Liverpool Express was a 1970s British rock band. They are best known for songs such as "You Are My Love" (which is one of Paul McCartney's favourite songs) and "Every Man Must Have A Dream", and charting several hits. They had success in Brazil and were the first band to do a major tour in South America.
Founding member Billy Kinsley previously played with The Merseybeats and The Merseys. Liverpool Express toured with both Rod Stewart and the rock band, Foreigner. One of Liverpool Express' members, pianist Roger Scott Craig, went on to join Fortune in 1982, and form Harlan Cage in 1996.
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Formation and early years
In 1975 Billy and three friends he had been playing soccer with over the years, Roger Scott Craig, Tony Coates, and Derek Cashin, joined together to create Liverpool Express. The songwriting partnership of Billy and Roger developed when they started getting together in a small rehearsal room at the Bluecoat Chambers in downtown Liverpool to write and arrange some of the bands early material. Before long the band recorded their first album Tracks produced by their manager Hal Carter who had personally managed many other successful musical acts including Billy Fury, Eddie Cochran, Marty Wilde, Brenda Lee, and Johnny Burnette. Hal negotiated a recording deal for the band with Warner Brothers Records and within a matter of six months they had several hit records across Europe including You Are My Love, Every Man Must Have a Dream, Dreamin", Smile and Hold Tight".
But their greatest success came in South America where they scored three consecutive Top Ten hits and toured in 1977, one of the first bands to play in the huge sport stadiums in Brazil. Arriving at Rio de Janeiros Airport, the band was greeted by thousands of hysterical fans. It was quite a shock for us to be welcomed to Brazil by so many screaming fans. In fact, we thought someone famous was on our flight and we had no clue what was going on, said Billy Kinsley about the experience.
The bands success continued when they toured with Rod Stewart throughout Europe and in 1978 Prince Charles specifically requested that Liverpool Express perform for him at a Royal Gala Performance held at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool. The band were introduced to the Prince and photographed with him before the show.
Changes in lineup
A second album Dreamin, was released and in late 1978 drummer Pete Kircher joined the band and participated in the recording of the third album LEX which was produced by Tommy Boyce and Richard Hartley. The cover of this album featured the soon-to-be-famous model Jerry Hall who later married Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones. Liverpool Express continued to tour, appear on the major TV shows of that era (such as Top of the Pops, Supersonic and Its a Knockout), participate in a multitude of charity events, and play at major venues throughout England, Scandinavia, and Europe.
In 1979, another soccer friend, drummer John Ryan, joined the band in place of Pete Kircher, who departed to work with The Original Mirrors and later Status Quo. In the early 80s, Liverpool guitarist Kenny Parry joined the band, Roger emigrated to America and John Ryan never returned home to England after touring down under in Australia. Billy and Kenny continued working together with Dave Goldberg on keyboards and Brian Rawling on drums and released the single So What in 1983. Brian, who now lives in America, went on to produce Chers mega-hit Believe as well as Now That You're Gone for Mike & the Mechanics and Ricky Martins Private Emotion.
The late 80s and 90s
Roger, who currently operates his own music production company in California, has achieved great success with bands such as Fortune, Harlan Cage and 101 South. While in Fortune, Roger became well known throughout Europe and Japan and played many big venues including Rock in Rio for 350,000 people! In Spring 2002, Roger released his fourth CD with his melodic rock band, Harlan Cage, which is receiving fantastic reviews in Europe and Japan and also simultaneously released his second CD with 101 South. He has written music for movies such as The Pelican Brief, Wyatt Earp, and Richie Rich and TV commercials such as the notorious Harry and Louise ad in America and Boris Yeltsins ad for his re-election campaign. Not bad for a fellow who started his career by playing organ and piano for his church in Northern Ireland when he was eight years old.
Before and after his stint with Liverpool Express, Billy was a sought after studio musician in Liverpool and London and spent many years performing as a studio musician for some of the artists signed to Apple Records including Peter and Gordon, Jackie Lomax, Doris Troy and Billy Preston and for producers such as Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Billy, who still lives in his hometown of Liverpool, continues to tour with The Merseybeats who have been named the most popular 60s touring band for four years in a row by English fans. He owns and operates Fedora Street Studios where he has recorded CDs for the Cavern Club Class of 64, Radio Merseyside and The Pete Best Band and where he is currently composing and recording songs for a movie being filmed in Liverpool called The Goddess and the Bouncer.
Since Billy played such a major role in the 60s music scene, writers and TV interviewers from all over the world ask him to provide expert historical information about The Beatles and other bands from that era. He worked with The Beatles Story Museum in Liverpool to develop exhibits, provided information for the recent publication, The Beatles Gear, worked with Spencer Leigh on his book about The Cavern, and also participated in TV documentaries including The Beatles Anthology and the BBCs Places I Remember, which featured John Lennons friends reminiscing about their experiences with him. Billys friends continue to beg him to write a book about the stories he loves to tell about those timesstories which only he knows and which all Beatles fans would love to hear. For example, John Lennon used to call The Merseybeats by another name: The Liverpool Echos. When asked why, he said because the Mersey Beat and the Echo were both newspapers!! In an interview with the BBC in 1991, Paul McCartney, one of Billys old friends from the early Cavern Club days, picked You Are My Love as one of his all-time favorite songs quite a tribute for the band coming from one of the greatest songwriters of all time.
Liverpool Express in the 00s
Twenty-five years after its release, the music of Liverpool Express is still played on radio stations all over the world and fans contact the band members to let them know how much Liverpool Express meant to them. With so much radio and fan interest, the band released "The Best of Liverpool Express" on CD, featuring their greatest hits and a tribute song to the Beatles "John George Ringo & Paul".
The worldwide interest and the band's resurgence spawned a very exciting time for Liverpool Express. Fans from all over the world began contacting the band via their website demanding NEW Liverpool Express music. The band listened and reunited to use their combined energy, talent and experience to create new music! The Craig/Kinsley writing team that produced three number one hits all over South America and many chart hits in the UK and Europe, swung back into action and worked unceasingly to create the new songs that appear on their new album, "Once Upon A Time", and it's obvious the Liverpool Express magic is still there!
Occasionally you can catch the band playing live gigs in and around Liverpool. The current playing line-up comprises: Billy Kinsley (bass guitar, vocals); Kenny Parry (guitar, vocals); and Dave Goldberg (keyboards, vocals).
Billy Kinsley (born William Ellis Kinsley, 28 November 1946, Anfield, Liverpool) - vocalist / bassist
Roger Scott Craig - pianist / keyboardist / vocalist (1975-1981) (2002-)
Tony Coates - vocalist / guitarist (1975-1980)
Derek Cashin - drummer / vocalist (1975-1978)
Pete Kircher - drummer (1978-1979) - later joins the band, Status Quo
John Ryan - drummer / backing vocalist (1976?1981) - previously with Nickleodeon, RoadRunner and Health Farm, later a member of The Swinging Blue Jeans
Kenny Parry - vocalist / guitarist (1980-)
Dave Goldberg - pianist / keyboardist / vocalist (1981-)
Brian Rawling - drummer (1981-1985)