Merseybeat Singer Returns to Recording Room - KMSP-TV

Merseybeat Singer Returns to Recording Room

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They shared a manager and a several hit songs; Merseybeat singer Billy J. Kramer will forever be tied to The Beatles legacy, thanks to George Epstein and the writing talent of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

In the early ‘60s, Kramer spent his days as a train engineer and his nights as a singer in the clubs. His break came when he was spotted at a small club by Epstein. Epstein, who was already managing The Beatles, liked his voice and asked him to record several songs written by Lennon and McCartney. Kramer recorded his first single, "Do You Want to Know a Secret", in early 1963, a song also recorded by The Beatles for their "Please, Please Me" album but not released in Britain.

Kramer's version shot to the top of the British and European charts. Of course, The Beatles version, released in the United States a year later, also proved to be a chart-topper. But Kramer can lay claim to the honor of being the first musician with a Number One song by Lennon and McCartney.

There were a couple Lennon-McCartney songs that Kramer heard before they became Beatles gold, but didn't record. He wanted "I Want to Hold Your Hand" after Lennon played it for him one afternoon on the piano. Lennon turned him down, saying the group was going to release that one themselves. And Kramer said "no" to one of the big ones -- "Yesterday" -- saying it wasn't rock ‘n' roll enough for his style at the time. 

Now, Kramer is back in the music business with the release of "I Won the Fight", his first album in more than 30 years. Kramer says he hadn't played a guitar in 25 years and one day decided he'd go out and buy one. With it, he wrote a couple of tunes that eventually led him back into the recording studio and the new album. Next up, he's taking his new band on the road.

For more information, visit Billy J. Kramer's website.

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