Cover Image: The Other Fab Four

The Other Fab Four

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Member Reviews

It's 1962, Liverpool. The music scene is exploding at the Cavern Club and a few determined teenagers decide they wanted to be part of it. They buy instruments and carry them around everywhere, creating a mystique about when they'd actually play them. The playing came later (when they learned how!) and ladies and gentlemen here are the Liverbirds! An ALL-GIRL (gasp) rock band.

Told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of bass player Mary (who grew up wanting to be a nun) and drummer Sylvia, the memoir is a dishy tell all, name dropping everybody from the Stones and the Beatles to the Who and the Kinks, Jimi Hendrix and Gary Glitter. And dozens of lesser known bands, the Liverbirds being one of them, relegated (until now) to the annals of history.

They must have kept some pretty detailed diaries.

It's a fun read, shedding a different light on the scene that we know primarily from the male bands' points of view. The perseverance and naivete of the Liverbirds were evident from the get go and their years long stint in Hamburg was particularly fascinating.

Thanks to the internet there's footage of them playing. See for yourself!

Inevitably they went their separate ways and the subsequent sections weren't as captivating. Sylvia and Mary bring us to the present, and the later chapters read like holiday catchup letters.

It seems like the story of the Liverbirds has gained loads of interest - there was a stage production and short documentary film recently, and rumors of a long form documentary. Good for them.

My thanks to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for the ARC.

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Had I not gotten a promotional email from the publishing company on February 8th, I doubt I would’ve been interested in this book. So, good job to the marketing team for a getting my attention.

Even though I know a lot about music from the 1960’s (with The Beatles being my favorite), I have never heard of the Liverbirds.

The book is told from the points of view of Mary McGlory, the guitar player and Sylvia Saunders, the drummer. The other two original members, Val Birch and Pam Gell passed away, but Mary and Sylvia talk about them a lot!

How awesome is it that Mary McGlory in 1962, then age 16, saw The Beatles play live at The Cavern Club in Liverpool and that made her want to be a musician.

Even though Mary and Sylvia didn’t know how to play, they learned and eventually the band got booked at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany and that booking was several years long. They met there spouses at the Star-Club, and when Sylvia became pregnant, she made a tough choice to leave the band. She was always close by as her husband was a musician.

It must be awesome and yet strange to become famous at such a young age, but they survived. They had kids, they had grandkids, and they had a few reunions as well.

I really enjoyed reading about them and all the stories they told, especially when they met The Beatles and at one early point, they chased down Brian Epstein as they wanted him to manage them.

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Yes, there was another Fab Four. A group of spirited female musicians from Liverpool.
Finally, after being the subject of a 2019 musical and a New York Times documentary, (bassist) Mary McGlory and (drummer) Sylvia Saunders share their memories in this charming autobiography.
The Liverbirds beat the odds. They recorded singles and albums, toured Europe and Japan and reached commercial success in Germany. Following their fellow Liverpudlians, they took the stage at the Cavern and the Star Club. They knew the Beatles, the Kinks and The Rolling Stones. Their journey and success was simply remarkable at a time when the music scene and the Merseybeat sound, was dominated by male bands. In due time, personal decisions; marriage, pregnancy, child care contributed to the band’s demise in 1968.
Mary and Sylvia write with humor and candor. They share jubilant moments and times of sheer heartbreak yet their strength shines through.
This is an extraordinary story and a read that captivated me and gave me great admiration for the authors.
Thank you NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review, Grand Central Publishing and last but not least Mary and Sylvia. Bravo, ladies!

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I had never heard of the Liverbirds but really glad I got to read this book about them. Mary McGlory and Sylvia Saunders write a great overall memoir of these women and I enjoyed what I read. I’m so glad I was able to get to hear their story and enjoyed what I read.

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