Playing local gigs alongside the Beatles and memories of their early days.

Managed by Brian Epstein, produced by George Martin, engineered by Hurricane Smith, and friend, confidante and colleague of the Beatles, Kramer gives a definitive insider’s account of the birth of the Liverpool sound and also the “British Invasion” of the US.

Touring in Poland and Sweden, broken ribs other health problems alongside continuing tension with the Dakotas. Kramer, then living in Rugby, Warwickshire, had a solo career over the next ten to fifteen years or so, working in cabaret and television with his new band, again from the Manchester area, consisting of Pete Heaton (bass), John Miller (drums) and Tim Randles (guitar) - this later saw changes with Bob Price now on bass, and Roger Bell on guitar. They still tour and record. Living in Rugby and raising a growing family, Billy is on and off the wagon and finding it difficult to cope with his addictions and has to face the fact that there are fewer and fewer offers for his type of music. [5] The following year saw the publication of his autobiography Do You Want to Know A Secret, co-written with Alyn Shipton.


[1] Kramer soon came to the attention of Brian Epstein, ever on the look-out for new talent to add to his expanding roster of local artists. This success propelled the teenage Kramer into the fast lane, and he followed it with another five top twenty singles within the space of two years.

He assembles his current band, shows a growing mastery of songwriting and recording, and returns to national tours, keeping the flame of the Mersey sound alive and releasing his latest album I Won The Fight in 2013.
Starts working on a children’s television programme for Granada TV in Manchester which also takes him to Australia.

Coping with overnight stardom, more touring with the Beatles, memories of Tommy Cooper, and Cilla Black, his uneasy relationship with the Dakotas. The performing name Kramer was chosen at random from a telephone directory. In this autobiography Billy J. Kramer (born William Ashton) tells his rags to riches story, from his working class childhood in Liverpool, via a British Rail engineering apprenticeship in the dying days of steam, to the racy world of international pop music. In this no-holds-barred account of his life, Kramer evokes the vibrancy of the sixties and reveals how he exorcised his demons and forged a new career in the US. When the screaming stopped, he reinvented himself as a cabaret performer, and some of his best records were made during the years he was out of the limelight. When Billy J. Kramer’s record of Lennon and McCartney’s “Do You Want To Know A Secret?” topped the New Musical Express charts in 1963, he became the first singer in the world to have a number one hit with a Beatles song, apart from the Fab Four themselves.

Despite this success, Kramer went backwards with his second and last UK single of 1964, the Lennon/McCartney composition "From A Window", which only just became a Top Ten hit. Collect, curate and comment on your files.

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Billy’s early family and school life including his membership in the school choir and his first guitar at around age 10, onto secondary school where he remained until 15 when he joined British Rail as an apprentice engineer.


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