based in Liverpool, active between 1963 and 1968. The hard-rocking quartet (consisting of vocalist-guitarist Valerie Gell, guitarist-vocalist Pamela Birch, bassist-vocalist Mary McGlory and drummer Sylvia Saunders) was one of the very few female bands on the Merseybeat scene. Indeed, they were one of the few self-contained all-woman rock and roll bands anywhere in the world at the time.[1] The band took their name from the liver bird, a fictional creature which is the symbol of their native Liverpool.

Career[edit]

The Liverbirds (1966)

Gell, Saunders and McGlory formed the band in 1963,[2] along with guitarist Sheila McGlory (Mary McGlory's sister) and vocalist Irene Green, both of whom quickly left to join other bands and were replaced by Birch.

They achieved more commercial success in Germany than in their native Britain.[1] Early in their career, they followed in the footsteps of fellow Liverpudlians and made their way to Hamburg, Germany where they performed at the Star-Club, following The Beatles' own tenure, being billed as die weiblichen Beatles (the female Beatles).[3] According to John Lennon, however, "girls" were unable to play guitars.[3] The Liverbirds became one of the top attractions at the Star-Club and they released two albums and several singles. One of those singles, a cover of Bo Diddley's "Diddley Daddy" rose as high as #5 on the German charts.[1]

The group broke up in 1968, after a tour to Japan.[2] They last played together in 1998.[4]

Later lives[edit]

Three members of the band settled in Germany permanently.[1] Saunders left and currently resides, with her husband John, in Alicante, Spain. Mary McGlory now runs a Hamburg-based company called Ja/Nein Musicverlag (which translates as "Yes/No Music Publishing"). She was married to one of her former colleagues from the Star-Club: the German singer and songwriter Frank Dostal, until his passing in April 2017. Her husband was also vice chairman of the German performance rights organization GEMA.

Pamela Birch (born Pamela Anne Burch, 9 August 1944, in Kirkdale, Liverpool), also settled in Hamburg and worked for many years in the city's clubs. She died on 27 October 2009 at the age of 65, at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf.[4] Valerie Gell (born 14 August 1945, in Seaforth), who settled in Munich but later returned to Hamburg, died on 11 December 2016, aged 71.[3]

Releases[edit]

  • From Merseyside to Hamburg - The Complete Star-Club Recordings (CD, Big Beat CDWIKD 290, 2010)[5]
  • Star-Club Show 4 (CD, Repertoire Records, IMS 7009, 1994)[6]
  • More Of Liverbirds (CD, Repertoire Records, IMS 7010, 1994)[7]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Bruce Eder. "The Liverbirds | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-12-17. 
  2. ^ a b Rohkohl, Brigitte: Rock Frauen (Rowohlt 1979)
  3. ^ a b c Leigh, Spencer (14 December 2016). "Valerie Gell obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 December 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "Singer of the Liverbirds died on 27 October 2009". Abendblatt.de. 2009-10-29. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ Richie Unterberger. "Star Club Show, Vol. 4 - The Liverbirds | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-12-17. 
  7. ^ "More of Liverbirds - The Liverbirds | Releases". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-12-17. 

External links[edit]