Sixties City presents a wide-ranging series of articles on all aspects of the Sixties, penned by the creator of the iconic 60s music paper  Mersey Beat

David Garrick



David Garrick
The singer was born Phillip Darryl Core in the Knotty Ash area of Liverpool on 12th September 1946. His love of music was inspired by Mario Lanza and the work of Mozart and Beethoven and he began to sing in church choirs at an early age. When he was 14 David was chosen to become a member of the Birkenhead Operatic Company and he then won a scholarship to La Scala in Milan. He was thrilled to discover that his coach was Skippi, who had also coached his idol Mario Lanza. However, after two years David decided to throw it all away.

He recalls, “I was stuck in the chorus, going nowhere, so I packed it in. I was stupid, really, I suppose, but I was still only a teenager and I just couldn’t hack it. I wasn’t cut out to be a great tenor, I suppose.”
Back on Merseyside he became involved with some local bands such as Roy & The Dions and Creation and also used to frequent the Cavern where he was known as ‘The Opera Singer.’ One evening he took to the Cavern stage and sang a piece from ‘Pagliacci’ to great applause.

Another evening when he was at a Liverpool club with his sister, he noticed a sartorially dressed man staring at him. He was then approached by the man who said that although he hadn’t heard him sing, on looks alone he would make a fine pop star. The man’s name was Robert Wace, co-manager of The Kinks.

David was invited to London to meet the other co-manager Grenville Collins and an audition with Pye Records was arranged. Wace decided that Phillip Core wasn’t a good enough stage name and when the two were discussing something more suitable, Wace noticed they were standing outside the Garrick Theatre and suggested the name David Garrick. As he was under 21, the Pye recording contract had to be signed by his father, who didn’t bother reading it. David recalls that the contract was the worse thing that happened in his career.
John Schroeder, who had recorded so many Mersey groups, including the hit albums ‘This is Mersey Beat’, became his recording manager, although the first two releases, ‘Go’ in April 1965 and ‘One Little Smile’ didn’t chart, even though the latter was voted a hit on ‘Juke Box Jury.’
David Garrick

He was then sent a copy of ‘Lady Jane’, a track from the Rolling Stones album as Mick Jagger had suggested that it would suit David’s dramatic style. David then went on tour with Gene Pitney and The Troggs, backed by his former Liverpool outfit Creation. His next release was ‘Dear Mrs Appleby’, released in September 1966, which reached No22 in the British charts.

David Garrick It fared far better in Europe, topping the charts in Germany and Holland. In Germany it sold 250,000 copies in the first week, remained at No1 for over 20 weeks, selling more than two million copies in Germany and became the biggest-selling single in their chart history.

His appeal in Germany was enormous and he became the only English artist to have five records in the German Top 20 at the same time. Robert Wace decided to restrict David’s live appearances, which David believes lost him a lot of money due to the demand for him in Europe, although he did one tour of Germany with The Beach Boys and The Kinks, with Ray Davies getting upset because David was chosen to close the show because of his immense popularity there.


His reputation throughout Europe grew, reaching countries such as Poland and Czechoslovakia. His album ‘A Boy Called David’ was a hit throughout Europe and a Top 10 album in Germany.
His next single ‘I’ve Found A Love’ charted in Europe, as did ‘A Certain Misunderstanding’ and ‘Mr Moneyman.’ He even recorded a live album at the Blow-Up Club in Munich, backed by The Iveys, who had formerly been his backing group when he initially came down to London.

David still hungered to record classical music and his ‘Ave Maria’ topped the Charts in Ireland and Holland and was a hit in other European countries, although Pye refused to release the other classical tracks which David had recorded. Barry Gibb was a close friend and while the two of them were having a drink one night, Barry decided to write a number for him and penned ‘Maypole Mews’ in 20 minutes.

He also recorded another Bee Gees number ‘Spicks & Specks’, although Pye didn’t release it. Despite the European success, his records didn’t sell in Britain and following the release of ‘Poor Little Me’ in September 1969, Pye decided to terminate the contract. Robert Wace also told him that that he and Collins had decided they could no longer manage him, saying “I’m afraid you’re finished.”


David remembers, “But by then, I’d had more than enough of all the intrigue, two-facedness, and double-dealings of pop music. I’d been badly screwed financially, due to the contract we’d signed with Piccadilly, I hardly saw any record royalties – and so I decided to get out.”
He then began to appear on the cabaret circuit in the North of England, happy to be able to perform dramatic ballads, and Mario Lanza and Pagliacci routines – sometimes even going on stage in a clown’s outfit. He was then spotted by Liberace, who had heard him perform ‘Ave Maria’ and was impressed by his operatic voice. He invited David to appear on tour with him in the United States, where David was to sing four songs.
David Garrick

David Garrick On his return he recorded some numbers for Columbia, which weren’t successful.

After problems with other managers and agents he had hooked up with, he decided to give up his career in music and moved to South Africa where he opened a night club in Johannesburg. However, he refused to pay protection money and his club was burnt down a month later. For the next couple of years he toured South Africa performing in cabaret. David then had a nervous breakdown and decided to end his career in music.

His sister had married a millionaire and invited him to live on their various cruise ships on the Nile and he spent the next six or seven years just living the life-style, acquiring a sun tan and not worrying about anything. He then received a call from an agent in Holland offering him five thousand pounds to make a single appearance on a live TV show. He decided to give it a go – and the response was huge, even though he hadn’t performed in Europe for twenty years or so. The offers poured in and he’s never looked back since. Germany, Austria, Poland, throughout the Eastern block, his popularity continued. His repertoire contained sixties pop, R&B material from the likes of James Brown and Wilson Pickett, dramatic ballads and some classical numbers.

During his career, with 22 singles issued, he has sold over 20 million records and in Germany he was voted ‘Artiste of the Year’ twice in 1966 and 1967 and Best Dressed Man by readers of Bravo magazine twice in 1966 and 1967.
He also won the Golden Rose Award twice during the same years. His 1999 album ‘Appasionata’, which took him two years to record, is a tribute to Mario Lanza and was an album he’d promised his mum he’d record – and it’s an album no other pop singer has ever attempted.

Included in the 14 classical tracks are ones from live appearances – ‘Santa Lucia’, live at Trentham Gardens; ‘L’Elisire D’Amour’, live at St. George’s Hall, Liverpool; ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ and ‘Panis Angelicus’, both recorded live at Liverpool Cathedral and ‘La Donne E Mobile’, live at the Winter Gardens.
David currently has three homes, one in Egypt, one in London and one in Liverpool.


David Garrick




Mersey Beat Magazine Bill Harry attended the Liverpool College of Art with Stuart Sutcliffe and John Lennon and made the arrangements for Brian Epstein to visit The Cavern, where he saw The Beatles for the first time. Bill was a member of 'The Dissenters' and the founder and editor of 'Mersey Beat', the iconic weekly music newspaper that documented the early Sixties music scene in the Liverpool area and is possibly best known for being the first periodical to feature a local band called 'The Beatles'. He has worked as a high powered publicist, doing PR for acts such as Suzi Quatro, Free, The Arrows and Hot Chocolate and has managed press campaigns for record labels such as CBS, EMI, Polydor. Bill is the critically acclaimed author of a large number of books about The Beatles and the 60s era including 'The Beatles Who's Who', 'The Best Years of the Beatles' and the Fab Four's 'Encyclopedia' series. He has appeared on 'Good Morning America' and has received a Gold Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.


Article Bill Harry 2017               Original Graphics SixtiesCity 2017

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