Les Maguire

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Les Maguire was the last member of the classic lineup of Gerry & the Pacemakers to join that group, alongside Gerry Marsden, Freddie Marsden, and Les Chadwick. He served as the the group's keyboard…
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Les Maguire was the last member of the classic lineup of Gerry & the Pacemakers to join that group, alongside Gerry Marsden, Freddie Marsden, and Les Chadwick. He served as the the group's keyboard player from 1961 until their breakup five years later. Born Leslie Charles Maguire in Wallasey in 1941, his entry into professional music came about not as pianist, but as a tenor saxophone player in a Liverpool band called the Bob Evans & the Five Shillings who, in 1959, renamed themselves the Vegas Five -- about two years after that, they became the Undertakers, and in that guise evolved into one of the most respected bands in Liverpool; indeed, the Undertakers even enjoyed the admiration of members of the Beatles, who regarded them as one of the best R&B bands in the city. In 1961, an opportunity opened up for Maguire in another, even more popular Liverpool outfit, Gerry & the Pacemakers, when their original pianist, Arthur MacMahon (aka Arthur Mack), decided to leave. Maguire replaced him, switching to keyboards in the process -- his main influences as a pianist was Jerry Lee Lewis. It was just a year or so later that Gerry & the Pacemakers topped the U.K. charts with their debut single, and were soon spearheading what became known as the Merseybeat craze, immediately behind the Beatles. Unlike Gerry Marsden, who was a natural songwriter, Maguire never really aspired to be a composer, and apart from some shared group copyrights (most notably "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying"), his major contribution to the band was through his playing. Maguire remained with the Pacemakers until the members collectively decided to call it quits in late 1966. He and bassist Les Chadwick opened a successful automotive business in the late '60s.