No Allan Williams, no Hamburg. No Hamburg, no Beatles.
I want to tip my hat to my pal, Allan Williams. He was the Beatles’ first manager, who famously brought them to Hamburg to clock in their 10,000 hours.
I love this succinct tribute statement to Allan Williams by respected Beatles historian, Mark Lewisohn, on Allan William’s grossly understated contribution to Beatles legacy – “No Allan Williams, no Hamburg. No Hamburg, no Beatles.”
I knew Allan through an expatriate CEO client friend of mine (during my corporate head honcho daze) who opened a Beatles-themed restaurant in a famous hotel in Singapore, in the mid-1990’s. Allan was the guest-of-honour for my friend’s restaurant opening ceremony.
My client friend had told Allan there’s this Singaporean who knows more about the Beatles than him. To which Allan replied, “Impossible! Bring him to me!” The first thing Allan quizzed me was whether I knew he was the author of an obscure Beatles book. (Image below.)
I replied that I DID have his book and that if he dropped by my home the next day he can autograph it. He did!
Allan Williams at Mediation Chamber in my home.
I picked him up from his hotel and we had a delightful lunch at the Raffles Hotel. He also presented me with his hilarious mug.
Allan said that if ever I was in Liverpool, I should look him up. Lo and behold, two years later (in 1998) I was to attend my company’s Global Partners meeting in London. He coincidentally had a 6-day Beatles festival in Liverpool and I was to be his VIP Guest. I still have the VIP pass (image below). So I flew to Manchester and took a train to Liverpool. When I arrived at the famous Lime Street train station, there stood waiting for me on the platform was Allan!
He immediately took hold of my luggage and started leading the way. I told him I should carry my own luggage, he replied if I thought he’s too old to do any heavy lifting. Not at all! Happy him, happier me.
I was Allan’s shadow during the 6-day Beatles fest. It was held at the legendary Strawberry Fields (an orphanage) which was specially opened for the public for the fest. Beatles copy bands came to perform from all corners of the world including Japan and Germany. I bought strawberries with whipped cream to share with Allan.
The ultimate trip – eating strawberries at Strawberry Fields with the Beatles’ first manager!
I also got to hang out at his home for several days whenever his presence was not required.
The VIP pass was never needed to be shown to festival security because they knew I was Allan’s special overseas guest. The still-pristine pass is one of my fondest mementos from my corporate days.
The highlight was a splendid dinner held for the festival speakers and guests. I got to sit at the VIP table with John Lennon’s half sister and Alan Parsons (of Alan Parsons Project fame).
Alan Parsons was also the engineer for the Beatles’ Abbey Road and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of the Moon albums amongst other iconic albums. Me and the Giant (in music world and in physical height) in image below.
I’ll always cherish my time with the late Beatles’ first manager in Liverpool. We had a walking tour of his city attractions, the Cavern Club especially. He showed me the club opposite the Cavern Club, where the Fab Lads used to sneak off to have their grub and drinks during their set breaks. Once we stood by the side of a quiet road eating his favourite comfort food – Chinese dumplings! Allan’s wife, Beryl Williams Chang is Chinese.
After that, we always kept in touch on the phone from time to time. He was always this fully charged Energiser Bunny, always kind, polite, upbeat and above all, dignified! Always asking about my young (then) family.
Sadly Allan passed on in 30 December 2016 at 86 years young.
I leave you with a fond Allan Williams anecdote – once he led me into a cathedral in the city. He told me to kneel down with him at the front pew and say a quiet prayer. On the way out, he told me that’s what he and John Lennon did (kneeled and prayed) before heading off for their famous Hamburg gigs via a van. They had prayed for safety, fame and fortune.
He winked at me, “Who knows, maybe you too will be famous one day.”
Above Image – shows a spritely and bearded Allan Williams (left) with his wife Beryl and the Fab Lads on the way to Hamburg, stopping for a breather in front of a war memorial with the immortal poignant prediction – “Their Name Liveth For Evermore”.
Above image – The van which brought the Beatles from Liverpool to Hamburg. And the rest is history!
A final reminder – No Allan Williams, no Hamburg. No Hamburg, no Beatles.
This Blog is dedicated to this Lidipudian Legend’s awesome memory! Take it easy on the Singapore Slings up there, Buddy!