Born: May 10, 1944; Died: September 15, 2013.
Jackie Lomax, who has died aged 69, was a singer and songwriter who was intimately connected to The Beatles. In the early days of the band, he stood in as their drummer; he was a backing singer on Hey Jude; Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr performed on his debut single; and he was signed to The Beatles label Apple. And yet, despite all these glittering connections and influential friends, Lomax could not make his career work.
For some reason, good though it was, his music didn't sell. As Tony Bramwell of Apple put it: "The material was great, but we couldn't get it to fly. It looked good, sounded good - and didn't work."
Part of the reason may have been that Lomax's first single as a solo artist, Sour Milk Sea, which was produced by Harrison, was released in a package of three other singles including Hey Jude and Those Were The Days, by Mary Hopkins.
Sour Milk Sea was good, but it was drowned out by songs that were even better. "How could I compete against Hey Jude and Those Were The Days?" Lomax once asked.
It was frustrating for Lomax, who had been singled out by The Beatles for great things.
Born in Wallasey, by his teens Lomax was in his first band, Dee and the Dynamites. In 1961, he joined The Undertakers, an eccentric group that drove around in a hearse and dressed in the frock coats and top hats of Victorian funeral directors. They were popular in the Cavern Club in Liverpool and had one song - Just a Little Bit - that scraped into the UK Top 20. Frustrated at their lack of progress, Lomax moved to the United States where he formed another band, The Lomax Alliance.
It was on his return to the UK that he discovered that Brian Epstein, manager of The Beatles, was looking for him. A short while later, he was signed to Apple, The Beatles' label, and the foursome were convinced they had a great talent on their hands. With his floppy hair and loud, swaggering voice, Lomax was supposed to be the British Jim Morrison.
Taking personal charge of their protege's career, Harrison wrote Lomax's first single, Sour Milk Sea, and it was released as one of Apple's first four singles, packaged and presented together (the fourth was Thingummybob by the Black Dyke Mills Band). Harrison then spent time working with Lomax on his first album, Is This What You Want? but it flopped just as badly as the single had.
After leaving Apple, Lomax returned to America and recorded an album called Home Is In My Head, before returning to the UK again and working with the rock band, Badger, on their album White Lady.
In the 1980s and 90s, he worked on various one-off projects and in 2001 released a new album The Ballad of Liverpool Slim, which included Friend-a-mine, a tribute to George Harrison. He also played regularly at The Cavern and at Beatles conventions.
He is survived by three daughters and five grandchildren. His second wife predeceased him last year.
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