MARSDEN, Beryl (Hogg) [b. 1947]

At the time the Beatles were emerging from obscurity to world fame there were two particularly talented female vocalists on the scene, Cilla White (soon to become Black) and Beryl Hogg (soon to become Marsden). Many at the time thought that Beryl Marsden had the stronger voice and more presence but the twists and turns of fate meant that Cilla went on to fame and fortune while Beryl’s career whilst long and varied would never hit the high spots. According to Marsden (quoted by Bill Harry see below) Brain Epstein visited her parents seeking to be her manager but she turned him down. How wise this was is doubtful in hindsight, when John Lennon offered Beryl the newly-penned song Love Of The Loved (actually written by Paul) Epstein intervened saying that their songs were solely for his artistes and it became Cilla Black’s first release.

Beryl Hogg’s choice of the stage name Marsden had nothing to with Gerry Marsden, apparently it came about when she was discussing a suitable name with Bill Harry in the office of the Majestic Ballroom. The Majestic’s manager was Bill Marsden and it was ‘pinched’ from him.

She had sung with a number of Liverpool groups such as the Undertakers and Howie Casey. The Undertakers were keen for her to accompany them to Hamburg but at the time she was too young to make the trip. Her first record, I Know (You Don’t Love Me No More), was released by Decca in August 1963. This and a follow up single were unsuccessful but she remained a popular live performer and was in the last Beatles’ tour of Britain in 1964. . A third single Who You Gonna Hurt ? scraped into the top 30 for a single week and it was clear that she was not going to find chart success as a solo artiste.

In 1966 she joined the newly-formed band Shotgun Express, sharing the vocals with a then unknown Rod Stewart. Also in the line-up was future Fleetwood Mac star Peter Green, with whom Marsden had a relationship. (Bill Harry records that she also “stepped out” with Rolling Stone Keith Richard but one is tempted to ask who didn’t ?). Her career continued after Shotgun Express broke up, manifested in various bands and projects. In 2004, some forty years after her first record she released an album entitled One Dream. In 2013 a musical One Dream: The Beryl Marsden Story was staged in Liverpool at The Cavern. In the 2014 TV drama Cilla, she was portrayed by Gemma Sutton.

Beryl Hogg was born 10th June 1947, her baptism record showing her parents as Alexander and Doreen (née Swede). Bill Harry records that she was born in Toxteth and moved to Wavertree when she was 7. It seems likely that her Toxteth home was 8 Kimberley Street L7 (now demolished) as this is the only electoral register for Doreen Hogg which fits. The Wavertree home was 8 Picton Road L15 (also now demolished) where from 1957 until at least 1970 her mother was living as Doreen Omar (she married Mohamed Bin Omar in 1969). Beryl is shown as a resident with the couple on the 1970 electoral register.
After the break up of Shotgun Express Beryl Marsden returned to Liverpool and married, having three children before the marriage broke down.

Shotgun Express with Beryl Marsden backed up by a youthful Rod Stewart.


The Wikipedia entry is quite basic but I have not discovered a great deal of detailed information. Best source seen thus far is Bill Harry's article on the Merseybeat website which is well worth a read. There is an interview with Beryl Marsden available to view on YouTube in which she talks about her early life and career and her introduction to Buddhism.