Early Ringo Starr Recordings Surface After 50 Years

Tapes from drummer's first band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, discovered in basement

September 4, 2012 10:50 AM ET
ringo starr
Ringo Starr of Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Early recordings from Ringo Starr's first band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, have been rediscovered after more than 50 years, the BBC reports

Recorded in March 1960, the tapes were found in Storm's sister's basement; they'll be collected into the group's first and only album to be released later this month.

Starr joined the band in 1959 when he was just 18. Three years later, Brian Epstein talked the young drummer into joining the Beatles. Rory Storm and the Hurricanes released a handful of singles, including one in 1964 produced by Epstein, though the band never made it big.

Still Rory Storm and the Hurricanes played a crucial role on the Merseybeat scene in Liverpool. "Even though the playing is very rough and ready, they have tremendous presence and were probably considerably better than the Beatles were in March 1960," said Spencer Leigh, author and the host of the BBC's "Radio Merseyside."  

The tapes found include tracks recorded in places like the Jive Hive club, which is north of Liverpool, and Stormsville – the name given to the house of frontman Rory Storm where bands including the Beatles would gather after clubs closed for the night. 

Born Alan Caldwell, Storm was known for his charisma on stage, where he wore gold lame costumes during performances. He once jumped off the high dive during a show at the New Brighton swimming pool. He died in 1972 when he was 34. "Rory was a performer," said his sister, Iris Caldwell. "He wasn't, like the Beatles, a brilliant songwriter. They called him The Golden Boy and Mr. Showbusiness." 

Iris Caldwell's son, Adam F., an award-winning drum-and-bass DJ, added: "The quality of the tape left a bit to be desired – it was over half a century ago – but the spirit and rawness suggest a whole scene waiting to happen."

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