The Scaffold and Grimms - a History


Early Days

Mike McCartney met former GPO engineer John Gorman and poet Roger McGough in the early 60s, some time before the Beatles rose to fame. John organised the Merseyside Arts Festival in 1962.

Roger and John put on "Events" then picked up the American term "Happenings". There was no particular stage area and the audience was very much part of the show.

Mike joined them and they first performed as The Liverpool, One Fat Lady, All Electric Show with another poet, Adrian Henri, but then settled on The Scaffold threesome.

[Group photo] (GIF) From the booklet with The Scaffold: The Best of The EMI Years.
Left to right: Roger McGough, Mike McCartney and John Gorman.

Their show, a variety of sketches, poems and songs, was very popular with young audiences, especially students, throughout Liverpool and then at the Edinburgh Festival.

They featured on the regional TV series Gazette (for ABC in the Midlands), they had a residency at Peter Cook's Establishment Club and were the resident band on a children's TV show in the late 60s [ITV I'm pretty sure - Magpie?].

In broad terms Mike provided the tunes, Roger the poetry and John the comedy.

Since the 70s Roger McGough has been very active as a poet and children's TV presenter.

Amongst many other things Mike McCartney had a photographic exhibition Liverpool Now and published a children's book Sonny Joe And The Ringdon Rhymes.

John Gorman now lives on a farm in France but has occasionally appeared in films. He was a major contributor to the classic, pioneering Saturday morning TV show TISWAS in the late 70s.


Thank U Very Much was No. 4 in the charts at Christmas 1967 and became a sort of Liverpool anthem.

Lily The Pink was No. 1 the following Christmas. The song features Jack Bruce (Cream) and Graham Nash (The Hollies) and a young Elton John (then Reg Dwight) on backing vocals. Mike had to borrow Ringo Starr's bass drum to get the final thump-thump-thump sound right.

Another success was the memorable theme music for BBC's sitcom The Liver Birds.


[group photo] (GIF) From the booklet in Re-Cycled Vinyl Blues by Neil Innes.
Left to right: Vivian Stanshall, Andy Roberts, John Gorman, Mike McCartney, Neil Innes, Brian Patten, Roger McGough.

The group The Liverpool Scene was active in the late 60s and early 70s, featuring Adrian Henri, Andy Roberts and other musicians.

Neil Innes was touring as Neil Innes and Friends in early 1973 and happened to share the bill with The Scaffold one evening. The two acts decided to amalgamate as Gorman, Roberts, Innes, McGough, McGear and Stanshall. Others soon joined.

The review of Rockin' Duck by Richard Cromelin is a good intruduction to Grimms.


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