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  • In the March issue of Best of British

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Best of British is the UK’s premier nostalgia magazine covering every aspect of life from the 1930s to today.

Each issue encourages you to:

  • Explore readers’ own recollections and memories in our Yesterday Remembered section
  • Discover more about days gone past with stories on everything from vintage transport to great Britons and from Christmas traditions to great days out
  • Enjoy regular reader favourites such as Treasures in the Attic, 1940s Post, Postcard from… and of course our Puzzle Page and Crossword

We hope you like reading our magazine as much as we love compiling it. In the meantime here is this month’s letter from our Editor, Simon Stabler

The Beat Goes On
Although I don’t have the figures to hand, there’s a high chance the Beatles have been mentioned in these pages more than any other band. And with good reason: after all, they were at the forefront of the British Invasion, were rarely away from the Top 10 during the 60s, and responsible for several musical revolutions that still resonate.

But the Beatles didn’t start life as accomplished musicians or songwriters. Like many of their contemporaries, they earned their stripes on the live circuit, playing rock’n’roll covers and developing their craft along the way.

An important landmark in their early career was building a following through regular appearances at The Cavern in their native Liverpool. Opened in the mid-1950s, it was one of many clubs across the country that played host to live music from jazz and skiffle to the nascent rock’n’roll. Perhaps the most famous music venue at the time was The 2i’s Coffee Bar in London’s Soho, where acts such as Tommy Steele, Marty Wilde, Adam Faith, and Cliff Richard and the Shadows began their careers.

This issue celebrates that pre-Beatles period of British music. We speak to some of the 2i’s alumni mentioned above, as well as a member of a later line-up of the Tornados – once Billy Fury’s backing band – and take a look at Ted Heath and His Music, Britain’s greatest postwar big band, which incorporated rock’n’roll into its repertoire.

Of course, we’re only scratching the surface; there were countless acts formed around the UK who played rock’n’roll in smaller venues. Some made it, while many more hung up their guitars, left to wonder “What if?”.

Perhaps you had dreams of rock’n’roll stardom, or would queue up early to get to the front of the stage at your favourite venue, or even saw some of the American stars that came here and were backed by bands that included future members of Deep Purple, Chas & Dave, or the Shadows? Whatever your memories of this exciting period in music, why not write in?