Beatles man’s rock history

The Beatles in Blackpool in August 1964 just before their performance at the Opera House
The Beatles in Blackpool in August 1964 just before their performance at the Opera House
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Hundreds of mourners gathered to say farewell to the man who famously gave away The Beatles.

But Allan Williams, who was the Fab Four’s first manager, had another claim to fame – he tried to introduce the delights of Blackpool rock to the Spanish.

Allan Williams

Allan Williams

Mr Williams died last week at the age of 86.

On Thursday mourners paid their last respects to the giant of the Liverpool music scene at his funeral at the city’s Parish Church, Our Lady and St Nicholas.

And a celebration of his life will be held at the city’s Cavern Club on February 21.

Mr Williams drove The Beatles to their famous residency in Hamburg in 1960 and founded Liverpool’s Jacaranda Club, before signing the band over to Brian Epstein who steered them to global success.

He was a legendary figure on the North West’s music scene, however, one of his lesser known escapades involved rock of an entirely different kind.

In the late 50s he had the bright idea of selling sticks of Blackpool rock to the Spanish.

He bought a huge supply or rock from manufacturers in the resort.

And with a suitcase loaded with the seaside confectionary, Mr Williams travelled to Benidorm and other up and coming Spanish resorts in a bid to get rich quick.

However, his plans were left in tatters when he discovered the Spanish had no taste for our favourite holiday sweet and the Brits abroad thought he was a con artist.

Eventually the Spanish police told him to pack up and go home.

Author Spencer Leigh, who wrote a book about the sacking of Beatles drummer Pete Best in favour of Ringo Starr, recalled: “As an entrepreneur he could be found in Liverpool pubs and clubs dreaming up new ideas to make him millions. Somehow, they never came off.

“His scheme to turn Spain into another Blackpool by selling rock for tourists fell foul of the authorities.

“People say he stood on street corners whispering ‘psst, want to buy a stick of rock?’”

Mr Williams met Paul McCartney and John Lennon when they became regulars at the Jacaranda.

He started booking dates for them throughout the North West and further afield to Wales and Cheshire before booking them into clubs in Hamburg.

He carried on speaking at Beatles conventions up to his death from Liverpool to Singapore and South America.