Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

Johnny Gentle, known for performing with The Beatles, has died. He was 87 years old

Johnny Gentle has died. That was his real name John Askew and was known as a ballad singer. In the 1950s, he came under the wing of a famous manager Larry Parnes, who gave his protégés nicknames related to their physical features – due to singing “gentle” songs, Askew gained his most famous nickname: Johnny Gentle. The singer died at the age of 87.

At the turn of 1959/1960, Gentle often appeared on British and Scottish television, performing love ballads in the spirit of skiffle and beat, popular at that time.

Johnny Gentle had two singles – “Wendy” and “Milk From The Coconut” (1959), as well as an EP “The Gentle Touch”. In 1960, the Liverpool-born artist performed on a concert tour in Scotland alongside the unknown band The Silver Beetles.

The later famous Beatles were so little recognizable that they appeared on the poster as “Johnny Gentle and his team“. Although they were members of the team at that time John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and drummer Tommy Moore, most of the members hid under pseudonyms – McCartney was named Paul Ramon, Harrison – Carl Harrison, Lennon – “Long John”, and Sutcliffe – Stuart de Staël. In total, they performed together for just over a week, on May 20-28, 1960.

“We met at the venue just half an hour before our first public performance together, and all things considered, we sounded pretty good right from the start. Each night the sound we were creating kept getting better and better, and by the end of the tour I knew these boys were better than anyone I’ve ever worked with,” said Johnny Gentle years later about performing with the Beatles.

According to, during the tour they performed songs from the repertoire of, among others: Buddy Holly, Ricky Nelson Whether Elvis Presley – “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”, “Raining in My Heart”, “I Need Your Love Tonight”, “Poor Little Fool” or “He’ll Have to Go”.

Johnny Gentle claimed years later that he wrote a song together with John Lennon – “I’ve Just Fallen For Someone”. Although Lennon’s name does not appear in the author’s notes, some believe that this is the first song the musician ever co-composed.

The Beatles and Johnny Gentle parted ways quite quickly, because although the musician wanted to continue cooperation, his manager did not want to invest in entire bands – he preferred to manage the careers of soloists. When Gentle returned to Liverpool and encouraged The Silver Beetles to perform again, they refused and focused on going to Hamburg. There, the final composition of the group was clarified, and The Beatles’ musicians, who played several hours a day, acquired true musical craftsmanship.